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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The Day I Sold Everything: Questions AnsweredSeeking Alpha (registration), July 27th
I apologize to the reader who thought the title was misleading. I will defend it. (If you include the Telecaster, then no, i didn't sell everything.) To clarify what I wrote, I did not sell all my Southern Company (NYSE:SO) or all the ATT (NYSE:T), but...Read more
REVIEW: Parrotheads put fins up, drinks up at Jimmy Buffett's Comerica Park bashThe Oakland Press, July 27th
He ripped through 17 CCR and solo hits with a string of eye-catching guitars that included a Les Paul and a Fender Telecaster, starting with “Travelin' Band” and ending with “Proud Mary.” Buffett joined Fogerty onstage for “Down on the Corner.” In...Read more
Keith Urban plays a fiery, sleek and personalized showBuffalo News, July 26th
(By three tunes in, he'd sported a Fender Telecaster, a Gibson 335, and a Fender Stratocaster, all of which appeared to be vintage instruments.) Later, Urban would arrive in the middle of the crowd on a satellite stage to perform a raucous “You Look...Read more
Have Mercy's Van Broken Into, Asking For Donations To Help Replace Stolen GearUnder the Gun Review, July 26th
They also took Andrew's customer built Telecaster and my (Swindle's) first guitar ever, an acoustic that's been with us on every tour. This is a huge loss for us and with everything great thing that's happening for us this puts us a huge standstill. We...Read more
Plumber turns detective to catch thiefThe Bolton News, July 25th
Most of the instruments were recovered but a Fender Telecaster guitar, worth up to £1,000, had already been sold to an unknown buyer. Richmond claimed he had found the instruments in Queens Park. Richmond, of Johnson Fold Avenue, Bolton, pleaded ...Read more
Larry Carlton: 10 questionsMusicRadar.com, July 25th
"I have a '51 Telecaster [technically a 'Nocaster' at that date, but we'll let Larry off! – Ed]. My technician at the time was Dave Rouse – but he'd heard The Rolling Stones wanted another tech for their tour in '88. So, Dave came to me and said...Read more
Sarah McLachlanMetroland, July 23rd
And handed them the mic. But the couch wasn't the only surprise accessory on this trip. She also brought a pale yellow Telecaster, which is what she wore when she followed her four-piece band on stage to greet a gentle crowd on a warm Wednesday night...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