The Story of a Telecaster.
27/10/2002 - Revised 31/05/2013


Text Box:  The first mass production solid bodied guitar, the Fender Telecaster changed the sound of music, as we know it. Gone were the problems normally associated with howling hollow bodied guitars and Guitarists finally had an instrument that could be amplified and heard at high volume levels.

Originally introduced as the “Broadcaster” a previous copyright by the Grestch Company forced Fender to find a new name for their instrument. The name Telecaster was chosen with its modern reference to the new medium of television (a bit like .com company names nowadays). Transitional models were produced with no names at all! These are known as “No-Casters” and are now fetching incredible prices amongst collectors.

The Tele concept is simple.

  • Solid Slab of Ash
  • Bolt on Neck for easy replacement
  • 2 x Single Coil Pickups
  • String through body, bridge for maximum sustain and tone.

At first musicians were seemly quite reluctant at this new “Spanish Electric Guitar” but with some persistence and promotion from Mr. Leo Fender the Tele took off and became the legend we know today.

My Own Telecaster.

My own Telecaster (originally owned by my father) was made (according to the stamp at the base of the neck) in May 1969. It was purchased in my hometown of Gibraltar in 1970. The guitar was ordered at the dealers suggestion to the tune of similar words to this “I am going to get you a guitar like you haven’t seen or heard before”.

In those days Gibraltar was significantly behind the times in a pre-globalisation society (to set the scene our local TV station didn’t transmit in colour till 1980!) and most guitars in use at the time were hollow bodied Gibson’s and Gretches.

The guitar turned up about 6 months later in an amazing Firemist Gold (Custom Colour) and cost approximately £150 ($240) which back then, was about half a years wages.

From there the story continues. After around a decade of use in 1979 my father decided to upgrade himself to a humbucker equipped Telecaster Deluxe and the original Tele was left in storage for a few years.

On my 13th birthday in 1986 I was suitably surprised as I was given the Tele and a small practice amp as a present. At the time I was playing in all the bands, orchestras and all other events that I could. Shortly I became the lead guitarist for the school choir band.

My first ever-live performance took place a few weeks later at a local hall at which, the Tele got back into action. I’ll never forget the moment when our music teacher introduced the band, I was so stage struck that I forgot to stand up when the spotlight shone on me!

Text Box:  It remained my main and only guitar until 1995 when on a trip to the USA I purchased a more modern super-strat type guitar.

The Tele has remained in use till the present day and has recently undergone the following modifications to maintain playability. All replacement parts have been genuine Fender Items and all the originals have been kept.

*  New Chrome Control Knobs
*  Top Nut Replaced
*  Jack Socket Replaced
*  Strap Pins Replaced.
*  2 x machine head ferrules installed (how they went missing is unknown!)
*  Stoning original frets and pro-setup.

What can I say? After more than 40 years this guitar still looks cool, plays and sounds like a dream and attracts attention. Mr. Leo Fender must have done something right!

By Ernest H Slade

Note: When having the frets polished a few years ago, the neck was taken off for the first time and the date is actually May 1968 !