The Fender Telecaster Thinline is an electric guitar made by the Fender company. It is a Telecaster with body cavities. Designed by German luthier Roger Rossmeisl in 1968, it was introduced in 1969 and updated with a pair of Fender Wide Range humbucking pickups, Bullet truss-rod and 3-bolt neck fixing in 1972.
The design was originally an attempt to reduce the weight of the solid-body Telecaster guitar, which had become ever heavier throughout the 1960s due to the dwindling supply of the light ash wood Fender had formerly used. The f-hole and reshaped pickguard are the most apparent visual clues to its construction.
There are now two versions of the Telecaster Thinline. The 1969 version has two standard Telecaster pickups and a mahogany body, while the 1972 version, based on the Fender Telecaster Deluxe, yields two Fender Wide Range pickups and a natural swamp ash body. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Telecaster_Thinline)
My guitar is the 2015 Japan Exclusive (for Japan domestic market) reissue of the 72′ Thinline Telecaster. It’s the last of the series for now because, according to news, Fender Japan has ceased current production for the mean time and shifted most Asian manufacture to Indonesia and China. This guitar has a swamp ash body with gorgeous wood grain patterns and a wonderful maple neck with 2 Wide Range humbucking pickups attached to a nice white pearloid pickguard.
The guitar gives off a warm sounding tone due to its semi-hollow construction coupled with the Wide Range humbucking pickups (WRHP). The original WRHPs were designed by Seth Lover after he ceased his work with Gibson. Seth Lover is the original inventor of the humbucking pickups including the most famous PAF (Patent Applied For) model which defined the Gibson electric guitar sounds most notably the Les Paul guitar. The WRHP were designed to sonically be closer to the sound of single coil pickups than the Gibson humbuckers but with out the notorious 60-cycle hum and had a slightly bigger housing than regular humbuckers. The modern reissue of the WRHPs are actually regular sized humbuckers housed in the original bigger-sized casings, it sounds slightly darker and with slightly less single note clarity. It will never sound as big and airy as big box jazz guitars but can perform admirably for such purpose when one chooses the neck pickup with the tone slightly rolled off. The middle (both pickup combination) position and bridge pickup have enough crispiness and bite for crunchy strumming and single note articulations. This guitar is really quite versatile.
I am still adjusting to the Thinline’s vintage profile neck with a rounder (7.25″) neck radius and thin fret wires, but the adjustment wasn’t as drastic as I thought it would be. All in all, I am truly enjoying this guitar as it gives me a different sound from my other Telecaster-style guitars.
Currently, I am using an all Telecaster-style guitar lineup (Fender American Standard Telecaster, a Suhr Classic T Antique and my new Fender 72RI Thinline Telecaster MIJ) for my playing with our church’s worship team and is enjoying the tremendous simplicity and versatility of this set up. I discovered that as I got older, I began to value tone over speed more and more. These guitars were not designed for the shredder type who plays a zillion notes per minute, but for my style of simple chords with the occassional lead playing, this guitar fits like a glove. 2 pickups, 3 position switch, 1 volume knob, 1 tone knob = almost infinite tonal possibilities 🙂
Several things I would like to replace with the thinline would be to have a flatter fingerboard radius, preferably one with a compound radius and maybe, a slightly brighter sounding neck pickup.
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All photos taken with a Fuji X-Pro 2 and a Fuji 35mm f/2 WR lens