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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Cleburne musician takes the stage in Mississippi
Cleburne Times-Review, August 4th

Bart Cannon of Cleburne, right, plays his red Fender Telecaster as the lead guitarist for Class Reunion Band at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi on July 29. Posted: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 4:57 pm. Cleburne musician takes the stage in Mississippi...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

Hoedown in a galaxy far, far away benefits food bank
Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2nd

Sharon Allen and the Dusty Boots guitarist Charlie Wallace, 63, dealt smooth twang from his Fender Telecaster and Vibrosonic combo. “Glad to be here,” Charlie Joe said. “Real happy to help.” Fronted by the angelically gritty Sharon Allen, the band is a...Read more

Tim McGraw serenades 20000 of his closest friends at sold-out Blossom (photos ...
cleveland.com, July 31st

And when his guitar tech finally brought out a replacement guitar . . . well, you gotta respect a man secure enough to play a pink Telecaster. Currington's in-ear monitors never did work and he eventually discarded them. The Blossom stage is designed...Read more

SNAMM '15 - Fishman Greg Koch Signature Fluence Telecaster Pickups Demo
Premier Guitar, July 20th

Since attending a Dave Matthews Band concert as a teenager, Jason has been into all things guitar. An Iowa native, Jason has degrees in Music Business from Minnesota State-Mankato and Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Northern Iowa. Since then, he ...Read more

Young musician making a name for himself in Williamsburg
Virginia Gazette, July 9th

He purchased the Telecaster with money he had saved up, and he learned harmonica. He formed a band, The Blue Notes, for some months. He played various public and private performances around Williamsburg and Hampton Roads. He's opened for Blue ...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

A Telecaster Master at the Living Room
The New Yorker, December 22nd

A 1959 Fender Telecaster, blond finish, white pickguard, maple fretboard, will set you back about thirty thousand dollars. Jim Campilongo is known for playing a 1959 Telecaster, blond, white guard, maple board, and a few years ago Fender's custom shop ...Read more