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."
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Vintage Guitars Info
Vintage Guitar and Bass
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Telecaster Guitars
Source: Google News
Callum Clark determined to make up for 2011 final defeatIrish Times, December 4th
“Samu Manoa, Oh!” the telecaster purrs at the replay. “Concussive force there. You talk about crash test dummies.” Temerity It's not the lack of rugby knowledge shown by initially calling Manoa a country but the temerity to presume O'Mahony could ever...Read more
Tab Benoit hauls the swamp to the Georgia TheatreOnline Athens, December 4th
There's a warm distortion humming from his fading Fender Telecaster. He's at his finest when letting his Cajun out, which he does on the regular, or when second line-esque snare marches scorch through his meatier riffing like on “Hot Tamales.” Benoit's ...Read more
[Interview] Tides From Nebula Guitarist Adam Waleszy?skiBloody Disgusting, December 4th
Maciej plays a Telecaster and Gibson SG. I play a Gibson Les Paul Studio. Our bassist plays Mayones basses – you have to check them out if you are not aware of them. It is a Polish company which makes killer guitars and basses and a lot of great...Read more
Celebrate Christmas Honky-Tonk Style with Former Commander Cody Guitarist ...The SandPaper, December 4th
Called a “Titan of the Telecaster Guitar” by Guitar Player magazine, Kirchen said the concert will feature holiday tunes that many people don't often hear, such as Red Simpson's “Truckin' Trees for Christmas,” Hank Snow's “Reindeer Boogie,” Albert King...Read more
Live from Trumbull Correctional: The Prison Bands Plugging in and Playing Live ...Cleveland Scene Weekly, December 4th
The sorrowful blues of B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone" isn't lost on anyone in the room as Vincent works his blue Fender Telecaster into a frenzy. Vincent's known as "Starter" to the other guys around here, and not just for his virtuosity on the...Read more
Prince Shreds His Buns OffMOJO (blog), December 4th
All is going relatively to par, until the formerly-Symbolic one opens a can of puce juice all over a very familiar-looking Telecaster, and his all-female backing band – Hannah Ford on drums, Ida Nielsen on bass guitar and Donna Grantis (no mean player...Read more
Guitar Effects Pedals: The Practical HandbookSonic State, December 3rd
A former editor of The Guitar Magazine (UK), his books include 365 Guitars, Amps & Effects You Must Play; The Fender Telecaster: The Life & Times Of The Electric Guitar That Changed The World; The Guitar Amp Handbook; The Guitar Pickups Handbook; ...Read more
Mod Garage: '50s Les Paul Wiring in a TelecasterPremier Guitar, November 15th
Fig. 1. Gibson's '50s wiring, shown on a Les Paul circuit. Wiring diagram courtesy of Gibson (gibson.com). After pestering you with switching theory for a full three months [“Inside the 3-way Telecaster Pickup Switch,” October 2013, “How to Wire a...Read more