After seeing the new Fender Limited Edition MIJ 70’s Telecaster Deluxe models at the beginning of June, I decided to bite the bullet and get one for myself. And since I run a guitar blog and also do news and reviews for Gearnews, I figured I may as well review it whilst I was at it.
Fender Limited Edition 70’s Telecaster Deluxe
These made in Japan models are a limited edition run and currently, you can find them in most European Fender dealers, and also in Japan itself. Though, it would appear they have yet to turn up in America.
Essentially the build is based around either alder or an ash body, with rosewood or maple fingerboards. I opted for the alder bodied Lake Placid Blue model, which comes with the rosewood fretboard, as I’m a sucker for LPB and think it looks ace with the dark fretboard, and my particular guitar has a very dark rosewood board, so that was a nice bonus. You can also get this model in either a Butterscotch, or 3-Tone Sunburst finish, and both of these models come with a maple fretboard instead.
First off, I personally prefer a large neck and I’m also fond of heavier guitars as I like a guitar to sustain at gig level volumes, without unwieldy feedback.
This model does have a large U shape neck and it makes long extended playing times very comfortable for me and my large hands, the 21 narrow-tall frets on the guitar are great for bends and vibrato, especially with the 9.5″ radius fretboard. The neck measures 41mm wide at the nut, 22mm deep at the first fret and 23mm deep at the 12th fret, 51mm wide at the 12th fret.
I was surprised that the guitar wasn’t heavier, and for me personally, it is a bit of a lightweight and comes in at a hair over 8 lbs / 3.65 Kg. Which I suspect is due in part to the routing for the synchronised tremolo, as it takes a large chunk of that alder out of the equation. Therefore, I would consider this guitar a medium weight one, which should suit most players. The body has a tummy cut on the rear, which makes it super comfortable when playing seated, unlike most of my other Tele-style guitars.
These are not true CuNiFe Wide Range Humbuckers and are in fact the re-voiced Wide Range Humbucker models. I found them very well balanced and with the dual volume and tone setup, it is easy to dial in a range of classic tones.
You can get them to break up the front end of the amp easily enough, or just back off the volume to clean things up nicely. I have spent the last month predominantly playing straight into the front of a BadCat Black Cat 30R 2×12 combo and this guitar sings through that amp. I’ve also had it through a Friedman Pink Taco and again, it sounded pretty epic with the more hot-rodded Marshall-style amp circuit as well.
To get the most out of this instrument, I would suggest using those four control knobs, and not just cranking everything to 10, but you knew that already.
Out of the box, the setup wasn’t that great and a quick turnaround to the dealer for some fettling sorted out the initial string buzz I experienced in the top E string. The fretwork and nut on this model are well finished though, the vintage style slotted head tuners are smooth and work well. And the synchronised tremolo stays in tune, but out of the box, it certainly needed a little love. Once the strings are stretched out properly and it has ‘bedded in’ the guitar felt a lot nicer, so make sure you either try before you buy or go via a reputable Fender dealer with a good returns policy.
Fender Japan makes some cracking guitars and my main gigging guitar has been a Richie Kotzen Telecaster for many years, which again needed a little love when I first got it. Take this into account, as if you get one straight out of the shipping carton, I would hazard a guess that it will require a proper setup to play at its best.
Fit and Finish
The actual fit and finish are spot on, no tooling marks or dodgy paint jobs here, and everything was properly put together. The actual Lake Placid Blue finish on this guitar is stunning in real life and again, I was very surprised by how dark the rosewood fretboard was on this particular model. The maple neck is finished in a clear varnish, with no hideous orange dyes, and so it may look a little anaemic to anyone used to those tinted lacquers, but I quite appreciate it not looking like a bad orange self-tan.
The potentiometers are quality with split brass shafts and are very smooth in operation. The skirted black Witch Hat-style control knobs themselves, no cheap nasty stuff here. And the vintage-style tremolo is also a good quality unit, with no sharp bits sticking out or overly high saddle screws.
The bullet truss rod works smoothly, I know as I’ve tweaked it to get my neck relief where I like it and the three-bolt neck is solid with no sideways movement. Don’t be put off by three-bolt necks, as long as the neck pocket is tight, then you won’t have any issues, and the Japanese know how to cut a neck pocket properly (unlike CBS-era US-made guitars, which had some really poorly cut ones).
Would I buy one again?
I think I would definitely get another one if I had to, as the overall feel and tone of the guitar is very good and it delivers the goods. That and I spent ages deliberating between the Lake Place Blue and the 3-Tone Sunburst ash bodied version, so I’d happily try one of those with the maple ‘board as well.
RRP – 1099