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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Review: At Rhythm & Roots Festival, Cajun, country, blues and more
The Providence Journal, August 30th

On the Americana stage, guitarist Bill Kirchen — master of the Telecaster — remembered hitchhiking from Michigan to the Newport Folk Festival when he was 14. “It ruined me for normal work,” he said. Then he played a couple of early Bob Dylan tunes in ...Read more

Rhythm & Roots Fest an end-of-summer joy
The Providence Journal, August 30th

On the Americana stage, guitarist Bill Kirchen — master of the Telecaster — remembered hitchhiking from Michigan to the Newport Folk Festival when he was 14. “It ruined me for normal work,” he said. Then he played a couple of early Bob Dylan tunes in ...Read more

East End Hosts Hot Cultural Events Through the Fall
Dan's Papers, August 29th

On October 18, guitarist G.E. Smith (former lead guitarist of Hall & Oates) arrive for “Masters of the Telecaster.” Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts, 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. 631-725-9500, baystreet.org. East Hampton's Guild Hall...Read more

Week Ahead: Music
Boston Globe, August 27th

COCO MONTOYA The scintillating guitarist and singer began his blues career as a drummer in the band of Albert Collins, learning guitar first-hand from that Telecaster master. He later played a decade-long stint on guitar with John Mayall. Since going...Read more

Une 60s Baja Telecaster de série Classic Player
Audiofanzine, August 27th

La '60s Baja Telecaster est une évolution de la Baja Tele que Flemming avait déjà conçue pour la série Classic Player, avec des touches 60s aussi bien esthétiques que sonores. Spécifications : Corps en aulne; Manche vissé en érable avec profil en C ...Read more

Fender Telecaster vs Stratocaster: Learn The Difference Of The Two Signature ...
KpopStarz, August 26th

The Fender Telecaster and the Fender Stratocaster has been widely used by a lot of musician and has been already a legend for Fender. The reason behind this is that these guitars can be flexible and can be used in almost any kind of genre imaginable...Read more

Jim Campilongo on his Fender Custom Shop Telecaster and Princeton tone
MusicRadar.com, August 10th

"I was totally wired that they made a Jim Campilongo Telecaster – I still can't believe it when I see my name on the back of it. I was totally honoured they made it. They were 50 made of the blonde finish version of my Custom Shop Tele. Tonally the...Read more

Fender Telecaster vs Fender Stratocaster: Specs Of The Two Guitars Compared ...
KpopStarz, August 5th

The Fender Telecaster and the Fender Stratocaster has been widely used by a lot of musician and has been already a legend for Fender. The reason behind this is that these guitars can be flexible and can be used in almost any kind of genre imaginable...Read more