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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Regina Carter Brings Southern Comfort to the Jazz Standard
Huffington Post, August 22nd

On the Graham Parson's tune "Hickory Wind" Mr. Sewell played glass slide on an electric Telecaster-style guitar. His technique was so flawlessly smooth that if you closed your eyes you could have easily mistaken it for a pedal-steel guitar. He lingered...Read more

Simpson finds an unorthodox niche in country music
Boston Globe, August 21st

It features Telecaster master Laur Joamets, who looks the part in a 10-gallon hat but actually grew up in Estonia, blissfully unfamiliar with country music. The bandleader is already scheming about the tones and ideas of his next few records. (They've...Read more

Labor Day weekend to feature Rhythm & Roots Festival
Warwick Beacon, August 21st

Friday night will also include The Duhks with their brand of “progressive soul-grass,” festival favorites and Grammy nominated bands, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys and The Pine Leaf Boys, and “Titan of the Telecaster,” Bill Kirchen with his band Too ...Read more

Ben Haggard's guitar augments father Merle's legendary sound
The Tennessean, August 21st

"I was scared to death, worried about failing," says Ben, whose deft Telecaster work as a member of Merle Haggard's band, The Strangers, has enhanced his dad's sound and revitalized his dad's spirit. "One of the first shows of the first tour we played...Read more

James Burton wants a guitar in your child's hands
Shreveport Times, August 20th

It was a J&S Music store on Milam Street, and I saw this Fender Telecaster hanging in the window. A beautiful blonde guitar. I said, 'Boy. Wow. I have got to have that guitar.” So he went home and told his mother who told his father that he had to have...Read more

Businesses Look To 'Brooklyn Made' Logo To Make Products Stand Out
CBS Local, August 19th

Lou Femenella says that highlighting his Brooklyn workshop when advertising his Femenella Custom telecaster-style guitars has garnered him a lot of attention and hopefully inspired others along the way. “Inspire people to seek it out, inspire people to...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