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No single figure embodies the vital and liberating spirit of punk rock like Joe Strummer, whose work as frontman for the Clash and as a solo artist has inspired millions the world over. With his endless musical and cultural curiosity and signature throaty roar, Strummer preached a gospel of working class ethos and limitless compassion for his fellow man. Twenty-two years after his too-soon passing, Strummer's words, music and ebullient Telecaster tone are more resonant and crucial than ever.

Alongside his bandmates in the Clash, Strummer first helped set the template for rowdy and rambunctious three-chord punk, and then proceeded to break that mold in ever more innovative and thrilling ways, variously incorporating Tex-Mex, New Orleans jazz, gospel, reggae, hip-hop and Motown influences into classic tracks like "Rock the Casbah," "Rudy Can't Fail," "The Magnificent Seven" and "Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Later on as a solo artist, his wide-lens musical wanderlust would take him further still into cross-genre epics like "Johnny Appleseed," “Coma Girl” and "Sleepwalk.” Above all, Strummer was an extraordinarily generous and energetic performer, well known for giving maximum effort to concertgoers, often for discounted ticket prices. From Green Day to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, countless artists stand on the shoulders of his rough-and-tumble but life-affirming example.

Strummer’s highly modified and heavily roadworn 1966 Tele is as unmistakable as Joe himself and Fender Custom Shop recently had the honor of faithfully replicating this iconic instrument down to the very last detail. Senior Master Builder Paul Waller worked tirelessly to recreate every scar, scratch and witness mark. This included meticulously emulating details like the tattered stickers Joe put on the guitar and a taped on, handwritten setlist. 

One of the more interesting specifics of Strummer’s Tele was the body itself, which had been worn down after years of his high-intensity playing and hundreds of shows.

Waller explains, “Not only was the paint worn, but the wood is worn too. So the radius has changed into almost a Strat radius on the arm contour, which is, when you think about it, pretty incredible. There’s not a whole lot of famous Telecasters out there that have that much wear on the wood.”

Other features include a highly playable mid-’60s Oval “C”-shaped maple neck, Josefina Hand-Wound ’67 Telecaster pickups, Schaller M6 tuning machines and a black finish that is relic-ed to perfection to reveal a hint of the original Sunburst. The result is a painstakingly loving homage to an instrument that soundtracked Strummer’s singular vision.

Joe Strummer may be lost to us, but his enduring message remains: The past may be decided, but the future is unwritten.

Watch Custom Shop’s Chase Paul and Paul Waller discuss how we recreated this legendary guitar in this video. For more information about the Limited Edition Masterbuilt Joe Strummer Telecaster, click here. 

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