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  5. FENDER CUSTOM SHOP TELECASTER
Fender Custom Shop Telecaster

For many, the first incarnation of the "Fender" Guitar remains the archetype against which all should be measured. The initial single-pickup production model appeared in 1950, and was called the Fender Esquire. Fewer than fifty guitars were originally produced, later in 1950, this single-pickup model was discontinued, and a two-pickup model was renamed the Broadcaster. The Esquire was reintroduced in 1951 as a single pickup Telecaster.

The so-called Nocaster was a short-lived variant of Telecaster. Produced in early to mid-1951, it was the result of legal action from the Gretsch company over the guitar's previous name, the Broadcaster (Gretsch already had the "Broadkaster" name registered for a line of drums). In the interim, before Fender had come up with an alternate name and printed appropriately revised headstock decals, factory workers simply snipped the "Broadcaster" name from its existing stock of decals, so guitars with these decals are identified simply as "Fender", without any model name. By the summer of 1951 the guitar was officially renamed as the Telecaster.

In late 1954 the White Blond finish replaced the butterscotch finish, white single layer vinyl pickguard replaced the black pickguard and the bridge saddles change from brass to small steel smooth saddles. In 1958 the bridge saddles change from smooth to threaded saddles and the strings anchored at bridge ("top loading") instead of going thru the body (late 1958). By Mid 1959 a Slab Rosewood fingerboard was added with a single layer thick white pickguard (custom color Teles used 3 layer celluloid mint green pickguard). Also in 1959 the Tele Custom was introduced with 3 layer celluloid mint green pickguard and binding.

The Fender Custom Shop, founded in 1987, strives to re-create these original Golden-Era Fender Guitars in every exact detail. Many believe that the quality of the instruments made in the Custom Shop today rival the quality from the Golden Era, so if you're looking for something off-the-peg, something bespoke, or something extra special and unique, then you've come to the right place. Let the Guitar department at GAK walk you through what we have on hand in our Selection, spec up a bespoke Teambuilt Bass built to your specifications, or create a one-off Masterbuilt guitar built exactly the way you want it. The quality and playability of these instruments is second to none.