1972 Fender Telecaster Thinline

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Aesthetics, Seth Lover pickups, light weight, neck, OHSC

Thumbs down: 3‑bolt neck plate, bullet truss rod adjuster

Decree: A fantastic design classic that plays and sounds superb

Model Description:

During late 1960s and the early 1970s, Fender, under the management of CBS, tried to expand the appeal of the stalwart (but perceived to be rather drab) Telecaster by introducing alternative variations based on the standard Telecaster template. Over a period of a few years, Fender introduced versions known as the Custom, Deluxe and Thinline. The first of these was perhaps the most innovative of the variants; the Fender Telecaster Thinline, designed by German luthier Roger Rossmeisl in 1968. The distinguishing feature of the Thinline from all other Telecasters is the use of a semi‑hollow chambered ash (and occasionally mahogany) body with a single unbound f‑hole, intended to reduce weight. The body was routed out from behind to produce the cavities and leaving a solid centre block for the pickups and bridge. A thin back was then glued on to cover the chambers. Earlier ‘type 1’ Thinlines (1968‑1971) used the normal twin Telecaster single coil pickups and bridge. The later ‘type 2’ Thinlines (1972‑1980) uses two Seth Lover‑designed ‘wide range’ humbucking pickups, a larger scratchplate and a Stratocaster bridge, while retaining the Telecaster’s through‑body stringing. The Thinline’s necks were standard Telecaster maple bolt‑on necks, albeit with a 3‑bolt neck plate and ‘bullet’ truss rod adjuster. The Seth Lover ‘wide range’ pickups are instantly recognisable and notable for using copper, nickel and iron (CuNiFe) as part of their construction and had offset pole pieces under Fender engraved covers. Modern reissues of Seth Lover’s pickup design are not built in the same way. Early ‘type 2’ Thinlines had a fancy pearloid scratchplate while later ones had a plain white one. Unlike its other more adventurous cousins, the Thinline keeps the simple Tele like control layout. The short‑lived ‘type 1’ Fender Thinlines, particularly with mahogany bodies, are already highly collectable and the ‘type 2’ are also now becoming highly sought after on the vintage market. Fender has sensibly reissued the Thinline several times from budget Squier models through to Custom Shop specials.

Guitar Description:

Here we have a beautiful example of a very desirable first‑year ‘type 2’ 1972 Fender Telecaster Thinline. She is in very good all‑original condition (bar one pot) with some minor wear on the back of the neck and the scratchplate is slightly warped – both very common characteristics. This particular example is probably the classic Telecaster Thinline aesthetic that most people might recognise. The finish is clear polyester natural over an ash chambered body with the pearloid scratchplate and a pair of outstanding Seth Lover ‘wide range’ pickups. The Thinline is probably my favourite variant on the Tele theme, as well as being one of the prettiest guitars of its type. The classic maple neck, chrome hardware, semi‑hollow body, single f‑hole and the attractive scratchplate looks just right. The combination of Telecaster functionality and those fantastic and powerful humbuckers make the ‘type 2’ Thinline not only a hugely flexible guitar but also a unique and ultra-cool version of a classic Fender design. The sound is predictably unlike a standard Telecaster but it retains the Tele’s unique ability to adapt to just about any style of music from rock, blues, country, indie, reggae, etc. and  being effortless to play. The Thinline is a truly remarkable instrument. Classic, attractive and versatile what more could you really ask for? Many naysayers of the CBS‑era Fenders clearly don’t know what they are missing. The perfect guitar? Not quite – such a thing doesn’t exist – but it possibly comes darned close.


  • Made in Fullerton, California, U.S.A. in 1972
  • Ash semi-acoustic chambered body with single unbound f‑hole
  • Natural polyester finish
  • Original chrome hardware
  • Maple bolt-on neck (3-bolt ‘microtilt’ ‘F’ neck plate with serial number) and mahogany skunk stripe
  • Unbound maple fingerboard with 21 frets and black dot markers
  • Scale length 25½” (647mm)
  • Original Fender tuners
  • ‘Bullet’ truss rod
  • Original white pearloid scratchplate
  • Original dual Seth Lover ‘Wide Range’ humbucking pickups
  • Original switch, knobs and jack socket (1 replacement pot)
  • Original Stratocaster‑style hardtail bridge with ‘ashtray’ cover
  • Weight: 5½lb (2.5kg)
  • Original Fender hard shell case


  • James Bay
  • Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney)
  • Jonny Buckland (Coldplay)
  • Bob Dylan
  • Daryl Hall
  • Curtis Mayfield
  • Buck Owens
  • Conway Twitty
  • Thom Yorke (Radiohead)


The first guitar made by the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, California in 1987 was a Foam Green left‑handed Telecaster Thinline for guitarist Elliot Easton of the rock band Cars.

Detail Gallery:

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