1965/1966/1967 Fender Telecaster Tele Guitar

Description: 1965, 1966, 1967 Fender Telecaster (Tele) guitar
Collectibility Rating: B
Production: no official (or unofficial) production numbers available.
General Comments:
The Fender Telecaster guitar is one of the most popular solidbody electric guitar ever made, and is the solidbody guitar that started it all. Early models (pre-1965, known as "pre-CBS" models, since CBS bought Fender in January 1965) are the most collectible. Originality and condition are the two most important features of a vintage Fender guitar, and Fender Telecaster, Nocaster, Broadcaster, and Esquires (Teles) do seem to have been easily modified (due to their "bolt together" nature).

Serial number range for the 1965 Fender Telecaster are generally L55000 to L99999 (on the neck plate), and 100000 to 110000 for late 1965. Serial number range for the 1966 Fender Telecaster are generally 110000 to 200000, again on the rear metal neck plate. Serial number range for the 1967 Fender Telecaster are generally 180000 to 210000, again on the rear metal neck plate. If you need to figure out the exact year of your pre-CBS Fender Telecaster, use the serial number and the general features of the guitar. See the Fender Serial Number Info web page for help determining the year.

If you have a vintage Fender Telecaster (Tele) guitar for sale, please let me know. I am a private vintage guitar collector (not a store), and you can contact me at cfh@provide.net

See the previous year's 1961/1962 Fender Telecaster guitar.
Back to the main Fender Vintage Guitar Info webpage

Fall 1964 Telecaster specs:

  • Pearloid fingerboard dots replace "clay" dots (this transitioned into early 1965).
  • Pickguard changed to a white plastic W/B/W three layer laminted plastic.
  • The Custom Telecaster peghead decal changed to the gold "transition" style decal with patent numbers 2,573,254 and 2,784,631 and DES number 164,227.
  • Pickup changes from "black bottom" to "gray bottom" (again this transitioned into 1965).
  • Tuners change from "single line" Kluson Deluxe to "double line" Kluson Deluxe (where "Kluson" and "Deluxe" are now in two vertical parallel lines).

Late 1965 Telecaster specs:

  • Gold Fender "transition" decal, thicker than previous "spaghetti" logo. Two patent numbers of 2,573,254 and 3,143,028 (the DES number is dropped).
  • Glued-on Maple fingerboard available as an option (black dots), with no back skunk stripe.

1967 "Smugglers" Telecaster.

    1967 Telecaster specs:

    • Glued-on Maple fingerboard with no back skunk stripe "officially" available, even though in practice it was readily available in 1965 and 1966 (no skunk stripe).

    Fall 1967 Telecaster specs:

    • End of the Kluson tuners. In fall of 1967 tuners changed from Klusons to "F" tuners.
    • End of gold "transition" Fender peghead logo. In fall of 1967 peghead logo changes to a larger black decal.
    • End of 1953 to 1967 the wiring on a Telecaster. (Note the wiring change was late 1967.) Most 1967 Telecasters have the older wiring: the 3 position switch forward position was the neck pickup with a "woof tone" capacitor (no tone adjustment.) Middle switch position was the neck pickup with the tone knob implemented. Rear switch position was the bridge pickup with no tone adjustment. This wiring used a .05mfd cap soldered between the two pots, and a .1mfd cap between the volume pot's ground and the 3 way switch.
    • "Smugglers" Telecaster made in late 1967. Fender had a problem finding light weight ash for Tele bodies, and experimented with what is known as a "smugglers" Tele body with heavier ash. The body was routed somewhat like a Thinline Telecaster, with major wood areas removed underneath the pickguard. (Most people didn't even know they had a smugglers Tele until they removed the pickguard.)

    1967 was the end of an era for the Fender Telecaster. Essentially the 1967 and 1965 Telecaster were effectively no different in features. But by late 1967, that all changed, with Fender implementing many "CBS era" features, making the guitar far less collectible.

Classic 1967 Fender Telecaster in Candy Apple Red.
Note the undercoat is silver metallic (opposed to gold metallic,
which was also used on Candy Apple Red finishes.) The red has unfortunately
faded quite a bit (the red underneath the pickguard is the original tint.)

* Email the collector cfh@provide.net
* Go to main Vintage Guitar Info webpage
* Go to main Fender Vintage Guitar Info webpage