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Fender honors Chicago guitarist Terry Kath with meticulous new Custom Shop LE Terry Kath Telecaster

The Fender Custom Shop's LE Terry Kath Telecaster.
(Image credit: Fender)

The Fender Custom Shop has unveiled its latest creation, a point-for-point replica of Terry Kath's heavily customized 1966 Telecaster.

Created by Master Builder Dennis Galuszka, the LE Terry Kath Telecaster is limited to just 50 examples, and meticulously captures every unique element – and there are plenty – of the Chicago guitarist's heavily-customized number one axe. 

For starters, it boasts a heavily-relic'd ‘52 Tele ash body in aged vintage white with a lacquer finish, and a custom ‘67 Tele maple neck with 21 frets and a 7.25” fretboard radius.

Just as on Kath's original Tele, the guitar features a synchronized Strat trem with a sawed-off Tele bridge plate. Alongside a more typical Tele bridge pickup, the guitar features a humbucker in the neck, wired in with custom routing and directed by a reverse control plate.

Elsewhere, there are custom tuning machines, three “wing” string trees, gaffer tape on the rear of the body (which Kath used to conceal the routing) and, of course, exacting replicas of each and every one of the many stickers Kath applied to his beloved guitar.

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The Fender Custom Shop's LE Terry Kath Telecaster

(Image credit: Fender)
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The Fender Custom Shop's LE Terry Kath Telecaster

(Image credit: Fender)

“This moment has been a long time coming,” said Michelle Kath Sinclair, Terry’s daughter, in a press release. “When we were making the documentary about my dad (Chicago: The Terry Kath Experience), we didn’t know where the guitar was, so the film almost became a hunt for this Telecaster guitar. 

"We finally found it at my grandpa’s house; he labeled all of the guitar cases and this one said 'Terry’s favorite.' Finding this guitar meant everything to me, because it feels like I have a piece of him with me that’s so iconic.

“Bringing the guitar to Fender for the first time was probably one of the most exciting days,” she added. “Going into Dennis’s workspace, I got to see his tools, how the flow works and how they go about the process of making the guitar, which is really cool. He nailed it. My hope for the replicas is that they find really good homes with people who are just as excited as we are about them being in the world. It means a lot to our family.”

Terry Kath performs onstage with his heavily customized 1966 Telecaster

(Image credit: David Redfern)

Of course, this is an ultra-limited, hand-built Fender Custom Shop creation, and that's reflected in the price. All told, the LE Terry Kath Telecaster rings up at an even $20,000.

For more info on the guitar, head on over to the Fender Custom Shop.

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at guitarworld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.