Fender Classic Telecaster Deluxe with Black Dove Pickups review

  • £779
  • $1099.99
Tele meets SG Special. Very cool.

MusicRadar Verdict

A real rock 'n' ready Tele with a bit of SG and Strat about it. What's not to like?


  • +

    Big frets. Comfortable and flatter feeling neck. The overall fit and finish.


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Why has Fender chosen to revisit the Telecaster Deluxe? "For many years the Stratocaster was more dominant," confirms Fender's marketing director Justin Norvell, "but the Tele has been gaining for several years now - all the more reason to expand our selection of Telecasters!"

The Deluxe Black Dove utilises the same template as it's vibrato-equipped sibling, but this time around the name comes from Fender's DE-9000 P-90-style single-coil pickups.

They certainly evoke a classic rock vibe and the black pickup covers, especially with the black three-ply scratchplate and crimson red finish, give the guitar a classic SG quality. That said, we would love to see this one in sunburst.


Check it out in action in the following track alongside Fender's Classic Player Thinline Deluxe, and Deluxe With Vibrato:

With the bridge position selected, the Black Dove offers typical single-coil bite from the top end, however, this is kept in check with a spank-a-plenty blend of brassy lows and sweet mids. It's a great tonal platform for snappy country runs, indie-rock rhythms and heavier rock clean sections.

More vigorous gain opens things up. The sweet and punchy mid-range seems to blend effortlessly with the brittle Fender-y top end, delivering a biting yet moreish rock tone in a similar fashion to a Les Paul Special - it's bouncy, bubbly and cutting. Even down-tuned with heavy overdrive, it keeps full string definition and gives heavier riffing a real edge.

Middle and neck positions aren't quite as hot as the bridge selection, but the presence of the larger P-90 coil brings a more Strat-like tone. A smooth, brassy low end reminds us of classic vintage Strat tones, sitting firmly in both vintage and modern camps.