The development of the Fender Thinline Telecaster in the late 1960s can be attributed to a number of factors that cannot be viewed in isolation from one another. For one thing, Fender had never had a semi-acoustic instrument in its portfolio, even though such guitars were used by major competitors with great success in the burgeoning rock and pop music. On the other hand, due to the increasing production volumes of Fender guitars from the mid-1960s, light woods were no longer available in the numbers they used to be. Leo Fender hired Roger Rossmeisl, who had emigrated from Germany in 1953 and had already successfully designed semi-acoustic guitars at Gibson and especially at Rickerbacker. Rossmeisl’s first jobs at Fender were the development of the acoustic guitars “King” and “Concert” and the “Coronado”, based on Gibson’s 335, as well as the less successful Fender jazz guitars “Montego” and “LTD”.
The Fender Thinline Telecaster was finally released in 1968 after several different prototypes. The significant weight reduction was achieved by cavities milled on the back on the bass and treble side of the body. For this purpose, a wooden disc of the body was cut off, chambers were milled out and then closed again by gluing. The Thinline was launched in July 1968 and featured a two-piece maple capped neck, i.e. the steel rod to compensate for the string tension was inserted from the front and the neck consequently had no skunk stripe. The body was made of either ash or mahogany and the only color available was “Natural”. From 1969, the Thinline was also available in “3-Tone Sunburst” and various custom colors, each with an ash body. The maple neck was soon made in one piece with skunk stripe and some rare specimens had a rosewood fingerboard, also with a steel rod inlaid on the back, skunk stripe and a walnut plug behind the saddle on the headstock.
The currently available Telecaster Thinline is a perfectly implemented example of an early 1969 guitar, which skilfully depicts all the features of this vintage. The guitar is extremely light and therefore very comfortable to handle, longer gigs become a real pleasure. With a thickness of 0.85″ in the 1. fret and 0.92″ in the 12. fret, the one-piece maple neck corresponds to historical specifications. The Custom Shop chooses the popular 9.5″ variant for the radius and the popular and durable Narrow Tall 6105 frets for the frets, which are very easy to play with.
In any case, the steel saddles with a guide groove for each string create the tone. In the 1950s, these were made of brass, later made of steel, each without string guides. At the end of the decade, Fender switched to saddles made of threaded rods, only to end up with this variant at the end of the decade. Each type of finish has its own special character, with the one used here being crisp, dynamic and quick to respond.
The electric amplification of the tone is provided by the exclusive Handwound Texas Specials pickups, which have a significant gain in character, primary tone and warmth. Overall, the Thinline is very resonant, responds quickly, is slim compared to a rather rough-and-ready broadcaster and is pleasant across the entire sound spectrum.
- Model Name: 1969 Telecaster Thinline Journeyman Relic
- Serie: Vintage Custom Ltd.
- Model Number: 923-1012-899
- Color: Aged Sonic Blue
- Weight: 2874 Gramm (6,33 lb)
- SNR: CZ575632
- Strings: Fender® USA, NPS .010-.046 Gauges
- Body Material: 2-Piece Select Ash
- Body Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Neck Material: 1-Piece Quartersawn Maple
- Neck Shape: ’60s Oval “C”
- Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
- Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″
- Number of Frets: 21
- Fret Size: 6105 Narrow Tall
- Nut Material: Bone
- Nut Width:1.650″ (42 mm)
- Neck Plate: 4-Bolt Vintage-Style
- Neck Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Position Inlays: Micarta Black Dot 7mm
- Bridge Pickup: Custom Shop Hand-Wound Texas Special
- Neck Pickup: Custom Shop Hand-Wound Texas Special
- Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
- Pickup Switching: 3-Position Blade
- Bridge: 3-Saddle Vintage-Style Tele® with Slotted Steel Saddles
- Tuning Machines: Schaller® “F”
- Pickguard: 4-Ply White Pearloid
- Control Knobs: Knurled Dome
- Included Accessories: Case, Strap, Polishing Cloth, Certificate of Authenticity