Imagine someone at Fender unearthing a long-lost prototype that Leo Fender was working on in the years after the launch of the Telecaster on his way to designing the Stratocaster...
Why We Love This
When Mike Rinkenberger and Gene Baker of b3 Guitars approached us about doing an exclusive run of guitars - a revamped Telstar model - we jumped at the opportunity. Simply put, the Telstar is an original design that brilliantly melds the best parts of a Telecaster with the best parts of a Stratocaster. As long-time Strat and Tele players, the idea of a well-executed hybrid? Sign us up!
Imagine someone at Fender unearthing a long-lost prototype that Leo Fender was working on in the years after the launch of the Telecaster on his way to designing the Stratocaster. That, in a nutshell, is the concept the Telstar conjures up for us. The way Gene has blended elements of both designs is so seamless that its easy to imagine this being the missing link between a Tele and a Strat - and - who better to bring this design to life than Gene, the Fender Custom Shop's first Master Builder back in the early days of the Custom Shop?
The body of the Telstar spits the differences between these two iconic Fender models in a north / south orientation. The "southern" half of the body is all Tele - same body radius, control layout, horn shape, etc...The "northern" half of the body is a Stratocaster with its body radius and contours. The basic idea being that a Tele is more comfortable for seated playing - and some also prefer its control plate layout - while a Strat's tummy cut and arm contour are more comfy overall. Makes perfect sense, no?
A few modern touches include a 12" radius, 22 fret maple/rosewood neck, a Tele bridge pickup in place of a Strat's bridge pickup (strengthening the weak spot on a Strat), beautifully installed 6105 frets, a custom made Mann bridge/tremolo which incorporates 3 compensated brass Tele saddles (very cool), and perhaps the most mind warping feature - a 10-way, yes 10-way, Free-Way switch.
This Free-Way switch is one of the coolest things we've encountered in a very long time. It maintains the look of a traditional Strat 5-way switch while expanding your tonal possibilities in the easiest way possible - in each of the 5 positions you can either push the switch down towards the floor for normal Strat operation, or, click it up towards you for 5 additional options. No push/pull knob to contend with, no mini toggle to navigate....simple & effective access to 10 sounds in total.
Having seen Gene's original Telstar design we knew this was a model that not only needed to exist, but one that needed to be more widely available. We're honored and excited to present the Telstar. Fender fans, you'll find a ton to love here. Gibson players that can't decide on a Strat or a Tele? This is your guitar.