The history of the Fender Telecaster, the world's first mass-produced solidbody electric guitar

Fender Telecaster
(Image credit: Future)

The Fender Telecaster was the Big Bang moment for the electric guitar. The world’s first mass-produced solidbody electric, it has had an immeasurable impact on popular culture. What is the secret to its success? Simplicity is one factor. The best designs have simplicity baked-in. 

The 21st-century Telecaster assumes many forms, and yet, whether you are talking about the vintage-inspired instrument from the American Original or Vintera series, or a flagship US build from the American Professional II lineup, the design principles behind Fender’s workhorse electric have remained largely unchanged. 

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.