1961 Fender Telecaster (sunburst)

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1961 Fender Telecaster
1979 06 22 Paradiso telecaster edited Dietmar.jpg
The 1961 Telecaster on 1979-06-22 - copyright Dietmar
Artist: Andy Summers
Band or ensemble: Kevin Coyne / Kevin Ayers / The Police / Rush Hour / Andy Summers
Time gear used: YYYY - 1987


Andy Summers bought his 1961 Fender Telecaster from a guitar student in Los Angeles in the early Seventies for just $200.

Dennis Galuszka, who built the 2007 replica instrument, was able to check all the parts of the original in early 2006. There were no stamps or dates on any Telecaster parts, so identifying and dating the various parts of the hybrid is more or less educated guess-work.

The body seems to be from a 1961 Telecaster, while the neck might be of a Fifties one.

Gear breakdown

Most modifications to the original Fender Telecaster were already there when Andy bought the guitar:

  • 1959 Gibson PAF humbucker pickup (1)
  • preamp on/off mini-toggle switch (2)
  • mini-toggle phase switch (3)
  • rear-mounted overdrive unit controlled by a third knob (4)

When he performed with Kevin Coyne the tuners on the Telecaster were still the originals. By the time he performed with The Police Andy had them replaced with Schallers, probably during his Kevin Ayers period. (5)

During The Police times Andy Summers made even more changes to his guitar:

  • For the first years up until at least 1978-03-12 Andy played the guitar with its original 3-saddle bridge with raised sides. Photos from October 1978 up until 1979-02-06 TV show Andy playing the Telecaster with a Fender 6-saddle bridge with raised sides. At the 1979-02-21 Hatfield concert he already played the guitar with a flat brass bridge with its 1963 pickup mounted in the guitar's body. (6)
  • Andy added a second string tree on the guitar headstock shortly before the Bilzen festival on 1979-08-17. (7)

Backstage at a Boston Garden concert on 1982-01-15 Andy's Telecaster and one of Sting's Fender basses were backstage - probably next to a strong magnetic field. The back pickups on both instruments went completely dead before the band went on stage. The guitar had to be remagnetised, but sounded extremely bright afterwards, only slowly returning to its former glory.

There are hardly any images after the Telecaster was used for Andy's 1987 XYZ Tour and 1987 Rush Hour Tour.

1988-10 Music Technology and 1996-01 Guitar & Bass show photos where the guitar seems unchanged.

In an interview in 1997-02 20th Century Guitar Andy mentions not playing it much anymore, but he just had it worked on. Its last use in concert may have been the 1998-10-14 Jaguares performance - by that time the guitar had once again been changed.

The phase switch was completely removed while the pre-amp switch moved position towards a knob. There's a hole where its "original" position once was.

A recent photo of the Telecaster can be seen in 2017-09 Vintage Guitar.

Quotations and trivia

This section needs more information. Include any quotes of interest from the artist on the use of this gear or anything else of relevance.

See also

External links

References and footnotes