A very cool Tele designed by a guy that really digs vintage guitars. I remember watching Saturday Night Live in the 80s and 90s wondering what cool guitar GE Smith would be playing next. Along with great guitar taste, he was a great picker too. That era was definitely many fan’s favorite in regards to the SNL band.
GE’s signature Tele is a well thought out instrument with some cool features and vintage lap steel inspired cosmetics. The body is made from premium ash for good tone. The 25.5 inch scale maple neck features a 7.25 inch radius maple fingerbaord with 21 vintage style frets. The big U shaped neck also features some cool lap steel inspired inlays on the fingerboard. Dual American Vintage single coils dish out classic Tele tone. The bridge a custom “cut off” 3 saddle string through unit with the bridge pickup screwed directly into the wood for great sustain. Vintage style tuners keep it rock solid. The finish is a nitrocellulose lacquer honey blonde set off by black plastic and chrome hardware.
A great looking vintage style Tele. GE helped Fender do this guitar right. Recently I see used prices are rising on GE Smith Telecasters now that Fender has discontinued them.
- Premium ash body
- One-piece maple U-shaped neck
- Maple fingerboard, 7-1/4″ radius
- 25-1/2″ scale
- 21 vintage-style frets
- 2 American Vintage Tele pickups
- One body-mounted bridge pickup
- Master volume and tone controls
- 3 position switching
This Tele sounds and plays great. The big neck adds tone while the vintage feel makes for comfortable playability. The GE Smith Tele is a unique instrument with great vintage features and some nice added touches like all slot screws and black vintage looking style pick guard. Top notch made in the USA quality and feel. One of my favorite Tele, really very nice for a production Fender.
Check out this video on YouTube from G.E. Smith about this guitar.
The bridge pickup is mounted directly into the wood and has flat poles just like the early Fender Lap Steel guitars that GE was striving to emulate their sound. The early Fender Broadcaster guitars also had similar flat pole pickups, but are mounted to the steel bridge plate. These early Broadcaster/No-caster/Telecaster pickups also have a metal plate on the bottom which also changes their sound.
This GE Smith has very early serial number and was released in 2006 and is probably one of the very first GE Smith Telecasters.
GE also had Fender use the fret markers to look like what was used on the old Fender Champion Lap Steel guitars. All the screws are used are slot, like Fender did up to about 1953 when they started using phillips screws.
The Fender “waterslide” decal looks a lot like the ones they used in the 1952. The tuners are the Kluson vintage style. Makes these guitars a bit unique.
The finish is said to be nitrocellulose lacquer, but this finish is quite a bit different from the “nitro” finishes used in the 1950s.
These guitars are well built and are very nice playing and sounding Telecasters. Hard to believe that these guitars are not Fender Custom Shop.
GE Smith owns one of the earliest Fender Lap Steel guitars. This one is from early 1950s. I have swapped out the dome knobs on my GE Smith Telecaster to ones I found I think look more like the ones Fender used in the 1950s. I have stored away the original ones.
50 Watt Fuse – GE Smith Fender Guitar