Fender Telecaster

Often seen as the less popular choice in comparison to the two main forerunners of guitars that are the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster, the Fender Telecaster is still a strong seller regardless today.

It developed out of its original incarnation as the Fender Esquire. Leo Fender cleverly thought that more could be done to develop the design and tonal flexibility of that particular model. Initially being called the Broadcaster, the Telecaster name came along after threats of legal action from Gretsch due to their Broadkaster drum kit being already registered. Strangely enough, Fender now own Gretsch.

The Fender Telecaster indeed may have begun the rock revolution that still plays today.

Picture courtesy https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/premier-collector-6-custom-built-strats-and-fender-tube-amps-1

So after a period in which the instrument remained unnamed, the Fender Telecaster came about as a nod to the Television with its own name. The basic instrument remains unchanged today from its original incarnations, and has survived much competition.

The basis of the design of the Telecaster is a simple one. For the most part, the Fender Telecaster is a two pickup alder body and simple design, with one volume and one tone. The necks for the most part were maple with rosewood fingerboard, but later on maple fingerboards were introduced.

It is still a strong and high selling choice of Fender guitars today. Although many different types of Fender Telecaster models have seen the light of day, the history of the guitar has inspired many guitarists, particularly those playing country music or similar styles, such as rockabilly.

Fender are undeniably a leading brand of electric guitars, even to this day.

Picture courtesy https://imjustcreative.com/fender-logo-design-evolution/2013/06/16

When the Fender Telecaster was originally introduced as an electric guitar, the design was so forward thinking that it was broadly mocked by the general public but was quickly realised as a work of genius shortly afterwards when people began to play the Fender Telecaster.

In any case, for the guitar to be examined in its latest and greatest form, one must observe the Fender American Professional Telecaster specifications, courtesy of www.fender.com:

Surprisingly Fender Telecasters with Maple necks are a relatively new addition in its own history.

Picture courtesy https://www.google.com.au/search?q=fender+telecaster&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjo1Ljv1LzWAhVIvrwKHdJ_C2QQ_AUICigB&biw=1920&bih=984#imgrc=P_mb5zEtRiHSEM:

GENERAL:

Series: American Professional

Colours Available:

Butterscotch Blonde

Sonic Grey

3-Colour Sunburst

Natural

Crimson Red Transparent

2-Colour Sunburst

Olympic White

Black

Mystic Seafoam

BODY:

Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

Body Material: Ash

Body Shape: Telecaster®

Body Style: Single Cutaway Solid Body

NECK:

Fingerboard Radius: 9.5” (241mm)

Fret Size: Narrow Tall

Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane Front, Satin Urethane Back

Neck Material: Maple

Neck Shape: Modern “Deep C”

Number of Frets: 22

Nut Material: Bone

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Position Inlays: Black Dot

Truss Rod Nut: 1/8” American Series

Truss Rod Wrench: 1/8” Hex (Allen)

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Telecaster

Controls: Master Volume with

Neck Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Telecaster

HARDWARE:

Bridge: 3-Saddle, Strings-Through-Body Tele with Compensated Brass Saddles, 6 screw mounting with removable modern “Ashtray” bridge cover.

Control Knobs: Knurled Flat Top

Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome

Neck Plate: 4-Bolt

Pickguard: 1-Ply Black

Tuning Machines: Fender Standard Cast/Sealed Staggered

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: Fender® USA 250L, NPS (.009-.042 Gauges)

 

From the basic evolution from the Esquire, to its modern incarnation, the Fender Telecaster has proven worthwhile as an instrument. Although a simple beast, a beast it is.

It has attracted a variety of players, such as Joe Strummer from the Clash and Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd, amongst many others. It is an important part of rock and roll history, along with the two main contenders of rock guitars – the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster. It is well known for its country and clean, twangy like tone.

Make sure that you at least own one Fender Telecaster if indeed you are a professional guitarist. This guitar is a true piece of history and deserves a place in your home.

Leo Fender: a true pioneer of the rock and roll guitar, who is sadly missed to this day.

Picture courtesy http://www.strat-talk.com/threads/happy-102nd-birthday-leo-fender.110520/

References:

  1. http://tonereport.com/blogs/lifestyle/an-abridged-history-of-the-fender-telecaster
  2. https://www.fender.com/articles/gear/the-one-that-started-it-all-a-telecaster-history

Fender Stratocaster

Arguably the most iconic and one of the most popular guitars out there, the Fender Stratocaster was a culmination of evolution and design by Leo Fender himself and simply blew away the vast majority of competition for many years.

The Fender Stratocaster was design with the practical idea of guitar evolution in mind. Prior to this solid body electric guitar, the Telecaster was the main electric guitar, released in 1952. Many loved the Telecaster yet saw much room for improvement.

Jimi Hendrix himself played Fender Stratocasters extensively.

Picture courtesy https://www.pri.org/stories/2013-02-18/new-recording-surfaces-jimi-hendrix-gig-london

Leo Fender himself, although most certainly a pioneer of this art form of guitar design, took advantage of the fact that despite himself not being a guitarist, he listened to others and developed the Stratocaster as an evolved guitar that relied on three single coil pickups rather than an ordinary one or two pickup set up. With a revolutionary shaped body, maple neck and awesome looks, the Fender Stratocaster was an instant hit with guitar players and musicians alike when released in 1954.

Since the Fender Stratocaster itself was launched, there were and are many different types of Stratocasters to choose from. However, for the purposes of this article, the Fender American Professional Stratocaster will be observed as the most iconic Stratocaster present today.

To begin with, the Fender Stratocaster only came in one model. It generally was made of Ash to begin with, and also came in a two tone sunburst finish. Eventually after a few years, the body wood was switched to Alder for the most part. A three tone sunburst finish was later applied to the guitar for a wider range of colours to display.

Leo Fender was the primary architect behind the Fender Stratocaster for the first several years of production.

Picture courtesy https://blog.andertons.co.uk/guitars/the-man-behind-fender-guitars-leo-fender

The tremolo system and similar features were also improved around the late 1950’s for the Stratocaster. The neck’s profile of the Stratocaster also evolved gradually during this time. The famed Rosewood fingerboard came in the late 1950’s as well, sparking the decades long maple vs. rosewood debate which still continues today.

Although the Fender Stratocaster began well, CBS took over the operations of Fender after Leo Fender sold the operations of the business due to ill health. This is known as a dark era for Fender Stratocaster guitars and Fender in general, as craftsmanship and standards began to decline.

The CBS era of Fender operations is often negatively regarded by Fender Stratocaster aficionados.

Picture courtesy http://www2.fender.com/experience/guitarchive/the-stratocaster-in-the-1970s-part-ii/

Arguably, it was not all bad. Two major additions were notable throughout this era: the introduction of a five way pickup selector (well received by guitarists) and the larger headstock (not well received by guitarists) made a feature throughout this era. In various forms, both of these continue to this day.

When the company was officially on life support in the mid 1980’s, it was revived when new management under Bill Schultz revived the organisation to a better place.

Today, the Fender Stratocaster is sold in dozens of new forms and there are many varieties available for purchase. For the purpose of this article, let’s observe some statistics of the Fender American Professional Stratocaster with pickups designed by legendary pickup maker Tim Shaw, courtesy of www.fender.com:

Fender fortunately are still going strong today.

Picture courtesy https://seeklogo.com/free-vector-logos/fender

GENERAL:

Series: American Professional

Colours:

Sonic Grey

3-Colour Sunburst

Sienna Sunburst

Antique Olive

Black

Olympic White

RRP (Australian Price): $2,899

BODY:

Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

Body Material: Alder

Body Shape: Stratocaster®

Body Style: Double Cutaway Solid-Body

NECK:

Fingerboard Radius: 9.5” (241 mm)

Fret Size: Narrow Tall

Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane Front, Satin Urethane Back

Neck Material: Maple

Neck Shape: Modern “Deep C”

Number of Frets: 22

Nut Material: Bone

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Position Inlays: Black Dot

Truss Rod Nut: 1/8” American Series

Truss Rod Wrench: 1/8” Hex (Allen)

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Strat

Controls: Master Volume with Treble-Bleed, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge and Middle Pickups)

Middle Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Strat

Neck Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Strat

HARDWARE:

Bridge: 2-Point Synchronised Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles and Pop-In Tremolo Arm

Control Knobs: Aged White Plastic

Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome

Neck Plate: 4-Bolt

Pickguard: 3-Ply Parchment

Tuning Machines: Fender Standard Cast/Sealed Staggered

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: Fender® USA, NPS, (.009-.042 Gauges)

 

Additionally worth mentioning is that there are three main outlets to choose Fender Stratocasters from are on an affordability basis. These are the Squier by Fender models; Fender models and Fender Custom Shop Models. Websites are provided below for those who are interested in a starting point for the Fender Stratocaster:

www.squier.com

www.fender.com

www.fendercustomshop.com

Overall, this guitar is an essential and perfect piece of history that sounds great, and fits the bill for many musicians out there.

Many Fender Custom Shop models are fantastic additions to any guitarist’s collection.

Picture courtesy https://reverb.com/news/a-brief-history-of-the-stratocaster-part-ii

 

References:

  1. http://billybadaxe.com/the-fender-stratocaster-history-models-and-players/
  2. https://reverb.com/au/news/a-brief-history-of-the-stratocaster
  3. http://www.guitaristsource.com/guitars/fender-history.shtml

Gibson Les Paul

The Gibson Les Paul is perhaps the most iconic guitar, along with the Fender Stratocaster. It follows a deep and rich musical history of rock that goes way back to the invention of the electric guitar itself.

The Gibson Les Paul goes back to the pre rock and roll days where there was no such a thing as a proper solid body guitar that existed. Many failed attempts had occurred in order to create a solid body electric guitar that would work properly and not feedback. This was a major problem with semi hollow electric guitars that existed prior to the invention of the solid body electric guitar.

Les Paul was a fascinating and forward thinking inventor and musician who was instrumental in creating the Gibson Les Paul.

Picture courtesy http://www.gibson.com/LesPaul2013.aspx

A young inventor and guitarist named Les Paul came along with an idea for a solid body electric guitar that worked. Nicknamed “The Log”, it was a simple invention of a pine log with strings and pickups on it. Nonetheless, it worked, but not well enough for Gibson’s liking. Gibson management dismissed the guitar as “a broomstick with pickups on it”.

Still, it took the creation of a solid body guitar by another instrument maker named Fender to come up with the first commercially created electric guitars, the Fender Telecaster, for Gibson to recommence work with Les Paul on a solid body electric guitar model.

Eventually in 1952 after being nudged into the electric guitar market, the release of the original Gibson Les Paul was an instant success, creating a competitor for the electric guitar market. The original Gibson Les Paul came in a Goldtop finish and additionally with P-90 pickups. Eventually these were replaced with the world’s first humbuckers in 1957, patented for and designed by Seth Lover for Gibson.

Nudged along by Leo Fender, Gibson had to act in creating their own solid body electric guitar.

Picture courtesy http://spotlight.fender.com/newsroom/logos/

Sadly, due to the lack of demand for electric guitars, the Gibson Les Paul was not made throughout the majority of the sixties. From 1960 to 1968, no Gibson Les Pauls were made and were replaced with what is now the Gibson SG. However, players such as Eric Clapton reintroduced the Gibson Les Paul back into the world of music and Gibson reintroduced them in 1968.

To this day, many guitarists favour the Gibson Les Paul. It has become one of the most popular and iconic guitars in modern day music. Players such as Slash, Jimmy Page and Randy Rhoads all played Gibson Les Paul guitars extensively throughout their careers.

The Gibson SG nearly replaced the Gibson Les Paul during the majority of the 1960’s.

Picture courtesy http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-SG.gc

So what is the guitar made up of?

For those most part, the guitar follows a basic design that is very memorable for any guitar player out there. With an almost circular body with a lower cutaway for ease of access to the high frets on the lower area of the guitar, the Gibson Les Paul is instantly recognisable in that respect.

It has four control knobs. Two are for customisable volume on the neck and bridge pickup respectively, and two are for customisable tone on both pickups of the guitar itself.

The body is made out of mahogany, which gives it a rich and sustainable tone. The neck has a rosewood fretboard. It is very easily to dial in an instantly recognisable sound that is for, loud pulsating rock tones.

The Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty was originally an idea going back to Les Paul himself, relating the colour of the guitar to that of a tuxedo.

Picture courtesy http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Les-Paul-Custom.aspx

On most Gibson Les Pauls, there is no vibrato bar or Floyd Rose style system unlike what is present on many Fender Stratocaster style guitars. It is a simple design for many to enjoy.

For those of you wishing to begin somewhere, there are a lot of different Les Pauls for people to choose from. One would separate the Les Paul categories into differences of design and also price. In other words, separating the Les Paul family into the Traditional and High Performance lines of production, and more noticeably, into the Gibson and Epiphone lines of production. From there, one can develop a sense of understanding about what one desires to pick in terms of Les Pauls.

There are all sorts of different types of Gibson Les Pauls to choose from. Let’s however, observe the Gibson Les Paul Standard T 2017, which is the flagship line of the Gibson Les Pauls out there, courtesy of http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2017/USA/Les-Paul-Standard.aspx#LPS17HSCH1:

The Gibson Les Paul has been divided into two distinctive line ups by Gibson: the traditional (T) line and the High Performance (HP) line. These two guitar line have many different Les Paul options to choose from.

Picture courtesy http://www.zzounds.com/item–GIBLPNSTDP16

PRICE: $799

TOP FEATURES:

Grover Locking Kidney Tuners

TekToid™ Nut

Rosewood Fingerboard

Slim-Taper Neck

AAA Flamed Maple Top

Mahogany Body with Ultra-Modern Weight Relief

Burstbucker Pro Rhythm and Lead Humbuckers

Classic Gibson controls with 4 push/pull switches

Aluminium Tune-o-Matic bridge and stop bar with steel thumbwheels/posts

‘Classic Gibson Hardshell case

 

BODY:

Top:

Wood Species: Maple

Pieces: 2

Grade: AAA

Binding: Cream

Back:

Wood Species: Mahogany

Pieces: 2

Density: Low

Binding: None

Weight:

Weight Relief: Ultra-Modern

Average Weight (Body only): 4lbs/6.7oz

Materials Used:

Glue: Franklin Titebond 50

Tonal, Resonant, and/or Technical Effect: N/A

Body Contour:

Carve: Classic

 

NECK:

Neck:

Wood Species: Mahogany

Pieces: 1

Details:

Truss Rod: Les Paul

Profile: Slim Taper

Thickness at Fret 1: .800”

Thickness at Fret 12: .875”

Average Weight: 1 lbs 2.0 oz

Peg Head:

Type: SP1-B

Inlay: Mother of Pearl

Peg Head Binding: None

Logo: “Gibson”

Silkscreen: Gold “Les Paul Model”

Headstock Angle: 17 degrees

Neck Fit:

Joint Angle: 5.0 degrees

Joint Angle Tolerance: 0 deg 0 min 15 sec

Type: Mortis and Tenon

Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50

Gauges Used: Pitch Height Gauge and Alignment Gauge

Nut:

Style: Nut

Material: Tektoid

Width: 1.695”

Slots:

E – 0.046”

A – 0.036”

D – 0.026”

G – 0.016”

B – 0.011”

e – 0.009”

Fingerboard:

Wood Species: Rosewood

Pieces: 1

Shade: Dark

Fingerboard Details:

Radius: Compound Radius

Frets: 22

Nut/End of Board: 1.695” @ nut, 2.260” at end of board

Scale: 24.75”

Binding: Cream

Site Dots (Colour): Black

Fingerboard Inlays:

Style: Trapezoid

Material: Acrylic

Dimensions: Large – 0.66” x 1.17” Small – 0.24” x 1.56”

Average Weight: 4.16 oz

 

FINISHES:

Bourbon Burst:

Colour Code: B8

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss 90 Sheen Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 mils

Top: Bourbon Burst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

Blueberry Burst:

Colour Code: B9

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss 90 Sheen Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 Mils

Top: Blueberry Burst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

Heritage Cherry Sunburst:

Colour Code: HS

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 mils

Top: Heritage Cherry Sunburst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

Honey Burst:

Colour Code: HB

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss 90 Sheen Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 Mils

Top: Honey Burst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

 

ELECTRONICS/PICKUPS:

Style: RHYTHM – Rhythm Pro; LEAD – Lead Pro

Winds/Coil; Screw side/Slug Side: RHYTHM – 5000 / 5200; LEAD – 5300 / 5500

Materials of Wire (Gauge): RHYTHM – Enamel (42); LEAD – Enamel (42)

Coil Dimensions (per coil): RHYTHM – 2.61” x 0.68”; LEAD – 2.61” x 0.68”

Coil Material: RHYTHM – ABS; LEAD – ABS

Coil Winding Process: RHYTHM – Machine Wound; LEAD – Machine Wound

Pole Piece Material: RHYTHM – Nickel Plated Steel; LEAD – Nickel Plated Steel

Pole Piece Position from Nut: RHYTHM – 18.625”; LEAD – 23.437”

Slug Material: RHYTHM – Nickel Plated Steel; LEAD – Nickel Plated Steel

Slug Dimensions (diameter x length): RHYTHM – 0.187” x 0.489”; LEAD – 0.187” x 0.489”

Magnet Material: RHYTHM – Alnico 5; LEAD – Alnico 5

Magnet Position from Nut: RHYTHM – Alnico 5; LEAD – Alnico 5

Magnet Dimensions: RHYTHM – 2.375” x 0.5”; LEAD – 2.375” x 0.5”

Cover: RHYTHM – Chrome; LEAD – Chrome

Qfactor: RHYTHM – 5.4; LEAD – 5.35

Resistance DC: RHYTHM – 7640 Ohms; LEAD – 7980 Ohms

Resonant Frequency: RHYTHM – 2863.30 Hz; LEAD – 2780.20 Hz

 

ELECTRONICS/CONTROL POCKET ASSEMBLY:

Type: LEAD VOLUME – 500k Push/Pull “Coil-Tap”; RHYTHM VOLUME – 500k Push/Pull “Coil Tap”; LEAD TONE – 500k Push/Pull “Pure By-pass”; RHYTHM TONE 500k Push/Pull “Phase”.

Peak Voltage: LEAD VOLUME – 500V; RHYTHM VOLUME – 500V; LEAD TONE – 500V; RHYTHM TONE – 500V.

Range: LEAD VOLUME – 0-500K; RHYTHM VOLUME – 0-500K; LEAD TONE – 0-500K; RHYTHM TONE – 0-500K.

Power Rating: LEAD VOLUME – ¼ watt above 100k ohms; RHYTHM VOLUME – ¼ watt above 100k ohms; LEAD TONE – ¼ watt above 100k ohms; RHYTHM TONE – ¼ watt above 100k ohms.

Resistance Tolerance: LEAD VOLUME +/- 20%; RHYTHM VOLUME +/- 20%; LEAD TONE +/- 20%; RHYTHM TONE +/- 20%.

Minimum Resistance: LEAD VOLUME – 200 ohms; RHYTHM VOLUME – 200 ohms; LEAD TONE – 200 ohms; RHYTHM TONE – 200 ohms.

Capacitors: LEAD VALUE; RHYTHM VALUE.

 

HARDWARE:

Tuning Keys:

Style: Grover Locking Kidney

Material: Chrome

Weight: 1.5 oz

Tuning Keys Details:

Tuning Ratio: 18:01

Gear Type: Worm

What is allowable turn: +/- 4 degrees

Plating Specs: Chrome

Part Numbers: 430-15851 / 52

String Dimensions:

E: 0.046”

A: 0.036”

D: 0.026”

G: 0.016”

B: 0.011”

e: 0.009”

Bridge:

Style: Tune-o-matic

Material: Aluminum

Plating Specs: Chrome

Part Number: 430-14451

Weight: .96 oz

Dimensions of String Slots:

E: 0.058”

A: 0.048”

D: 0.038”

G: 0.028”

B: 0.019”

e: 0.014”

Tailpiece:

Style: Stop Bar

Compensated: No

Material: Aluminum

Plating Specs: Chrome

Part Number: 430- 14451

Weight: 1.12 oz

Output Jack:

Style: ¼” mono gold plated positive contact

Jack Plate:

Style: Les Paul Square

Material: Chrome

Part Number: 430-19467

Weight: 0.21 oz

Strap Buttons:

Material: Aluminum

Plating Specs: None

Part Numbers: 430-19160/60E

Weight: 0.14 oz

 

PLASTICS:

Pickguard:

Style: Les Paul

Part Number: 430-12093

Truss Rod Cover:

Style: Black/White Bell, Stamp “Standard”

Part Number: 430-19398

Knobs:

Style:  Amber Top Hat

Part Number: 430-19691

Dial Pointers:

Yes/No: No

Control Plate(s) (Backplate Cover):

Style: SS infused polycarbonate for ESD protection

Part Number: 380-12209

Control Plate(s) (Switchplate Cover):

Style: SS infused polycarbonate for ESD protection

Part Number: 380-12211

Switch Washer:

Style: None

Part Number: N/A

Trim Rings:

Style: Cream Humbucker Low/High

Part Number: 430-13894 / 430-13893

 

ACCESSORIES:

Case:

Style: Hard Shell

Colour: Brown

Strap Locks: None

Tools: Gibson USA Multi-Tool, Gibson USA Premium Strap, Gibson USA Polishing Cloth

Manual: Gibson USA’s owners

COA/Other: None

 

For those who are unfamiliar with the Gibson Les Paul, the Gibson Les Paul deserves an honourable mention as a wonderful guitar, and a flexible one for the basic and easy-to-use design. Visit www.gibson.com for further information. Keep an eye on this blog as other Gibson Les Pauls will be posted about in the future as well.

Virtually any guitarist should and must own a Gibson Les Paul at some point during their lifetime.

Picture courtesy http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Les-Paul-Custom.aspx

References:

  1. https://www.biography.com/people/les-paul-9435046
  2. https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/feature-gibson-les-paul-through-years/

 

Welcome!

Hello and welcome!

Over the oncoming weeks, months and years I will be publishing some interesting, valuable and fascinating articles about various pieces of gear that I have discovered over time to be worth covering.

I am looking forward to continuing this research. In the meantime, if you are interested, please check out my other website, projectevh.com

Enjoy!

Chris Airey