Few guitars are true witnesses to recent musical history. Such is the case with this 1968 Telecaster Thinline, which despite its impeccable condition has passed through the hands of some of Britain's most legendary recent artists. Present at the legendary Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 in the hands of Donovan, then played for years by Johnny Marr before being lent by the latter to New Order for recordings and performances, this Telecaster has been played by icons of British music. Imagine the weight of history contained in this sublime blonde guitar!
The Fender Telecaster Thinline was introduced to the market in 1968. Designed by luthier Roger Rossmeisl (responsible for George Harrison's Telecaster Rosewood), this guitar marks an evolution from Fender's historic "solid body" guitars. It takes up the guitar's original style, while adding a different sound thanks to a hollow body. The Thinline features the famous f-shaped soundhole, as well as a mahogany body and two single-coil pickups. This exceptional guitar, in addition to its dizzying pedigree, is part of the first months of Thinline production by Fender. Its mahogany body reveals the wood's sumptuous grain, accentuated by the sparkling white pickguard with its characteristic shape, giving it an elegance quite unlike the Telecaster.
This Telecaster Thinline has a remarkable history that began in 1968 with Donovan. The legendary English songwriter and singer, who revolutionized psychedelic hippy music and influenced entire generations of musicians, was the first to make this guitar his own. It was at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 that it enjoyed its first large-scale exposure: Donovan played in front of almost 600,000 people on the Sunday. He was photographed playing this guitar. Our Thinline continued to be seen on stage with Donovan for several years before being acquired by Johnny Marr of the Smiths in the 1980s.
A true icon of English music, Johnny Marr was the rhythmic mainstay of the Smiths until they split up. The guitarist bought this Thinline in 1987, and used it during his years with the legendary English band. Following the Smiths' break-up, Marr loaned the guitar to the new-wave and post-punk band New Order, who used it on the recordings for their album Technique. It also appeared in 1989 on a live performance of the hit "Round Round" on BBC's Top of the Pops, where it was played by Bernard Sumner. Sumner borrowed the guitar for several years, when he was a member of the band Electronic with Johnny Marr, of whom he was a close friend.
All in all, this 1968 Telecaster is without doubt a remarkable piece of modern music history. Its extraordinary provenance spans more than five decades, during which time it has accompanied some of England's most illustrious musicians. A piece of history to discover at Matt's Guitar Shop!
Group : The Smiths
Main guitar : Fender Jaguar signature
An absolute “must-hear” track : What Difference Does It Make?
As a member of one of the most important British bands of the 1980s, Johnny Marr could very well have given up in the face of the invasion of synthesisers and relegated his guitar to the rank of a discreet rhythm instrument. On the contrary, he made The Smiths’ four albums manifestos for the enormous diversity of sound that someone with a rich imagination can get out of a guitar.
And, of course, he used the chorus effect that was typical of the time, giving the music a round and warm side that many people missed. But his originality was above all in his choice of phrasings, in the way he voiced chords, his tunings and placement of Capodasters, and his intelligent and very original use of open strings. None of his guitar parts are simple, and all contain ideas that have become an integral part of the song, to the point that something is missing unless you play them exactly the same way.
The diversity of the guitars he used was a reflection of that richness of sound: Rickenbacker, a hand-crafted Telecaster, and of course his superb 1959 ES-355. When The Smiths broke up in 1987, he became a sessionist musician, and as a result he can be heard on Beck or Talking Heads tracks. At the same time, he pursued a parallel career in several groups: The Pretenders first, then The The, Modest Mouse, Electronic, and The Cribs. But the most exciting side of his musical personality is expressed through his personal projects: Johnny Marr & The Healers, for which he played a superb Cherry Red SG. Then his solo albums, on which we hear the excellent signature Fender Jaguar that bears his name. A musician like no other and who demands a great openness of mind from the fans who follow him from project to project.