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Top Telecaster players: All

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Oct 21 2010
1 George Harrison (1943–2001) of The Beatles received a prototype Rosewood Telecaster as a planned gift from Fender in 1968. Fender selected the better of two prototypes built, flew it to England in its own personal seat along with a courier, and hand-delivered the guitar to Apple offices in December 1968. Harrison used this guitar during The Beatles famous 'Get Back Sessions' as well as on the Beatles' 1970 album Let It Be and 1969's Abbey Road. Of equal notability, Harrison used the rosewood Tele for the Beatles' last public performance in 1969, famously referred to as 'the Rooftop concert'. Harrison subsequently gave this instrument to Delaney Bramlett. 31239
2 Bob Dylan (born 1941) owned a black-and-white 1958 Telecaster which became one of his first electric guitars, shaping his controversial electric sound. He used this guitar on his epic 1966 tour of Australia and Europe. </ref> 22955
3 Bruce Springsteen (born 1949) has long played a 1952 Esquire upgraded with a Telecaster neck pickup. The guitar appears on the cover of his 1975 album Born to Run. </ref> 21884
4 Jimmy Page (born 1944), though more known for his use of the Gibson Les Paul, used a Telecaster in his earlier work with The Yardbirds and on Led Zeppelin's first album, as well as on Stairway to Heaven, one of Led Zeppelin's most famous tracks. </ref> 9850
5 Jeff Buckley (1966–1997), an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, used a borrowed '83 Telecaster that became a staple of his performances and recordings. </ref> 8139
6 Keith Richards (born 1943) has composed many classic riffs with The Rolling Stones using a variety of Telecasters. </ref> His main axe is a '52 Tele named Micawber, which features a 5-string open G tuning and a humbucker in the neck position. </ref> 7771
7 Syd Barrett (1946–2006), psychedelic icon and founding guitarist/singer/songwriter of the band Pink Floyd; used a unique mirror-disk covered Esquire. Although Barrett's mirror-disk guitar has been called a Telecaster in several sources, a photograph shows clearly that it has no neck pickup, and is therefore an Esquire. See: </ref> 7159
8 David Gilmour (born 1946) has used a Telecaster and Esquire from Fender in addition to his regularly used Fender Stratocaster. His beat-up looking Esquire was used on his 1978 self-titled solo album on backing tracks, </ref> the studio version of "Run Like Hell" from The Wall, and recently on Paul McCartney's Run Devil Run album. It was also pictured on the back of his 1984 solo album About Face. He used a Telecaster for some early recordings, and used a sunburst Telecaster for all of the guitar solos (both live and in studio) on the track "Dogs" from Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals. He used a 1952 reissue yellow Telecaster on live performances of "Run Like Hell" on the live albums and home videos Delicate Sound of Thunder and P*U*L*S*E, </ref> as well as on performances of "Astronomy Domine" (as originally written and performed by Esquire player Syd Barrett -- see above) on the European leg of the tour in support of The Division Bell . A recording of the song was included on P*U*L*S*E. 5948
9 Chrissie Hynde (born 1951) has often used her blue Telecaster with The Pretenders, and it was pictured on the jacket of their album Get Close. </ref> 4851
10 Jeff Beck (born 1944) Emerging in the mid 1960s with The Yardbirds, Beck proved that a ragged Fender Esquire could moan like a fuzzed-out violin. His lines in “Heart Full of Soul” and “Evil Hearted You” defined psychedelic guitar. </ref> 4756
11 Muddy Waters (1913–1983) helped build a bridge between the blues and rock with his "walls of electrified sound," played on his red '57 Telecaster. .</ref> Until 2010, Fender sold a Muddy Waters Telecaster, one of the guitars in its Signature series. 4345
12 Brad Paisley (born 1972) plays guitars from an extensive collection of Telecasters and Tele-inspired models, including his "warhorse," a '68 Red Paisley model (the same model that James Burton made famous) named "Old Pink." One notable feature on some of his guitars is a G-bender device. Paisley has custom Tele-inspired models made by Crook Custom Guitars. 4073
13 Keith Urban (born 1967) regularly plays Telecasters, one of which features decorative binding and three pickups. 4062
14 Pete Townshend (born 1945), though famous for his Tele smashing in the 1960s with The Who, </ref> spared his favorite guitar, a 1952 vintage Telecaster. </ref> 3810
15 Waylon Jennings (1937–2002), a country legend, played a 1953 Telecaster that was covered with white-and-black leather carved in an oak leaf and floral motif. He has been honored by Fender with a Waylon Jennings Tribute Telecaster. </ref> 3809
16 Joe Strummer (1952–2002) of The Clash was "the most visible Tele player" in late 1970s punk, using his famous stickered instrument throughout his career, up until his death. </ref> 3601
17 PJ Harvey (born 1969) used to play a borrowed 1967 Telecaster (from friend John Parish) during her early career. In a 1995 interview to Guitar Player, she declared: "John's Telecaster is closer to my heart. It's on all my records â€” I used to nick it all the time." Later, in 2000, when she received the Mercury Music Prize, she bought her own 60s Telecaster. 3006
18 Mike Oldfield (born 1953), aged 16, got a 66 blonde Telecaster which used to belong to Marc Bolan. He performed all the guitar parts of his breakthrough album Tubular Bells with this guitar, and most parts of his next albums. 2530
19 Jonny Greenwood (born 1971) of Radiohead has made extensive use of the Telecaster since the '90s. He exclusively uses the Telecaster Plus model with a humbucker in the bridge position and a cut off button. </ref> 2154
20 Alex Lifeson (born 1953), the guitarist of Rush, frequently uses the Telecaster in live performances and in studio recordings. 2032
21 Merle Haggard (born 1937) - revolutionized country music with his twangy Telecaster sound, along with Buck Owens and Roy Nichols. 1984
22 Robbie Robertson (born 1943) of The Band, used a Telecaster from 1958 to 1974. His trusty Telecaster can be heard on many of the Band's recordings. 1407
23 Vince Gill (born 1957), who replaced fellow Tele-player Albert Lee in Rodney Crowell's backing band, uses a '53 Telecaster as his primary stage guitar. 1245
24 Buck Owens (1929–2006), along with Don Rich and their custom sparkle-finish Telecasters, helped create the distinctive Bakersfield sound of country music in the early 1960s. </ref> Owens' personal Telecaster was gold with a red, white, and blue pickguard, reminicesant of his famous American Flag style Acoustic guitar. 1056
25 Steve Howe (born 1947) has used a 1955 Telecaster, customized with a different toggle switch and a humbucker in the neck position for the first time in the entire 1974 YES album "Relayer", and after that frequently uses his Telecaster in various live performances and in several studio recordings. 873
26 Graham Coxon (born 1969) has relied on the Telecaster for the majority of his career, achieving a distinctive sound underlined by an inventive use of effects that played an integral part in Blur's success during the 1990s. He uses a blonde 1968 Telecaster with a Gibson PAF Pickup, a 1960 Lake Placid blue Telecaster Relic, and a 1972 Telecaster Deluxe, while his time with Blur saw him use a reissue 1952 blonde Telecaster. </ref> 805
27 Andy Summers (born 1942) of The Police almost always used his '61/'63 Telecaster Custom, which was customized with a Gibson neck humbucker, a preamp and a phase switch. </ref> Fender now make the Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster. 741
28 Steve Cropper (born 1941) creates rhythm work known to be spare and crisp using the back pickup of the Telecaster, playing with Stax session band Booker T. & the MGs, who backed such stars as Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. </ref> 719
29 Roy Buchanan (1939–1988), a blues/rock musician whose playing inspired the likes of Jeff Beck, earning him the title "The Guitarist's Guitarist's Guitarist," was a faithful Tele man during his solo career. </ref> 668
30 Wilko Johnson (born John Wilkinson, 12 July 1947, Canvey Island, Essex), a British R&B and Pub Rock legend, exponent of 'machine gun' rhythm/lead style that has inspired punk and speed metal players alike. He has played the same black tele with red pickguard for years as founder member of Dr Feelgood and subsequently with Ian Dury's Blockheads as well as his own bands. "The punk guitarist's punk guitarist was Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood" </ref> 617
31 Marty Stuart (born 1958) has been a career-long devotee of the guitar. The Fender Custom Shop makes a Limited Edition Marty Stuart Tribute Telecaster which blends features from his favorite historical guitars, as played by Buck Owens, Don Rich, Mick Ronson and Clarence White. Stuart is also the owner of the original Parsons/White prototype B-bender Telecaster originally owned by Clarence White and given to Stuart by the White family. Stewart also owns Don Rich's silver metal-flake Telecaster that was given to him by Buck Owens. 588
32 Francis Rossi (born 1949) of Status Quo, "one of Britain's longest-lived bands," is a faithful Tele player. 552
33 Robyn Hitchcock (born 1953) has used a Telecaster since 1979 for his distinctive English electric psychedelic sound, and said that it "... chose itself for me as my favourite electric guitar, because so many of my favourite guitar riffs were played on it." 546
34 Mike Campbell (born 1950), best known for his work with Tom Petty, has stated that his 1950 Broadcaster has been one of his live mainstay guitars since the beginning of the Heartbreakers. On their first and second albums, he recorded most of his solos & rhythm parts on songs such as "American Girl", "Breakdown", and "I Need to Know" using his Broadcaster exclusively. Mike also played an early-'70s Telecaster with two humbuckers and Bigsby vibrato tailpiece nicknamed "Big Red". {{cite web | url= | month=July | yea 540
35 Albert Lee (born 1943), whose instrumental work has influenced many other guitarists, has played a Telecaster since 1963. As a long-time Tele player, he wrote a foreword to A. R. Duchossoir's book detailing the history of the guitar. </ref> 462
36 Bill Frisell (born 1951), a jazz guitar player. He plays several guitars but the Telecaster is indissociable of the Frisell sounds (with violing effects with his sound pedal). 422
37 Albert Collins (1932–1993) (AKA "The Master of the Telecaster") created his original blues sound using minor open tunings and a capo placed high up on the neck. </ref> Fender offers an [link] based on his '66 model, which features a humbucker in the neck position. 394
38 Rick Parfitt (born 1948) of Status Quo, "one of Britain's longest-lived bands," is a faithful Tele player. 378
39 Danny Gatton (1945–1994) played a customized '53 Tele whose specifications were replicated by Fender for his Signature model, including unique angled bridge saddles for improved intonation of the classic 3-saddle bridge, and use of Joe Barden pickups. </ref> 364
40 James Burton (born 1939) has played a Telecaster since he was 13, and he has influenced many other guitarists. He was the most visible player of the Tele in the late '50s, appearing on television with Ricky Nelson almost every week on the Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. .</ref> His most famous guitar is the Paisley Red Tele, which he first used while performing with Elvis Presley. </ref> He has also played with Gram Parsons and Merle Haggard. As a long-time Tele player, he wrote a foreword to A. R. Duchossoir's book detailing the history of the guitar. </ref> 359
41 Clarence White (1944–1973) of The Byrds, along with drummer Gene Parsons, invented the B-Bender device for the Tele for emulating pedal steel guitar effects. 312
42 Hugh Cornwell (born 1949) one of the founding members of the Stranglers is a long-standing Tele player. </ref> 287
43 Mike Stern (born 1953), one of the few Tele-playing jazz musicians, played the guitar with Miles Davis in the early 80's before going solo. </ref> 274
44 Luther Perkins (1928–1968), a member of Johnny Cash's backing band The Tennessee Two/Three used his Esquire to create the "boom-chicka" rhythms that came to characterize much of Cash's music. </ref> 205
45 Don Rich (1942–1974) made the bassy rhythms and "chicken pickin'" of his custom sparkle-finish Telecaster an indispensable part of the Bakersfield sound while playing with Buck Owens & The Buckaroos. 197
46 Denny Dias of Steely Dan presaged the 1970s trend for dual-humbucker Teles by replacing both of the single coils in his guitar with humbuckers and installing a Stratocaster-style bridge. </ref> 148
47 Jerry Donahue (born 1946) of Fairport Convention released a solo album in 1986 called Telecasting and was a member of the Telecaster trio called the Hellecasters. </ref> 130
48 Tommy Tedesco (1930–1997), veteran L.A. session guitarist, used a white Telecaster as his workhorse electric guitar for most of his career. </ref> 123
49 Brent Mason (born 1959), a prolific Nashville session musician. Gibson produces a [link], which is modeled after Mason's heavily customized 1968 Telecaster. It features 2 "stacked" pick-ups (bridge and middle) and one mini humbucker (neck position), and an additional volume control to "bleed in" the middle pick-up. 115
50 Bill Kirchen (born 1947), longtime Telecaster devotee who played in Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen during the 1970s and continues to drive his well-abused Tele to the limits of the rockabilly sound. Known for his barnstorming live licks and stylisitic diversity, Kirchen's first Telecaster came to him in a 1967 even trade with a stranger he met on bus, Kirchen exchanging his own Gibson SG in the deal 86
51 Ted Greene (1946–2005), a Southern California guitarist, helped Fender design an accurate '52 Telecaster vintage reissue (their first such reissue) by referencing his extensive collection of old Telecasters, Broadcasters and Nocasters. Ted was most famous as being one of the top jazz guitar instructors on the west coast. He was also the author of several instructional books "Chord Chemistry," "Modern Chord Progressions," and Single Note Soloing Volumes 1 and 2." </ref> 77
52 Roy Nichols (1932–2001) was a guitarist in Merle Haggard's group The Strangers, and famously used the "chicken pickin'" technique for which the Telecaster is so well suited. Fittingly, an image of a Telecaster is engraved on his tombstone. </ref> 66
53 Ed Bickert (born 1932) is a premier jazz player who started playing a Telecaster when his regular guitar was in the shop, and he has used it for the rest of his career. Guitar Player Magazine, July, 1987, pp. 56, 57</ref> 46
54 Jimmy Bryant (1925–1980), a prolific session musician, was given one of the first Broadcasters by Fender engineer George Fullerton. Fullerton compared this gift to "starting a prairie fire," and said that " pretty soon we couldn't make enough of those guitars." </ref> 46
55 Arlen Roth (born 1953) has been a respected artist ever since his first solo album won the Montreaux Critics’ Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year in 1978. He was Guitar Player Magazine's top columnist from 1982 to 1992. He has performed with such diverse artists as John Prine, Rick Wakeman, and Paul Simon. </ref> He is a Telecaster enthusiast, and has written the book Masters of the Telecaster, which details the licks of many famous Tele players. 44
56 Will Ray (born 1950) has been part of the Telecaster trio the Hellecasters from 1993-on. He is known for extensive use of the B-Bender and finger-mount slide on his Telecaster. In recognition of the Hellecasters' contributions to the Telecaster, Fender has produced more signature models for the group than for any other group, including two Will Ray signature models: the Jazz-a-Caster and the Mojo-Tele. 27
57 Redd Volkaert (born 1958) was a successor to Roy Nichols in Merle Haggard's backing band, and is "among the country’s top Telecaster guitar slingers." 18
58 Phil Baugh (1936-1990), a hot country guitarist whose song "Country Guitar" with Verne Stovall, recorded on his Telecaster, was a hit in 1964 and earned him numerous awards. He worked as a popular session guitarist in Nashville from 1975 until his death in 1990. 7
59 John 5 (born 1971) is a heavy metal/country guitarist who has played with Marilyn Manson and who is known for his proficiency at shredding. Fender now produces a J5 Signature Telecaster which John 5 co-designed. < 5
60 Frank Black (born 1965) of the Pixies is a long-time Telecaster player. </ref> < 5
61 Ron Briars < 5


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