Monday, April 23, 2007

Fender Rosewood Telecaster

The Fender Custom Shop is running a limited release of the 2007 Fender Rosewood Telecaster. This guitar is solid rosewood. A rosewood body and neck (not just the fretboard.) The '07 Rosewood Tele will only be offered until December 31st of this year.

This guitar is a reissue of the rosewood model that fender produced in the 1969. Only a handful of originals were made, and most of them ended up in famous hands. Fender of Japan also reissued this guitar in the 1980's with a really close reproduction, so don't break the bank thinking that you have found an original rosewood without doing your homework.

If you have the bucks, you can order a '07 Rosewood Tele from Sweetwater Sound. I have not played one of these (not sure that anyone has yet,) but I would imagine they would be very interesting. I would expect them to be quite heavy, with a more lively tone (possibly brighter on the treble side of the spectrum) than a standard ash or alder body, maple neck telecaster. The sustain has to be great, as rosewood is well-known for tone, and that accompanied by its fairly heavy weight should translate into sustain, at least in theory.

This is a very cool and very intriguing guitar. With a limited run, the reissue is bound to be a good investment, so long as it doesn't go into standard production later (as some Fender reissues have.)

At slightly over $4000, this is a cooler than average Custom Shop Tele for an average Custom Shop price. If you have that kind of expendable income, this would be a great way to unload it. I don't, so if you do, please let me know how it plays.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Great Delay Pedal

I just bought one of these, and I love it! Great for a country-sounding discrete slapback. It is a little tricky to dial in, as the repeat control has to be really low, but not off. However, the sound is fantastic. No hum, and really warm sounding.

I know, it's not a tele, but it sounds good with a tele plugged into it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New Custom Shop Andy Summers Tele

Fender will be releasing the Andy Summers Tele in the third quarter of 2007. It is a relic recreation of the Police guitarists heavily modified and heavily worn 1961 telecaster. There will only be 250 made, and Summers himself will be playing the first one on the 2007 Police reunion tour.

The guitar has a lot of quirkiness about it, like a built-in overdrive unit that is controlled by a third knob protruding from the body, in a somewhat random-looking location. There is also a pre-amp on-off mini-toggle protruding from the body as well. I guess he ran out of room on the control plate quickly.

The relicing of the finish is done very carefully, reproducing the correct wear marks to match Summers original axe.

I am sure the price on this won't be small, probably similar to the Jeff Beck Esquire model that went for over ten grand. This definitely wouldn't be my choice of Custom Shop telecasters, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Fender seems pretty enthused about this thing, and has even created a mini-website centered around the guitar. It's not that I am not a Police fan, I guess I just don't understand wanting a cloned guitar. Maybe if I was in a Police tribute band...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Redd Volkert

Yet another great telecaster player that many have heard, but few have heard of. Redd Volkert took Roy Nichols' place in Merle Haggard's band, and has done a countless amount of studio work in the country genre. His playing is a bit more twisted than Nichols, and he is cited by Brad Paisley as his main influence.

A great example of Redd's twisted take on country guitar can be heard on Brad Paisley's instrumental on the "Mud on the Tires" album titled "Spaghetti Western Swing." Volkert and Paisley trade leads back and forth, and with the exception of Paisley's unmistakable tone, become nearly indistinguishable. Crazy, way-outside-the-box modal stuff, with insane chops on top of it. Very cool.

Also, there is a Merle Haggard album on which he re-cuts his hits with a new band, and they are all fantastic players. Redd is featured very well on that album. A truely talented and tasteful player.

The Gear Page, Interesting Discussion

Here is an interesting thread that started in January on The Gear Page.

This guy is talking about falling in love with the telecaster, and how he originally thought they were bland and industrial. There are many interesting comments following his opening. Definitely worth a quick read.

The Gear Page is a musicians discussion forum that I just found recently. I am guessing it may be affiliated with the Telecaster Discussion Page, or else it just uses the same software. There is no link from one to the other, so maybe not. Anyway, it is another interesting forum to read that discusses music gear.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Technology at its finest, or maybe its worst

If you look up ridiculous in the dictionary, it should say "see also, this." A genuine Fender Telecaster with an integrated Hewlett Packard tablet laptop. The pickups are routed directly into the computer for direct recording. This thing is pure insanity. And I thought the Line 6 stuff was getting bad!

They advertise the ability to plug straight into the PA when playing live. Right. I'm sure that the computer can easily replace my tweed Fender tube amp. I'm also sure that the big computer screen resonates every bit as well as a high grade ash or alder body. I'll definitely be rushing out to track this thing down to replace my tele. And then I'll ice skate in hell.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Telecaster Bass

Okay, so it's not really a Telecaster, but it's made by Fender and has the word Telecaster printed on the headstock. Here's a great example of a 70's tele bass.

The telecaster bass came about in 1968, and was basically a reissue of the pre-1954 Fender Precision Bass. In '54, the P-bass shape was changed to a strat-like outline, rather than the previous tele shape.

The Tele bass was never extremely popular, although it was an adequate instrument. The Fender Precision and Fender Jazz overshadowed it pretty dramatically, eventually forcing the tele bass out of production.

Just thought I would give the tele bass a passing mention, as it falls into a niche somewhere in the category of "all things telecaster".

Vintage Teles

Here is another source for vintage Fender Telecasters. is a retail vintage guitar shop located in Chicago. They also run their vintage retail business online, with a pretty large inventory on their website. Check out the vintage Fender page to see what they have to offer.

They also carry some cool stuff like high-end amplifiers and effects pedals.

Here's a flavor of tele that you probably forgot about. Definitely not the most prized axe out there, but a cool piece of Fender history, anyways.

On a more serious note, here is a 1972 thinline. This thing is sweet! There is a reason Fender reissued this exact guitar in its vintage series. Fat tone, humbuckers with a hollow body. Not your typical telecaster twang, but more of a Les Paul meets 335 fatness. Very cool.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A REAL 1952 Telecaster!

Here are some great pictures of a real 1952 Fender Telecaster that is for sale right now. This is not a reissue, this is a real blackguard. Oh, and if you have an extra 25 grand, you can do more than just look at the pictures.

The guitar is for sale at Elderly Instruments, a music shop that has a print and online catalog. They are a "real" music shop, in that they do have an actual store in Lansing, Michigan. I have not done any business with Elderly, but I have heard good things. They have a rating system that they use to describe the condition of used instruments, and are supposedly very honest in doing so. They often point out flaws in the instrument in the write-up they are using to sell it, which is admirable.

I like to stop by their site once in a while to see what vintage gear they have for sale. They have very interesting consistently, like pre-World War II era Martin's (yes, a tele fanatic is allowed to drool over those too. I do.)

Oh, and just in case that '52 wasn't enough to drool over, here is a '56 with a period-correct Bigsby. Enjoy...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Hellecasters

If you are interested to hear what a Telecaster is capable of (three Telecasters, technically) check out The Hellecasters, if you haven't already. This three-guitar supergroup is composed of Will Ray, John Jorgenson, and Jerry Donahue.

These guys cover many styles, from rock to jazz to traditional country (not that any of thier guitar playing could ever be called traditional.) In terms of technique, I have never heard a band with this caliber of guitar ability. They are simply amazing. Musically, you can decide for yourself, but in terms of pure technical ability, these guys are pretty much untouchable as a trio.

Ray and Jorgenson come up with some pretty twisted stuff. If you want to hear two-hand tapping in a traditional country tune, or a way-outside-the-box modal line in a rock context, you will hear it here. Their chops are approaching the supernatural, with things such as banjo-roll style cascades (together, in harmony mind you) at ridiculous tempos. Your mind will be officially blown, trust me.

Hipshot benders

Here's a fairly cheap and easy way to get into a bender-equipped tele. Have one of these installed by someone qualified (yourself if that's the case) and you're on your way for less than 300 bucks. This unit has a B-bender that is activated by a hip lever, a G-bender you run with your palm, and a lever that gives you instant and accurate drop-D tuning.

To be honest, I have never used one of these units. I like the strap activated benders, and bought a McVay. However, a lot of players really like Hipshots, and Will Ray uses them exclusively.

They are less invasive to install than most internal benders, and their installation is basically reversible (as long as you're careful) in the event that you do not like it. They are a bit ugly from the front, in my opinion, but are supposedly very functional and accurate.

If you want a tele with a bender (Hipshots can be installed on other models as well, but this is no place to discuss such ridiculousness) but are suffering from sticker shock, give a Hipshot a try.