As early as 1950, Fender became the first company to successfully market solidbody electric guitars. Since then, the two-pickup, single-cutaway Telecaster has remained a simple, yet effective design that delivers versatile tones. There's a reason why players of all genres gravitate towards the Telecaster—its tone is transparent, dynamic, and straightforward. It seems to do everything well. While there have been somes variations in neck and bridge design (as well as subtle cosmetic changes), the Telecaster has remained recognizable and practically unchanged since the early '50s.
This 1981 Fender Telecaster features the typical specs of the late-'70s, but this one has been hot-rodded with Van Zandt "True Vintage" pickups and a Bigsby vibrato. When the Telecaster first launched in the '50s, Leo Fender's goal was to build an affordable, workingman's instrument. By simplifying the design and streamlining the production process, he achieved that, but an interesting consequence of Leo's genius is the mutability of the design. The Van Zandt pickups—paired with the Bigsby—make this Telecaster much more expressive and versatile. They give it a character all its own.
Because of the "S8" serial number, the included '70s orange-lined case, and much of the hardware (F-stamped tuners, F-stamped neck plate, ashtray bridge etc.), we originally thought this guitar was a '78. Nevertheless, its neck dates to '81 as do the original pots and the original bridge pickup. In addition to original tuners and pots, it is currently set up with the original switch, tone caps, knobs, jackplate, and pickguard. The original pickups and the original ashtray bridge are included. Although it is worn out and the new nut works much better, the original nut is also included in the case. There are two filled drill holes under the Bigsby from where a previous vibrato must have been at some point. Also, the body cavities have been shielded properly, so it's nice and quiet.
Because of when it was made and the Bigsby, this 1981 Telecaster is heavy (11 lbs 4.5 oz). If you need a guitar under 7 lbs, this isn't the Tele for you. But for those who expect an ash body from this era (with a Bigsby, to boot) to teeter on the heavy side, this Telecaster has a lot to offer. It is set up to be a true player, and the Van Zandt pickups provide plenty of that authentic blackguard sound.