2010 Fender Road Worn ’72 Telecaster Deluxe

These 2010 Mexican road worn ’72 Deluxes, which there weren’t a lot of, had thin nitro finishes and very worn, silky necks that were a pain to set up, possibly because they needed some time to soak up moisture through all that bare wood in a properly humidified environment, but they settle down, and they’re worth it.

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Stars and Songs For Slim.

I bought one because I’d learned about Telenator CuNiFe Wide Range pickups. Bob Feather got his hands on enough threaded CuNiFe rod to make a small pile of pricey pickups and made the most of it. They sounded great, and I wanted a guitar to put them in. Voilá. Billy Brockman wired the guitar up for me at the late, lamented Charlottesville Music, including a nice set of 1 Meg pots and a fresh couple of caps. Billy is a low-key, nonplussed sort of guy most of the time, but when I stopped by to pick up the guitar, he was anything but.

He put it immediately in the top three guitars he’d played in a 40 year career as a working musician. Why did he say that? Because the pickups–both of them–have an outrageously tight, punchy bottom end from one end of the neck to the other. Clean or dirty, rolled off or dimed, they’re rich, balanced, and clear, with a deep musicality and a complex grain that cuts right through. They’re hugely satisfying.

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Baby steps.

New tuners followed, and the Mastery string trees when they came along much later, and a lovely bone nut from Bishop Stearns. But first, I think, I horseshoe vibratoed it and put on a terrific custom Callaham three saddle brass bridge, but then I had to try the mastery when Woody brought the right one out, and it stuck, as masteries do.

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Traction when you need it.

The vibrato gave it an even better, still livelier sound and a slinkier feel, maybe a bit more body than snap. It’s a peach. Since these pickups came out, I’ve picked up Jason Lollar’s amazing, sideways approach to Seth Lover’s big Fender trick, and it’s incredible, but the CuNiFe magnet is just different, and its special. Telenator is gone now, but that small batch of pickups will be around a long time.

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