FENDER PINE TELES
I am borderline infatuated with the Fender Telecaster and anything that remotely looks like one. To me, they represent the perfect electric guitar.
The Fender Telecaster
What is it about the Fender Telecaster? When fellow players ask what my favorite guitar is, I always say without hesitation, "the Telecaster". I just love the look of the plank body, the simple pickguard, the modest-shaped headstock, and chrome neck pickup cover and the metal bridge with the black pickup. And then there's the sound - how does one describe the recognizable tone these things put out? Country, blues, rockabilly, punk, rock, and all sorts of varying genres have their Tele guitar heroes. And there's also the history of this guitar's evolution that make it so interesting, intriguing, and addictive. And I get into everything about the Tele - from the wood plank bodies to the varying pickguards, and from the brass saddles to the vintage capacitors - it's all fascinating to me.
Leo Fender dreamed up the Telecaster-style guitar in 1949 and his first prototype was the Snakehead. This model was made out of pine and the maple neck didn't even have a truss rod! (I made my Jackson '49 Pinecaster guitar as a tribute to this model.) Leo refined the design and came up with the Broadcaster (two pickups) and the Esquire (one pickup) design in 1950. The Gretsch company forced a name change in 1951 and except for a few months with the "Nocaster" coming out of the California factory, the Broadcaster officially became the Telecaster.
My first Tele guitar came in February 1996 - a Rogue Tele copy from Musician's Friend, which I modified into my Scootercaster guitar. The key to this project was the purchase of DiMarzio's Twang King pickup set, which I had picked up several months before. What a tone! Since then, I have picked up and put together many Tele style guitars. Some are similar to a traditional Telecaster, and others have unique properties such as a humbucker or three, a piezo pickup, a Floyd Rose, active electronics, whacky on-board effects, crazy paint jobs, and bodies made of cool woods such as ash, alder, mahogany, cedar, and pine. And man, do I really like the pine! So what characteristics does a guitar have to have to be considered part of the Tele family? A Tele-style body with a Tele-style neck, a Tele bridge, and/or traditional Tele-style pickups. All of the guitar linbks pictured above fall into one or more of these categories. I even have a Van Halen-style Fender baritone guitar, which has nothing to do with a Tele, except that it has a Warmoth Tele baritone neck. I love that look! And my Fender Esquire axe is probably the the most simple, yet classiest project I've completed to date.
Oddly enough, I have only purchased one real Fender Telecaster - a Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster SSH, which I modified a bit into my Fender Nashville Telecaster. All of my other Tele-style guitars are either "part-o-casters" (All Parts, Warmoth, Mighty Mite, KnE, GFS, Carvin, etc.) or another manufacturer's version of the classic (Parker, Xaviere, Jackson, Rogue, etc.). Click on the pics above to read the specs of my bizarre collection, and make sure to read the associated Behind The Guitars story - especially the Pine Teles page.
For Fender Telecaster model details, thorough historical highlights, wiring information, and killer photos, check out these publications:
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