In the early seventies, five years into the CBS buyout debacle, Fender was already starting to feel like a dated out-of-touch brand. As the musical fashion of the time was leaning more and more towards big fat saturated sounds with plenty of volume, the Telecaster’s original single coil pickups were seen as featherweights remainders from the past.
In order to adapt, Fender enlisted the help of none other than Seth Lover, the man who had invented the PAF for Gibson, and they asked him to come up with yet another genius pickup design. Since the output level was becoming a sales argument at the time, Lover made his new pickup more powerful, with a resistance of about 10,6 kOhms.
Those new pickups, named Wide Range humbuckers, were an integral part of the new Telecasters designed to renew the 20-plus year-old model. The Telecaster Deluxe had two of them and a bigger Strat-like headstock, whereas the Custom stayed more faithful to the original with a single coil bridge pickup and a small headstock.
This Custom was made in 1974 and it is especially desirable thanks to the original horseshoe Bigsby, which was not that common at the time. The neck pickup is the original Wide Range, the three-bolt neck is typical of the era, and the black finish gives it an irresistible Keith Richards vibe.