FENDER ROSEWOOD TELECASTER (GH)
In 1969 the Beatles were busy recording the albums Let It Be and Abbey Road. During the filming and recording of Let It Be, George received a Fender Rosewood Telecaster, custom made for him. Fender's marketing department wanted to add new solid body rosewood Telecasters and Stratocasters to its line, and felt that a good way to jump start the instruments' popularity would be to present the prototype of the Telecaster to Harrison and the prototype of the Stratocaster to Jimi Hendrix.
During the touring days of the Beatles, George had used in the main either a Gretch Country Gent or a Rickenbacker 12 string on stage. As the Beatles gave up touring and spent most of the time in the studio he used several different guitars ncluding an Epiphone Casino, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, a Fender Stratocaster (called Rocky) and the Fender Telecaster.
The famous Rosewood Telecaster serial number #235594 was built by Phillip Kubicki, a young, talented guitar maker, was told by his boss, Roger Rossmeisl (who also designed the Telecaster Thinline), that Fender would be making the guitars.
Kubicki recalls in the book The Beatles Gear by Andy Babuik: "For me, this was about as exciting as things could get. The Beatles and Hendrix were at their peak and were a big part of the times." According to the book, "Rossmeisl decided that a safe course would be to produce two prototypes each of the Rosewood Telecaster and the Rosewood Stratocaster and then select the best to give to the star musicians. The bodies for the guitars were made with a thin layer of maple sandwiched between a solid rosewood top and back. "I spent hours sanding the bodies to perfection," recalls a misty eyed Kubicki. "Eventually, a clear polyurethane finish was applied and allowed to dry, and we selected the two best bodies and necks for Harrison and Hendrix." Kubicki says that Harrison's telecaster became a priority because Fender knew it was required for an album that The Beatles were working on. The guitar was carefully and painstakingly finished, set up, checked and carefully rubbed with a fine cloth until it became highlighted. The second body and neck were stored in Fender's R & D department.
Kubikci followed the guitar's history and, according to the book reported that "Harrison's guitar was flown to England-in its own seat-accompanied by a courier, and hand-delivered to the Apple offices in December 1968. "I remember when I saw the guitar for the first time in the Let It Be film," smiles Kubicki. "I was so thrilled I almost jumped out of my seat.".
The guitar was used almost exclusively by Harrison in the Get Back recording sessions and was chosen by him to play the rooftop final performance on January 30, 1969. This performance was the film's final climax---the band's celebrated final live public performance atop Apple's roof. The group played 'Get Back', 'Don't Let Me Down', 'I've Got A Feeling', 'The One After 909' and 'Dig A Pony'. The next day, another performance was staged, this time in the Apple basement studio. With the cameras rolling, they performed and recorded 'The Long And Winding Road', and 'Let It Be', with Harrison using his Rosewood Telecaster. Shortly thereafter, the band would go their separate ways forever. By the end of 1969, each of the Beatles had designs on solo projects and began their own respective journeys to that end.
On December 1st, 1969, George Harrison, along with Ringo Starr, attended Delaney & Bonnie's performance at London's Royal Albert Hall. Eric Clapton was on the bill that night and following the show asked Harrison if he would join the group for a few shows throughout Britainand Denmark. The next day, Harrison joined the tour and presented Delaney with a wonderful gift-his Fender Rosewood Telecaster. Harrison told Delaney "This is for what you did for me last night."
Delaney Bramlett kept the counted the guitar among his very dearest possessions until 2003 when it was put up for auction in September. Lot number 29 in the two day sale at Juliens Auctions in Hollywood the guitars sold for $434,750.00. When the Rosewood telecaster was added to the Fender catalogue in 1969 it retailed at The Rosewood Telecaster was added to the regular production line in 1969 at $375. The guitar when sold was accompanied by the hard shell case used by Bramlett to transport it as he toured with his Delaney Bramlett and Friends road show, of which Harrison and Eric Clapton were a part and a letter of authenticity written by Delaney Bramlett himself.
During the time he had the guitar, Bramlett had a gloss finish applied to the guitar, masking its original satin finish. He also had the body routed and two humbuckers installed. Since being reacquired by George Harrison's estate the guitar has been restored to its original condition.
Bramlett died from complications of gall bladder surgery on December 27, 2008, in Los Angeles, California.
Phil Kubicki the man who built the famous Rosewood Telecaster passed away in New Hamphisre, USA on March 18th 2013. He was 69 years old.
In late 2013 the Fender Custom Shop once again released a Rosewood Telecaster. Tetailing at $7000, it hit the shops in the UK with a £3000+ Price tag.
Fender built several instruments in the late ’60s made completely of hand-selected rosewood. These were in production only very briefly and are now highly collectable on the vintage market.
Jimi Hendrix reportedly had one of the first Rosewood Stratocaster® guitars, and George Harrison of the Beatles used one of the original Rosewood Telecaster guitars on Let It Be and for the famous Apple Records rooftop concert in January 1969.
The Closet Classic Rosewood Telecaster is once again offered as a Limited Edition for 2013 and is a meticulously crafted replica of one of the most sought after guitars in Fender history.
Features include a rosewood body, rosewood neck with early-’60s “oval C”-shaped profile and no skunk stripe or plug, rosewood fingerboard with 9.5” radius and 6105 frets, vintage-style hardware, Twisted Tele® pickups with modern wiring, and satin urethane Closet Classic finish. Each guitar comes with a Limited Edition case, decal, neck plate and certificate of authenticity.
Its MSRP is $7,000 (£4667). The retail price in the shops is £3119.
2013 FENDER CUSTOM SHOP CLOSET CLASSIC ROSEWOOD TELECASTER
1969 FENDER ROSEWOOD TELECASTER "GEORGE HARRISON MODEL"