Fender 75th Anniversary Telecaster: What is it?
Fender could have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the company by rolling out a period-correct set of instruments, walked through the greatest electric guitar hits of yore and applied the commemorative decal to the rear of some truly vintage-inspired instruments.
It could have gone the other way, too, going all-in with modernism. But the thing is, Fender already does this as a matter of course. Those looking for an old-school design only need a five-minute browse of the Fender site to find some options – particularly among the American Original series, and if they are not pedantic about period authenticity, the Mexican-built Vintera series is more than fit for purpose.
At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the American Ultra models pushing the boundaries of design, or the newly revamped American Professional II series, which establishes what a state-of-the-art US Fender looks like in 2021.
No, Fender chose a different route for the 75th Anniversary models, and guitars – and bass guitars – marking feel like a contemporary remix of Fender old and new. In the case of the Telecaster, we have the choice between a Corona, California-built Tele in 2-Colour Bourbon Burst, or this quite dazzling Mexican Tele in a silver sparkle finish appropriately titled Diamond Anniversary.
It’s an eye-catching finish from the home of eye-catching finishes, and seeing it applied to the matching headstock is a great start. This already feels like a special guitar.
The price helps. Comfortably under the grand mark, these are positioned for pros on a budget or serious amateurs, or for many a player who is looking to get their first serious ‘grown-up’ guitar.
The 75th Anniversary Telecaster has an alder body, a bolt-on maple neck, and a pair of vintage-style American-made single-coil pickups controlled by a master volume and tone plus a three-way pickup selector.
That handsome finish is complemented nicely by a black ‘guard – this, indeed, is a bold new look for a Blackguard Tele. On the rear of the guitar, you’ll find a four-bolt neckplate engraved with the 75th Anniversary logo. For hardware we’ve got a modern-style Telecaster bridge with through-body stringing, block steel saddles and a set of sealed Fender-branded tuners.
While Fender is splitting the difference between vintage and modern, we’d say this one skews towards the latter. The integral maple neck’s fingerboard has a 9.5” radius and is topped by 22 medium jumbo frets. Its profile is a comfortable medium C that’s definitely an easy fit for today’s player, measuring an uncontroversial 21mm deep at the 1st fret, 23mm at the 12th. No one is going to get alienated by this.
Other modern practicalities include a satin polyurethane finish on the neck – always welcome among the perspirant – and a headstock-mounted truss rod socket. And you also get a gigbag to sweeten the deal, and the kudos from knowing you’ve got is a limited edition instrument.
Fender 75th Anniversary Telecaster: Performance and verdict
If you have heard one of Fender’s Vintera Telecasters equipped with a set of Vintage-style ‘50s Telecaster pickups – and note some limited edition Road Worn models ship with a Nocaster and Twisted Tele pairing – you’ll have a fair idea of how this will sound. Indeed, it sounds as you might expect and demand of any instrument bearing the Telecaster name.
Tune in for twang, bite, an abundance of bright, forceful treble at the bridge and a darker yet perfectly articulate neck pickup that’s got a lively Fender bounce to it. Chicken-pickers, blues cats, rock ’n’ rollers, punks, classic rockers… For a guitar that sounds as distinctive and instantly recognisable in the mix as a Telecaster, it is remarkable that this workhorse serves so many demographics so well.
Just shy of 8lb, this review model has a little beef to it but it doesn’t get in the way of what is a reassuringly fun playing experience. If anything, some players might wish there was a little more meat on the bones when it comes to the neck, but this crowd-pleasing modern C profile seems perfectly in keeping with Fender’s logic here – keeping this instrument accessible to modern players more accustomed to thinner neck profiles.
• Fender Player Telecaster
The trade-off of using hotter Alnico V magnets means the sounds won’t satisfy the ears of fickle vintage enthusiasts, but that’s not who this guitar is for: anyone after an easy-to-play Tele that delivers a clutch of classic tones and handles gain like a champ won’t be disappointed.
• Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster
This is a Tele with Nashville in its name and in its tones, but it also translates to all kinds of styles and might just be the most versatile version of the Big F's workhorse super champ we've played.
• Fender Vintera 50s Telecaster Modified
As your gateway to the world of vintage (and modified vintage) Fender, these guitars are hugely valid, whatever they’re now called. They remain go-to choices for players on a budget and we’d suggest there’s enough refinement and build quality that’ll surprise many sniffier punters.
That said, the satin finish and the no-fuss playability is very persuasive, and that neck profile now feels like a default shape for contemporary Fender, found throughout the Player Series and US entry-level American Performer series.
Unlike Teles with three-saddle bridges, there are no half-measures here when it comes to setting intonation, and adjusting the truss rod is a simple procedure – no need to proverbially put your guitar under anaesthetic to fix the relief.
That plug in and play appeal, the superbly fun ride and the classic Telecaster voicings all present and correct, this is what a commemorative instrument should do. It sells the Telecaster design to an all-new generation and reminds the rest of us that there’s a good reason why it’s the world’s favourite workhorse, and why its popularity has only grown over the past seven decades.
MusicRadar verdict: A 75th Anniversary Tele that serves to showcase Fender’s unerring ability to keep its most-loved designs relevant and at the forefront of guitar culture, with classic sounds, superb feel and once more another finish for the ages.
Fender 75th Anniversary Telecaster: The web says
"The neck is fabulous, the guitar is beautifully built and sonically satisfying. And with six saddles the intonation won’t be a problem; truss-rod adjustments don’t require neck removal, and the flatter ’board with 22 medium jumbo frets contributes to a capable instrument that makes solid sense. It looks pretty cool, too!"
"The bridge has that Tele Twang if you want it but is not an ice-pick to the forehead. It has good harmonics when some dirt is applied either in front with pedals or on its own through an amp. The neck pickup is surprisingly well balanced relative to output compared to the bridge... It is warm and articulate and, like the bridge pickup, goes from open, well-defined clean to a sweet rounded, warm overdriven tone."
Jazz Guitar Today
Fender 75th Anniversary Telecaster: Hands-on demos
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Fender 75th Anniversary Telecaster: Specifications
- ORIGIN: Mexico
- TYPE: Single-cutaway solidbody electric
- BODY: Alder
- NECK: Maple, medium C profile, bolt-on
- SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
- NUT/WIDTH: Synthetic bone/42mm
- FINGERBOARD: Integral maple, black dot inlays, 241mm (9.5”) radius
- FRETS: 22, medium jumbo
- WEIGHT (kg/lb): 3.6/7.9
- HARDWARE: Modern-style Telecaster bridge with through-body stringing, block steel saddles; Schaller enclosed 6-a-side tuners. Includes neckplate with ‘75 Years’ inscription – chrome-plated
- STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: 54mm
- ELECTRICS: Fender vintage-style ’50s Telecaster neck and bridge pickups, master volume, master tone, 3-way selector switch
- OPTIONS: None
- RANGE OPTIONS: US-made 75th Commemorative Telecaster in 2-Color Bourbon Burst (£1,839)
- LEFT-HANDERS: No
- FINISHES: Diamond Anniversary metallic (as reviewed)
- CONTACT: Fender