Fender American Vintage II 1972 Telecaster Thinline and 1975 Telecaster Deluxe review

Time has mellowed the wrath of the detractors and reinforced the joy of the believers in a range that divided opinion when first released in the early ’70s – and now it’s back with authentic CuNiFe humbuckers

Fender American Vintage II 1972 Telecaster Thinline and 1975 Telecaster Deluxe
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

These guitars do exactly what Fender intended, lending a new and more chunky voice to their long-established workhorse. So, which of this delightful duo would we most like to take home? It’s a close-run thing, but ask us today and, for its slightly more open sound and subtle edge, it’s probably the Thinline. Pose the same question tomorrow, and who knows?


  • +

    The Thinline has a very smart vintage-informed build.

  • +

    Attention to detail.

  • +

    Looks and sounds the business.

  • +

    It is a proper ‘pro’ guitar for $2k.

  • +

    The Deluxe has a powerful but distinct set of tones.

  • +

    Four-knob controls makes it versatile.

  • +

    Modern fingerboard radius, larger frets and sensible weight.


  • -

    Some might find the Thinline neck a bit skinny, or prefer a more modern fingerboard radius and larger frets.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

By the early 1970s, the Telecaster had already been around for more than 20 years. Five decades on and this seems like nothing at all. But back then it made Fender, still under relatively new management, feel that a change of direction was needed in order to refresh the range and perhaps chime better with the tougher music scene that was emerging. 

The company was experiencing a dip in popularity, since everyone from The Stones’ Keith Richards to Wishbone Ash, Aerosmith, Mick Ronson with Bowie, Phil Manzanera with Roxy Music, Adrian Fisher with Sparks, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martin Barre with Jethro Tull and, of course, a still massive Led Zeppelin were all mainly toting Gibsons. So perhaps those once all-conquering single coils had become the problem?

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Neville Marten

In the late '70s and early '80s Neville worked for Selmer/Norlin as one of Gibson's UK guitar repairers, before joining CBS/Fender in the same role. He then moved to the fledgling Guitarist magazine as staff writer, rising to editor in 1986. He remained editor for 14 years before launching and editing Guitar Techniques magazine. Although now semi-retired he still works for both magazines. Neville has been a member of Marty Wilde's 'Wildcats' since 1983, and recorded his own album, The Blues Headlines, in 2019.