The early 70's brought some new versions of the venerable Fender Telecast aimed at widening it's appeal beyond country and blues players. Music continued to get heavier, and the Telecaster neck pickup was not quite up to the task. Fender brought out two new models the Telecaster Custom and the Telecaster Deluxe, and in the process introduced their new Seth Lover designed Wide Range pickup.
This is an all-original 1974 Fender Telecaster Custom with original Fender hardshell case. While it has minimal wear and the neck finish is in real nice condition, we rate it as "good" due to a decent sized chip in the finish. Otherwise the finish is quite nice for it's age, and the hardware still has a pretty good shine. Tuning keys, saddles and truss rod all work with no bind or grind. We gave it proper setup and it plays great, which is not something you can say about a lot of guitars from the 70's.
- Alder body, 8.0 pounds
- Gloss finish maple neck
- 9.5” fretboard radius
- 22 medium frets
- 3 bolt neck with micro-tilt
- Fender Wide range pickup – 10.3K ohms
- Fender staggered magnet bridge pickup – 8K ohms
- Individual volume and tone controls
- Fender split/drilled tuners
- Original Fender case
The Wide Range pickup was intended to give a heavier punchier tone than a traditional single coil, but still have the type of clarity that single coil players expect from a Fender guitar. The Wide Range differs from most traditional humbuckers in that the pole pieces are actual magnets, and not metal rods or screws with a bar magnet underneath (there are 6 poles per coil, but just three poles from each coil are exposed). Due to issues machining Alnico magnet material, the Wide Range uses a CuNiFe for the magnetic pole pieces. The individual pole pieces do the trick, and while the Wide Range has a full rich output, the clarity and note separation is improved over a standard humbucker. It also sounds dynamite with a touch of overdrive, retaining all that note definition while sounding smooth but crunchy. The true pole magnet design also means that the pickup splits quite nicely for a true single coil sound (we tried it on our own Wide Range Partscaster many years ago). Fender has produced reissue "Wide Range" pickups that are really conventional humbuckers under the cover, and vintage Wide Range pickups fetch a pretty penny if you can find one. Fender reintroduced real Wide Range pickups in 2020, and some boutique winders also turn out very nice Wide Range replicas, which due to their construction tend to be more expensive than the typical humbucker. The Wide Range is also larger than a standard humbucker...but not that you'd want to swap this pickup out for anything else.
While everyone is more than familiar with the traditional Tele bridge pickup, this stagger magnet example measures a little higher wound (8K ohms) than the typical. Whether this was intentional or just a distracted worker at the pickup machine, we like the results. It's bright and twangy, but to our ear sounds a little richer with more body.
Out of production until just a couple years ago, the Wide Range pickup has an interesting history. And here's the real pickup in the real guitar from the collection of a player that has owned it since the 70's. It's great playing slice of history with good bones, and ready to go another 50 years.