Sunday, March 20, 2011

1967 Fender Custom Shop Relic Telecaster


I am usually not a big fan of “Custom Shop” instruments. They seem a manufacturer’s scheme to bump the price of an instrument up exponentially while providing only an incremental improvement in quality. This 1967 Fender Custom Shop Relic Telecaster seems to fall squarely into that category, with a list price of $3800 and a street price of $3195.

That is a metric ton of money for a very simple guitar.

Well, I didn’t pay that much as it came to me in a trade deal for the equivalent of $1200, which puts this guitar back into the game for me. And, this one is a real peach.

This Custom Shop Telecaster has a great unplugged resonance, so you can feel strings vibrating freely through the neck and the body while you play. This resonating interaction between player and guitar really adds to the playing experience, not to mention the how it contributes to the plugged in sound. It sounds like a great Tele should: twang, snap, growl, shimmer, all there.

There is plenty of sustain when bending strings, and lots of ring to the strings when they are strummed open.

The quarter-sawn maple neck is as comfy as you can find, and it has a really nice balance between chunky and thin. It has the classic radius with a 1960s C-shape. The neck’s vintage tint finish is worn just so, so it is very nice feeling and feels great to play. There are the typical relic wear marks on the fret board at the typical places, but there is no fret wear at all.

I also not a big fan of relc’d guitars, but this Telecaster is "tastefully" done in my opinion. It does not look like it has been absolutely trashed through the years, but instead well played and cared for with realistic lacquer checking in the nitro and a few strategically placed dings and gouges.

Nothing sounds like a classic vintage Fender other than, well, a classic Vintage Fender, and these custom shop time machine guitars. And, it is ready to rock as it sits today. Much unlike a vintage 60's Tele is likely to be.

Oh yeah, and it is very light. It weighs in at 7.09 lb., which makes it one of the lightest ones I've come across. Of course it also came with a super nice case and accessory kit, as well as that desirable Custom Shop Certificate of Authenticity.

Does anybody need a Fender Custom Shop Relic? No. But I have to admit that this guitar just feels and sounds right, and could be worth it if you are willing to pay a super premium to get exactly the *right* guitar for you.


1 comment:

  1. I thought the Relic series guitars were silly until I played one of Vince Cunetto's original versions from about 1998 - it was a repro '58 top-loader in shell pink, no less.
    That was one of the best Telecasters I've ever played.

    Now I just think they're really expensive.