Fender Telecaster, '68
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Blue Flower, Serial # 248410.
The “hippie” youth movement of 1960s began influencing mainstream society after the “Summer of Love” in 1967. By 1968 major companies realized there was money to be made by appealing to this large group (Baby Boomers). Fender (owned by CBS) was no exception.
Fender’s original solidbody, the Telecaster, was picked to receive the “Flower Power” treatment with two new finishes: Paisley Red, and Blue Flower. These finishes were accomplished by sticking patterned wallpaper to the bodies and spraying clear polyester over the top. The original Fender ad copy also had a hippiesque tone: “Paisley Red Pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of color forms and tones.”
As groovy as these guitars were, they never caught on with the psychedelic rockers they were intended for. Ironically, the most visible guitarist to use a Paisley Tele was rockabilly/country session great James Burton. The ’69 Paisley Tele remained his main stage guitar until his signature model debuted in 1990.
Those wanting to hear Burton’s Paisley Tele in action can check out “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden” and Gram Parson’s “GP” and “Grievous Angel” albums.