Top 5 Guitarists Who Play the Fender Telecaster Electric Guitar
The Fender Telecaster
The Fender Telecaster - The Revolutionary Electric Guitar!
The Fender Telecaster debuted in March of 1950, and the world of music has never looked back. This was the very first solid body electric guitar to be produced in any sort of memorable numbers, and the sound of the thing, and the simple but effective utility of it ensured that solid body electric guitars would be the wave of the future; and so it was.
Quite naturally, the Fender Telecaster was a hit of an instrument that drew in many an aficionado and many a great guitarist made it their instrument of choice. There was precious little to be improved upon, if anything, with the Fender Telecaster - from the time it became available, there were only more options, and not any tremendous steps up the ladder in terms of technology and the electric guitar. The Fender Telecaster is just as viable and useful an instrument today as it was the first day of production.
Besides all of that, the Fender Telecaster has a unique and special sound that needs no effects, but does well with those too. It's very twangy, and essentially, it is the perfect electric guitar for country music, and country rock.
Don Rich And Buck Owens!
Buck Owens,Don Rich and The Bakersfield Sound
Now before the Fender Telecaster was used for anything else, it was used for electrified country music, and nowhere was this style more prevalent than in Bakersfield, California. The mid 1950s saw the country music of Nashville taking a nose dive in the stylistic sense, and the reaction to that from California was what became known as The Bakersfield sound, and to this day the same stylistic elements that comprised the style are still being heard both far and wide.
Perhaps the man who was most responsible for The Bakersfield Sound was Buck Owens, and his Band, The Buckaroos. The single greatest element of the The Bakersfield sound was the picked leads of a guitarist using a Fender Telecaster, and originally it was Buck Owens that did the guitar playing while Don Rich played fiddle, but Buck taught Don his style so that he could concentrate more on singing. It wasn't long before Don Rich was ready, and he then became the single most noteworthy person to represent that sound, and bring it to the masses. Soon afterwards, such diverse acts as Merle Haggard, The Beatles,The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead would be following in the wake of Don Rich's lead Telecaster twang!
Buck Owens with Don Rich 'Act Naturally'
Pete Anderson Played The Fire Out Of His Telecaster With Dwight Yoakam
Pete Anderson - The Guitarist That Made Dwight Yoakam Great
Now I've not met Mr. Pete Anderson, but strangely enough, I've talked to him on the telephone before. If I told you that story, then I'd not be able to explain it so well without digressing quite a lot from the point of this web page, and the point of this segment of this webpage is entirely that Pete Anderson is one hell of a MONSTER guitarist, and that without him, Dwight Yoakam wouldn't have ever sounded half so good on record as he has, does, or did.
I'm told that Dwight and Pete ain't exactly peas and carrots any more - but all the great albums that Dwight Yoakam made in the past twenty years or so, they all were greater than they'd have been without Mr. Pete Anderson and his Fender Telecaster guitar playing, and sound.
Some musical styles never seem to die, and The Bakersfield Sound appears to be one of those. It's not died, it's just continued on in new and exciting formats, and nobody but nobody has done more awesome music in the style known as The Bakersfield Sound than has Dwight Yoakam, and Pete Anderson is the guitarist that made that all happen.
Dwight Yoakam, Buck Owens - And Especially, The Guitar Of Pete Anderson
Clarence White Blew Minds With His B Bender Telecaster!
Clarence White, The Fender Telecaster, and The B Bender With The Byrds
Clarence White was one of the finest guitarist to ever play, but most folks don't know who he is because he died at a mere twenty nine years of age, and spent the first half of his career playing with The Kentucky Colonels, a bluegrass band. Clarence did make quite a leap forward so far as recognition is concerned, he became the guitar guru for Roger McGuinn and The Byrds.
Besides being the master of the D 28 and D 18 acoustic guitar in the flatpicking style, Clarence White was also the master of the extended jam country blues Fender Telecaster as featured in the latter days incarnation of The Byrds.
Then there was the invention of the Gene Parsons and Clarence White B Bender, a mechanical thing attached to the nut of the guitar with some pulleys and levers, which allowed Clarence to bend strings in one direction (sharp or flat) whilst simultaneously bending adjacent strings the other direction (sharp or flat) - which basically caused head scratched bald, and apoplectic fits amongst guitarist trying to figure out whether or not he'd sold his soul to the devil or if they were just dumb. Quite a nice show, Clarence!!!
Clarence White, B-bender and Minds Blown
Keith Richards Has Nearly Always Played Telecaster Guitars!
Keith Richards, the Poster Boy For The Fender Telecaster
There is probably nobody on Earth who has done more with the Fender Telecaster than has Keith Richards. Keith, of course, Is one of the glimmer twins, the second most known face of The Rolling Stones.
What more needs said here? You all know exactly who Keith Richards is, and who The Rolling Stones are. One thing you might not know about Keith and his guitar style is that Keith Richards is a master of alternate tunings, and is rumoured to viciously guard the secrets of just how he keeps his Fender Telecaster guitars tuned! While Keith has always been the consummate supporting musician who's forever allowed Mick Jagger to take the fore of stage presence, he's also a man who's brought his own unique and tough to match electric rhythm guitar style to the masses like no other.
Keith Richards With The Rolling Stones and His Fender Telecaster!
Jimmy Page And His Fender Telecaster Equipped With The Gene Parsons/Clarence White B Bender
Jimmy Page - The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, and The Fender Telecaster
Now James Patrick Page, most often known as "Jimmy Page," has most often been associated with either his Les Paul, or the Gibson double neck SG that he only used to perform Stairway To Heaven and The Rain Song with, but facts are that he played one of his Fender Telecaster guitars a ton more often than he did that novelty double neck you've seen so many photos of him with.
Jimmy Page never once recorded playing that big red Gibson double neck. He nearly always either used one of his Telecasters, or one of his Les Paul guitars. Especially early on in Led Zeppelin did page play the Telecaster, and especially was that instrument dominant on Led Zeppelin I. He also used the Fender Telecaster very often on the last album recorded by Led Zeppelin, and that was In Through The Out Door. When Page played with The Yardbirds - replacing Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, he played the Fender Telecaster exclusively.
Jimmy Page Burning Up The Fret Board On His 1959 Fender Telecaster!
Waylon Jennings Always Played A Telecaster
The Fender Telecaster - Conclusion
So the Fender Telecaster was the very first solid body electric guitar to go production and be successful. Is there any wonder so many persons adopted it as the very symbol of their own personalized style of guitar playing?
Not if you ask me, there isn't. The Fender Telecaster is just as viable an instrument today as it was in 1955. For all intents and practical purposes, the Fender Telecaster is just a guitar that happens to be meant entirely for plugged in play. The solid body electric guitar is virtually worthless so far as making music without amplification, you know - but with amplification, the Fender Telecaster is every bit the fine guitar on the market as it ever was, and it really wasn't something anyone could ever truly improve upon. The only thing with other and newer solid body electric guitars is the considerations concerning personal preference in regards to sound, playability, and whether or not you want a "whammy bar."
The Gibson Les Paul is very similar to the Fender Telecaster in that it was second, and provides the exact same function and utility, but offered a different feel, look, and tonality. The Les Paul has nothing to be improved upon within it either, and never shall it.
Of course there are far too many guitarist to have played or currently play the Telecaster to ever mention here - a comprehensive list would be so exhaustive as to never be finished. If your favourite Fender Telecaster six string slayer isn't present in this article, then feel free to leave a comment concerning your perceived omission, chances are I feel about as much pleasure in hearing THAT guitarist as some of the ones mentioned here.
Besides the Fender Telecaster, this particular piece of web page journalism features primarily the adherents and practitioners of The Bakersfield Sound, and believe me, that is something that is stylistically dependent upon the Fender Telecaster, and might have never come about without Leo Fender's first solid body guitar.
...bonus, Waylon Jennings, A Fender Telecaster, and The Bakersfield Sound Of "The Dukes Of Hazzard" theme
Questions & Answers
Major mistake! Why does this list of top 5 guitarists who play the Fender Telecaster have no mention of Roy Buchanan?
It's not a mistake at all. I have intentions to write at length about both Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton. Roy and Danny are both icons of the Fender Telecaster, but neither of them were well-known persons at all during their lifetimes or afterward. Roy and Danny were the types of musicians that typically, only other musicians know about. They deserve more respect than I could possibly give to them, but they were never famous.Helpful 5
Why isn't James Burton in this mix, probably the most notable Telecaster player ever?
You can't make any kind of top 5 articles without leaving out a ton of people who could have been there. I don't think it is possible for there to have been any specific "most notable Telecaster player ever," but were I to really go for that as a designation, then due to the huge amount of exposure over so many years, I'd have to say Keith Richards was the most notable Telecaster player ever. Not because he was the best, he certainly wouldn't be that in my mind, but because he played so many years with a band which was always such a big deal.
Of course, Elvis was always a big deal, and James Burton played for Elvis, but Elvis has bee gone for a long long time now, and we've not seen a lot of James since then.Helpful 2
Terry Kath of Chicago played a telecaster Hendrix said Terry was a better player than him?
Jimi Hendrix was a humble guy. Hendrix was a great guitarist, but he was no 'greatest of all time,' or anything. Since his early death there have always been folks who do think he was 'greatest of all time,' but I don't think those persons know a whole lot about guitar playing. Terry Kath was fantastic, and a fantastic singer besides. I believe Jimi Hendrix also once said Rory Gallagher was better than him as well. I believe Kath was deciding he preferred the Strat over the Tele before his early passing.
My personal opinion on great guitarists like Kath, Hendrix, Gallagher, and others in the blues-rock style, or any other genre is - you get to a certain level, and who's best is only a matter of opinion. There are far too many genres of guitar playing for any person to be 'the greatest guitarist of all time.' But since we're kind of on that subject, when he was alive, many people believed Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia was the single most advanced guitarist in the world.Helpful 2
I only discovered Danny Gatton last week but I was wondering why he wasn't part of the top 5 glad to know you are going to write about him also did you. Consider Brad Paisly?
I'd have to check the date of this article, but it's old insofar as me being a writer goes. I'm not ashamed of this article. I super love everyone mentioned. I will say, however, were I to write this article today, it would likely be much much longer, and I'd have probably made it entirely about virtuoso players, leaving all other factors out of it.
Here's the deal: Any time anyone writes an article about 'Top 5' of anything, the thing is absolutely certain to leave out a lot of persons, or things which were every bit as good, and even possibly better (depending upon the measure of what is or is not better within confines of parameters, like fame, virtuosity, etc)
Keith Richards, for instance, is fantastic, super famous. He's even pretty hard to dislike, even if you don't like classic rock, everyone seems to appreciate how he's a pretty good guy and has been a huge influence in music. But is Keith even in the same league as Danny Gatton in terms of skill? Of course not.
I'm not sure I even really knew about Danny Gatton until much more recent years. Oh I'd read about him from my gigantic stack of guitar magazines dating back to the early 80s, but I don't truly recall having heard him play until I had a computer and the internet, and saw videos on Youtube.
So what I did was just try to promote the Telecaster from different angles. I figured Page should be in there because he was using a Tele for some stuff which was at least very close to early heavy metal. I also figured it would be cool to name someone who maybe others didn't know much about, and I had always especially loved the early Dwight Yoakam albums, and so I used Pete Anderson instead of Brad Paisley
I'd imagine my love of Dwight Yoakam also influenced including Buck Owens and Don Rich. I knew most people would remember Buck Owens, but maybe had forgotten Buddy Rich.Helpful 1
Have you, the writer of this article, ever seen the 'Dregs' Steve Morse play guitar? Steve is amazing and the Telecaster he hybridized was he used almost exclusively the first.
I had Dixie Dregs cassette tapes in the late 80s and early 90s when I was taking guitar lessons. My guitar teacher made them for me. My teacher had a Tele. I never got to see the Dregs play, but I saw Steve Morse on accident. In other words, I had no idea I would be seeing him.
"Cat Food" is my favorite Dixie Dregs number.
I went to a concert where there was Lynryd Skynrd and Deep Purple. I knew neither band had original lineups at all, but when Deep Purple was playing, I was just amazed. I had no idea who that guy was, as I was way back in the back at the amphitheater. So I moved to the front, and I recognized Steve Morse, as I knew what he looked like. He wasn't playing his modified Tele creation with Deep Purple. He was playing his Ernie Ball Music Man guitar.
© 2012 Wesman Todd Shaw