The "humbucker" Telecasters failed to draw potential customers away from competition like Gibson's Les Paul model, and the Telecaster Deluxe was discontinued in 1981. However, in 2004 Fender decided to re-issue the Deluxe, probably in response to the belated popularity of the original 70s version.
The body shape was similar to other Telecaster models of the era, with one minor difference - a "belly cut" contour similar to that featured on all Stratocasters was added to the back of the guitar. The Deluxe also had the same "glitch" in its shape as the other Telecasters - a slightly less-pronounced curve where the upper bout meets the neck joint, compared to earlier (and later) Telecasters. This was attributed to more modern routing machines installed in the production line at the time. The 2004 re-issue differs from the original in that it does not have the 70s "notchless" body style.
The Deluxe features 2 Seth Lover-designed Wide Range humbuckers with "Cunife" (Copper/Nickel/Ferrite) rod magnets in the place of pole-pieces. This design yielded a brighter and clearer sound more similar to that of single coil pickups. They were wound with approximately 10,000 turns of copper wire, yielding a DC resistance of approximately 10 kΩ (compared to a standard Gibson P.A.F. humbucker typical DC resistance of 9 kΩ).
The 2004 reissue version of the pickup was redesigned by Fender employee Bill Turner in order to achieve a similar sound in the absence of cunife magnets. While looking almost identical to the original 1970s version it differs greatly in its construction, featuring an alnico bar magnet underneath non-magnetized pole-pieces. It is in fact an ordinary humbucker placed in the larger Wide Range Humbucker casing, and the gap is filled with wax. This is one important reason the reissue Deluxe sounds different from the original guitars. Another reason is the use of 250kΩ volume and tone pots, while the original used 1 MΩ pots. Using 250kΩ pots with very hot humbuckers results in a dark and muddy sound; a common remedy is to replace the controls with 500kΩ pots, which is generally agreed to improve the sound of the reissues. (These same reissue pickups are used for the current 1972 Custom and Thinline Telecaster Reissues.)
Most Deluxes produced have a "hard-tail" fixed bridge, although for the first couple of years of production a vibrato bridge could be ordered with the guitar - this was the same bridge used on most Stratocasters. As this was not a standard option, models with the vibrato bridge are quite rare.
The volume/tone knobs used on the early Deluxes were very similar to those used on Fender's "Blackface"/"Silverface" range of amplifiers with a chromed "skirt" tip on the top, however in the late 1970s these were replaced with black knobs identical to those used on the Stratocaster.
The Telecaster Thinline also featured a version with two "Wide Range" humbuckers, however in most other respects this was quite a different guitar from the Deluxe.
Electronically, the Tele Deluxe also resembles the Gibson Les Paul - they both have dual humbucking pickups, an upper-bout mounted 3-way pickup selector switch, and independent volume/tone controls for each pickup.
A very small number of Telecaster Deluxes' (less than 50) left the factory with Stratocaster tremolos.