This is a great story, thanks for sharing. Like you, guitars have been part of my life for a long time and it’s fun to think back on things through the lens of the guitars. Sound like you came to the US and bought that tele while I went the other direction (what was then called Eastern Europe). I have fond memories of sitting in on blues jams in clubs in East Berlin and Warsaw. I sucked but people were always so cool to me and it was more about coming together than picking apart the quality of your playing. That’s something I learned back then that has stuck with me (find the common ground, we all have it, and focus on that vs what keeps us apart). Sorry about the little morality anecdote but it was great to read this.Howdy Y’All!
This is going to be a way too long of a post but once in a while a man has to tell the truth about the love of his life. My love affair with Teles started in 1987 – that was the year when I bought a second-hand vinyl under a very well-known title “Born in the USA”. I was 18 then and already had played the guitar since the age of 13 (at 14 I got my first electric – something so terrible that playing it could be used as a torture to dig out confessions from terrorists). I quickly realized that the Boss is playing a butterscotch Tele and obviously wanted one immediately. Not possible so much then – taking into consideration that I was behind the iron curtain. I managed to find a pretty decent luthier’s copy and made all possible and impossible efforts to get the money to buy it. Loved it to death but, at some point, got distracted by Stratocasters and sold this Tele to buy some lame copy of a Strat. I wish I didn’t.
The political system has changed in 1989 and in 1994 I managed to pay a 4 week-long visit to the USA (Maryland). I remember sitting in a small guitar store and playing a butterscotch Tele made in 1969 – the year I was born. It cost $800 and it was about $500 more than I could afford so, with tears running down my cheeks, had to give it back to the owner. To cheer myself up, I went to some large music store and came back to my home country with a brand new black MIM top loader Fender Telecaster. I loved it. Many, many years have passed and in 2006 I was trying to board a flight from London to Warsaw, in the wee wee hours, with this very guitar in my hand when the airport lady told me I cannot take it with me to the cabin and it has to travel as a registered baggage. I got mad and shouted, “this guitar has outlived my 2 marriages (true), how on earth do you have the nerve to separate me from her!”. You should have seen their faces.
Then times got hard and I could not pay for the service my best friend did to my small company so I asked him if he would take this guitar as a form of payment as his son wanted to learn how to play. He agreed and his young man’s been playing my babe since then – I come over to see her once in a while and she’s doing good. While I lived with her in the UK, I brought it to the pretty famous luthier to mod it a bit so it got string-through, three barrel compensated bridge and new electronics – I got money at that time. So the MIM played sweet but not sweet enough for my second guitar player in an amateur band we had – he happened to collect guitars and one day brought a gorgeous butterscotch MIJ ’52 Reissue Fender Telecaster to the rehearsal and told me to play it through a Marshal stack. At the end of that day he just said: “You’re a Tele guy, deep inside. I’m a Les Paul guy. Keep this Tele – you sing together.”. Wow. This one’s been with me for about 10 years and then the times got really hard – you know the moment when pawn shop owners greet you by your first name? Right. That’s how I lost this babe.
Times are still very tough for me now and I’ve been left with a crappy acoustic for the last few years. Apparently, a few days ago someone on FB asked about the possible value of two guitars he was given to sell by someone who went to the hospital with little chances to get back on his feet again. One of these guitars was a Harley Benton TE-30, with some dirt on the neck and no strings. I managed to squeeze $40 and bought it from him. Back home I opened a pocket in the gig bag that came with the guitar and found a receipt for some luthier’s work on the other guitar. I recognized the name of the client on the receipt and immediately called the seller – he confirmed that the name (and the guitars) belongs to a guy I did exchange lots of opinions on some country music internet forums about….20 years ago. And now I have his guitar in my hands. Tricky is this word and so is my constant affection to the Teles. No matter how difficult my life turned to be and will be, I will always have a Tele beside me or at least dream of having one beside me. It feels so much better and gives you the strength to fight the circumstances with all the power it shares with you.
Gotta work a bit on her, the electronics are messed up and the frets need some redressing. I have a crappy cheap amp no pawn shop wanted to buy from me so I can’t really say how it sounds but at least it’s a Tele again in my hands. It’s probably a pre-2018 model (old HB logo on a headstock, 22 frets and an amazingly looking lacquered neck), heavy as a rock but its mine…
Apologies to Y’All for this long story but you are the only audience who will understand. I have to be strong day in and day out now to get back on my feet someday soon and eventually buy myself a proper Fender Tele again, so here is the only place I thought of where I can tell the story showing some emotions unknown for anyone but Tele lovers.
Good to be here. Have a great day!
Welcome! BTW, your written English skills are impressive to this American.
This is a great story, thanks for sharing. Like you, guitars have been part of my life for a long time and it’s fun to think back on things through the lens of the guitars. Sound like you came to the US and bought that tele while I went the other direction (what was then called Eastern Europe). I have fond memories of sitting in on blues jams in clubs in East Berlin and Warsaw. I sucked but people were always so cool to me and it was more about coming together than picking apart the quality of your playing. That’s something I learned back then that has stuck with me (find the common ground, we all have it, and focus on that vs what keeps us apart). Sorry about the little morality anecdote but it was great to read this.
No, they’re bits of wood and metal with some rudimentary electronics added. So, how does the whole become so much more than the sum of the parts?This is a beautiful love story.
Guitars are very special things (or beings...?) that can bring so much light in our lives...
Yes, emotions are very strange... After all, a woman, or a child, are only some bits of flesh and bones, and despite that we give them so much love.No, they’re bits of wood and metal with some rudimentary electronics added. So, how does the whole become so much more than the sum of the parts?
In some cases as a result of how they were acquired or followed / took you through some parts of your life I suppose. Strange things, emotions.
You can even say we are tanks containing about 12 gallons of water with some chemical additives to glue it together somehowYes, emotions are very strange... After all, a woman, or a child, are only some bits of flesh and bones, and despite that we give them so much love.
Well, that's something to be discussed. When I think back about my 1st marriage, I believe it was much more of a one-way situation than the one I have with a Tele that would fight back, sing sweet or cut my ears with the twang I think it was Mark Twain who said “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.” Easily transferable to guitars, if we just pass the concept "things got no soul/personality". I believe there is a good number of people who'd quite frequently choose to spend an evening with a guitar and an amp instead of going to a party with a bunch of people who have not much to offer.Mm, I think they are examples of somewhat more sentient beings than a guitar! More of a two-way situation!