Buck Owens and Don Rich may have been the original Telemasters. Back in the 1960s they were playing some Fender custom made “sparkle” Telecasters. No Fender Custom Shop in those days. The story has it that these were created with ground mirrors in the paint according to George Gruhn. They are pretty amazing looking.
Don Rich was one of the original “chicken pickers.” Together with Buck Owens they created what was called the Bakersfield Sound that was the the “ying” to Nashville’s “yang.” They were so influential their songs were even covered by the Beatles. They influenced most all country pickers like Albert Lee, Marty Stuart, Redd Volkaert, Brad Paisley, Pete Anderson, Keith Urban and Vince Gill as well as many other guitar players including Roy Buchanan.
Buck Owens was a huge country star despite being the opposite of what Nashville thought you had to do to be a country star. First off he recorded and lived in California. Owens was never a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Buck Owens had 15 consecutive #1 records on the Billboard Country charts between 1963 and 1967, and a total of 20 #1 records between 1963 and 1972; 20 other singles made the top 10. Buck’s music had a driving beat more like rock n roll than most country records in the 1950s and 60s. Buck used his touring band, the Buckaroos on studio sessions which was very unlike what Nashville did in those days. All those years of playing small clubs and honky-tonks taught Buck what people expected and liked to hear.
The March 1965 issue of Music City News carried a paid ad from Buck Owens. In his “Pledge To Country Music,” he stated:
I Shall Sing No Song That Is Not A Country Song.
I Shall Make No Record That Is Not A Country Record.
I Refuse To be Known As Anything But A Country Singer.
I Am Proud To be Associated With Country Music.
Country Music And Country Music Fans Made Me What I Am Today.
And I Shall Not Forget It.
Buck and Don had gold sparkle Fender Telecasters and then a few years later Fender sent them the silver sparkle Teles that sounded as good as they looked. They has maple cap necks that did not have the skunk line for the truss rod. The gold sparkle Teles as had a fantastic checkerboard purfling along with the black binding. These guitars were seen on the Buck Owens TV Show and Hee Haw TV Show for many years. Pretty outrageous guitars for country players in the early 60s. In my opinion they are still very very cool.
Marty Stuart’s Fender Limited Custom Shop Sparkle Telecaster pays tribute to the Buck and Don Telecasters as well. Marty Stuart’s Fender CS Sparkle Telecasters also adds a B Bender and some pretty fancy inlays on the Maple board. Pretty sweet looking Telecaster I think.
From look at this site, I think you may get the idea is I do like sparkle Telecasters as I have put together a few. Well my turn to get a silver sparkle Buck-Don tribute Telecaster into the collection.
Fender had sent Don Rich a rosewood neck to replace the maple cap one as he probably wore out the maple one. Word has it that Don never liked the rosewood neck and had preferred the maple cap one better.
The body for this project is being built by Tony DeLacugo. This will be the forth guitar I have done using Tony’s amazing painting and fabrication talents. The body is a 60s vintage style Alder Telecaster that will be custom painted by Tony.
Below are samples of Tony DeLacugo’s Silver Sparkle Telecaster body:
Brilliant silver metal-flake with just a trace of holographic flakes in the final metal-flake coat to give it another visual dimension without overpowering the silver color. The black bindings and checkerboard are simulated as they are painted on. The top binding is checkered black/white like the Don Rich and Marty Stuart Teles. This checkerboard is painted one at a time then it is given the final Polyester clear coat. Once finished it is almost impossible to tell the faux bindings and checkerboard from real binding and purfling and is just as time consuming to build.
Under different lighting the silver metal-flake really takes off. I think even Buck Owens would have been impressed!
I am using one of my favorite Fender made necks. Very high quality flamed maple Fender SELECT with pearloid inlays, modern “C” Shape, compound radius 9.5″-14″ with 22 Medium Jumbo Frets and 1.685″ Width at Nut. Nitrocellulose finish with a satin back. These are some of Fender’s best necks in my opinion. The headstock will be painted to match body and will be using Fender/Schaller locking tuners. A modern neck on a vintage Telecaster!
I ordered a set of O.C. Duff Buckaroo pickups. Owen Duff makes all pickups by hand and I am having these pickups wired so I can use a 4-way switch. This gives you more versatile sounds.
The 4-way switch wiring allows for:
Position 1: Bridge only
Position 2: Bridge and Neck in Parallel (like a standard Tele – both pickups)
Position 3: Neck only
Position 4: Bridge and Neck in Series for fatter tone (more output than 1, 2 & 3)
FROM O.C. Duff website:
The “Buckaroo’s” pay homage to the big, bold, clean Telecaster sounds that emanated from Bakersfield in the 1960’s. Players like Roy Nichols and Don Rich gifted us not only some of the twangiest Tele licks, but also some of the snappiest, clearest chickin’ pickin’ heard west of Muskogee. The “Buckaroo’s” are dead on replica’s of the best of the 60’s, for that clanky, clean Tele sound. Roll back the volume for that smooth, snappy tone. Turn up the heat, and withhold those big, juicy cleans ever Tele player dreams of.
Features include: 6.3K output, tempered, Alnico V magnets, raised D and G poles on bridge, 42 gauge Plain Enamel in bridge, 43 gauge Plain Enamel in neck. Special winding pattern. Light potting (copper baseplate not potted). RWRP option, cloth covered leads. Chrome neck cover.
Other high quality parts being used for this project:
• Rutters Angled Selector Switch Control Plate
• Rutters early 60s Tele knobs
• Callaham CTS Pot 250k Solid Shaft – These pots are de-greased and the spring pressure is reduced which makes the pots very smooth which is great volume swells
• ElectroSocket Jackplate
• Callaham Steel vintage style compensated bridge saddles for modern intonation
• Repro Capacitors and vintage cloth covered wiring
• 4-Ply White Pearl Pickguard (like the one on the Marty Stuart CS Tele)
• Fender Telecaster Bridge (modified – notched)
• .47 Capacitor from 1960’s Fender Telecaster
• Dunlop Strap Locks
Originally I was going to put a Tamara B & G Bender on this guitar, but decided to add it to a nice Vegas Gold Sparkle Fender FSR Baja Classic Player Telecaster I bought instead.
UPDATE: Guitar body and neck have arrived from Tony at TDL Guitars. They look awesome! I took a few quick pictures that do not really do the amazing sparkle paint work justice. The sparkle runs deep and has a bit of holographic effect.
The body is a modeled from a 60s vintage style Telecaster made in Alder. It is faux double bound with the checkerboard binding effect that looks a bit like the original Don Rich – Buck Owens Champaign sparkle guitar made by Fender in the 60’s. Difference being that Tony DeLacugo has done this with paint and is almost indistinguishable from actual binding.
The neck is a nicely flamed genuine Fender SELECT that now has a painted headstock to match body. Re-applied Fender waterslide decal and added Buck Owens signature decal. The headstock was than clear-coated and is perfectly smooth with decals suspended in finish.
I used a Dremel tool with a router bit to clean out the sparkle paint from the pickup and control cavities. I wanted to smooth it out so I could use the copper foil tape.
Used copper foil tape to sheild all the cavities to reduce hum from single coil pickups I will be installing.
Bolted on the neck using custom neck plate in tribute to Buck Owens.
Laying out some parts. The faux “painted” black binding is impossible to tell from real binding from under the clear coat. Great job Tony!
Mounted the Fender modified Telecaster bridge and O.C. Duff Buckaroo pickups. The Fender bridge has been notched and polished for easier playing. I installed the Callaham Steel vintage style compensated bridge saddles.
I used a vintage .47 disc capacitor that I purchased from a guy in Australia (of all places) that came from an early 1960s Fender Telecaster. Used vintage style cloth wire and wired the guitar up with a 4 way Fender switch.
OK, this project is finished. The guitar is gorgeous and the pictures (like most of the sparkle guitars) cannot do it justice. In person the silver sparkle finish is amazing. The Owen Duff pickups and the 4 way switch sound great.
Tony DeLacugo’s paint work is just fantastic.
After the headstock was painted to match body, the Fender waterslide and Buck Owens signature decals were added. Clear coat was applied and the headstock is perfectly smooth. This is a genuine Fender SELECT neck so adding the restoration decal is fine with Fender.
Opted for the Pearl pickguard (like the Marty Stuart Signature Telecaster) instead of the white ones on the Buck Owens and Don Rich original ones.
Buck ‘Em was the name of Buck Owens biography. Good book by the way.
The Fender SELECT neck is highly flamed and has an awesome feel. In my opinion these are the best necks Fender produces for any of its production guitars. This is a modern neck on a vintage tribute Telecaster with locking Fender tuners!
This is a great playing Telecaster. Already one of my favorites.
Special guitar deserved a special case. Purchased this Fender G&G case new from vendor on eBay. Nice tooled western theme.
Buck and Don – Act Naturally
My Heart Skips a Beat
Tiger by the Tail
Buck Owens – “Buck’s Polka”
Marty Stuart and Sparkle Telecaster honors Buck Owens and Buckaroos
Dierks’ Fender® Silver Sparkle Telecaster® guitar!
Brad Paisley At: Guitar Center “G-Bender” Sparkle Telecaster
Fender Custom Shop Senior Master builder Mark Kendrick disassembles Buck Owens original 64 Gold Sparkle Tele.