Electric Guitar 101 (Part 3 – Fender Telecaster)

Welcome back to Part 3 of your 6 part series designed to give you everything you’ll need to know about thw world’s most popular electric guitars so you’ll have no problem deciding exactly which is right for you when you buy your first (or next) axe. Today, we’re going to be discussing the world’s very first electric guitar, invented by Leo Fender himself. We’re going to be diving into the world of the Fender Telecaster. The Fender Telecaster is a solid body electric guitar that holds a special place in rock guitar history. You can see it in all genres but mostly rock, punk and especially slow blues. A ton of rock and country legends have used the Telecaster.

The Telecaster can be thought of as an incredible, old school electric style of guitar that may have gotten more modern electronics over the years but all in all has stayed very similar to the original models that came out in 1950. While its less common now than it used to be, most people who use a Telecaster play it for very specific reasons because of its unique tone as opposed to the Fender Stratecaster which has a much more universal appeal.

The wood and the pickups are what gives it its sound. The front pickup, which is called a soap bar, has a different sound to it than most people may be used to. It’s a very good rhythm guitar that has a bit of a twang thanks to it’s metal plate.

Relative to Les Paul, the Stratecaster a longer neck length which makes it easier to get on the upper strings for playability.

Scale length: The Telecaster scale length is 25.5 inches, which is a bit longer than many other guitars. This increased length gives it a cleaner and brighter sound. This also allows your hand to move up and down the neck very freely.

Pickups: It has a soap bar on the front and the back has a standard single coil pickup. A popular modification is to replace the single coil pickup with a humbucker pickup, however because of the design this is not possible to do on all models of the Telecaster. On the bright side, there’s a near endless variety of fantastic sounding single coil pickups that you can swap in and out if you’re not thrilled with the sounds of the pickups that come with the Telecaster out of the box.

Tremolo bridge: You can find models of Telecasters that have standard bridges as well as models that have tremolos. Most Telecaster players prefer lighter gauge strings as opposed to other guitars. For quick reference, the higher the gauge number, the thicker and heavier the sound. Most heavy metal players will use 11 gauge and higher, whereas its very common on a Telecaster to find 10, 9, or even 8 gauge strings

Players like Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen were both big fans of their Telecaster.