Top 5 Guitarists Who Play the Fender Telecaster Electric Guitar

Updated on May 14, 2018
Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.

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!

Source

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, The Byrds, and "Nashville West."

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.

Source

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

    © 2012 Wesman Todd Shaw

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      • profile image

        Ed Plaia 

        9 months ago

        uh...Roy Buchannon

      • Mikel Cassara profile image

        Mikel Cassara 

        2 years ago

        Jimmy Page should be number one. Also, I own a Les Paul with a ebony body and gold plated gear. I also own a fender telecaster. I love the Telecaster for rythm and bluesey stuff. Plus its alot lighter. Furthermore, the pick attak on classical scales on the Les Paul is much more advanced. Sadly, the Gibson has some bass tones I dont really care for on chords and rythm guitar. So simply, I love playing my Telecaster for rythm and etc. But for lead guitar and soloing, the Gibson sounds better. Both are American made guitars as well. If I had to choose one I would go with my Gibson. Somethings, I just cant translate to the Telecaster. Oh yeah non of these guys on this list can play like Jimmy Page. Page learned alot from Clapton. Also, Page was a drummer before the Yardbirds. Just understanding how good he got on guitar is at such a fast rate is truly the key.

      • profile image

        Yorke 

        2 years ago

        Jonny Greenwood? No? Ok.

      • profile image

        Sean M. 

        2 years ago

        Mike Bloomfield had such an amazing tele tone on Butterfield Blues bands self titled album! That B bender from Clarence on Chestnut Mare is also quite timeless. Robbie Robertsons tele work with Dylan and the Band is also some of my favorite. There are really just too many to mention, but the article is great and more light should be shown on the tele and its long list of preferred players.

      • profile image

        Mr geo 

        2 years ago

        James Burton, absolute telecaster master, auto play them all. See Roy Orbison "Black and White Night"

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Yeah, hard to have everyone's fave in a 'top five' thing :/

      • profile image

        Hilly 

        2 years ago

        You forgot my fav Keith Urban. Cheers.

      • profile image

        R garrison 

        2 years ago

        Brent Mason,Redd Volkert

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Adam, I never ever ever forget Jeff Beck. He didn't use a tele that often though.

        Aiden, Brad is a great one. He has a signature series tele, I think, and I'm going to write about that.

        John, I can't do a page with everyone on it -page would be too long, and would load too slowly!

      • profile image

        Aiden 

        3 years ago

        You guys forgot Brad Paisley!

      • profile image

        Adam Mackenzie 

        3 years ago

        I'm a Jimmy Page fan but how did you forget Jeff Beck??

      • profile image

        John Montagna 

        4 years ago

        Andy Summers. Chrissie Hynde. Albert Collins. Mike Stern. Prince. George Harrison (during "Let It Be" sessions). Cornell Dupree. Danny Gatton.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Oldwest, thanks for that. Yes, I like him very much!

      • profile image

        oldwest 

        4 years ago

        Don't forget Terry Kath of Chicago. One of the most underappreciated guitarists of the 70s.

      • profile image

        Mickey von K. 

        4 years ago

        Great article! So glad to see Don and Buck on the list. I am a big fan and a Tele player myself. All the other choices were excellent. Too bad we lost Don Rich so young...

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        SideShowBob1 - please do feel free, Bob, to write your own articles better than mine. You are also free to have your own tastes and opinions, but when you show up to complain only, you're just a dipshit.

      • profile image

        Boscoe. 

        5 years ago

        Great read....I like all these guys and even got hank with Pete Anderson and record for a week.It was amazing.I would have a hard time not including Steve Cropper.

      • profile image

        5 years ago

        wow. no mention of james burton.. really??

      • profile image

        SideShowBob1 

        5 years ago

        OMG...a list of Canoe Paddle pickers that doesn't include Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan and James Burton is a worthless list. Shame on you...and including Jimmy Page..?? You'd be hard pressed to find someone who ripped off and plagiarized more old black bluesmen than Page. He never had an original riff in his life and I despise him for that.

      • profile image

        afoolsparadise 

        5 years ago

        Jeff Beck with the Yardbirds...

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Tim - Thanks! I agree, but what I know about webpages is...you can't list them all, if the page is too long, nobody will read it! Cheers!

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        tonymead60 - Thanks very much, Sir! I think Albert Lee wore out some Teles as well...these top five list things are forever flawed!

        ...can't think of everything.

        I'll bet you do love that PRS! Those are the best new electric guitars in ages!

      • tonymead60 profile image

        Tony Mead 

        6 years ago from Yorkshire

        Hi Wes,

        nice hub bro, I suppose the tele, is the poor relative of the strat in a way. The strat always gets the glory, and very few mention tele's.

        One of my favourite players for this guitar was the English band Status Quo, who beat the hell out of their tele's. It has a more raw sound than other Fenders I think great for The Boss and such like guitarists.

        Never played one myself, always happy with Gibsons, well until I bought the PRS and I must say that's my baby these days.

        cheers, good luck. voted you up.

        Tony

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Howdy Haywire!!! Don't worry, I'll eventually wind up with webpages to venerate a ton more of my favourite musicians.

        I do think, however, that people are sort of drawn to "top five," or "top ten" style articles.

      • HaywireGuitars profile image

        HaywireGuitars 

        6 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-USA

        Hey Wesman!

        Please don't forget about my old friends Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton. They weren't too bad either.

      • profile image

        alastar packer 

        6 years ago

        Awesome WT, thanks. Check it out on the 'morrow!

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Oh Yeah!!!!

        I know that one for sure!!!!

        There was a great tribute album of stars covering GP songs - that is another one I no longer have, but I'll give you a link to one of my fave songs from it here.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TxFL1pI8m8

      • Alastar Packer profile image

        Alastar Packer 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        WT if you haven't seen it already go to You-Tube for 'Christine's Tune' with Gram and the Burrito's, some psychedelic country music bro!

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Cardisa!!!!

        We've all got our own culture, and all we can do is try to celebrate what we've found that is positive or enjoyable, and disregard the rest!

        Also....being totally broke, I tend to focus on what I know - for ease of production!!!

        Disseminating ideas across the world wide web is bound to be exactly what is needed for the furthering of the cause of "the brotherhood of man."

        Holy shit I just went left field!!!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 

        6 years ago from Jamaica

        I am embarrassed to say I knew nothing of these singers and guitar players. Of course it could be that I am from a different side of the universe..er..I mean planet...lol. Very interesting.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        NICE!!!!!!!!!!

        ...and I recognize the song that the book title came from too! "Return Of The Grievous Angel."

        Gram Parsons had such great talent!!! I'm afraid my Flying Burrito Brothers disc is scratched to hell, and I can't rip it to my computer.

        I guess I'll have to download a torrent! Someday I'll get around to reading that book too!

      • Alastar Packer profile image

        Alastar Packer 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Hey WT, really learned about Clarence White from the Gram Parsons bio 'Twenty Thousand Roads' -excellent read btw.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Thanks very much Alastar Packer !!!

        I'm very pleased every time someone recognizes the name "Clarence White."

        It's sad that few know much about him any more. He'll always be, of course, THE MAN in Bluegrass guitar.

        I think I should add a picture of Bruce, "The Boss" Springsteen in here, as he has always been pictured with a Telecaster.

        Hendrix definitely has got enough press, but of course he always played the Stratocaster.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Hey Froggy!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did some Googling, and DID find that Clapton had played a Telecaster, that isn't surprising - he's played every other guitar at one time or another, but of course Eric was and is mostly associated with the Fender Stratocaster.

      • Alastar Packer profile image

        Alastar Packer 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        This was really cool reading WT. Didn't know the early history of the strat. Clarence White was a guitar players guitar player, tragic he got hit by a car. The Byrds were the fave group as a little boy. Started this hub thinking Mr Hendrix would show up but he's got enough press as it is lol.

      • Sunshine625 profile image

        Linda Bilyeu 

        6 years ago from Orlando, FL

        I grew up listening to Zep and The Who thanks to my brothers. I didn't become a fan of country 15 years ago. So I guess I'm a "know it all" in most genres:)

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Thanks very much timmathisen!!!!!!!!!

        If you needed a reason to blast some Zeppelin today, then I'm very happy to provide one for you!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        timmathisen 

        6 years ago

        Great hub! The Tele is a fine instrument, with a distinct sound. Sounds like a good enough reason to listen to LZI today.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Thank you very much, Michael!!!

        I'd like to have one myself!!! I think that because I tend to mostly play a country/folk kind of style, that one would suite me perfectly!

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Thanks Very Much, Sunshine!!! - I'd have picked you more for a Dwight Yoakam fan, and Pete Anderson!!!

        I'm pretty fond of Mr. Page too!

      • Michael J Rapp profile image

        Michael J Rapp 

        6 years ago from United States

        Very cool, Wesman! The Fender Telecaster is a classic guitar used by a lot of great players over the years. I've always wanted to own one, but never got around to it yet.

      • Sunshine625 profile image

        Linda Bilyeu 

        6 years ago from Orlando, FL

        Rock on Wesman!!! Awesome list of fine guitar players! My personal favorite is Jimmy Page from this list. Awesomeness!!!

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Thanks Heavy Reviewer!!!!!!!!!

        I'd read that Page's "black beauty" Les Paul was stolen on his first LZ tour of the US, and that he was using that after recording LZ one....but it was recorded with the Tele.

        Of course Joe Walsh gave Jimmy Page the Les Paul that we always recognize him with.

      • TheHeavyReview profile image

        TheHeavyReview 

        6 years ago

        Jimmy Page rules! Great hub, as always. The telecaster isn't my favorite body style, but it's a classic for sure. It's interesting that Jimmy played mostly the telecaster on LZ1... one of their best albums.

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