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Mirroring the Original Magic: Fender Vintera ‘70s Thinline Telecaster

September 24, 2019
Written by
Cynthia Schemmer
Written by
Ali Clarys
Photos by
She Shreds

The Fender Vintera Series pays homage to the most pivotal decades in early rock music by recreating a nostalgic reliability in build, sound, and performance.

This has been quite the year for Fender, who has been releasing vintage replicas of all of their best selling, highly-valued guitar models. Earlier this year they released the American Original and the American Performance Series, and this summer the company revealed the Fender Vintera Series, a new line of vintage-correct electric guitar and bass models that pay homage to the three most pivotal decades in early rock music (‘50s, ‘60s, and ’70s). 

The Fender Vintera Series shines a light on the impact the company has made in the music industry, showcasing and recreating 15 of the most popular guitar models of the times. These shiny beauties are not manufactured in the United States, but they are not priced like knock-offs. Don’t shop this series if you are looking for a bargain banger—these guitars are the real deal.  

But the question remains: Is it possible to recreate the original?  

The answer will always be mixed, as you can’t recreate a moment in time. However, we humans certainly find the best ways to re-access these places in our tonal memories, using modern technology to bridge the gap. With the Fender Vintera ’70s Telecaster Thinline, all of the nostalgia of the ‘70s vintage Telecaster’s sound is truly harnessed in this replica: that twangy, easy to manipulate, clean tone.

Fender mirrored nearly every aspect of the original ‘70s Telecaster Thinline, from using Maple and Ash in the body—often defined as “sustainable hardwoods” (if there is such a thing)—to the installation and function of the tuning rods, the bridge, body specifications, and materials used. A few nice, ever so slight upgrades include stronger magnets (Alnico 5 vs. the traditional Alnico 3), and an extra tough and reinforced hard-tailed bridge.

What makes this Telecaster Thinline different than any other version of itself?  

First off, you can’t help but notice how the wide-range humbuckers with “period correct” enamel-coated wiring affect the overall tone. The Vintera Thinline models are semi-hollow, and sport not the standard single coil/copper-plated steel-base plate pickup combo of original Standard Telecaster models, but instead these broad, warm, dual humbuckers. 

This model carries a much richer, darker tone than what is typical of the classic Telecaster sound, lending a bit more resonance to thick leads and heavy strumming patterns. The string-through body makes for extra overall sustain and tuning stability for some serious picking. Vintage-style frets, a pearl pickguard, and three-way switching make this guitar look and play like a true vintage Thinline. 

Vintage vs. Replica

The Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Thinline is a physically different creation than the original Telecaster Thinline models of the 70’s, but only because of its age. The Vintera models feel, well… unavoidably new. The glossy polyester finish is definitely unique to the times: flashy, slick, and extra clean. With all vintage guitars, the wood weathers and morphs over the years, and becomes warmer as well as more dense and resonant: a time capsule of the elements. 

Classic tones, powerful output, and quality craftsmanship make Fender’s Vintera Series nostalgic, reliable, and a solid choice when looking for that specific vibe that the Telecaster has been bringing to music since 1949. Nothing beats the real thing, but Fender has definitely worked very hard to make vintage replicas a real and respected genre of guitar. So instead of bringing your actual vintage guitar on tour, grab a hard case for this sweet baby and hit the road; this guitar is about as solidly constructed and reliable as it gets.

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