Early 70's Greco Tele Dlx

Here's another Greco Tele for you to enjoy. This time a Deluxe.

The Greco TD500 was introduced in the early seventies along with most other Teles available at the time. The standard was called the TL500 and the Thinline and Custom were the TE and TC respectively. More on them soon. This one sits between the early, short scale (non serial number) TDs and the later (serial numbered) Spacey Sound ones so probably around '74.

I've had a few of these TD's through over the years and I'm always impressed with them, which won't be a surprise to any of you knowing how much I love these vintage Japanese copies. I've owned several vintage Fender Tele Deluxes and only really bonded with one, a mid seventies sunburst that was one of the lightest seventies Fenders I've ever owned. 

The Greco (and Ibanez 2352 dx) was mainly made in the Fujigen factory although it appears Matsumoku (and maybe Fernandes?) took up the slack when Fujigen couldn't keep up with demand but this factory supplied most of the Greco (and Ibanez) guitars throughout the seventies. All these factories were making superb products by the seventies and this TD would have been  a good seller, along with the other Tele lines at the price and quality there were being sold at.

 

This features a typical centre laminated solid timber body that many Japanese manufacturers used including Matsumoku which allowed solid timber bodies to be made using thinner pieces of timber. The body shape and size is of course pure Tele and the Deluxe features a belly cut contour in the back, just like the real one.

The neck is Maple on maple and is, by about '74 a full 25.5" scale just like a real Fender. Early versions had had a Gibson 24.75" scale but by this stage they were making actual copies, not "close enough copies" The neck is thin and very comfortable and this longer "proper" scale also bought in the Fender style slotted nut rather than the end of fretboard nut like earlier versions.

 

Of course you're wondering .... what about those pickups.

Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of the original Wide Range Humbuckers. While P-90's and Mosrite pickups are my favourite pickups closely followed by mini humbuckers, I do have (and have had) many guitars fitted with original WRHBs. They do have a unique and "exotic" tone that is hard to capture in other pickups and being that the originals are so hard, and excessively expensive, to get now, for most people re-issues are the only option.

These pickups aren't WRHBs. They don't have threaded CuNiFe threaded magnets as Seth Lover originally designed. As far as I know Telenator was the only company making WRHBs using the original magnet type, and it appears they closed down in late 2017.

Having said all that Maxon did, in my opinion do a great job of replicating a very close sound to the originals. The construction is more standard humbucker with thinner coils than the originals. The overall size is smaller than an original meaning you can't do a straight swap but then, you don't really have to.

 

These pickups have a great tone and while probably not the "sparkle" of the original vintage units, they are different enough from a standard humbucker to feel unique. The other WRHB "re-issues" I've tried all fall into this category. Close to originals, but different enough to be great in their own right. To be honest, as I've said before, the original Fender Japan, made by Fujigen with Fender embossed covers, but full size ceramic magnet versions are my favourite and, to my ears, are closer than any of the non original vintage units to actual WRHBs. Much close than the Mexican re-issues Fender use in current guitars which sound more like a standard humbucker. I would/and do use them in place of originals in some of my guitars.

Anyway, enough of that. The rest of the guitar is pure Tele deluxe with a through body hardtail six saddle bridge and big scratchplate with volume and tone controls for each pickup and three way toggle, ala Les Paul. The tuners are the original G branded sealed gear tuners and all work great.

These were available with a few brands on the headstock being identical guitars made in the same factories. Of course the Ibanez version is probably the most famous but there are also Fernandes, Sakura, Emperador versions, among many others popping up.

I'm a huge fan of Greco (yeah, you know) and I do like Tele Deluxes so these are always a treat to get hold of but rarely last long in the shop. This one lasted about 10 minutes (literally) so I guess I'll need to keep looking for more? I like to keep a selection of early and later (pre Fender Japan) Greco Tele TE, TC and Tds in stock when I can as they're great value for money and ..... a little different while being the same. 

 

Jul 20 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan