1998 Fender Nashville Deluxe Telecaster. Final specification after repair and refurbishment

1998 Fender “Nashville Deluxe” Telecaster

SPECIFICATION Modification from original, standard specification, in red italics

Body

  • Body: 1999 Fender Telecaster MIM. “Nashville” routing
  • Body Tonewood: Alder – 2 piece, Offset join
  • Body Finish: 3 colour sunburst – black, red, amber. Gloss, Polyurethane clearcoat

Neck

  • Neck: Fender “Deluxe Series” Telecaster neck 1998. Serial #MN8132237
  • Neck Material: Maple with (walnut?), “skunk stripe” truss rod insert
  • Tuners: Gotoh 6-in-line, SD510-05M (Nickel, Vintage-style), with C-A-R-D inserts
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Fretboard Radius: 9.5″
  • Neck Finish: Polyurethane Lacquer
  • Number of Frets: 21, Vintage style fretwire
  • Position Inlays: White dot
  • String Nut: Bone nut (replaced original circa. 2001)
  • Nut Width: 1.650” (42 mm)
  • Scale Length: 25.5″ (64.8 cm)
  • Neck Relief: <0.008″ (<0.20mm)
  • Strings – D’Addario, Nickel Wound – EXL110 – .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046
  • String Action at 17th Fret: Treble Side – 4/64″ (1.6mm), Bass side – 5/64″ (1.8mm)
  • Neck Plate: Fender, 4 Bolt, 2mm Chromed steel with HOSCO, black plastic gasket

Electronics

  • Pickup Configuration: S/S/S
  • Body Shielding: Heavy grade, copper sheet, with conductive adhesive backing
  • Bridge Pickup: Fender “Tex-Mex”, Telecaster style, AlNiCo 5 flat poles, 8.0K
  • Middle Pickup: Fender “Tex-Mex”, Stratocaster style, AlNiCo 5 staggered poles, 6.4K
  • Neck Pickup: Fender “Tex-Mex”, Telecaster style, AlNiCo 5 poles, Chromed cover, 5.8K
  • Pickup Switching: Fender 2-pole “SuperSwitch” – Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge+Middle Pickups, (“Strat-O-Style”), Position 3. Bridge+Neck Pickup, Position 4. Neck+Middle Pickups, (“Strat-O-Style”), Position 5. Neck Pickup
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone
  • Pots: Volume – 1 x CTS “Premium” 250k, Tone – 1 x Fender TBX control 250k/1.0M
  • Tone Capacitors: Treble Cut: 1 x RS Guitarworks “Vintage Purple” PIO capacitor, 0.047µF. Bass Cut: 1 x “Orange Drop” Capacitor, 0.002µF
  • Wiring: Original, plastic coated wiring, with additional cloth covered, 22 gauge wires in reconfigured circuit

Hardware

  • Hardware: Stainless steel screw set,
  • Bridge: New, Fender “Nashville”  six-saddle Telecaster bridge, (reversion back to original specification)
  • Jack Plate: Fender, Vintage style electrosocket cup
  • Controls: Original chrome plated control plate. 2 x Fender chrome plated, knurled, brass control knobs
  • Switch Tip: Fender, “barrel” type. Black plastic (Replacement for loose and worn original)
  • Scratchplate: Generic – Custom “aged” – Three ply, “Aged White” pearloid scratchplate with additional “Nashville” pickup position
  • Strap Buttons: Genuine Fender Vintage style, with white felt washers

Accessories

  • Guitar Strap – Souldier, “Medallion” Maroon / Beige / Teal – Recycled seatbelt with Vintage fabric – Brown leather ends – Silver hardware
  • Fender G&G Standard hard case – Black Tolex, black plush
1998 Fender “Nashville Deluxe” Telecaster

Sometimes – modifying a guitar never works out quite as you’d first expect. Switching the bridge and flipping the control plate might have once seemed like a good idea – but, as it happens – the real Telecaster character of this instrument wasn’t ever really being constrained by the six-saddle bridge and the (in)convenience of the switch placement. Instead, the key turned out to be much more about the function of that middle, Stratocaster pickup.

The original “Nashville” Telecaster switching configuration takes two, impressive, Fender Tex-Mex Telecaster pickups, and sandwiches an additional matching Tex-Mex Stratocaster pickup in the middle. Aside from the expected bridge and neck solo Telecaster selections at “1 and 5”, the switching allows for some quite interesting, “series out of phase” combinations of both Telecaster bridge and neck pickups, with the Stratocaster pickup at the “2 and 4” switch positions. These combinations widen the tonal palette available, to include some quite unique, but distinctly “Fender-y”, delicate, “quack and honk” tones. Just the sort of thing you’d expect on a Stratocaster. However – the remaining, middle, “3” switch selection is given over to solo the middle Stratocaster pickup. In doing so, the switching neglects the usual modern Telecaster option of combining the neck and bridge pickups in series and, instead, skews the whole function and character of the instrument more towards that of a Strat. My question about that Nashville middle pickup assignment remains – “if you’re playing a Telecaster, and specifically want a Stratocaster middle pickup sound – why not just start off playing a Stratocaster instead?”

By simply reassigning the middle switch function to utilise the Telecaster bridge and neck pickups in series – this restores full Telecaster functionality, and the additional combinations at “2 and 4” remain as a sonic bonus. Technically speaking – the nuts and bolts of this simple swap, requires the installation of a two-pole “SuperSwitch”, instead of a traditional 5-way switch – but it’s worth squeezing that switch in there, and well worth tidying up the wiring at the same time. Having now set the guitar up properly and, crucially, balancing the pickups at the optimal distance from the strings – the guitar now sings and barks like a real Tele. Those Tex-Mex pickups are a little bit overwound, and whilst they’re able to provide a nice amount of snap and snarl when required – underneath, they’re pure Fender single-coils. Clear and clean, with plenty of twang – this is now just what I always wanted a Telecaster to sound like. Yet those combined positions really open up the possibilities for even more bluesy-sounding licks.

1998 Fender “Nashville Deluxe” Telecaster

Of course – rebuilding the tone circuit and controls with quality components helps, and I think it’s now fair to say that I’ve discovered and released the real character of my Nashville. The TBX control, whilst compressing the normal taper somewhat, does provide an indent allowing the natural, un-eq’d sound of the pickups to be set easily as reference. From there – the treble cut from 5 down to 1, works as just you’d expect. What really opens up new possibilities is the bass cut function, as the tone pot is turned between 5 and 10. This effectively brings out a little more treble, and allows the instrument output to be adjusted cut through better in a mix. There’s something about the way that a 1.0M pot seems to “open up” the sound of single coil pickups. Definitely something to investigate further, and the TBX control can be a neat way to allow for experimentation, whilst retaining the standard functions, of a particular setup.

Whilst I’ve changed some things for the better on the sonic front – I’ve also managed to address an intermittent, but nevertheless annoying, tuning issue. Repairing the body at the neck joint was crucial, and installing better tuners has also helped to provide total stability now. Also – now that the six-saddle bridge has been firmed up with some LocTite – it seems much more positive and less flimsy at that end. Elsewhere – it’s just been good to disassemble and clean up things. Even that new (aged) pickguard seems to have given my venerable old instrument a slightly fresher look overall. There might still be a few scratches and dints here and there, but the old lady certainly scrubs up well – and this time, I think the modifications I’ve made have been much better considered, and far more effective in eventual implementation. Good for another 25 years – at least.

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