Greco Tele Thinline

This is a pre '74 Matsumoko made Greco Thinline that came in for a substantial amount of work. I've said it before and I'll say it forever, these are great guitars. This factory has made some of the most impressive guitars on the planet, especially through the early 80's when their set and through neck guitars made for companies like Aria were amongst the best anyone was making anywhere.

These earlier models were great quality, but not accurate to the guitars they were copying compared to what was to come ten years later.

This has been very played but is in great condition. It's a credit to their quality that after nearly fotry years of being played they still show little sign of giving up except for the expected things like frets and scratchy pots.

The frets were very low and being a lacquered maple board there was less fret height to start with. These dont have the "packed on" clear like actual Fenders so they're not as hard to de-fret while keeping the original finish intact as a Fender of similar construction.

The neck itself is still in amazingly good condition with some player wear and tension issue but very much intact. The truss rod still has heaps of adjustment so it's well worth a re-fret. It was a little bit "wobbly" but nothing bad and I was hoping to do a refret without a refinish so I didn't have much room to move with leveling out the board once the frets were out.

The customer wanted to keep the "worn" look so I removed the old frets with minimal impact to the board and set about putting new ones back in.

The original tang was quite wide and I wanted to use something close to an original medium large style Fender fret so I needed to find something close in tang size with a smaller crown than would normally be on a tang this size.

The re-fret went well and I managed to keep the look and feel of the played in neck. Once the frets were levelled and dressed it was time to look at those pick ups.

The owner had supplied a new pair of Lollar Regal pick ups which are his version of the classic, and VERY good Fender wide range humbucker. If you read my blogs regularly you'll know I love the originals. I run them in the bridge position in my Jazzmasters and they have a tone like nothing else.

The original Greco pick ups weren't as big as the original Fender Wide range. This was/is common where manufacturers will make standard size humbuckers look like Wide ranges by staggering the pole pieces to look like the originals.

Rather than cutting up the original scratch plate we decided to make a whole new plate and electrics and put the original aside. The pick ups weren't the original pick ups but did have the original Greco embossed covers which are well worth keeping intact.

I started with a blank sheet of pearl scratch plate material and marked and cut an identicle new plate but with bigger holes for the larger Lollar pick ups.

The body needed some slivers routed from the pick up cavities to widen them just slightly to fit the bigger pick ups in. It was almost just taking paint off to get them to fit in.

I used 1M pots as per the customers request and it's a good thing we did. These pick ups are DARK, and huge sounding. They don't sound like original Fender Wide ranges, but what does ?

These sound great on their own without comparing them to actual vintage Fender units. They're an ...... Interesting pick up indeed. Not as "wide range" as the originals as they dont have the "Sparkly" tops but they sure do have the bottom end and they would have been too dark with 500k pots but they have a "clear" full tone that leaves a lot of other boutique humbuckers for dead.

Of course with the re-fret it needed a new nut so I started with a bone blank and worked from there.

The set up went well and the neck seemed to "settle in" nicely although may need a touch up once it moves around a little. All in all it was all money well spent I think. These guitars are finally being understood and respected for their quality and here's a VERY nice ash and rock maple Tele Thinline from the early seventies for a fraction of the price of a "real" one.


Aug 01 2013 Written By: Tim Brennan