5 Reasons You Need a Telecaster

There are hundreds of variations on guitars available, we live in 2018 and it’s the era of innovation. The wheel has been reinvented countless times by guitar builders large and small. One question that always comes up, especially for someone like me who loves the old guard of guitars, is “Does it need to be reinvented?”.

In my opinion, I feel that there is a reason that a guitar that was designed in 1950 still sells by the boatload nearly 70 years later. Quite simply, they got it right.

I was personally a latecomer to the Telecaster party because I spent about 5 years trying to find “the one”. I had the perfect Telecaster in my mind and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what I wanted so it took me a long time to add one to my collection.

Here are 5 reasons why I believe every guitarist should own a Telecaster:

Telecaster Guitar
Did you know the Telecaster was origionally called a “Broadcaster”?

1. They are Unbelievably Versatile.

After nearly 70 years, the tone of a Telecaster is still very much relevant. What’s the common link between Rage Against The Machines “Killing in the Name Of”, The Rolling Stones “Start Me Up”, Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown” and countless Slipknot tracks? You guessed it…

There are many guitars that claim to be a one stop shop, but can you really go from country to jazz with a detour via blues, classic rock and politically charged rap metal with anything other than a Tele? I don’t think so.

2. They have a Real Vintage Vibe.

With an age in line with the average retiree, you’d think the Telecaster would not be seen as “current” but like a fine wine, it seems to get better each year. Recent years has seen a resurgence in bands craving a vintage vibe tonally and visually. Nothing will add a vintage vibe to your sound like a Telecaster.

3. The Ultimate Guitar for Playing Heavy and Fast.

The Telecaster has been given a makeover for the modern needs of the guitarist who wants to get heavy. Slipknot guitar maestro Jim Root has been a Telecaster advocate for many years and has a signature model available. This Drop B tuned, EMG loaded metal machine shows that the Telecaster can hang with the heaviest.

80s guitar shred hero Richie Kotzen (Of Mr Big and Poison fame) also sports a signature model. The Telecaster is not the first guitar you’d lean to when you think of 80s style, blurry fingered shred guitar but I dare you to tell Richie Kotzen that you can’t shred on one!

4. The Legacy of the Instrument

If there is one thing you can’t argue with, it’s the pedigree of players that have laid waste to countless stadiums full of screaming fans. While there are too many to list I’m sure this short list will give you an insight of who has trusted their tone to the Telecaster:

  • Prince
  • Jeff Beck – During his time with the Yardbirds
  • Jimmy Page – Led Zeppelin
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Graham Coxon – Blur
  • John 5 – Marilyn Manson/Rob Zombie/David Lee Roth
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Johnny Greenwood – Radiohead
  • Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi – Status Quo
  • Muddy Waters
  • Joe Strummer – The Clash

And no list is complete without a very specific Telecaster player. Listing his name here will not do justice to his impact of the guitar. This was one of the biggest reasons I’ve chased one for many years…

5. Keith Richards Plays Them

Guitarists come and go, but has anyone else in the history of rock and roll stood there with a Telecaster slung around their neck and commanded the stage as much as Keith? The Rolling Stones guitar legend makes his 5 string, Open G tuned Telecaster named “Micawber” scream, shout and tear the ears off a vast number of audience members year upon year.

Since the early days of the Stones, Keith has been spotted with a plethora of guitars around his neck, but there is one guitar that he comes back to time and time again for live and studio work.

If you have never experienced a Telecaster, I would urge you to get out and try one, buy one, love one and play it like you mean it. It’s unforgiving, it’s heavy, it’s simple, it’s not elegant… but it’s rock and roll. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


About the Author

Leigh Fuge is a guitar teacher and professional musician from Swansea in the UK. He has taught hundreds of students face to face and via the MGR Music platform. He has over 10 years’ experience working in the industry as a touring musician, session guitarist and teacher.


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