My name is Deke Martin and I got my first guitar in 1978 when I
was 14. I've always preferred hollows to solids (Gretsch in particular), but I've also had a love of Telecasters for as long as I can remember. I've never had a genuine Fender Telecaster as I
became a semi-pro bass player very early on, so I couldn't really justify spending a lot of dough on a guitar I wouldn't use professionally. I have been playing guitar semi-professionally
for about three years with my 6120W-57 taking the lion's share of the duties, although I still play a lot of bass too.
The Telecaster was built by Dave Taylor in 1976. Dave has worked with a few named acts in the past and built guitars and/or mandolins for them, including Albert Lee and Joe Brown.
The mandolins are Tele-shaped solids with a P-bass pickup. If you ever see Albert with his Telemander, that's one of Dave's.
When he first built this Tele '76, it was a single-pickup Esquire
with no B-bender. He took it to a London dealer who offered him £1000 for it, thinking it was original. That was a LOT of dough in '76. As this point the guitar had the proper spaghetti logo and
everything, so it was pretty much indistinguishable from the real thing. The deal was about to go ahead when some bright spark in the shop decided to lift the scratchplate, only to discover
there was only one pickup hole (for those who don't know, an Esquire is simply a normal Telecaster body with one pickup, the other pickup hole is still routed out although not used). Dave
was sent away with a flea in his ear and sold the guitar to an unknown buyer a while later.
Roll forward to the mid eighties and Dave sees the Tele hanging
in a shop window. Although in pretty good shape overall, someone had tried (very badly) to install a B-bender. This had ruined what was once a nicely figured piece of swamp ash, but
Dave bought her back nonetheless and decided to fix her up. He built a B-bender from various bits lying around the shed (I believe part of it is from the carburettor of a Velocette
motorbike), and played the guitar up until about '86/'87 when it was dismantled and added to the pile of parts in the shed.
In about '89, tired of my badgering, Dave offered me a deal; I
get just the body (the neck was lost somewhere in his shed) with no hardware (ditto) in exchange for 4 tyres for his car (I was in the tyre trade so this was cheap for me - £90 I think).
The deal was done and when I got the body I used a Japanese Hohner Tele as a donor and made a working guitar. About a year later, the neck was found and, after a re-fret and new lacquer,
I bought it for £25. We have been blissfully happy ever since. I particularly like the weight (a little over 9lbs) and the shorter Gibson scale length as this gives a more growly sound. One day
I will put decent pickups in it, but the Gretsch is earning the dough right now so the Tele doesn't really get played that much.