John Frusciante’s 1960 Fender Telecaster Custom

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S/N: 45959

Bought sometime prior to Californication, and was used on a few songs from that album – specifically Easily and Scar Tissue (only on the solo). It was also used on the band’s 2002 album By the Way, where John used this exact guitar to record one of their bigger hits, Can’t Stop.

I also had a ’61 Gibson SG, and I used a Telecaster on some things too, like “Easily” and “Scar Tissue.”

Red Hot Once Again!, 1999

I just played the slide on a Telecaster into my Fender Showman amp. My favorite slide guitarist is Snake Finger. His influence isn’t evident on the song, but that’s how I practice slide: from playing along with him and Jimmy Page.

Return Of The Prodigal Son, Guitar Player (UK), September 1999
John using his ’60 Fender Stratocaster during the Slane Castle concert.


John’s Telecaster features a three-tone sunburst finish, rosewood fingerboard, white body binding, and white pickguard with a letter “F” embedded or printed onto it – the origin of which is a mystery (if you know anything about this particular detail, be sure to leave a comment below).

In some older interviews, John refers to the guitar as a ’65 Telecaster, in some as ’66, and some of the more recent magazine articles have it listed as a ’63. However, one Japanese magazine apparently had a chance to photograph the guitar in detail and published its serial number – #45959. This puts the guitar in the year 1960.

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John’s Tele Inspiration

In an interview from 1999, John explained where he got the inspiration to use a Telecaster specifically on some of the songs.

It’s similar to the kind of guitar that Syd Barrett used to play in Pink Floyd, and also similar to what Jimmy Page played in the Yardbirds, – those are two of my favorite guitarists.

Guitar World (USA), July 1999

Just in case you’re interested, Syd Barrett (the original member of Pink Floyd) played a 1962 Fender Esquire himself – a guitar that is almost identical to a Telecaster, except that it has only a single pickup, compared to two on the Tele. On the other side, Jimmy Page played a 1959 Fender Telecaster in the Yardbirds, a guitar that was given to him by Jeff Beck in 1966. You can read more about these guitars on Syd Barrett’s and Jimmy Page’s gear pages.

John’s Favorite Guitar?

Although John 1962 Stratocaster seems to be his favorite, both based on several interview statements and the frequency of use, in one of the interviews, John stated that the Telecaster is actually his favorite.

I’m a bit of a snob. I only play on guitars from the fifties or the sixties. If it’s newer, it doesn’t interest me! But the best guitar to me, in relation to my playing, the look, the sound, the comfort, it’s the Fender Telecaster from 1966. The best!

A Beautiful Breakaway, 2004

Please note here that John is saying that the Telecaster is from 1966. This could be him just not knowing/caring to know the actual year of manufacture of his guitar, or he could be referring to a different Tele. It is confirmed that he did own another Telecaster, which he gave to Josh Klinghoffer after he replaced John in the Peppers.


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3 years ago

It’s can’t be a 1963 tele cause the fretboard is a slab (the line is curved at the head between the rosewood and the maple, not straight like a veneer)! This tele has to be built between 59 and mid 62

Tim Dummer
Tim Dummer
2 years ago

I believe it is the 1960 that my dad sold to Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan.
They featured it on their catalog cover and the rumor was the John Frusciante bought it while he was in town for a show.

Tim Dummer
Tim Dummer
2 years ago

It did not.

2 years ago

The “F” stands for Fender. It is the same exact font that is used in their spaghetti logo. There are tons of stickers and advertising with just this F.

2 years ago
Reply to  bobz

I have a 1959 reissue strat, it’s a slab one, quite thick but not curved at all in the headstock.

3 months ago

My favorite guitar of johns for sure. Im almost considering trading one of my favorite mexican teles for the squier they make thats like this particular tele. I finally played one and i was almost shocked i was so impressed. I had just bought a brand new mexican tele that was a few hundred bucks more than what the squier was and i was thinking “this thing might just be better than the fender!” It played amazing, sounded amazing, and looked killer! I have to get one. Hopefully theyre still making them by the time i get around to it.

1 month ago
Reply to  Jace

What squier are you talking about? The classic vibe perhaps?