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Early History of Leo Fender’s Telecaster

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The History of the First Fender Telecaster continued.

The Esquire was Fender’s initial single-pickup production model which appeared in 1950. Fewer than fifty guitars were originally produced under that name, and most were replaced under warranty because of early manufacturing problems. In particular, the Esquire necks had no truss rod and many were replaced due to bent necks.

Fender Broadcaster (1950), Museum of Making Music

Fender Broadcaster 1950

Later in 1950, this single-pickup model was discontinued, and a two-pickup model was renamed the Broadcaster. From this point onwards all Fender necks incorporated truss rods.

Fender Nocaster (1951), Museum of Making Music

Fender Nocaster 1951

The so-called Nocaster was a short-lived variant of Telecaster. Produced in early to mid-1951, it was the result of legal action from the Gretsch company over the guitar’s previous name, the Broadcaster.

In the interim, before Fender had come up with an alternate name and printed appropriately revised headstock decals, factory workers simply snipped the “Broadcaster” name from its existing stock of decals, so guitars with these decals are identified simply as “Fender”, without any model name. By the summer of 1951 the guitar was officially renamed as the Telecaster and has been known as such ever since.

Keith Richards Playing Vintage American Telecaster

Keith Richards Playing Telecaster

Later Leo Fender created and began marketing the new and more refined (and personal favorite) Stratocaster in 1954, and he expected the Strat to replace the Tele. But the popularity of the Tele amongst musicians, professional and amateur alike, clamoured to the musical instrument’s many virtues and unique musical personality, keeping the Tele in demand will into the 21st century.

Like many great creations, the Telecaster had humble beginnings. The ‘log’ guitar isn’t pretty, but it was the start of the biggest guitar revolution the world has ever known. Thanks, Leo.

Source: Leo Fender’s 1943 Prototype Electric Guitar | GuitarPlayer

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