Neck profile on 70’s teles

therealbmills

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Hello forum! First post after lurking around for a while and learning a lot from active members on here. Currently playing a MIM 50’s Roadworn and digging it. I’ve got my eyes on a 1977 Telecaster in Butterscotch Blonde that’s aged nicely with an organic wear and tear that tells of 44+ years of experience. I’m interested in the guitar as I, too, entered the world in 1977 and would love to reunite with a fellow 1977 vintage :)

As the guitar is located in England and I am in Seattle I’m unable to feel the guitar in my hands and sort out some unknowns. The biggest and most important to me would be the neck profile. Does anyone have information or comments on the neck profile of these guitars? The Roadworn I have now would seem to have the rounded C and it feels nice in my hand if maaaaybe a bit too thin. The nut width is nice as is the 7.25” radius, I’m more speaking of the thickness/girth of the neck, though nut width and radius would certainly be nice to know. So, a slightly thicker neck wouldn’t be a bad thing. Would love to know what I’d be getting and go to local shops that surely would have necks that are similar in profile to feel them in my hand. While there may be some resource out there that has these dimensions I can dig up, was hoping to perhaps hear some experiences with that vintage guitar and neck/playability as well :)

Thanks and I look forward to contributing more in the future!
 
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adjason

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Welcome- not a lot of help here- the one in my avatar is a 1973 telecaster custom- neck felt normal thickness but it has a thinner nut width than a modern fender. Those 70's teles had one meg pots which make for a bright guitar but they sound great with tone turned down-good luck on your search. Looks like you are in seatlle- I bet some guitar store near you has a 70's tele you could try out....I would not buy one without holding it in my hands first- some are pretty heavy
 

therealbmills

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Welcome- not a lot of help here- the one in my avatar is a 1973 telecaster custom- neck felt normal thickness but it has a thinner nut width than a modern fender. Those 70's teles had one meg pots which make for a bright guitar but they sound great with tone turned down-good luck on your search. Looks like you are in seatlle- I bet some guitar store near you has a 70's tele you could try out....I would not buy one without holding it in my hands first- some are pretty heavy
Thanks for the reply. Agree: hope somewhere in Seattle might have one and I’d certainly want to hold one before pulling the trigger on an unknown. Apples and oranges, I know, but I started out on a 2010 Les Paul hand me down and the neck on that was super difficult to play due to basically all aspects (nut width, thickness, radius) and so the move to that 50’s tele was a real revelation and very much made me a better player and the process easier and more enjoyable. I don’t expect any tele to have that sort of neck but I do know there are a lot of variations in neck profiles so in the absence of finding a similar vintage, if I can at least get a feel on another similar neck I’d at least know if it’s worth continuing the pursuit. But agree: best way to do so is find locally.
 

roycaster

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There is no point in trying a different 70s Telecaster in hopes of finding out if you like the neck carve. They varied too much from guitar to guitar. If you are going to purchase a pre-CBS or CBS era Fender guitar, if you can’t try it first you had better be able to return it…
 

knavel

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As the guitar is located in England and I am in Seattle I’m unable to feel the guitar in my hands and sort out some unknowns.
I am a little fascinated by the notion that one has to reach all the way to the UK to find a late 70s Fender. They aren't the rarest things, and usually forex and the VAT (20% sales tax basically) gets baked in the prices here. I do appreciate that as the instrument in question was made in USA it will go back there without duties. I would also add that shipping is often cheaper in Europe these days than USA. So maybe.

I agree with the post above that necks can vary. I have a 1976 Telecaster and I can say this about it: (1) It's not as thin (depth) as the neck on my 59 Stratocaster or my brother's 59 Esquire--the 59s are both very similar and very thin. Nor is the 76 neck as thick as my brother's 53 Telecaster. Goldilocks? I have a 75 Tele Custom and I like the neck on it too. I don't know all the jargon, I only know when I notice a neck and that's usually one I don't like.

I also can say that while the neck on my 76 is very nice, I wanted rosewood and so I bought a very early Bullet from 1981 because the whole guitar is cheaper than a new USA Fender neck. The Bullet neck was a millimeter or two too big and wouldn't fit!

I would also heed the advice to check the weight--especially important on 70s Fenders. My 76 actually is decently light. I am very fond of it and gigged with it in my time and kept in the hospital with me when I was there for three months. The 75 Custom is natural and so ash body and it just cracks 8 lbs. I was lucky again. I hope you get a good one!
 

backalleyblues

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I have a ‘77 mongrel telecaster that has a Tele custom neck on it-it measures .85” thick at the 1st fret, and is definitely a rounded C shape. IIRC the road worn neck is somewhat thicker than that, somewhere around .9” thick. Both should have the classic 7.25” radius (mine does). If you think the road worn neck is a bit on the thin side, you probably will not care for most ‘70s necks, they will be thinner yet. You might want to try a 60’s Vintera telecaster neck, that should be reasonably close to figure out if that neck profile is for you.

As an aside, for a long time I was into bigger necks until I got this telecaster, which just feels so right in my hands, like an old friend...

Franc Robert
 

57joonya

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Very 70’s tele I have owned or played has been a medium c shape . With a little variation as the others have said . Basically your average joe neck shape . With a bit of polyurethane on it.. a bit too much , but maybe some of that has thinned out in 44 yrs , I don’t know . Good luck to you, I hope it’s a good one
 

therealbmills

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Thanks for the replies, all. One doesn’t have to go to the UK for said guitar, it just happened to be one that was available and matched the novelty desire to have a guitar the exact same age and was in the condition and color I like. Can I get one here? I mean, of course, but seeing as a site like Reverb is a way to search inventory from all over the world with a couple mouse clicks, it’s a pretty darn effective way to walk into thousands of guitar shops at once. I‘m all but certain finding one IN Seattle is going to be a very tall order as a 76 or a 78 are non-starters while for most hunters of that vintage would be perfectly fine with either, mine can only be one year: 1977. So while it’s certainly ideal to walk into a shop in Seattle and hold one—knowing neck shapes may vary from instrument to instrument even made weeks apart—I concede that I may buy the guitar and hope for the best, and a return policy would sure be nice! But, the ability to at least try similar necks whether on a 70’s era Tele or some other guitar that had a similar “typical” profile of that era is absolutely top priority, if possible. Keep fingers crossed for a good ‘77 up here in the PNW!

Note: this search quite literally began a few hours before I posted this and so the novelty of this search and concept are new and I’m likely to spend a good amount of time looking around. And the truth is, this may be just a nostalgic and fun thing and I won’t care what the neck or feel of the guitar is like as it’s just the thrill of finding the exact guitar I want born the same year as I that’s all the fun…and maybe it’ll take me years to find the perfect guitar which by then means it’s likely even more expensive that it would be were I to buy it today. HA! :) Thanks, again, for all the replies!
 

telemnemonics

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Got a 77 Strat neck here that's very thin plus narrow and a '73 Tele that's normal which is on the thin side but not the modern shredder thin.
I've seen a fat necked '70s Tele that was a custom order, you could still do that then, order the neck to a spec, but few were fat then.
 

blue metalflake

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I always struggle to explain the feel of a neck using letters, but most people agree that the early 70’s were characterised by skinny necks.
As the decade progressed I felt they became a little deeper but always very comfortable to play.
 




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