Guitar of the Month: Fender Limited 1967 Smugglers Telecaster
Fender Custom Shop have recreated one of the classic Telecasters from the CBS era: the Fender Custom Shop Limited 1967 Closet Classic Smugglers Telecaster Vintage Blonde.
With the sixties in full swing, guitar bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Who were dominating the airwaves and the demand for electric guitars and basses was on the increase. Leo Fender had just sold his company to the CBS (Columbia Broadcasting Systems) corporation and the new owner’s were keen on introducing new designs and updating current models. One such innovation introduced in the summer of 1967 was a weight-relieved Telecaster known colloquially as the “Smugglers Telecaster” on account of the large routed cavities underneath the pickguard. On the outside the Smugglers Tele is indistinguishable from any other of that time but in the hand they are noticeably lighter and offer a more responsive, chiming tone. Only a few of these Telecasters rolled of the production line before Fender’s engineers turned their attention to designing the semi-hollow Thinline Telecaster in 1968.
The CBS-era (1965-1985) famously saw a decline in quality of Fender instruments but that’s not to say this period wasn’t without its gems. The Smugglers Tele, with its comfortable weight and airy tone, is regarded as an appealing modification on the classic Tele design.
Fender Custom Shop recently released an authentic limited run of these innovative lightweight Telecasters. Our “Guitar of the Month” weighs a mere 6.95 lb (3.16 kg), ideal for those who suffer from back problems or simply tire of having a solid plank weighing you down. The pronounced grain of the ash body stands out through the Vintage Blonde nitro lacquer which has been subtly aged to give it that “worn-in” feel. The Custom Shop Smugglers Tele comes with a white pickguard as well as a transparent one so you can show off weight relieving caverties underneath. In keeping with the original specifications the Tele has a one-piece maple neck with a Mid ’60s Oval “C” neck profile which could be found on Fenders during the transition period between the thick fifties “V” and the slim seventies “C” neck.
Sound-wise the Smugglers Tele sits between the throaty growl of a solid body Tele and the airy twang of a Thinline. Personally, I prefer the added bite that the chambering offers. It’s a Telecaster, only more so!
- Weight: 6.95lbs / 3.16kgs
- Colour: Vintage Blonde
- Body Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer, “Closet Classic” ageing
- Body: Ash
- Neck: 1-Piece Maple
- Neck Plate: 4-Bolt “Limited Edition” Engraved
- Neck Profile: Mid ’60s Oval “C”
- Fingerboard: Maple
- Fingerboard Inlays: Black Dot
- Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″ (241 mm)
- Nut Width: 1.650″ (42 mm), Bone
- Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
- Frets: 21, Medium Jumbo
- Pickguard: Clear (Replacement White Pickguard in Case)
- Tuners: Vintage-Style
- Bridge: 3-Saddle Vintage-Style Strings-Through-Body Tele with Threaded Saddles
- Pickup Switching: 3-Position Toggle: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup
- Pickups: Custom Shop Hand-Wound ’67 Single-Coil Tele
- Control Knobs: Knurled Flat-Top
- Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
- Case/Gigbag: Custom Shop Hardshell
- Accessories: Includes Custom Shop Limited Neck Plate, Replacement White Pickguard, Case & Certificate of Authenticity