Today’s Six Pack: Masters of the Telecaster

teleGuitar Gods, you know who they are, tend to play two types of solid body guitars: the Les Paul made by Gibson and the  Stratocaster ,made by Fender.  Most Gods have a favorite; over the course of their careers some play both.

But the first multi-pickup, solid body electric guitar was the Fender Broadcaster, introduced in 1950. That guitar became the Telecaster and has been associated with some of those same guitar gods and a few others you should know. Let’s go to the videotape.

Albert Lee:Tear it Up
A guitar player’s guitar player, Lee has played with everyone including Clapton and other GGs. At times he’s even shown them up. Here he is with his Tele, tearing up an old Rock and Roll Trio gem:

Danny Gatton: Harlem Nocturne
A picker known mostly to the rootsocenti,  Gatton is one of those Telecaster players who was so despondent he took himself out of the game. The man could play most anything. Instead of a foot- stomper here he is (in a band with a 2-Tele lineup) playing Duke Ellington:

Albert Collins: I Ain’t Drunk
The self-annointed Master of the Telecaster, Collins recorded tons of instrumentals with fetching titles, like Do the Sissy. Not really known as a blues vocalist, here he is singing Joe Liggins‘  classic:

Merle Haggard: Just Stay Here and Drink
An architect of the Bakersfield sound, Merle’s a long-standing Tele fan. A consummate songwriter, the man can play when he isn’t letting others take the spotlight. Here’s one of his good-time numbers.

Joe Strummer (& the Mescaleros): Coma Girl
Punk’s great rhythm, player, Joe thrashed the hell out of his black Tele, spreading righteous indignation as he went. Here he is post-Clash, still bashing them out:

Jimmy Page: Led Zeppelin
The man you thought was born with a Les Paul attached to his right hip played the whole first Led Zeppelin album on a Telecaster. He also played the most famous Classic Rock guitar solo (in Stairway to Heaven) on that same guitar. Here’s a two full songs from a 1969set  where he works his way though the first album on the Fender.

Honorable Mention for Being Close: Bruce Springsteen
Bruce plays an Esquire which is based on the Telecaster the same way the Gibson SG is based on the Les Paul. Here he goes to town on Cover Me (check out the steroidal neck):


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