Blond, Serial # 205513, Neck Date September ’67.
1967 began an imaginative, inventive period for post-CBS Fender. The recipient of numerous fresh ideas turned out to be the company’s first solid body electric Spanish guitar, the Telecaster. One of these concepts was to make the Telecaster lighter. The first primitive attempts built in the summer of 1967 are known today as “Smuggler’s Teles”.
While Smuggler’s Teles look exactly the same as regular ones, a few light taps on the pickguard foretell something different underneath. Removing the guard reveals three good sized cavities indicating where part of the ash body was removed. Only a few of these had been made that summer when it was decided pursue more drastic modifications. This led to the creation of the Telecaster Thinline in 1968.
The September 1967 Smuggler’s Tele spotlighted this month has features common to Telecasters of that year. These include: a large black headstock logo, “F” stamped tuning keys made by Schaller (replacing the earlier Klusons), and a separate maple fingerboard (previously used only for special custom orders). The body and neck were still finished in nitrocellulose lacquer, which would change to durable polyester during 1968. Even with the hollow space under the pickguard, this guitar is still fairly heavy at 8.6 lbs.