The Fender Telecaster
Ed Bickert: Ed is a premier jazz player who started playing a Telecaster when his regular guitar was in the shop, and he has used it for the rest of his career.
Roy Buchanan: A blues/rock musician whose playing inspired the likes of Jeff Beck, earning him the title “The Guitarist’s Guitarist’s Guitarist,” was a faithful Tele man during his solo career.
James Burton: James has played a Telecaster since he was 13, and he has influenced many other guitarists. He was the most visible player of the Tele in the late ’50s, appearing on television with Ricky Nelson almost every week on the Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. His most famous guitar is the Paisley Red Tele, which he first used while performing with Elvis Presley. He has also played with Gram Parsons and Merle Haggard. As a long-time Tele player, he wrote a foreword to A. R. Duchossoir’s book detailing the history of the guitar.
Albert Collins (“The Master of the Telecaster”) created his original blues sound using minor open tunings and a capo placed high up on the neck. Fender offers an Albert Collins Signature Telecaster based on his ’66 model, which features a humbucker in the neck position.
Hugh Cornwell: one of the founding members of the Stranglers is a long-standing Tele player.
Graham Coxon: Graham has relied on the Telecaster for the majority of his career, achieving a distinctive sound underlined by an inventive use of effects that played an integral part in Blur’s success during the 1990s. He uses a blonde 1968 Telecaster with a Gibson PAF Pickup, a 1960 Lake Placid blue Telecaster Relic, and a 1972 Telecaster Deluxe, while his time with Blur saw him use a reissue 1952 blonde Telecaster.
Steve Cropper: Steve creates rhythm work known to be spare and crisp using the back pickup of the Telecaster, playing with Stax session band Booker T. & the MGs, who backed such stars as Otis Redding and Sam & Dave.
Danny Gatton: he played a customized ’53 Tele whose specifications were replicated by Fender for his Signature model, including unique angled bridge saddles for improved intonation of the classic 3-saddle bridge, and use of Joe Barden pickups.
Ted Greene: a Southern California guitarist, helped Fender design an accurate ’52 Telecaster vintage reissue (their first such reissue) by referencing his extensive collection of old Telecasters, Broadcasters and Nocasters. Ted was most famous as being one of the top jazz guitar instructors on the west coast. He was also the author of several instructional books “Chord Chemistry,” “Modern Chord Progressions,” and Single Note Soloing Volumes 1 and 2.”
Jonny Greenwood: of Radiohead has made extensive use of the Telecaster since the ’90s. He exclusively uses the Telecaster Plus model with a humbucker in the bridge position and a cut off button.
PJ Harvey: PJ used to play a borrowed 1967 Telecaster (from friend John Parish) during her early career. In a 1995 interview to Guitar Player, she declared: “John’s Telecaster is closer to my heart. It’s on all my records — I used to nick it all the time.” Later, in 2000, when she received the Mercury Music Prize, she bought her own 60s Telecaster.
Robyn Hitchcock: has used a Telecaster since 1979 for his distinctive English electric psychedelic sound, and said that it “… chose itself for me as my favourite electric guitar, because so many of my favourite guitar riffs were played on it.”
Steve Howe: Steve has used a 1955 Telecaster, customized with a different toggle switch and a humbucker in the neck position for the first time in the entire 1974 YES album “Relayer”, and after that frequently uses his Telecaster in various live performances and in several studio recordings.
John 5: John is a heavy metal/country guitarist who has played with Marilyn Manson and who is known for his proficiency at shredding. Fender now produces a J5 Signature Telecaster which John 5 co-designed.
Albert Lee: whose instrumental work has influenced many other guitarists, has played a Telecaster since 1963. As a long-time Tele player, he wrote a foreword to A. R. Duchossoir’s book detailing the history of the guitar.
Alex Lifeson: the guitarist of Rush, frequently uses the Telecaster in live performances and in studio recordings.
Rick Parfitt: of Status Quo, “one of Britain’s longest-lived bands,” is a faithful Tele player.
Brad Paisley: plays guitars from an extensive collection of Telecasters and Tele-inspired models, including his “warhorse,” a ’68 Red Paisley model (the same model that James Burton made famous) named “Old Pink.” One notable feature on some of his guitars is a G-bender device. Paisley has custom Tele-inspired models made by Crook Custom Guitars.
Will Ray: has been part of the Telecaster trio the Hellecasters from 1993-on. He is known for extensive use of the B-Bender and finger-mount slide on his Telecaster. In recognition of the Hellecasters’ contributions to the Telecaster, Fender has produced more signature models for the group than for any other group, including two Will Ray signature models: the Jazz-a-Caster and the Mojo-Tele.
Keith Richards: has composed many classic riffs with The Rolling Stones using a variety of Telecasters. His main axe is a ’52 Tele named Micawber, which features a 5-string open G tuning and a humbucker in the neck position.
Francis Rossi: of Status Quo, “one of Britain’s longest-lived bands,” is a faithful Tele player.
Arlen Roth: has been a respected artist ever since his first solo album won the Montreaux Critics’ Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year in 1978. He was Guitar Player Magazine’s top columnist from 1982 to 1992. He has performed with such diverse artists as John Prine, Rick Wakeman, and Paul Simon. He is a Telecaster enthusiast, and has written the book Masters of the Telecaster, which details the licks of many famous Tele players.
Bruce Springsteen: has long played a 1952 Esquire upgraded with a Telecaster neck pickup. The guitar appears on the cover of his 1975 album Born to Run.
Joe Strummer: of The Clash was “the most visible Tele player” in late 1970s punk, using his famous stickered instrument throughout his career, up until his death.
Pete Townshend: though famous for his Tele smashing in the 1960s with The Who, spared his favorite guitar, a 1952 vintage Telecaster.
Muddy Waters: helped build a bridge between the blues and rock with his “walls of electrified sound,” played on his red ’57 Telecaster. Fender sells a Muddy Waters Telecaster, one of the guitars in its Signature series.
Clarence White: of The Byrds, along with drummer Gene Parsons, invented the B-Bender device for the Tele for emulating pedal steel guitar effects.