The history of Fender Telecaster pickups

Fender Telecaster Pickups
(Image credit: Future)

Whether you call it the Esquire, Broadcaster or Telecaster, Fender’s T-type was not the company’s first electric musical instrument. Leo Fender started making lap steels in 1946, with many of the design concepts carrying over to Fender’s first ‘electric Spanish’ guitar. 

On Fender’s famous red two-pickup prototype of 1949, it’s clear to see that the neck pickup was taken straight out of a Champion lap steel – the giveaways being its shape and two mounting screws on the one side that tap straight into the body. 

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Huw Price

Huw started out in recording studios, working as a sound engineer and producer for David Bowie, Primal Scream, Ian Dury, Fad Gadget, My Bloody Valentine, Cardinal Black and many others. His book, Recording Guitar & Bass, was published in 2002 and a freelance career in journalism soon followed. He has written reviews, interviews, workshop and technical articles for Guitarist, Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player, Acoustic Magazine, Guitar Buyer and Music Tech. He has also contributed to several books, including The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman. Huw builds and maintains guitars and amplifiers for clients, and specializes in vintage restoration. He provides consultancy services for equipment manufacturers and can, occasionally, be lured back into the studio.