The company has crafted 100 “perfect” copies of George Harrison’s custom Telecaster guitar from Let It Be and the famed 1969 rooftop concert, giving Beatles fans the opportunity to play a virtually identical version of one of rock’s most iconic instruments.
A 1968 Fender Telecaster, the original guitar is most notable for the fact that it is almost completely made of rosewood, a heavier wood typically used only the fretboard. The original was one of two rosewood instruments produced by the Fender factory at the time, with one copy sent to Harrison and the other sent to Jimi Hendrix — who tragically passed away before he could receive it.
Harrison’s family granted Fender masterbuilder Paul Waller access to the priceless instrument, who then took apart and replicated every detail of the guitar. The replicas carry a suggested retail price of $12,500. That might seem like a hefty pricetag, even for a hand-built guitar, until fans remember that the original Telecaster did once sell for a half a million dollars at auction.
And then there’s the attention to detail with which Waller and Fender replicated it; the company did everything it could to recreate the guitar as it was in 1968, giving it a lighter finish and special headstock logo, and even calling a former factory worker out of retirement to hand-wind the pickups.
The instrument was, according to Harrison’s son Dhani, one of his father’s favorite guitars, and was discussed and played at length by Conan O’Brien and Dhani Harrison during Conan’s 2014 George Harrison Week.
“Other than the fact that it weighs seven times more than a normal Tele, it’s so nice to play,” he said in an interview with Guitar Aficionado. “It’s like having a golden AK-47 or something. It’s something that you know so well and you wouldn’t be afraid to beat up, but this one is like the golden gun.”
The replica instruments will likely sell out extremely fast, but would-be owners are advised to contact their local Fender dealer for more details.