DAVE ROGERS & LAUN BRAITHWAITE
1971 Fender Rosewood Telecaster #346098
It is widely accepted that the quality of
Fender instruments suffered a gradual
decline after the CBS buyout of 1965.
While this is true, the early CBS period of
the mid to late 1960s was also a time of
great creativity. The recipient of much of
this energy was none other than Fender’s
original solidbody: the Telecaster.
had been responsible for the unique and
enduring Rickenbacker electric guitar line
of the late fifties, was hired away from
Rickenbacker in 1962 by Leo Fender to
be in charge of designing Fender’s new
acoustic guitars and archtop electrics.
finish (for more info read Beatles Gear by
No fewer than four new versions of the
Telecaster were added to the Fender line
in the late sixties, including the Paisley
and Blue Floral Teles, inspired by the
psychedelic scene popular at the time.
German master builder Roger Rossmeisl
designed the other two Tele innovations: the Thinline Telecaster, and the
Rosewood Telecaster. Rossmeisl, who
The first Rosewood Telecaster was a gift
to Beatle George Harrison for use in the
movie Let It Be. Rossmeisl and Phillip
Kubicki (employed by Fender at the time)
made two prototypes and chose the best
for Harrison. The guitar body was made
with a thin layer of maple sandwiched
between a solid rosewood back and top.
The rosewood neck had a separate rosewood fingerboard glued on. The whole
guitar had a special satin polyurethane
The Rosewood Telecaster was added to
the regular production line in 1969 at
$375. Production models differed from
George’s slightly. They were made with a
one-piece rosewood neck, and had gloss
polyurethane finishes. While early examples were solid, like George’s, the guitars
were eventually lightened by hollowing
out the two body halves.
Large numbers of Rosewood Teles
were never produced, and by 1972 it
was discontinued. Fender Japan reissued the guitar in the eighties, and the
Fender Custom Shop makes occasional