Rosewood Tele

jdm61

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Posts
693
Age
61
Location
St. Petersburg, FL
I had a question about the Rosewood Tele of Apple Studio rooftop fame. I have seen a couple of the real ones on the web and some of the MIJ ones. Were the original handful all made with the "sandwich" bodying did that continue into the later "replicas?"?
 

jazzguitar

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
1,112
Location
Germany
this is just off my memory so some of it may be not precise.

As far as I know the very first one(s) were found to be very heavy so it was chosen to make the body with internal hollow chambers. These show a center stripe of holly or maple veneer between the body wood front and back.

Apparently the first seven ones were made with a separate fingerboard then, the production model had a one-piece rosewood neck (with a very light colored "skunk stripe" on the back, maybe maple, others say holly wood.

One was sent to Elvis who said it was too heavy, it is mentioned here: http://repforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=28305.30
Elvis thought it too heavy and sent it back.

The original Rosewood Teles never made it into the Fender catalogue, but were the most expensive model Tele at the time (around $330 or so, ha ha!) There weren't many made.
These all have Indian Rosewood bodies and necks (AFAIK the ban on Brazilian rosewood was before), the skunk stripe and a hollow body. Usual weight is 8 to 9.5 lbs. They were made between 1968 and 1972 but in one of these years (I think 1970) none were made.

The first reissues were from the "collectors' series" made in Japan, are excellent quality except for the hardware which is OK but not as good as the former US parts. Other than the hardware, these were almost exact copies of the original US series, but with the standard nut width of 1"5/16, not the narrower type often found in late 60's, early 70's guitars. They were made into the 1990's, maybe 1996 (mine is a 1994).

In the past decade there were several models called the Rosewood Telecaster, but not all of them are worthy of the name, the current Japanese version is a basswood body with just a rosewood veneer. Some did not even have a rosewood neck (some were finished in black, others had a standard maple neck with rosewood fretboard).

There were (or currently are) two version made in the Fender Custom shop, both of which are replicas of the originals but with standard nut width and as the originals, hollow bodies. Other than the original Rosewood Teles and the Japanese copies, these usually have a two-piece body front and a two-piece body back with the holly veneer in between. (the original series and the Japanese reissues sometimes came with multiple-piece front and back halves, very very few of the earliest ones had a one-piece front and/or back. AFAIK the aftermarket bodies eg by warmoth are not hollow).

Below is my 1994 Japanese reissue in original condition
94RT01.jpg
 

jdm61

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Posts
693
Age
61
Location
St. Petersburg, FL
I was wondering if they did a "sandwich" chamber job at some point. I had heard that the original ones were like Les Paul Custom heavy. Thanks guys.
 

Rhubarb Red

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 14, 2007
Posts
259
Location
Switzerland
George Harrison's Rosewood Tele had a Rosewood cap neck and the typical hollow body. So there's no skunk stripe. Production run had one-piece RW necks with a maple skunk stripe.

His RW Tele was satin-finished (hand rubbed nitrocellulose lacquer), not glossy, as the later production variants were. His RW Tele also featured a Spaghetti logo, where the production line models had the "regular" logo.

The Fender custom shop did produce the "Harrison variant", with satin lacquer, but without calling it officially a "George Harrison Model".

All Japanese RW Teles have one piece RW necks with a skunk stripe and have a glossy (Poly?) finish.
 

Peter77

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Posts
666
Age
48
Location
Stockholm
Harrisons least favourite guitar. Only used on Let it be and not on Abbey Road. George called it the worst guitar he had ever played. Its beautiful though. He never played a Telecaster after that. Georges favourite guitar was the Fender Stratocaster from 1957 untill he died.
 

jfgesquire

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 23, 2018
Posts
2,481
Age
55
Location
Lake View
George Harrison's Rosewood Tele had a Rosewood cap neck and the typical hollow body. So there's no skunk stripe. Production run had one-piece RW necks with a maple skunk stripe.

His RW Tele was satin-finished (hand rubbed nitrocellulose lacquer), not glossy, as the later production variants were. His RW Tele also featured a Spaghetti logo, where the production line models had the "regular" logo.

The Fender custom shop did produce the "Harrison variant", with satin lacquer, but without calling it officially a "George Harrison Model".

All Japanese RW Teles have one piece RW necks with a skunk stripe and have a glossy (Poly?) finish.
George’s original was NOT chambered and it was satin poly, not lacquer. Paul Waller studied the real one before making his extremely limited run years ago.


Edit: This is not the chambered reissue like the current one with Om on the neck plate. This is a very limited replica called the “Tribute”.

 
Last edited:

BobbyMac

Tele-Holic
Gold Supporter
Joined
Aug 21, 2003
Posts
632
Location
Texas Panhandle
Harrisons least favourite guitar. Only used on Let it be and not on Abbey Road. George called it the worst guitar he had ever played. Its beautiful though. He never played a Telecaster after that. Georges favourite guitar was the Fender Stratocaster from 1957 untill he died.
This isn't exactly true...



 

derekwarner

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Posts
259
Age
72
Location
Australia
When I reopened my eyes, I imagined I saw John {Lennon} with a glimpse of his black 325 Rickenbacker @ 2:20 playing typical Lennon rhythm and then @ 2:33 a few lead notes.............anyone else see this?
 

DaveGo

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 14, 2014
Posts
266
Location
Austin
Is that a top-loader he's playing in I Got My Mind Set on You? At the top of the video when he picks it up there doesn't appear to be any string ferrules on the back. What is the dark portion of the back of the bridge plate?
 

Peter77

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Posts
666
Age
48
Location
Stockholm
Here you can see that George Harrison's Rosewood Tele does have the skunk stripe:
View attachment 346749
Hope you are not interested in this one just because of George Harrison.
He Said it was the worst guitar he had ever played. And never played Telecasters again. It was used 2 weeks for the Let it Be sessions. Ordered by Paul McCartney for George as Paul wanted a Telecaster sound on let it be. Probably the least used Beatles guitar of them all. Only famous for the rooftop concert. It was not used on Abbey Road. George gave it away the same year he got it to Delany Bramlet.
George would be spinnning in his grave had he known Fender would produce this. George was very different from Olivia and Dhani Who has let Fender produce this. Olivia bought it on an auction 2 years after Georges death. But as Said Olivia was very different from George. George had paid a pension to his sister for 26 years and promised to Do it for the rest of his sisters death. The pension was 2000 USD. The month after George died, Olivia immidiately stopped paying the pension to Georges sister, and as Dhani was 23 years old he had a saying in it also and choose not to pay Georges sister the very small amount for them of 2000 USD a month.
 

Peter77

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Posts
666
Age
48
Location
Stockholm
George’s original was NOT chambered and it was satin poly, not lacquer. Paul Waller studied the real one before making his extremely limited run years ago.


Edit: This is not the chambered reissue like the current one with Om on the neck plate. This is a very limited replica called the “Tribute”.


Chambered or not. This was according to George the worst guitar he had ever used. George never played Telecasters after that. He gave it away the same year he got it to Delany Bramlet. 2 years after Georges death Olivia buys the guitar. George would be spinning in his grave in anger for Fender selling this one. It was used for 2 weeks on the Let it be album. It was not used on Abbey Road. Tough to say this on a Telecaster group But George Harrisons favourite guitar from 1957 untill he died was the Stratocaster.
I have seen some really rough quotes from George on this guitar
” The worst guitar I have ever used”
” My least favourite Beatles guitar”
” Worst gigging guitar ever”
Probably the guitar George used the least of all electric Beatles guitars. Only famous for the rooftop concert.
Also it was Paul McCartney Who ordered it for George. Paul wanted a Telecaster sound on Let it be.
 

KeithDavies 100

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 19, 2021
Posts
377
Age
59
Location
Cambridge, UK
Mine's a 1987, I think. Bought slightly shop-damaged in '88, or I wouldn't have been able to afford it. Damage was so slight I didn't notice till they pointed it out. It is indeed heavy. It was my first solid body, so I thought that's how they were supposed to be, and dismissed a lot of other electrics after I got that because they felt "insubstantial". I felt the pickups were a bit disappointing. I put an on-board preamp in for a while, then Joe Barden pickups, that are still in it. Otherwise mine's as I found it, 34 years ago. It's my main guitar. Other than the pickups and the weight, I'm not sure what George would have disliked about it, but we're all different I guess.
 

jfgesquire

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 23, 2018
Posts
2,481
Age
55
Location
Lake View
Chambered or not. This was according to George the worst guitar he had ever used. George never played Telecasters after that. He gave it away the same year he got it to Delany Bramlet. 2 years after Georges death Olivia buys the guitar. George would be spinning in his grave in anger for Fender selling this one. It was used for 2 weeks on the Let it be album. It was not used on Abbey Road. Tough to say this on a Telecaster group But George Harrisons favourite guitar from 1957 untill he died was the Stratocaster.
I have seen some really rough quotes from George on this guitar
” The worst guitar I have ever used”
” My least favourite Beatles guitar”
” Worst gigging guitar ever”
Probably the guitar George used the least of all electric Beatles guitars. Only famous for the rooftop concert.
Also it was Paul McCartney Who ordered it for George. Paul wanted a Telecaster sound on Let it be.
Ed Begley, Jr. was technically the anonymous, at the time, buyer.

And whether George liked it or not is irrelevant for 2 reasons: 1. he played it, 2. you can't get that sound without it.

0_tapatalk_share_-1241482579_compressed.jpeg
 

Steve Holt

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 29, 2016
Posts
3,287
Location
Kansas
Hope you are not interested in this one just because of George Harrison.
He Said it was the worst guitar he had ever played. And never played Telecasters again. It was used 2 weeks for the Let it Be sessions. Ordered by Paul McCartney for George as Paul wanted a Telecaster sound on let it be. Probably the least used Beatles guitar of them all. Only famous for the rooftop concert. It was not used on Abbey Road. George gave it away the same year he got it to Delany Bramlet.
George would be spinnning in his grave had he known Fender would produce this. George was very different from Olivia and Dhani Who has let Fender produce this. Olivia bought it on an auction 2 years after Georges death. But as Said Olivia was very different from George. George had paid a pension to his sister for 26 years and promised to Do it for the rest of his sisters death. The pension was 2000 USD. The month after George died, Olivia immidiately stopped paying the pension to Georges sister, and as Dhani was 23 years old he had a saying in it also and choose not to pay Georges sister the very small amount for them of 2000 USD a month.

It may be one of the least used Beatle guitars, but it's so iconic! He played it at the very last live performance they ever did. That's worth something. It's such a cool guitar too, within or without George.
 




Top