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60 Years of the Tele Notes & Trivia: 1954

Post by Jeff Owens

This week we’ve got not one, but two pieces of Telecaster trivia from 1954.

Fender changed the color of the Telecaster’s pickguard from black to white in 1954. Decades later, Telecasters from the 1950-1954 period became highly sought after among collectors who referred to the guitars by what nickname?

“Blackguard” Telecasters

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A battered 1954 Esquire (the single-pickup version of the Telecaster) became one of the early favorite instruments of Jeff Beck. The acclaimed and innovative U.K. guitar hero paid about $60 for it in 1964 and used it to record a number of seminal records as the third guitarist in the Yardbirds before going solo in the late 1960s and giving the guitar as a gift to pickup designer Seymour Duncan in 1974.

Watch the video below of the Yardbirds in a Sept. 23, 1965 appearance on ABC-TV’s Shindig, doing “Heart Full of Soul.” The Esquire still has the white pickguard that was on it when Beck bought the guitar from Walker Brothers guitarists John Maus the year before. Beck later put a black pickguard on it, as seen on Yardbirds album cover Having a Rave Up With the Yardbirds.

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