The Beatles were and remain one of the most influential bands in history. They influenced fashion, food, culture and especially music. When the Beatles threw in extra chords, bands across the world added chords. When the Beatles went psychedelic, bands played in color. When the Byrds saw A Hard Day’s Night in the movies, they ran out and bought Rickenbacker guitars. The Beatles learned to “mach schau” in Hamburg and played instruments with German names at the Cavern: Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass, Ringo’s Ludwig drums, and Harrison’s Gretsch guitar. Their amps were Vox. Fender changed that with an all-rosewood Telecaster. The guitar became iconic during the rooftop session that went into the film Let It Be.
Designed by staff luthiers Roger Rossmeisl and Phillip Kubicki in 1968, it was the first all-rosewood guitar ever to be produced by Fender. Only two were made. Jimi Hendrix got the other. Fender Musical Instruments released the limited-edition George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster to their Fender Artist Signature Series. They only have 1,000 units available worldwide.
The Limited-Edition George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster debuted at Summer NAMM this past July. It was released on August 22.
“The Rosewood Telecaster was exceptional due to its craftsmanship and venture into uncharted territory, serving as the prototype for future Fender electric guitars of its kind,” Justin Norvell, senior vice president of Fender Products, said in a statement.
“George Harrison showcased the uniqueness of the guitar through his talent and passion for music by using it in some of the most influential concerts and albums in music history. With the help of the Harrison Estate, we hope to encourage the next generation of players to explore music and draw inspiration from Harrison’s performance style on a guitar that represents artistic creativity.”
The new George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster is a lightweight version of the original. The chambered body reduces weight while increasing the resonance. The all-rosewood construction gives it a unique tone. The neck is also rosewood neck with a laminated 9.5” radius rosewood fingerboard and custom neck plate engraved with an Om symbol.
According to the public relations rep for Fender, there is a chance I will get to put my fingers around the limited-edition George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster. I’m not going to publish his name, yet, because if I have to resort to blackmail to get this thing shipped to me from Fender’s LA headquarters, I want ammunition. For now, I’ll just say his first band was a “not so good” Ramones cover band that played too fast.