The Fender Telecaster is a conceptually very simple guitar : two pieces of wood (neck and body) screwed together, with the body having a rough shape (without too many flaring to make it more comfortable as in the instruments that followed), a fixed bridge and the strings passing through through the body. A very simple structure, which however gives an exceptional resonance, collected by two single coils without frills.
A bit of history…
The Fender Telecaster has made, or rather made, history. It was the first solid body electric guitar intended for mass production ever built , introduced by Leo Fender in 1950 . It was originally called ” Esquire “, then immediately renamed ” Broadcaster. “”. However, Gretsch (who was probably the most influential musical instrument maker at the time) claimed royalties over the name. Leo Fender then decided to change the name of the instrument, but it was not an immediate thing, for a short time he just eliminated the word “Broadcaster” from the labels that were placed on the headstock, leaving it blank, until he found a new name . Those few examples produced in that period are today called ” Nocaster “, na “no name caster”.
Subsequently, in honor of television (which was exploding in those years) the guitar was called ” Telecaster “.
The Telecaster was produced in many models, with different woods, pickups and various circuits. Perhaps the most famous is the replica of the first model, the American Vintage Telecaster ’52 Reissue , distinguished by the ash body, the maple fingerboard, the butterscotch yellow color, the large neck with “U” section, the grommet on the headstock. button shape, from the bridge with the three brass saddles screwed onto the bridge.
The used ’52 reissue is about 1200 euros, but there is a cheaper version, the Fender Telecaster Baja, Mexican replica (but designed by the Custom Shop Fender!), Which incorporates all the features, but also adds a special circuitry. with 4-position selector (in the 4th position we have the two pickups in series as a humbucker) and switch S1 to invert the phase in positions 2 and 4 of the selector. All with American Custom Shop pickups and high quality woods. A show…
But back to the main point: why should anyone have a telecaster?
- It is an unforgiving guitar . Any mistake feels great, so you have to be very specific. It’s a very defined sounding guitar, what you do you hear, ANYTHING.
- The sound of the neck pickup has a delicacy and precision that give that “bell like” tone on the style of the Stratocaster, but with more body
- The bridge pickup … hahaha! IT HAS A SCARY SHOT. It will be the bridge itself, the strings that pass through the body or what do I know, but you can play anything on it
- It is very versatile : you make it from jazz to metal. The bridge pickup is however full-bodied, while the neck pickup,, has almost the punch of a humbucker, but with much more definition, perhaps precisely because a single coil
- It is the rhythm guitar par excellence : bright, defined sound, with a huge hit but never with the graininess that a mahogany guitar with humbuckers can have (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Gibsons, I have 5!).
- The Twang (yes, the one with a capital T) especially of the bridge pickup is… The one par excellence! In fact it is the Telecaster bridge pickup that defined the concept of twang !!!
- The Telecaster’s two parallel pickups are equally iconic…
- It’s a tank . Don’t worry if it gets damaged by carrying it around and using it intensely, in fact the more vintage it becomes the more fascinating it becomes.
- Being the first solid body electric guitar it basically defined (together with the Les Paul) what is the sound we like. It has been used on so many records, starting from the dawn of rock, that it is the sound we are used to, because it defined what rock sound should have. So whatever conditions you play it, clean, crunch, distorted, etc., it will always sound fantastic, even if it wasn’t just because … that’s the sound we are used to perceiving as “beautiful”. Like a tube Marshall… Here, hook it up to a tube Marshall and then let me know… If and when they get you down to stop playing it!
- It is perhaps the most iconic guitar (along with the Les Paul) and the proof is that practically all the greats have had it.
As it happens for the Les Paul… See Jimmy Page, who always performed live with a Les Paul (with breathtaking wiring) but who recorded many discs with a Telecaster. Lately Fender has produced a Fender Telecaster Jimmy Page Signature Model.
Even Slash in an interview admitted that he loves it, but for obvious marketing reasons he can’t be seen with one of these wonders around his neck …
Here are some great guitarists who use it often (or who have used it in the past): Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), Bruce Springsteen, David Gilmour, Joe Strummer (The Clash), Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd), Jimmi Page (Led Zeppelin), Prince, Andy Summers (The Police), Joe Bonamassa, Mike Stern , etcetera etcetera.
Here are two videos that summarize the essence of why anyone should have a telecaster. The first is 7 Reasons why you should Buy a Fender Telecaster (hilarious ????):
Another very explanatory video is this: ONE guitar to rule them all: TELECASTER | Gear Corner:
If you are convinced or even if only curiosity has arisen, know that on the market there are a lot of models, for all tastes and for all budgets.
For the more traditionalists, for whom the most iconic is always the ’52, know that ’52 reissue on the music market they always find them. But if you have budget problems, or it is your first telecaster and you want to spend less, then I recommend the Fender Telecaster Baja, a great tool (really, I have it and it’s great) at half the price.
Just a gem to close: about the Marshall + Telecaster combination shoot yourself this video, even if it is in German it gives a very good idea:
To you the choice! What is certain is that if you buy one, it sure will not stay in the dust for long … ????
Published on musicanza.it on: 03/07/2020.