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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Live at Mystic Blues Festival 2013 (Featuring Hook Herrera)
jambands.com, September 22nd

And usually Weider himself is leading the charge with his old, faithful '52 Telecaster, living proof that the most basic of Leo Fender's machines can do just about anything asked of it when in the right hands. So, given all that, Project Percolator's...Read more

Boscos closes after 18 years in Hillsboro Village
The Tennessean, September 22nd

Murrey Gropp · Transportation at Taylor Farms. The staff at Boscos were one in a million. David Michael, John the master of the telecaster, Travis, they made you feel among friends and at home. Godspeed to everyone on the staff and thanks for everything...Read more

Gimme Five: Deep Cuts from the Band's Self-Titled 1969 Masterpiece
Something Else! Reviews, September 22nd

Manuel eventually gives way for a outburst of funkified Telecaster jangle from co-writer Robbie Robertson, adding yet another layer of musical intrigue, before “Jawbone” returns to its deeply fascinating to and fro. Manuel, for whatever troubles (vocal...Read more

Ameripolitan: A unique style born of country music takes Bristol stage
TriCities.com, September 20th

Watson capped the night with a dozen or so Fender Telecaster twanging tunes. From a beer-bathed “I Lie When I Drink” to a new freight-hauling truck-driving song “Suicide Sam,” Watson crowned his Ameripolitan Review with pure country gold. And a nod to ...Read more

Curtis McMurtry builds on a creative legacy
Wicked Local Hudson, September 20th

McMurtry has designs on bringing a touring band on the road; in Austin, he often plays with a seven-piece. For these Cambridge shows he'll be accompanied by Jules Belmont on telecaster guitar, pedal steel and cajon. By Chad Berndtson For The Patriot ...Read more

MASTERS OF THE TELECASTER, A NIGHT OF ROOTS ROCK N' ROLL Set for ...
Broadway World, September 19th

Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts is pleased to announce MASTERS OF THE TELECASTER, A NIGHT OF ROOTS ROCK N' ROLL with GE Smith, Larry Campbell, Jim Weider and special guest Taylor Barton on Saturday, October 18...Read more

Masters Of The Telecaster A Night Of Roots Rock N' Roll
LongIsland.com, September 18th

Sag Harbor, NY - September 18, 2014 - Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts is pleased to announce Masters of the Telecaster, A Night of Roots Rock N' Roll with GE Smith, Larry Campbell, Jim Weider and special guest Taylor Barton on ...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