Up for sale, a 1968 Fender Telecaster in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. 100% original save for professional refret with 6105 fretwire and a carved bone nut, this Tele is one of the last Fenders of the '60s with both a maple cap fretboard and a nitro lacquer finish on the neck.
Featuring the traditional tonewood complement of a solid ash body and maple neck, this Tele delivers lively, percussive cut and authoritative snap. The maple neck with maple cap fretboard ensures a glassy note attack, while the ash body offers a distinctive midrange complexity and punch, giving the stock pair of single coils ample heft. While the gray bobbin bridge pickup has a sparkle and chewy twang, the black bobbin neck pickup is bell-like and round. Emblematic of the best Teles of the late '60s, this Fender is lightweight at 7lbs 5oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.
The maple neck has a medium C profile carve with round shoulders and naturally rolled fretboard edges, measuring .850" deep at the 1st fret and .920" at the 12th. As Fender was transitioning from nitro lacquer to poly finishes in '68, this Tele represents that transition with the original smooth nitro finish on the neck, and a thinner poly on the body. The silky smooth nitro finish on the neck profile has natural palm wear down to the bare maple behind frets 1-9, and similar finger wear through the fretboard gloss up the majority of the neck. The fretboard retains its 7 1/4" radius, refretted with 6105 fretwire that has similar width to vintage wire with appreciably more height and crown. The guitar plays cleanly in every register, the neck is straight, and the truss rod is responsive, with the truss rod nut flush with the neck heel, necessitating sparingly little adjustment over the past 50+ years. The upgraded hand-carved bone nut measures 1 5/8" in width, and the headstock retains the block Telecaster logo and Fender "F" tuning machines. The neck heel has a bold August, 1968 date stamp, and all of the original factory stamps and markings are present in the pocket and on the heel. The serialized four-bolt F neck plate is intact, with an absolutely microscopic ID# of a previous owner along the bottom edge.
All of the electronics function as intended, with the original single coil pickup pair, untouched solder joints, and cloth-covered leads. Both pickups have their original windings, and the bridge pickup's gray bobbin is hand-dated 7-27-68. The Stackpole pots date back to the 17th week of '66, and given the large quantity of pots purchased by Fender in '66, it's extremely common to see these components used until '70. The original chrome-plated hardware is all intact and extremely clean, and the original three-ply white pickguard is also present, exhibiting some requisite pick scuffing.
The Blonde gloss finish is 100% original, subtly transparent and highlighting the grain of the ash body. The very thin early poly finish checks and ages akin to nitro lacquer, with some light scuffing in the clear coat around the control plate on top, and a sliver of forearm wear through the gloss down to the bare ash on the lower bout edge and similar wear along much of the back body edge. There is broad checking in the gloss extends across the body, a small spot of light buckle rash at the bass-side waist, and some small dings consistent with light use on the body as a whole.
The original black tolex hardshell case with orange plush interior is included. The case has clean black leather ends, and the original Fender tail-less logo on the exterior, with a trio of original, functional latches and the stock handle.