If you know anything about Jack White, you know he has a taste for all things off-the-beaten-path, zany, and unusual. This unique aesthetic has always permeated his choice of gear, as evidenced most recently by the absolutely wild custom "Three-Wheel-Motion Low Rider Telecaster" he has taken to playing with his band, The Raconteurs, in the past year or so.
Now, White has chronicled the fascinating evolution of the Tele in a video shared on The Raconteurs' YouTube channel, which you can check out above.
Though the guitar was gifted to White as a normal Nashville Tele (fitted with a B-bender, mind you), White quickly handed the guitar off to Chip Ellis at the Fender Custom Shop, with a long list of requests.
Fascinatingly, in addition to the guitar's built-in B-bender – where shifting the strap bends the B string only – the Low Rider Tele has been fitted with an after-market Hipshot B-bender bridge, which adds an additional G and high E bender, plus a switch that drops the low E down to a D, to the equation.
Ellis also outfitted the guitar with a Lace Sensor single coil pickup in the bridge, a humbucker taken from a Fender Telecaster Thinline, and a middle-position P-90. These are controlled by a standard three-way selector switch, but a kill switch – a display of Tom Morello's ever-present influence on White – also comes aboard the guitar.
As explained at the video's beginning, despite all of those customizations, the guitar is still a work in progress and – in a second iteration – has had its black hardware exchanged with white hardware, an extended Cabronita pickguard added, the aforementioned killswitch moved and the E-bender removed.
You can see the ever-evolving Frankentele in action in The Raconteurs’ Somedays "(I Don’t Feel Like Trying)" music video below.
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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