Fender Telecaster Guitar

History of The Fender Telecaster

Leo Fender developed the Fender Telecaster sometime during the 1940's in Fullerton, California.

Prior to that, tone was never the main reason why guitarists go for an electric guitar. But when Fender and Doc Kauffman, his partner, started building crude wooden guitars for pickup test rigs in 1943, local guitarists and country players are lining up to borrow that exact instrument for their gigs.

That prompted the guitar’s commercial production in springtime of 1950. The first model was called Esquire and it did sell well. Soon after, the production was stopped for this particular single-pickup model. Instead, the two-pickup model was created in its place. The guitar was then renamed the Broadcaster. However, it was the Telecaster that actually placed the solid-body guitar in circulation. The Fender Telecaster is normally a dual-pickup, solid-body electric guitar. It was fondly called by its moniker, the Tele.

Importance of Solid Body Guitars

The guitar's solid body is what allows the instrument to provide for a clean and amplified tone of the strings. This was actually a momentous improvement as far as the designs of the earlier electric guitar are concerned.

The typical bolt-on neck Telecaster was shaped from a single-piece maple. Unlike traditional designs, it doesn't have a separate fingerboard. Its frets were merely pressed into the surface of the wood directly. Indeed, this was a highly unusual design during that time.

The Telecaster had soon evolved to be an important evolution of electric blues, funk, country, and rock and roll music, as well as other popular forms. The solid construction of the guitar allows users to play the instrument loudly. As such, it can easily be used a band's lead instrument. It also has long sustain features with less feedback. Hollowbodied guitars normally produce feedback, especially at peak volume. It was only during the later times when Jimi Hendrix exploited controlled feedback, along with other rock artists.

Fender Telecaster - The Specs

The Tele has two single-coil pickups that are controlled by two knobs and a 3-way pickup selector switch. One of the two knobs regulates the volume. The second knob controls the master tone that affects both pickups. The electronics of the guitar can easily be accessed for replacement or repair via its control plate that's easily removable. This is actually a big advantage over a guitar’s traditional construction. In a classic setup, the electronics can only be accessed via the soundholes. In hollow-body instruments, this means that the pickguard has to be removed after dismantling the strings.

The Tele bridge contains three saddles that are fully adjustable, each with doubled up strings. The two pickup solid body Telecaster has different variations. The most typical variations are the semi-hollow Thinline, which appeared in 1968-1969, the Custom, which later reinstated the neck single coil-pickup with humbucking pickup, and the two humbucker Deluxe. Both the Deluxe and the Custom are still offered up today.

Fender Telecaster Guitar at Musician's Friend

Famous Fans of the Telecaster

Throughout the years, a lot of famed guitarists made the Fender Telecaster as their primary signature instrument. Arthur Smith went down in history to be the first one to use the Fender Telecaster. He used it to record the single Guitar Boogie in 1947. During that time, the Telecaster is called the Broadcaster.

Beatles legend George Harrison also used a Fender, more particularly the Rosewood Telecaster. It was used during the Beatle's recording of their album Let it be. The Tele Custom, on the other hand, was lead on to fame by Keith Richards, Rolling Stones' lead guitarist. This instrument was introduced sometime in the '70s. Richards also composed many of the band's songs using this Telecaster.

Today's musicians like Eric Clapton also used a Fender Telecaster. He used it when he is still with The Yardbirds. When he was with the band Blind Faith, he was playing a Stratocaster. Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin's guitarist, is noted for his use of a psychedelic-colored Tele released in 1958. He used it for the first few albums of the hand, including the lead solo for the song Stairway to Heaven recorded in 1971.

Joe Strummer, the main man of the punk band called The Clash, used a battered and a worn 1966 Telecaster. He used the instrument for the entire length of his career, even until he died. Another remarkable Telecaster musician is The Police's Andy Summers. It was his playing and his guitar that defined most of the sounds of their group.

The other famous Fender Telecaster users and endorsees of the world are Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Roy Buchanan, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, Mike Bloomfield, James Burton, and John 5. These great men had played with equally talented stars such as Elvis Pressley, Merle Haggard, and Ricky Nelson.

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