Ever played a Telecaster and thought, “I wish it had a little more Stratocaster about it”? In this Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster review we take a look at this almost hybrid Telecaster. Plenty of Telecaster style and substance, but with an added hit of Stratocaster sound. How is such alchemy possible? Let’s find out!
Overview of Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster
The Deluxe Nashville Tele is one of the guitars that although made is Mexico, is really pushing the American made guitars in terms of it’s quality and finish. Indeed some of the parts in this guitar are shipped from the Corona factory in the USA.
Let’s start with the basics. Like many Fender guitars the Deluxe has a solid Alder body with a gloss finish. The neck, made of a single piece of maple is bolted into the body, another common feature of Fender guitars. The neck has a nice satin finish, making it easier and more comfortable to move around the neck.
The neck is Fender’s “modern C” profile. It’s supposed to feel comfortable to play despite the vintage styling. It’s a little thicker than the neck on contemporary guitars, but it’s still comfortable to play. The guitar is full scale (25.5″).
There’s a maple fingerboard with black pearloid dot inlays to mark out the key frets. Speaking of frets, there are 22 of them. In a departure from the design of a lot of modern guitars, Fender opted to go for narrow/tall frets rather than the medium jumbo frets you tend to find on many guitars.
Narrow/tall frets can make sliding a little more difficult, depending on your technique, but they also make string bending easier. They’re probably better suited to guitars set up to play country and blues styles, so they’re right at home on the Deluxe Nashville Tele.
The choice of fret type is an entirely personal preference. You may prefer medium jumbo frets. The only way to know for sure is to try out one of these guitars at your local store.
The fingerboard radius on the Deluxe Nashville is 12″, which makes it feel quite flat. Continuing up the neck we come to the nut, which is made from synthetic bone. It’s not bad, but it’s an area where they have compromised, eschewing a proper nut bone.
You’ll find the truss rod adjustment at the headstock in the traditional Fender position. The tuning gear is similar to that found on the top end American made guitars with deluxe cast sealed locking tuning machines.
They hold tune very well and because they’re locking, it makes tuning much easier. The headstock is the classic Telecaster shape, emblazoned with the Fender logo.
The bridge is a six saddle string through type. This is another departure from the classic Tele bridge, but it’s a positive in my book because the six saddles mean you can make finer intonation adjustments. Although the guitar is made in Fender’s Mexican factory, the finish is just as good as you’d find on American made guitars. But of course it’s not as expensive!
The Deluxe Nashville comes with a set of Fender USA nickel plated steel .009 strings. Decent quality strings, but if you’re used to a little more push back you might want to swap these for a higher gauge. You may also prefer another brand, but that’s personal preference of course!
As an added bonus, this guitar comes with a deluxe gig bag, a pretty handy little addition.
Here’s where things get a little crazy. The Deluxe Nashville features three single-coil pickups. Two vintage noiseless telecaster pickups, and one vintage noiseless stratocaster pickup. The Tele pickups can be found in the traditional bridge and neck positions, with the Strat pickup taking it’s place in the middle position.
The pickup switch is also revolutionized from a Telecaster point of view. Rather than the three way selector found on most Tele models, the Deluxe Nashville uses a 5-way selector switch. This works very similarly to the Stratocaster pickup selector:
- Position 1: Bridge
- Position 2: Bridge & Middle
- Position 3: Middle
- Position 4: Middle & Neck
- Position 5: Neck
What is missing however is the ability to split the bridge and neck pickups, which usually occupies the middle position of a traditional 3-way Telecaster switch. For Telecaster enthusiasts that might be a deal breaker. But I get the feeling this guitar is aimed at a market who’d like to be able to produce some Tele and some Strat tones without needing to switch guitars.
The bridge pickup is quite loud in terms of buzz when the volume and tone is cranked and you’re not playing. Just an observation, but the noiseless element just isn’t there when I compare it to the ultra-noiseless pickups found on the more expensive Ultra series. If you can overlook that detail, then you’re getting plenty of tonal dynamism from these pickups.
As you’d expect from the name, the pickups aim for a vintage sound. It’s great for blues, country, chicken-picking and even classic rock styles. The middle Strat pickup is great for funk styles, accentuated by the enhanced treble that you’d expect from a Stratocaster pickup.
Combined with some distortion the middle pickup gives some good punch, but not as much as a bridge pickup found on a Strat. That’s good in my book because it gives you something contrasting to the Tele pickups. If you wanted the punchy sound that a bridge Stratocaster pickup produces then you should probably opt for a Strat right?
The Deluxe Nashville Tele will appeal to those who want a little bit of Strat mixed into their Tele. It’s also a good choice for country and blues players. Here are the best bits:
- Strat Single Coil Pickup
- Great For Country & Blues
- Deluxe Gig Bag Included
Some of the things that make this guitar good are also the things that’ll deter some guitarists. Here are some of the divisive bits:
- Doesn’t Have Classic Tele Pickup Configuration
- Not Suitable for Higher Gain Styles
- Narrow/Tall Frets Won’t Suit Everyone
The Deluxe Nashville Tele is a conundrum of a guitar. Telecaster enthusiast might find it difficult to stomach because it departs from some of the most classic features of a Telecaster. The inclusion of a single-coil strat pickup might repulse some guitarists.
I mainly play strats, so for me it’s a nice diversification. To have the classic Tele tones and be able to quickly switch to a bit of Strat is very valuable for guitarists that might otherwise have to swap guitars. The 5-way pickup switch allows for a diverse range on tones.
The Nashville is most suited to Country, Blues and Classic Rock styles, but it’ll handle a little funk at the middle position too. It’s not suitable for higher gain styles, you’ll need at least one humbucker for that sort of thing.
In terms of value, it’s every bit as quality as some of the American made guitars, but less expensive. It brings top end stage performance into the budget of an intermediate guitarist. If you’re looking for the best of a Tele with a bit of Strat thrown in then the Deluxe Nashville is a guitar you should seriously consider.
If thie Deluxe isn’t for you then check out some other guitars on my Electric Guitar page. I hope you’ve found this post useful. Feel free to leave and comments or questions below. Alternatively you can get in touch using my contact page. Want to know more about the Deluxe Nashville Tele? Click one of the links below.
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