The Fender Telecaster, along side the Fender Stratocaster, and Gibson Les Paul is one of the most recognized and well-loved guitars of all time, having been in continuous production since 1950. Initially named the Fender Broadcaster, the Telecaster named was applied in 1951, and has been a mainstay of rock and particularly country music ever since. Tonally it is characterized by it's 'twang' - a brightness of sound that differentiates it from the previously mentioned models, and one that has given it it's own unique voice amongst the panoply of models that would follow.
The following description is taken from the 1969 Fender Lovin' Care catalog
This is the guitar that started it all! For two decades the telecaster has produced record breaking sounds in every field of music. You name it rhythm, blues, rock or country, the Telecaster is a legend.
Two adjustable pickups in conjunction with a three position switch and tone control (use Fender 150 light Gauge strings if you like) produce a lead tone that can't be equalled. A change of the switch to the rhythm pickup gives mellow jazz sounds too!
Other Telecaster features include a fast action truss rod reinforced neck (available with a maple fingerboard) adjustable bridges for both length and height. A specially designed Fender/Bigsby Tremolo giving smooth action is now available as an option.
Custom models feature a beautiful, highly polished Sunburst finish and the top and bottom edges of the solid-body are trimmed with white contrasting binding. Standard models are finished in natural blonde. All models are trimmed with white pickguard. Metal parts are heavily chrome plated and will retain their like new appearance over a long period of time. Telecasters are available in selected custom finishes, left-hand models.
Standard neck with: 15/8" at nut; available 1 1/2" and 1 3/4" by special order
Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1953 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Fender advertisements
Fender Telecaster - Don't cheat yourself (1953)
Early Fender advertisement featuring three guitar/amp combinations: The Precision bass and Bassman amp; the Telecaster guitar and Twin amp, and the three-neck pedal steel and Pro amp.
Fender Telecaster - Fender fine electric instruments (1955)
Early Fender advertisement for four pedal steels, three amplifiers, and three electric guitars. At this point in Fender history, it is the pedal steels that top the page; electric guitars are still...
Fender Telecaster - Listen (1959)
Late fifties telecaster / twin amp advertisement
Fender Telecaster - From Arbiter the Most Wanted Guitar in Britain Today Telecaster by Fender (1966)
Mid 1960s UK advertisement for Fender guitars and amplifiers. In the early 1960s, Fender had been distributed in the UK by Jennings, but by the middle of the decade Arbiter had won the contract. Th...
Fender Telecaster - Pick A Winner (1968)
...From Fender's famous Telecaster Trio. (left) Fender 6 String Solid Body TELECASTERS are now available with the popular Bigsby Tremolo Unit. Adjustable pickup and adjustable dual bridge highlight...
Fender Telecaster - Groovy Naturals (1968)
1968 advert announcing the telecaster thinline guitar - available in ash or mahogany finishes
Fender Telecaster - Fender. What more need we say (1971)
just that Fender guitars are played by stars the world over - from big-beat blues to folk music, c&w to acid rock. The greatest guitars in the world
UK Dallas Arbiter (Fender distributor) fe...
Fender Telecaster - The 1948 Telecaster. The 1972 Telecaster (1972)
Don't be surprised if there's a 2001 A.D. Telecaster
Fender Telecaster - The Worlds Favorite Love Machine (1973)
Love makes the world go round. Music sets the mood, heightens the emotion and provides the beat. Love takes two. Fender guitars and amps are compatible?made for each other. If you really want to ma...
Fender Telecaster - The Worlds favourite Recording Machine (1973)
Early seventies Fender advert featuring the telecaster guitar but primarily promoting Fender amplifiers
Fender amps are the number one selling amps in the world. For business and pleasure, turn ...
Fender Telecaster - You get there faster on a Fender (Fender Telecaster guitar) (1974)
Colourful 70s illustrated advert for the Fender Telecaster guitar and Twin Reverb Amplifier; part of the 'You get there faster on a Fender' series that proved popular in the early/mid 1970s. The Te...
Fender Telecaster - Goldilocks and the three bears (1975)
...someones playing my Precision bass right now, said baby bear, "and shes's really cookin'!"
In the late 1960s a number of companies were trying out rosewood as a potential body material. Among the best known are the solid rosewood Stratocaster presented to Jimi Hendrix, and the rosewood Telecaster presented to George Harrison, both in 1969. Harrison used his for the final Beatles album, Let it be, and the film of the same name, most famously playing it on the Apple studio roof concert, before giving it to Delaney Bramlett shortly afterwards. Steve Cropper of Booker T and the MGs was another rosewood Tele player of the early seventies.
This period had spawned a number of new Teles; the paisley models in pink and blue, the Telecaster thinline, and now the rosewood version. The rosewood and thinline were the work of Roger Rossmeisl (a designer for Rickenbacker until 1962, then with Fender - he also designed the Coronado) and Phillip Kubicki.
Rosewood had been used for a very long time for fret boards, but only when used to make bodies was the gorgeous natural grain really apparent. The body itself was made of a rosewood front and back, with a thin maple sandwich between the two. Some later instruments had some hollowing out to reduce weight. The neck again was rosewood, without a separate fretboard (although the prototypes did have this).
Regular production continued until 1972, however there have been numerous reissues of this classic guitar ever since, from Fenders numerous factories worldwide.
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