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
- 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
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
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
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
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
having the frets polished a few years ago, the neck was
taken off for the first time and the date is actually May