Fender’s first solid-body electric guitar debuted in 1950 as the one-pickup Esquire. Fewer than 50 of the white-pickguard, black-finish ash guitars were made, and many of those were returned due to the lack of a truss rod in the instrument’s bolt-on maple neck (without a stabilizing rod, the neck tended to bend).

By the end of that same year, a two-pickup model of the same guitar design, with a butterscotch finish and a black pickguard, was rebranded as the Broadcaster. These guitars featured a truss rod in the neck, and between 300 and 500 of the instruments were produced before Gretsch pointed out that it had been making a drum called the Broadkaster since the 1920s. Not wanting to slow down production, Fender simply snipped the word Broadcaster from the headstock decal that also included the company’s logo and shipped the guitars with no name on them at all. Only about 60 of these Nocasters, as they are now known, were built, making them one of the most collectible vintage Fender guitars available.

In April of 1951, the guitar finally got a name that stuck—the Telecaster. Early finishes ranged from "Tele blond" in 1955 to two types of sunbursts in 1957 and 1958. Any color in the Dupont Duco line was available for most of the 1950s, and in 1968, the company made a hippie-themed guitar with pink paisleys and blue flowers.

Subsequent models within the Telecaster family included the 1968 Thinline, whose ash or mahogany body was hollow on the bass side of the guitar—the empty chamber was revealed by an f-hole. A top-of-the-line Telecaster Custom from 1972 featured humbucker pickups, which gave the instrument a warmer sound than the bright one that had typified the original.

One of the biggest compliments the instrument has been given is the wide range of musicians who have embraced it. Elvis Presley and Merle Haggard played Telecasters, as did Buck Owens and Waylon Jennings. Eric Clapton played a Telecaster during his days with the Yardbirds (though he famously switched to a Stratocaster during his Derek and the Dominoes years), and George Harrison played a Telecaster during the "Let It Be" sessions. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones has been playing a Telecaster Custom almost since it was introduced in 1972, while Bruce Springsteen posed with his Telecaster on the cover of "Born To Run." Last but certainly not least is Jimmy Page, who played a his 1958, hand-painted, "Dragon Telecaster" on one of Led Zeppelin’s most enduring classics, "Stairway to Heaven."

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Recent News: Telecaster Guitars

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10 Years After Katrina: How The Edge, Guitar Center & Gibson Helped Restore ...
Billboard, August 28th

The Edge, three blue picks, and a pale yellow Telecaster onstage at Giants Stadium, September 23, 2009. 0. 0. 0. Bob Ezrin is a legendary producer (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed) and founder of Music Rising with The Edge to bring musical...Read more

San Francisco Police Recover Ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist John ...
NBC Bay Area, August 28th

A valuable piece of rock history is back with its rightful owner, thanks to San Francisco police investigators. A vintage 1966 Fender Telecaster that was owned by former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante was recovered this week by...Read more

T-Tune Introduces Harmonic Bridge Saddles
Premier Guitar, August 28th

Hamburg, Germany, (August 28, 2015) -- T-Tune Guitar Parts announces “Harmonic Bridge Saddles“ a simple but very effective solution for the old Telecaster 3- Saddle bridge intonation problem! By precision cutting small slots in the saddles, the string ...Read more

CBS 2 owner pulls channels from DISH
KCRG, August 26th

DISH, in a news release, said the companies had reached an agreement on rates and all other terms involving the transmission of Sinclair's local stations, but that Maryland-based Sinclair demanded the satellite telecaster pull its signals. “Sinclair is...Read more

Mod Garage: The Bill Lawrence 5-way Telecaster Circuit
Premier Guitar, August 14th

This month we'll look at a cool Telecaster wiring that also works with any two-pickup guitar with a master tone/master volume configuration. Designed by the great pickup maker Bill Lawrence, this wiring deals with the so-called half out-of-phase option...Read more

Review: 'Ricki and the Flash' Puts Meryl Streep Behind a Telecaster
New York Times, August 6th

Ricki, the lead singer, sporting a blue Telecaster, heavy eyeliner and half of Bo Derek's haircut from “10” (ask your dad about that too), belts out the lyrics with perfect credibility, landing somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Bonnie Raitt on the...Read more

We honour the ingenious solidbody that started it all
MusicRadar.com, August 3rd

In response, Fender simply cut the headstock decals short, leaving only the Fender name - these valuable models are known as 'Nocasters', and were only produced for half of 1951. Drawing on the television age, manager Don Randall thought up Telecaster, ...Read more

Mod Garage: Telecaster Series Wiring
Premier Guitar, April 17th

Fig. 1 — How to wire your Tele for an added series sound. Image courtesy of Fender Musical Instrument Corporation. Let's explore a common mod for Telecasters and other two-pickup guitars, but with a little twist: wiring two pickups in series rather...Read more