We’ve covered Les Pauls, Stratocasters, Rickenbackers, Flying Vs and Explorers. Now it’s the turn of Clarence Leonidas Fender’s pioneering debut solidbody; the Fender Telecaster. First entering production as the single-pickup Esquire and twin-pickup Broadcaster in 1950, for many guitarists, Leo got it right first time.
What follows is part one of a gallery of Telecaster and Esquire-toting gunslingers who have all shaped the face of rock ‘n’ roll and popular music through a blend of technique, passion and instinct. Oh, and a hell of a lot of great tunes. Without further ado, let’s start the ball rolling with Jimmy Page.
Though widely associated with Gibsons (Les Pauls, EDS-1275 double necks), Jimmy Page has made extensive use of Fender Telecasters. The model that saw the most action was a ‘59 or ‘60 Tele gifted to Page by fellow Yardbird Jeff Beck in 1966. Originally painted white, Page added eight reflective circles to it in 1967. He then stripped it down and repainted it himself with a dragon motif – thus, it became his ‘Dragon Tele.’
Page recorded most of Led Zeppelin’s first album with the Dragon (check out this blazing live TV performance of Communication Breakdown from ‘69). But the guitar’s true moment in the sun came when it was used for the solo on Stairway To Heaven (through a Supro amp) – we imagine that you’ve heard it.
In the mid-‘70s, Page acquired a brown ‘53 Tele outfitted with a B-string bender. Known as the ’Brown Bomber,’ it was utilized on tracks like Hot Dog and Ten Years Gone. During much of the ’80s, Page continued to play the Brown Bomber.