A Whole New Sound
The Fender Telecaster is a classic guitar that to this day has changed the least among it’s six stringed counterparts, but where has the guitar come from and what made this design such a revolutionary advancement?
Keith Richards with his Fender Telecaster – image by Patrick Baumbach, original uploader was DieBand
From a workshop in California – 1949
The Telecaster took root in Leo Fender’s Fullerton, California workshop in 1949. The guitar luthier was particularly interested in creating a two pick-up solid body guitar, something that hadn’t yet reached the market. As Leo grew closer to realising his prototype, word got out of a competing luthier who was preparing to release their own version of a solid body guitar. In order to see that his own model would be released in time, Leo temporarily let go of his two pick-up idea to see that he could release a solid-body guitar in time.
Bendy neck Fender Esquire
In 1950 the first solid body Fender guitar went up for sale and became known as the Esquire. Not far off from today’s Telecaster, the Esquire featured only a bridge pick-up and was yet to include a truss rod in the maple neck. As Leo would soon realise, although maple was a strong wood, it was not strong enough to keep his guitar necks from bending and as such most of his Esquires would soon be returned to his workshop with necks bent beyond repair.
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Heart of Innovation
Turning a new corner with his guitar design, Leo Fender soon implemented the truss rod to all of his guitar necks and before the end of 1950 was marketing his new Broadcaster guitar, featuring a truss rod and dual pick-ups. During the success of his newest guitar model, instrument manufacturer Gretsch wrote to inform Fender that they had already coined the phrase ‘Broadkaster’ for a line of their instruments and threatened Leo with a lawsuit. In response Leo famously dropped the ‘Broadcaster’ text from the guitar’s headstock and continued selling the guitars referred to as ‘Nocasters’ due to their lack of a label. By the end of 1951, Leo and his team had settled with the term ‘Telecaster’ for their guitar, in reference to the growing world of television at the time.
By 1954 the Telecaster had reached far and wide in the world of music and a revised take on the guitar was marketed moving forward. The famous black pickgaurds were exchanged for a white tone and the creamy butterscotch finish of the body became a translucent white. Fender continued to upgrade the hardware components, including a modern transition from dome top knobs to flat tops and converting the brass bridge piece to instead be made of steel.
Although various takes on the Telecaster have been released over time, including the semi-hollow ‘Telecaster Thinline’, the ‘Cabronita’ featuring humbucking pick-ups and the ‘Tele Jr.’ sporting a set of Les Paul style P-90 pick-ups, for 70 years now the design has undergone very little change since first debuting in 1950. This is an engineering accomplishment that speaks to the ingenuity and value that Leo Fender’s Telecaster design has had on guitar players worldwide.
Famous Telecaster Players
Although time goes on, the Fender Telecaster has proved it’s self as a timeless classic over the decades. From Waylon Jennings and his early Broadcaster and Keith Richard’s Butterscotch black guard Telecaster, to ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbon’s collection of 50’s Telecasters and Jeff Buckley’s 1983 model, the Fender Telecaster will always have a home in the hands of aspiring and professional guitar players alike.
Some more Fender Telecaster Legends
Franz Ferdinand – Alex Kapranos
Examples of recently posted Fender Telecasters for sale on eBay
- Left handed Fender player telecaster in black comes with hard case and strap.Posted in : Left Handed Guitars Fender Guitars (all models) Fender Telecaster Left Handed Fender Guitars Electric Guitars for sale Posted : September 17, 2021 10:28 pm
Brand : Fender Model : Telecaster – LEFT HANDED Price : £435.00 Selller : wispa243 Condition : Used Location : Cambridge, United Kingdom Ships to : United Kingdom Description : Left handed Fender player telecaster in black comes with hard case and strap. Sale by : auction Bids : 0 Ends on : 2021-09-24 09:14:56 Time Remaining : Parent Category : Pre-owned Left Handed Fender Guitars View this guitar on eBay This guitar comes from our selection of LEFT HANDED Fender guitars. The Fender Telecaster has been the go to guitar for rock-n-roll bands since the early 1950’s. We have dozens more “regular” right handed Fender Telecaster guitars available here All LEFT HANDED Fender guitars on eBay Further Reading History of Fender Guitars History of the Fender Stratocaster History of the Fender Telecastermore about this Fender Telecaster
- Fender Performer Tele Telecaster USA Vintage WhitePosted in : Fender Telecaster Electric Guitars for sale Posted : September 17, 2021 10:25 am
Brand : Fender Model : Telecaster Price : £835.00 Selller : deathofadiscodancer Condition : Used Location : Ships to : Description : Fender Performer Tele Telecaster USA Vintage White Sale by : buy it now Bids : Ends on : 2021-10-17 08:55:40 Time Remaining : Parent Category : Pre-owned Fender Telecaster Guitars View this guitar on eBay A great range of pre-owned Fender Telecaster Guitars This guitar comes from our range of Fender guitars available now from sellers in the UK. All Fender Stratocaster Guitars on eBay today Further Reading History of Fender Guitars History of the Fender Telecaster History of the Fender Stratocaster Check Fender prices from an authorised dealer Before spending hundreds, possibly thousands, on amore about this Fender Telecaster
- Fender Player Telecaster – Left Handed – 3 Tone SunburstPosted in : Left Handed Guitars Fender Guitars (all models) Fender Telecaster Left Handed Fender Guitars Electric Guitars for sale Posted : September 16, 2021 12:24 pm
Brand : Fender Model : Telecaster – LEFT HANDED Price : £589.00 Selller : guitarbitzmusicstore Condition : New Location : Bath, United Kingdom Ships to : United Kingdom and many other countries Description : Fender Player Telecaster – Left Handed – 3 Tone Sunburst Sale by : buy it now Bids : Ends on : 2021-10-04 11:19:53 Time Remaining : Parent Category : Pre-owned Left Handed Fender Guitars View this guitar on eBay This guitar comes from our selection of LEFT HANDED Fender guitars. The Fender Telecaster has been the go to guitar for rock-n-roll bands since the early 1950’s. We have dozens more “regular” right handed Fender Telecaster guitars available here All LEFT HANDED Fender guitars on eBay Further Reading History of Fender Guitars History of the Fender Stratocaster History of the Fender Telecastermore about this Fender Telecaster
More information pages
If you found this page useful please continue reading further articles on some of the best brands and most iconic guitars from the list below
- Fender Guitars general information
- History of the Fender Stratocaster
- History of the Gibson Les Paul
- History of the Gibson SG
- History of the Gibson ES
Fender Authorised Dealer – Gear4Music
Want to know more ….
For even more information on the history of the Telecaster guitar here at Fender.com