Photo Gallery: Masters of the Telecaster, Which Celebrates its 60th Anniversary This Year
Some might argue that the Fender Telecaster has spent the majority of its 60 years in the shadow of its younger, more free-wheeling brother, the Fender Stratocaster.
But while the Strat might inspire a sense of fire-wielding recklessness, the Tele is the more stern, more workhorse-like instrument -- the older sibling who pulls its little brother out of the fire when the flames get too hot.
It is this unyielding utilitarianism that gives the Telecaster its low profile but helps it maintain its status as the weapon of choice for some of the world's most renowned guitarists.
After the Fender Esquire, the Broadcaster was Leo Fender's first successful mass-produced solid-body electric guitar. Not wanting to contend nominally with Gretsch's "Broadkaster" drum kit, Fender drew inspiration from the latest entertainment trend, television, and renamed his guitar the Telecaster in 1951.
Although it was little more than an Esquire with an additional pickup and a truss rod in the neck, the instrument was a hit. With the Telecaster, players could produce a dynamic range of sounds at high volumes without unwanted feedback. Given the stage was set for a bold, new musical form, the timing of the Telecaster's birth was perfect.
Though other solid-body electric guitars, many with advanced upgrades, have since come to dominate the marketplace, the Telecaster remains in production, and in a variety of models.
It may not be incredibly exotic, but take it from the list of faithful Tele players below: The Telecaster is the most pure, most dependable electric guitar invented in the last 60 years.
And 60 years from now, it probably still will be.
Steve Cropper - Booker T. & the M.G.s, The Blues Brothers
Andy Summers - The Police
Danny Gatton - Jazz, rockabilly, country guitarist; aka "The Telemaster," "The Humbler"
Bruce Springsteen - aka "The Boss;" Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Jim Root - aka "Number 4;" Slipknot, Stone Sour
James Burton - American session musician (Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Cash, The Monkees)
Roy Buchanan - Blues guitar master
John 5 - Rob Zombie guitarist
Jonny Greenwood - Radiohead
Brad Paisley - Country music star (with serious chops)
Steve Morse - The Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple
Joe Strummer - The Clash
Jimmy Bryant - "The Fastest Guitar in the West," half of Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West (both pictured above)
Jimmy Page - The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin (before he made the switch to a Gibson Les Paul -- and since then, too, as shown in a scene from It Might Get Loud)
Keith Richards - aka "Keef;" The Rolling Stones
Clarence White - The Byrds, Nashville West
Albert Collins - Blues legend; aka "The Ice Man," "The Master of the Telecaster," "The Razor Blade"