Merle Haggard Fender Telecaster
The Merle Haggard Tele is one of Fender's custom artist series guitars and was first introduced in 1997. Its American made to honor one of country music greatest legends. There have been 3 different names used for this guitar since its introduction, but it’s essentially stayed the same. It has some very unique features such as a Thinline body and glued in (not bolt on) neck.
The body is made from two alder wings (top and bottom) with a maple center piece. The alder wings have tone cavities in them like that found in a Thinline body with the exception of there are no 'F' hole(s). The top of the body has a piece of Figured maple laminated on to it. The back of the body has a natural colored maple center block with the two alder pieces painted black. The sides are also painted black. The maple top is has a 2-Tone sunburst finish with a polyurethane top coat. The bridge is the same found on the American Series Telecasters and is gold plated like the rest of the hardware. The bridge has 6 saddles which are fully adjustable and allows for the strings to come from the back side of the body through the bridge. This is one of the newer more adjustable bridges. You may have also noticed that the single-ply crème colored ivoroid pickguard has a different shape than the standard tele pickguard.
The 25.5 inch scale length neck is made of a single piece of figured maple with 22 medium jumbo frets. The neck has the more modern 'C' shape profile and has a polyurethane finish. There is a skunk strip on the back side with the truss rod adjuster located at the body end of the guitar. The fretboard has a radius of 7.25 inches which is a little rounder than most. There are black dot inlays at the position markers. The tuners are gold plated Sender/Schaller elite die-cast type with white Pearloid buttons. The very unique feature about the neck is it's set in to the body (glued in) and then carved away to do away with most of the heel. This makes it very comfortable to play as the heel isn't really there. There aren't that many Fender's that have glued in necks. The neck also has 'Tuff-Dog Tele' inlaid in abalone on the headstock. There is also one gold plated string guide as well.
Another unique feature is the electronics used. They consist of a volume ant tone control with 4-way pickup selector switch. The pickup selector allows the two single coil pickups to be wired in series which gives the guitar a hotter and louder tone. It's similar to a humbucker but not as loud or fat. Here's the pickup configuration for each position:
The pickups used are two Texas special Tele single coils. They are
made using Alnico5 magnets and are over wound using enamel coated wire.
The bridge pickup has staggered magnets and a copper plated base plate.
This increases the output and midrange tone. The bridge pickup is similar
using Alnico5 magnets and is over wound with a nickel plated cover.