The Fender Telecaster, colloquially known as the Tele, is typically a dual-pickup, solid-body electric guitar made by Fender. Its simple yet effective design and revolutionary sound broke ground and set trends in electric guitar manufacturing and popular music. Introduced for national distribution as the Broadcaster in the autumn of 1949, it was the first guitar of its kind to be produced on a substantial scale. Its commercial production can be traced as far back as March 1950, when the single- and dual-pickup Fender Esquire models were first sold. The Telecaster has been in continuous production in one form or another since its first incarnation, making it the world's oldest solid-body electric guitar.
Leo Fender's simple and modular design was geared to mass production, and made servicing broken guitars easier. Guitars were not constructed individually, as in traditional luthiery. Rather, components were produced quickly and inexpensively in quantity and assembled into a guitar on an assembly line. Fender did not use the traditional glued-in neck, but rather a bolt-on. This not only made production easier, but allowed the neck to be quickly removed and serviced, or replaced entirely. The electronics were easily accessed for repair or replacement through a removable control plate, a great advantage over typical construction, in which the electronics could only be accessed through the soundholes in the case of hollow-body instruments, or later by taking off the pickguard after removing the strings (as in Fender's own later design, the Stratocaster).
In its classic form, the guitar is extremely simply constructed, with the neck and fingerboard comprising a single piece of maple, bolted to an ash or alder body inexpensively jigged with flat surfaces on the front and back. The hardware includes two single coil pickups controlled by a three-way selector switch, and one each of volume and tone controls.
The guitar quickly gained a following, and soon other, more established guitar companies (such as Gibson, whose Les Paul model was introduced in 1952; and later Gretsch, Rickenbacker, and others) began working on wooden solid-body production models of their own.