It helped to launch the careers of musical icons such as Keith Richards and Joe Strummer, but now the Fender Telecaster is celebrating a landmark of its own.
Sixty years ago this month, the guitar manufacturer launched the instrument and, in doing so, broke new ground and set trends in electric guitar manufacturing and popular music, NPR Music reported.
And chances are, if you’ve listened to any kind of rock, pop or country music over that time period, you would have heard a Telecaster being delicately strummed in the background.
The impact of the Tele is far reaching. Credited with revolutionising guitar playing and changing the sound of music it has become a signature instrument for guitarists worldwide. Country and western artists took to it first, with the bright and trebly sound it produced going hand in hand with the genre.
It’s a sound that changed the way that manufacturers set about designing their guitars and the way in which artists went about playing them. Originally released to the music world as an electric guitar for the country and western field, the Tele has since evolved into a cross-genre instrument.
The Tele pretty much stayed in country music in the 1950s and moved over to rock and roll in the 60s.
Over the years, many famous guitarists have used the Telecaster to record their songs. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Jonny Greenwood, George Harrison and even Jimi Hendrix are among them.
A few years back, Guitar Buyer magazine’s Paul Alcantara named the Fender American Vintage 52 Tele as one of his top ten guitars of all time:
“The Tele’s blue-collar credibility has made it a favourite with rockers, from Keith Richards to Bruce Springsteen,” he wrote in an article for the Independent.
“Like ‘Keef’ himself, it has seen off prettier competition and can still be seen rocking on stages around the world.”
A fitting tribute to an instrument that’s popularity shows no signs of abating.
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