By the end of the 1970s the quality and reputation of instruments produced by CBS-owned Fender was beginning to suffer. Fender brought in new expertise - including Dan Smith of Yamaha, to turn around their fortunes. Smith began by recreating some of the popular vintage designs in Vintage Reissue series. A second strategy was the Elite series (a Stratocaster, a Telecaster and a Precision bass), introduced in 1983 and designed to be cutting edge modern instruments with the latest features.
The Elite instruments had three variations: a walnut version, a gold hardware version, and a regular version. Fingerboards were maple or rosewood. Each came in a wide range of standard and custom finish colors. The Elites were discontinued in 1984 when CBS sold Fender.
The Elite Telecaster had a heavy cast 6-saddle top-loading bridge, noise-cancelling pickups with alnico 2 magnets, active TBX and MDX tone controls, knobs with rubber inserts for easy gripping, and a 3-way pickup selector switch. It had a bound top and an adhesive pickguard which you could stick on yourself if you wanted.