A prototype 1968 Fender Rosewood Telecaster built for Elvis Presley has been listed for sale on Reverb.
According to the music marketplace, the electric guitar is one of six prototypes, and a sister six-string to the Rosewood Tele beloved by George Harrison, who used his during the Beatles’ iconic 1969 rooftop gig atop the Apple Corps headquarters in London.
The listing states that the King of Rock and Roll used the ‘68 Rosewood Tele “intermittently” for a period of a few months, but at 9lbs and 9oz, Elvis ultimately deemed it too heavy for him, and so sent it back to Eddie Miller, Fender’s Nashville rep at the time.
Currently listed for $295,000, the guitar looks to share the same spec sheet as George Harrison’s Rosewood Tele, with a chambered rosewood body and maple veneer center with a poly finish, rosewood neck and fretboard, two single-coil pickups – the bridge with staggered pole pieces and the neck featuring a chrome-plated cover – and controls pots dating back to 1964.
The guitar also comes with a letter written by Eddie Miller dated September 16, 1969, verifying its provenance, as well as its original hardshell case and additional photo documentation.
For more information about the listing, head to Reverb (opens in new tab).
Following George Harrison’s championing of the Fender Rosewood Tele, regular production of the guitar commenced in 1969, with a few changes from the prototype models. These alterations included a bolder mid-’60s ‘transition’ logo, instead of a black CBS-era decal, which was trickier to see against dark rosewood.
Despite the Beatles association, the initial launch of the guitar was somewhat underwhelming, with no bespoke advertisements created. Instead, the guitar simply appeared on a Fender price list in May 1969, described as “Telecaster, (Dual Pickups) Rosewood”.
The Rosewood Tele has been in and out of production since the early ‘70s. Fender launched the George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster in 2017 with a run of 1,000 instruments, and following a spike of Beatles hype as a result of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back documentary, the same model was re-released this year as a “limited-edition tribute”.
The Telecaster was not the only Fender model to get the all-rosewood treatment. Fender once built a Rosewood Stratocaster – of which only two were ever built – one of which was intended for Jimi Hendrix. Sadly, however, Hendrix passed away before the guitar was made.