1973 Fender Telecaster Deluxe

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Fantastic looks, those great Seth Lover pickups, rare colour, versatility and range of tones, condition and originality

Thumbs down: CBS‑era design including the Stratocaster neck, truss rod and 3‑bolt neck joint, polyester finish, non‑OHSC

Decree: A fantastic vintage Telecaster variant that’s about as far away from a Telecaster as you can get while also continuing the spirit of its inspirational muse

Model Description:

The Telecaster Deluxe is essentially a hybrid guitar, introduced by Fender in January 1973 and discontinued 8 years later in 1981. Although it is clearly derived from the familiar Telecaster, the body shape is just about the only part of the ‘standard’ Telecaster template to make the transition to the Deluxe. The list of dissimilarities between the Deluxe and the standard Telecaster is long. For instance, the Deluxe is unusual for having the typical Stratocaster-like neck with typical (and infamous) CBS‑era features including its distinctive large headstock, ‘bullet’ truss rod and 3‑bolt neck plate. The Deluxe also adopts the Stratocaster’s ‘hardtail’ bridge with through‑body stringing. It also has a very un‑Telecaster‑like rib cage contour on the back of the body but no forearm contour to go with it. Like the ‘type 2’ Telecaster Thinline, the Deluxe uses two Seth Lover ‘wide range’ humbucking pickups rather than the standard pair of Telecaster single coil pickups. Like the Telecaster Custom, it has the Gibson Les Paul‑like control layout on a large scratchplate. Despite its apparent mix‑and‑match construction, the Telecaster Deluxe is a clever, well thought‑through instrument and a hugely versatile guitar with a different feel and sound to a standard Telecaster (or anything else for that matter!). Fender has reissued the Deluxe on several occasions from 2004 onwards, appealing to a whole new generation of guitarists. The Telecaster Deluxe is a fascinating, cool and rare ‘variation‑on‑a‑theme’ that will undoubtedly become a classic collectable. Like the Telecaster Custom, the Deluxe has slightly lower vintage market values than a standard format Telecaster of the same year, despite its rarity.

Guitar Description:

Is this guitar seriously, seriously cool or what? She’s a gorgeous 1973 Fender Telecaster Deluxe in a very unusual factory Blonde finish that has now faded to a lovely buttery cream colour. It’s not Olympic White, as the ash wood grain is clearly visible through the translucent finish, making it super scarce. Most early 1970s Telecaster Deluxe models were in natural finish, with some in black, sunburst or mocha (brown), so this finish is really quite rare and unusual. The Deluxe was the only Telecaster body with a rear ‘rib cage’ contour, Stratocaster hardtail bridge and a Stratocaster neck, complete with large headstock carrying the ‘Telecaster Deluxe’ logo, 3‑bolt neck plate and ‘bullet’ truss rod adjuster. This guitar is in fantastic all‑original condition for its age and it weighs less than 8lbs, which is a bonus. It is not only its looks that amaze, it also sounds fabulous with those dual Seth Love ‘wide range’ humbuckers providing a smooth but powerful sound that is almost the antithesis of the standard Telecaster’s aggressive, biting bridge pickup and underrated warm jazzy neck pickup. The humbucking pickups and Les Paul‑like control layout are obviously intended to appeal to Gibson players and an attempt to lure them to the ‘Big F’. Let’s be honest, it is about as far from a standard Telecaster as you can get, as it is really only the body outline that actually belongs to Leo Fender’s original Telecaster design. Nevertheless, the Deluxe is still pure Fender and a cracking variation on the theme and proves that CBS could come up with some great variants on the industry standard. Deluxe by name, Deluxe by nature.


  • Made in Fullerton, California, U.S.A. in 1973
  • Contoured solid ash body with rib cage cutaway on the rear of the body
  • Translucent blonde polyester finish
  • Maple bolt-on neck (3-bolt ‘microtilt’ neck plate with serial number) and mahogany skunk stripe
  • Maple fingerboard with 21 frets and black dot markers
  • Scale length 25½” (647mm)
  • Original Fender tuners by Schaller
  • Original chrome hardware
  • Original 3-ply black/white/black plastic scratchplate
  • Original dual Seth Lover ‘Wide Range’ humbucking pickups
  • Original 3‑way toggle switch, ‘witch hat’ knobs and jack socket (1 newer pot)
  • Original 6-saddle Stratocaster‑type hardtail bridge with through‑body stringing
  • Weight: 7lb 14oz (3.56kg)
  • Non‑original hard shell case


  • James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers)
  • Peter Buck (R.E.M.)
  • Graham Coxon (Blur)
  • Noel Gallagher (Oasis)
  • Buddy Guy
  • John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie)
  • Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand)
  • Chris Martin (Coldplay)
  • Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth)
  • Joe Trohman (Fall Out Boy)
  • Deryck Whibley (Sum 41)
  • Taylor York (Paramore)
  • Thom Yorke (Radiohead)


The Deluxe was considered to be the top model in Fender’s Telecaster line up when it was introduced in early 1973, costing $399.50.

The Fender Telecaster Deluxe was also offered with a Stratocaster-style vibrato, although this option was discontinued after 1974. It is rumoured that there are less than 50 of these original factory vibrato Deluxes in existence and are now therefore considered very rare and collectable.

Fender’s original Seth Lover ‘wide range’ humbucking pickups used large bobbins and very unusual threaded rod magnets made from an alloy consisting of Copper, Nickel and Iron (CuNiFe). Fender’s reissues of the pickup used a more standard magnet and didn’t sound the same as the originals. In 2020, unable to source the right material, Fender decided to manufacture CuNiFe magnets specifically intended to reproduce the elusive authentic tones.

Detail Gallery:

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