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March 2, 2011 / John Sieger

I’ve Had It

Click: I’ve Had It

This week, one of my very best friends turned sixty. His name is Tele, short for Telecaster. It was about this time in 1951 that Leo Fender, scared off by lawyers, changed the name of his famous guitar from Broadcaster to Telecaster. The rest is history. In the right hands, this simple device delivers ecstasy untold. Now we might debate just who owns those hands, but let me float a few names past you, some you know and some a little more obscure. Al Anderson (NRBQ), D. Clinton Thompson (The Skeletons), Red Volkhardt (Merle Haggard), Jimmy Page (The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin), Steve Cropper (Booker T & The MGs), Don Rich (Buck Owens) and Keith Richards (The  Rolling Stones). The list of songs would be endless, from Honky Tonk Women to Green Onions and beyond. It can be argued that the most memorable solos in popular music have been played on either a Fender Telecaster or a Stratocaster. I make that argument a lot lately, much to the chagrin of Gibson fans. There are many other great players and at least one woman (Chrissie Hynde) who plays a Tele and looks about as great as you can holding a one. The guitar was essential for virtuosos like Ray Buchanan or Danny Gatton. It also put a lot of oomph into the rhythm  of more direct players like Andy Summers (The Police) and Joe Strummer (The Clash). Today’s song, with very nice lyrics by my pal, Perry Lamek, features my sorely missed 1966 model. It was about my favorite guitar ever, but I had to part with it long ago to make ends meet. Now these guitars are almost too expensive to drag into the kind of places I play. (I’ve already lost a nice ’62 Strat that way!) This demo is one of those old four-track cassettes I love. If I could get this guitar sound on everything I do, I’d be good to go. So Happy 60th, Tele—you have given so many people and players a lot of joy!

Great story on NPR  a couple days ago:


© 2011 John Sieger/Perry Lamek


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