Introduced as the Broadcaster in 1950, the Telecaster got a new name the following year after a trademark dispute with Gretsch, a competing manufacturer.
The Telecaster’s name was inspired by America’s hottest new pastime of the era — the television.
The Telecaster’s twangy sound has made it a widely used guitar in country music, most prominently by Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Brad Paisley.
Other well-known Telecaster players have included Muddy Waters, Keith Richards, John 5, Steve Cropper, Eric Clapton and Elvis Presley sideman James Burton.
Jimmy Page famously used a Telecaster for his solo on “Stairway to Heaven.”
Hawaiian steel guitars provided the inspiration for the Tele’s “ashtray” bridge cover, among several other features.
The Telecaster’s tuners are all located on one side of the headstock, an idea borrowed from 19th-century Istrian folk guitars and Viennese Staufer guitars.
Telecaster bodies are typically made of ash or alder, with a combined neck and fingerboard carved from a single piece of maple.
The Telecaster’s neck is bolted onto the body, rather than being glued in. This innovation has been used on many other Fender models.