We hinted about it back in October, but now it’s official: Fender has announced its Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster, a replica of Summers’ heavily-modified ’61 Tele, which he apparently bought in the ’70s for a staggering $200 😉
The guitar will be produced in a limited run of just 250 instruments, the first of which is expected to be played by Summers when the Police reunite for next week’s Grammy Awards (Feb 11.)
The Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster will feature the same mods as the original, including a “ferocious” humbucker at the neck, a body-mounted bridge pickup, a mini-toggle phase switch, pre-amp with mini-toggle on/off switch, rear-mounted overdrive unit (with controller knob below the standard volume & tone controls,) soft bridge pieces (brass,) and a set of Schaller tuners.
The guitar will also sport an alder body, maple neck, and meticulously recreated nicks, dings, and scratches to match Summers’ incredibly lived-in instrument.
The photos above show a comparison of the original Telecaster (right, from Andy Summers’ website,) and the new Fender Andy Summers Tribute Tele (left, photo by Takashi Sato.) There’s no telling what the price will be like on this baby, but at just 250 units I think we can assume it will be safely out of range for mere mortals and starving artists.
The Fender Custom Shop Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster® Guitar
Andy Summers was just out of college in Southern California in the early 1970s when one of his guitar students offered to sell him a beat-up 1961 Fender Telecaster® that had obviously been modified by a previous owner.
Summers had already had some modest music business success in the late ’60s in Britain. Lately though, he’d stuck mainly to his classical guitar studies, and hadn’t played an electric in quite a while. Strangely, however, something about this particular Telecaster grabbed him. As he put it himself in his 2006 memoir, One Train Later:
When I start to play it, something stirs within me … it shakes me … I find that I can’t stop playing it; this guitar sparks something in me and I have to have it.
Summers bought the guitar for $200, and you and the whole world know the rest. Back in London a few years later, he joined a noisy so-called punk outfit called the Police that rose to become the biggest band in the world, thanks in no small part to the deftly innovative and influential sounds summers conjured from that beat-up Telecaster.
Hit after hit was recorded and performed on it—“Roxanne,” “So Lonely,” “Walking On the Moon,” the breathtaking “Message In a Bottle,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” “Synchronicity II” and “King of Pain.”