A 1968 Telecaster Custom with olympic
white finish and maple fretboard
Introduced in 1959, the Fender Telecaster
Custom was a special deluxe version of
the regular Telecaster. The Custom’s sunburst
alder body had white binding around the top
and back that was meant to provide a more
sophisticated look than the standard blonde
finish Fender used on ash-body Teles.
The 1968 Telecaster Custom pictured this
month has a custom olympic white finish
with black binding (black binding was used
occasionally for a light-colored guitar). The
body is finished with a thick-skin polyester
base coat, which was new to ’68. The maple
neck with separate maple fretboard still has
a traditional Fender nitrocellulose lacquer
finish, but by ’69 polyester-finished necks
became standard. The headstock boasts the
bold black CBS logo, which was first seen
on Customs in ’68. The 1968 list price for a
Telecaster Custom was $259, plus $58 for a
case. A maple fretboard was an extra 5 percent,
as was the custom color. The current
value for this well-used Tele is $10,000.
Looking much like a piece of the Starship
Enterprise’s transporter, a 1967 Fender Solid
State Super Reverb stands behind the Tele.
Fender’s solid-state amp line was developed in
1966 when most electronic companies were
replacing tubes with transistors. Although pursuing
solid-state technology was a logical move,
these early attempts failed to account for the
nuances of tube interaction with a guitar and
player. Compared to tube versions, the solid-state
amps were thought of as sounding “tinny”
and sterile. These transistor amps were also
unreliable and prone to complete breakdown.
While other late-’60s companies like Acoustic
and Kustom achieved success with solid-state
amps, Fender gave up on its first endeavor
in 1971. The 1968 list price for a Solid State
Super Reverb was $500. The current value for
one in excellent condition is $400.
LEFT: All the signs of
a well-played guitar.
CENTER: Fender’s rare
black binding appeared
on some light-colored
RIGHT: The bold
black CBS logo first appeared
on Customs in ’68.
You can find virtually everything you
need to know about Fender Telecasters in
The Fender Telecaster by A.R. Duchossoir.
Detailed information on Fender amplifiers
can be found in The Soul of Tone: Celebrating
60 Years of Fender Amps by Tom Wheeler,
and also in Fender Amps: The First Fifty Years
by John Teagle and John Sprung.
Original price: 1968 Custom Tele, $259 (maple
fretboard and custom color each cost an extra 5
percent), plus $58 for hardshell case. 1968 Solid
State Super Reverb, $500.
Current estimated market value: 1968 Custom
Tele, $10,000; Solid State Super Reverb, $400 in
Dave ’s Guitar Shop
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended
by Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally
and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
Photos by Mullally and text