What can we say about the Fender Telecaster? What words can describe this masterpiece of a guitar? Revolutionary? Yes. Trend setting? Absolutely. Groundbreaking? Without a doubt.
Introduced as the Fender Broadcaster in 1951 and later renamed Telecaster, it was the first solid-body electric guitar to be produced in mass production. This was no accident of course. Innovative founder Leo Fender felt that from a production standpoint he could improve on the current process. His development of separate modular parts constructed in an assembly line fashion revolutionized the guitar industry. By bolting on the neck to the body instead of traditional method of gluing it in, the Telecaster could easily be serviced. The electronics also were convenient to access for repair or replacement through a removable plate as opposed to going through the f-holes on top.
Simple in design yet incredibly effective, the Telecaster was a smash. Its bright tone allowed musicians to experiment with new sounds and can be heard in early ground-breaking songs of all genres, including rock and roll, blues and country. Its solid body allowed the Telecaster to keep a quality tone and pitch at loud volumes and therefore was the ideal lead instrument, a task hollowbodied guitars were not up to.
Many famous guitarists throughout history have embraced the Telecaster as their guitar of choice. Artists such as Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, The Edge and Prince, to name just a few, have all turned out an impressive repertoire of songs, highlighting the Fender Telecaster's versatility.
Even though Fender has gone on to produce other popular guitars and bass guitars, the Telecaster has never gone out of style. The fact that it has been in continuous construction for going on 60 years (albeit with minor changes along the way) speaks for itself. You might call the Telecaster elder statesman of the guitar industry, the "granddaddy" if you will.
From purposefully humble beginnings a legend was born. The Fender Telecaster will forever hold a revered place in music and guitar history. With more than 50 different guitars lending their uniqueness to the Telecaster family, the legend is growing and there's no slowing it down.