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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Steve Morse's "Tele"

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Oskar, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Oskar

    Oskar Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Easthampton, MA
    I came across an old Guitar World mag from the early 80s and Steve Morse was on the cover with his "Tele". I must say that the work he did on this instrument makes Eddie Van Halen's first guitar look like it was delicately hand-crafted by John D'Angelico. Whew, what a mongrel Morse created, but I guess it gives him the sound he wants. He's certainly no slouch as a player.

  2. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Atlanta/Rome, Georgia, US
    The guy that originally worked on Morse's FrankenTele is named Bert, don't remember his last name, but he did guitar work here in town for many years, & was the 'go to guy' for many players. I've recently heard rumors that he might be back in town... Bert did the original fret & neck work on my '52 RI - flattened the board a bit, installed slightly larger frets. It's the best neck work I've ever had done. That was about 10 years ago, & I just got my second fret crown on that neck, still going strong!

    When I was going to school with Jimmy Herring in L.A. in the mid 80's, he sounded exactly like Steve Morse at that time. Not only that, but he had a dead on copy of Morse's FrankenTele... Of course, Jimmy has since found his own thing (huge understatement)!

  3. Oskar

    Oskar Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Easthampton, MA
    Interesting story on the git tech

    I would have never realized that someone with some tech expertise & knowledge worked on that FrankenTele. It was weird, with that fat ol' strat neck & the four pickups. Haven't yet read the article but will plan to do so now.

  4. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Atlanta/Rome, Georgia, US
    To be clear...

    For the record, Steve conceptualized & built that kooky Tele himself. Bert worked on it & tweaked it for him after the fact, as I understand it. I have that old issue of Guitar World around here somewhere too, but haven't been able to put my hands on it. But in addition to the strat neck with the Gibson style frets & the crazy toggle switches, it had a 12 string tailpiece & a Gibson Tune-O-Matic bridge. At some point he added the hexaphonic synth pickup as well. I guess the more current Ernie Ball signature model has the same basic format. Quite the purist, that Steve guy!

  5. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

    Apr 11, 2003
    Carlsbad, Ca
    I've seen Steve play that Tele a couple of times in concert

    since those days he' retired it and now playes his Ernie Ball Music Man Signature guitar which looks nothing like a Tele but has all of the same features and pickups etc...

  6. Oskar

    Oskar Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Easthampton, MA
    I did read the article (August 1982)

    and there was a separate section on the guitar itself. At that time he said he had an exact duplicate of the guitar. The guy's name was Burt Foster of Campus Music in Atlanta.

    Guess he doesn't shop at Vintique!

    His pickups, from the neck to the bridge,

    "Gibson humbucking pickup"
    "stock Fender Strat pickup"
    "a cylindrical Fender Telecast rhythm pickup; which looks like a little steel bar"
    "a DiMarzio-modified Fender humbucking pickup that was custom made"
    "The fifth pickup is a hex pickup made by 360 systems for the Slavedrive. I use this for tuning all the time since it's a separate, complete send that I can have on without having my guitar sound."

    Quite an instrument to say the least.

  7. halouis

    halouis Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    I always loved Steve's Franken Tele.




  8. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Atlanta/Rome, Georgia, US
    Burt, not Bert! Foster, that is.

    Hey thanks for following up on that, Oskar. That guy's work was fantastic. Real curious as to whether he's back around this neck of the woods again.

  9. thrasher

    thrasher Tele-Holic

    Oct 29, 2003
    Toronto, Ontario
    That looks so much better then his blue plank with 2394 pups. :lol:

  10. fearofnormalcy

    fearofnormalcy Tele-Meister

    am i mistaken......

    .....but didn't Morse used to play Buscarino/Nova tele's forr a while?

  11. Teletwang

    Teletwang Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2003
    Re: am i mistaken......

    I believe his classical is a Buscarino.

  12. OutlawSteph

    OutlawSteph Tele-Meister

    Feb 1, 2004

    The FrankenTele is nice too. ;)

  13. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

    I saw the Dregs in 1982 when I was living down in Pensacola Florida. That guitar did sound awfully good.

  14. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Didn't Steve Morse own a second Tele?

    I have seen pictures of him playing a similar tele with the exception of it having open black bobbin humbuckers and black single coils and a normal tele neck and headstock. Does anybody have any details on that one?

    And according to Steve Morse himself in a 1996 interview he stated that he went to Fender for a signature model when his Tele was worn down but they asked him to step away from the four pickup system and switching because it would bee too complicated and too costly for them to manufacture so he went "Forget it"and approached a smaller builder who didn't make a fuss about switching and pickups and that turned out to be Music man

  15. Bert Foster

    Bert Foster NEW MEMBER!

    Apr 21, 2010
    I realize that this thread is old but I stumbled on it and would like to set the record straight.

    My name is Bert Foster. I am the guy who worked on Steve's Tele. Yes it was a Frankinstein but that's whaty Steve did to it all I ever did was fret it several times. The magazine article showed my name as "Burt" even after I received a call from Guitar Player Magazine where they wanted to confirm the spelling. From what I was told two different writers interviewed Steve and the editor made one story out of the two interviews. In the article it says that Steve put Gibson frets in his guitar. He did not I fretted it with 6100 Dunlap frets. The tallest and fattest frets made at that time. I take no responsibility for that black horrible pick guard.

    I still repair guitars and build guitars in Gainesville, GA in a shop next to my home.

    To all of my old customers I would like to see you and catch up on what we've all been doing.

  16. teleyouk

    teleyouk Tele-Meister

    Feb 27, 2007
    Paris; FRANCE

  17. SatelliteOrders

    SatelliteOrders Friend of Leo's

    Mar 3, 2008
    Lafayette, IN
    Either that pic has weird perspective, or Steve Morse is short.

  18. Mike Bruce

    Mike Bruce Friend of Leo's

    Apr 8, 2008

  19. caliban335

    caliban335 Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2007
    Cleveland, Ohio
    In the May 2010 issue of Guitar Player interview Steve Morse briefly discusses the Frankenstein Telecaster and the two MusicMan signature models.


    IPLAYLOUD Friend of Leo's

    Aug 7, 2003
    Long Island, N.Y.
    The Tele resides on the North Shore of Long Island, safe in a case under a bed.

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