Few guitars bring as much nostalgia as a classic Fender Telecaster, and yet they can vary so much. That’s why it’s high time for a thorough Fender Original Telecaster ’60s Telecaster review.
Telecasters went through some notable changes in the ’60s. The ones made after aren’t quite the same as those made before, and even those made throughout the ’60s were different from each other. One of the transitory versions that made a big impact was the ‘64 Telecaster Custom, which is the inspiration for this vintage Tele.
You’re probably wondering if the Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster lives up to its name. Let’s take a look.
Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster Physical Features
- Body material: Alder
- Scale length: 25.5” (648mm)
- Neck: Maple ’60s C-profile
- Fretboard: 9.5” radius maple
- Frets: 21
- Nut width: 1.65” (38mm)
- Nut material: Bone
- Pickups: 2 Vintage Single-coils
- Tuners: Fender Pure Vintage
Its neck isn’t exactly like the ‘64 edition. It’s got improved contouring and a flatter fretboard radius of 9.5 inches instead of 7.25.
Still, the neck profile is a bit thicker than those of most modern Fenders. Regardless, it should be comfortable regardless of hand size and thumb placement. It’s a well-rounded design for a variety of fun playing styles.
Unlike many modern models, it has a traditional rosewood fingerboard that provides that well-renowned sustain and warm tone. The string-through-body design and bone nut also help with the sustain and authenticity.
The bridge is a classic three-saddle design with a copper shielding plate. Together with the vintage tuners and pickups, it boosts the authenticity of both the sound and the looks.
Two Kluson-style Pure Vintage ‘64 pickups replicate the specific time period in Fender history very well. All the inner workings and materials are essentially the same as they were 50 years ago. They give the Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster that warm and dynamic retro twang that made the Tele so legendary.
As usual, there’s an open-coil pickup in the bridge position and a covered pickup by the neck. They can play alone or together, and there’s a traditional three-way switch. A volume knob and a tone knob help you fine-tune the timbre.
The Original ’60s Telecaster comes in classic finishes like three-color Sunburst, Fiesta Red, Lake Placid Blue, and Burgundy Mist Metallic. A breathable nitrocellulose lacquer gives them all an elegant gloss.
It’s definitely a looker with its stylish body bindings, vintage chrome hardware, and timeless Fender finishes.
How the Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster Plays
The somewhat thicker neck doesn’t really make a big difference. And the more modern radius makes the Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster better suited for fast fretting than its ancestor. It’s easier to bend the strings, and they won’t slip out as much.
Fender Telecasters are pretty consistent in terms of playability and feel. The string action is fairly low, and the spacing seems optimized for a universal fit. In fewer words, it plays like a Tele.
A resonant woody Alder tone with a tasty twang is essential for a good Telecaster, and the Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster delivers exactly that. Going the extra mile with the Pure Vintage pickups really solidifies that throwback tone. It’s perfect for blues, country, and oldies rock.
With the neck pickup selected, it sounds creamy and full. Using both pickups adds some edge and balance, while the bridge pickup gives you a rich twang. Pair it with a nice overdrive pedal and perhaps some old-school reverb, and you’ve got yourself a very full vintage tone palette.
You can see the price of this Telecaster at Amazon. It may be a bit steep for a fairly standard Telecaster. However, the special retro design and customized features make it a more exclusive guitar, and vintage Tele fans won’t be disappointed.
Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster VS Fender American Performer Telecaster
Costing about half as much, The American Performer Tele is a suitable option for those who want a proper Tele without a big investment.
It has a modern C neck profile, higher-output Yosemite Tele single-coils, and 22 jumbo frets. Also, it doesn’t have that distinct look. Other than that, the two are similar enough to make this a viable option for those who want a cheaper option. Check it out.
Pros & Cons
Let’s summarize the insights from the Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster. These are the key takeaways.
- Impressive vintage tone
- Very stylish
- Great build quality
- Upgraded retro design
Fender made sure to give this timeless ax an authentic vintage tone and feel. It’s an ideal choice for fans of ’60s Fenders.
- The price
- Perhaps too specialized
Although it’s a high-quality guitar with fine retro features, it’s a pretty simplistic one. If you’re hooked on Telecasters and know what you’re after, it’s a worthy investment. But if you’re not all about the simplicity of a Tele, you may find it a bit overpriced.
Should You Get a Fender American Original ’60s Telecaster?
All in all, this is a very impressive Telecaster with a genuine throwback look and feel. It really plays and sounds like those revered ’60s Telecasters. It can add that vintage flair to oldies bands and bring back the tunes of the good old days.
However, it’s definitely a guitar made for a very specific niche. While it may not do a whole lot outside of that niche, it really shines brightly within it.
Are you looking for other options? Check out my other electric guitar reviews to learn and compare.