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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40 Years Ago: John Lennon Makes His Last Concert AppearanceUltimate Classic Rock, November 28th
Carrying a black Fender Telecaster, Lennon performed a total of only three songs, opening with the new hit then following with 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' — which Elton John had recently covered with Lennon on vocals and guitar, releasing it just...Read more
LOS TELECASTER ESTRENAN ''RATA SECA'' NUEVO TEMA Y VIDEORumberos.net, November 27th
El personaje, Rata Seca, "una piltrafa reventada del '95", fue el anti héroe original del crepúsculo adolescente de Los Telecaster. Decadencia caraqueña que hoy brota nostalgia jurásica y deseos de quebrar todo, para recomponerlo con furia y dedicación...Read more
Review & Photos: Mastodon @ Manchester Academy [Live]Altsounds.com, November 27th
singer Simon Wright being especially physical in his performance, bounding the stage and contorting with every piercing scream. Gallows guitarist Laurent Bernard is just as animated, climbing atop the monitors and playing his telecaster above his head...Read more
Review: New DVDs Show Marrying Of Rock, Pop And CountryTimes Record, November 27th
Instead, the overzealous, so-called fan felt the brunt of Richards' Fender Telecaster come crashing down upon his head, and it's all caught in remastered, full-sounding glory on the new DVD, “Rolling Stones: From the Vault — Hampton Coliseum (Live in ...Read more
Husband, wife duo to bring twangy tribute to townThe Union of Grass Valley, November 26th
First appearing to hundreds of music fans on a sunny Saturday morning at the 2011 High Sierra Music Festival, the group also features Lebo of ALO on pedal steel, Scott Law on Telecaster, and ALO rhythm section partners Steve Adams and Dave Brogan...Read more
Review: Fender American Standard Telecaster Electric GuitarAmerican Songwriter, September 23rd
Fender Telecasters are part of a rich tradition of American music, guitars that have made history by changing – if not helping create – the sound of every genre of modern music. Country players like the Hag, blues giants like Muddy Waters, rockers like...Read more
Mod Garage: Adding an Out-of-Phase Switch to a TelecasterPremier Guitar, June 27th
Now that we've investigated the Telecaster's bridge and neck pickups individually, it's time to have some fun with both pickups together. Are you ready to learn how to get out-of-phase sounds from a Tele? In this column we'll cover the electrically out...Read more
Mod Garage: The Infamous Telecaster Neck PickupPremier Guitar, May 16th
Now that we've explored Telecaster bridge pickups, we've arrived at the final stage of our journey: the neck pickup. Smaller than a Stratocaster pickup, the stock Tele neck pickup sports a closed metal cover and is usually installed with two wood...Read more