Preview: The Fender Telecaster Handbook
(Chris | Posted 2010-01-04)
Everybody knows that one of the primary features of the Fender Telecaster that drives its popularity is its sheer simplicity. Ever since Leo Fender designed this guitar in 1949, it has been a staple in guitar collections around the world, literally for decades - just try to find a rock or country guitarist that doesn't have one in their rig! With all of these great guitars floating around out there for the last 60 years, you would think someone would have published a book focused on everything you wanted to know about this guitar - how to fix it, how to set it up, how to choose one, how to buy one, how to tune it and make adjustments to the bridge and nut, and how to upgrade it. If you've been waiting for a reference book like this to come along, however, look no further.
From Quayside Publishing and Voyager Press comes The Fender Telecaster Handbook, written by Paul Balmer, who also authored the Fender Stratocaster Handbook, and The Gibson Les Paul Handbook. Paul is a veteran guitarist, musician, and documentary film producer and hails from the UK. With a foreward from Andy Summers (Police), you know you're in for something special.
When our copy arrived, the first thing that impressed us was the quality binding, the great illustrations and diagrams, the volume (nearly 200 pages!), and the ease of navigation which is critical for a reference guide such as this. The book starts appropriately with an introduction on how to buy both new and second-hand Teles, and then touches on how to recognize and identify vintage Tele/Esquire models and how to find your way around an American Standard. The next section delves into setting up and tuning a Telecaster, followed by a very large section devoted (appropriately) to repairs, maintenance, and adjustments. Following the repairs section is a 58 page tour through specific case studies regarding specific models of interest, and the book wraps up with an entire section devoted to key Tele players and their guitars.
In summary, if you are considering a Telecaster, or you are lucky enough to own one already, we can't see why you would not own this wonderful reference. As a matter of fact, after reading through this book and understanding the quality and rich history that goes along with one of these fine instruments, I may just venture out and locate one for my growing collection. As Andy Summers notes in the forward, "despite its seemingly primitive construction, the Telecaster had a magic of its own."
I guess I better pick one up to go with this book. Sold.