Strummer Telecaster® Guitar Based on Legendary Clash Leader’s Famous DIY Instrument

Strummer Telecaster® Guitar Based on Legendary Clash Leader’s Famous DIY Instrument

Strummer with his weapon of choice during the Clash’s heyday.
Photo by Bob Gruen

The legacy of Joe Strummer (1952-2002) continues to live on, grow louder and shake up the establishment with the summer 2007 release of Fender’s new Joe Strummer Telecaster, modeled after the beat up and battle-hardened ’66 Tele® he wielded as leader of “the only band that matters”—seminal Brit punk commando unit the Clash.

Designed in cooperation with the Strummer estate, the guitar has a highly distressed “road-worn” treatment that duplicates the original’s worn-to-the-wood layers of gray auto primer and flat black spray paint. It also features a “Revolution Rock” engraved neckplate and a limited edition art customization kit that evokes Strummer’s vibrant DIY ethic.

Strummer was, of course, the Clash’s articulate and fiery co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist and lead singer; he later founded, recorded and toured with the Mescaleros. All his life, he vigorously championed individuality, self-expression and change—tenets often reflected in the constantly altered look of his favorite instrument—his Telecaster (currently on display in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland), an otherwise standard ’60s-era model with all the original parts and specifications.

When Strummer bought it in 1975 for £120, the guitar had a Three-color Sunburst finish. He was having none of that, of course, but his improvised DIY gray and black “finishes” deteriorated quickly, giving the guitar its distinctive look. Like Strummer’s music, the battered guitar changed constantly—plastered as it was with stencils, stickers and new paint jobs through the many stages of Strummer’s life and career.

To celebrate Strummer’s fierce sense of individuality, Fender and acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey collaborated on the new guitar’s limited edition Joe Strummer Telecaster customization kit, which includes stencils and stickers inspired by the custom designs Strummer decorated many of his instruments with. The kit comes in a classic 12” album cover featuring graphics by Fairey and photography by Bob Gruen and will accompany the first 1,500 guitars.

The new Joe Strummer Telecaster with its limited edition art customization kit.

Visit Fender’s new website for the Joe Strummer Telecaster here.



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