Heard a great piece on NPR last night celebrating the 60th birthday of the Fender Telecaster, the first great solid-body electric guitar, a guitar with a beloved and iconic sound that can be heard in volumes, and volumes of Country, Blues, R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Rock & Roll music.
Having grown up in New Jersey, naturally the first Tele player that I became familiar with was Bruce Springsteen. And yet, over the years, I would eventually hear that bendy, twangy, and even dirty and crunchy Fender as played by many of the masters of the instrument listed here.
Choosing one YouTube clip to represent the quintessential sound of the Tele proved to be impossible, since, due to the variety of genres, techniques, or methods of amplification involved, the Tele’s voice cannot be fully heard from one player.
And so, I decided to choose a clip that perfectly captures the first sound I think of when I think of the Telecaster, the sound made by R&B and Soul master Steve Cropper, heard in all its glory at the 1:30 mark of this Booker T. & the M.G.’s classic, Green Onions: