Fender Telecaster Paisley Solid Body Electric Guitar (1968)

Fender  Telecaster Paisley Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1968)
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Item # 11309
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Fender Telecaster Paisley Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1968), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 250279, pink paisley metallic paper with overcoat of clear acrylic finish, ash body, maple neck with maple cap fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case.

This infamous and fabulous looking guitar was one of CBS/Fender's most whimsical ideas in the summer of 1968: putting pink paisley or blue floral wallpaper on Telecasters to catch the "Groovy" 1960's vibe at its late-decade high. The slab-bodied Tele shape worked well (the contoured Strat proved impractical!) and the instruments were released to the world in mid-1968. The guitar does not suffer any loss of function under this colorful livery, maintaining all the same hardware as the regular version and the classic Telecaster feel and sound. "Paisley Red pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of colors and forms" claimed Fender's promotional materials, and who are we to argue. Unfortunately these were not huge sellers and were out of production by later in 1969.

This "Pulsating Paisley" guitar has a neck dated to August 1968, making it a fairly late example of the laid-on maple fingerboard about to be replaced with the re-introduced original 1950s style one-piece maple design. The pots are coded to the 17th week of 1966, part of the huge haul CBS bought in that year. The bottom of the grey bobbin lead pickup is dated 10-25-68 in unusually clear writing; this coil and baseplate are original but the bobbin was rewound long ago.

At the time this was made the Telecaster was the most venerable design in the Fender catalog, and CBS management hoped this new flashy look would resonate with the "hip' players of 1968. It was not a major success but in 1968 the Telecaster was experiencing a renaissance of sorts anyway, with numerous more successful variations to come from CBS/Fender in the coming years. The Paisley Telecaster became the signature instrument of one major player at the time: James Burton, who remarked Elvis thought the guitar was "Really Cool, man!". Although hardly a major success when new these "Psychedelicized' telecasters have come to be regarded as one of the truly grooviest 6-strings ever made, re-issued constantly and unmistakable wherever they may appear!
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.)., 7.99 lbs.

This guitar shows some general wear overall but remains in mostly original condition. The one exception is the lead pickup, which retains the original hand-dated grey bobbin but was re-wound long ago, now wrapped in black electrical tape instead of the original white string. The sound is bright and spanky, little different from what we would normally expect from a '68 Tele pickup. A later plastic-covered ground wire was installed at the same time; all the other wiring retains the original cloth leads and the pots and switch remain original.

Apart from this one old alteration in general this is one of the better preserved examples of this model we have seen; the heavily coated Poly over the paisley wallpaper has often proved problematic. It does have a decent helping of the heavy topcoat checking that often occurs when the finish shrinks over the wallpaper applique, but there is not the heavy peeling or flaking sometimes found on these. There are some chips and dings to undercoat and wood on the body, mostly along the edges but only one notable small spot chipped off the back but no really heavy wear. The upper edge of the body near the strap button shows several deeper dings. There is some light play wear to the neck with minor loss to the lacquer along the treble side edge of the fingerboard and a few small dings on the fingerboard and the back. The headstock shows some typical checking.

All hardware and fittings are complete and original, except the rewound pickup. The high E string tuner is a little bent, but it still tunes fine. The original frets have been taken down somewhat and show some fairly heavy wear in the lower positions, still playable but if the guitar is to be gigged heavily a refret is in order soon. We'd be happy to discuss this with the next owner. Whine not pristine this is still a super cool and a rare find, it is complete in the original Fender HSC with the original strap, cord and some period Fender strings in the pocket. Overall Excellent - Condition.