John Frusciante’s 1959-62 Fender Telecaster Custom

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Bought sometime prior to Californication, and 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 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’s Telecaster features a three-tone sunburst finish, rosewood fingerboard, white body binding, and white pickguard with a letter “F” embedded into it – the origin of which were not familiar with. If you know anything about this particular detail, be sure to leave a comment below.

This guitar was made sometime in the 60s, during the pre-CBS period. In some older interviews, John refers to the guitar as a ’65 Telecaster, although more recently almost every source has it listed as a ’63. However, since it’s a slab board Tele, it was probably made earlier, between 1959 and 1962.

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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 dedicated gear pages.

An important thing to say is that John had another almost identical Telecaster from 1967 as a backup during By The Way tour, which he ended up giving to Josh Klinghoffer after he himself joined Peppers.


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2 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
1 year 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
1 year ago

It did not.

11 months 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.

1 year 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.