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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14 Class Axes & The Guitarists Who Wielded Them (Part 1)Best Classic Bands (blog), October 10th
Then there were the pages-long soulful discussions – mostly in the voluminous “Sounding Board” letters to the frickin' editor column – about the minutiae of detail that distinguished, say, a genuine 1953 Fender Telecaster (identified with Keith...Read more
Arts In Context Shorts: The Neon JungleKLRU-TV (blog), October 9th
Most recently, Voyles faced one of his biggest challenges yet: a 50-foot-tall replica of a 1952 Fender Telecaster for Austin Vintage Guitars. His personal artistry is on full display as he creates a new iconic masterpiece. “I get to change the way my...Read more
Bob Dylan, bizarre computer salesman: “He's being played as a genial grandpa ...Salon, October 9th
kinds of reasons; AdWeek has called it “Advertising's Oddest Pairing.” In the course of it, Dylan speaks to an artificial intelligence system about his work, jokes about writing a song together, and strolls offscreen the same way he arrived...Read more
Prince's 'Dirty Mind' at 35: Classic Track-by-Track Album ReviewBillboard, October 8th
Recorded in Prince's Lake Minnetonka home studio in May and June of 1980, Dirty Mind is often described as “raw” -- a word that suits both the production and the subject matter. Throughout the record, Prince plays a brittle Telecaster seemingly free of...Read more
This Guy Built an Acoustic Telecaster from a Single 2x4 Plank — VideoGuitar World Magazine, October 6th
When it came time to decide on a project for the 2014 Summers Woodworking 2x4 Contest, Steve Carmichael of the Carmichael Workshop knew immediately what he wanted to make: A guitar! So Carmichael built an acoustic version of a Telecaster-type ...Read more
USTA FOUNDATION RECEIVES $150000 GRANT FROM US OPEN TELECASTER ESPN10sBalls, September 13th
during Day Fourteen of the 2015 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. | ...Read more
Win a Fender Telecaster guitarThe Guardian, September 11th
To celebrate the release of Chrissie Hynde's memoir Reckless, we're offering you the chance win a Fender Telecaster guitar, signed by the singer. The winner will also receive a copy of the book and we have five more copies to give away to runners-up...Read more
Mod Garage: The Bill Lawrence 5-way Telecaster CircuitPremier Guitar, August 14th
This month we'll look at a cool Telecaster wiring that also works with any two-pickup guitar with a master tone/master volume configuration. Designed by the great pickup maker Bill Lawrence, this wiring deals with the so-called half out-of-phase option...Read more