How Leo Fender's Telecaster Bridge Cover Became An Ashtray

April 17, 2020

Leo Fender spent a great amount of time and money to create a cover for the bridge and pickup assembly on his Esquire & Broadcaster guitars in 1950. It protected the bridge & pickup assembly from corrosion, it shielded it to help with noise, and it was an ornamental hand rest that made his guitar look more professional. Early players kept them on, but by even the mid-50s, players were taking them off to palm mute for chugga-chugga rhythms or swampy low-string licks. It soon became known as the ashtray, and Leo's functional and decorative cover was used by smokers who set them on their amps and knocked out the contents at the end of the night. Soon, most players retired them permanently to their case or lost them altogether. The lone exception to this was Iceman, Albert Collins, who not only kept his cover in place but decorated it with eye-catching reflective tape. Today we dive deep, into the story of Leo Fender's Telecaster bridge cover.

Gear Used:1957 Fender Esquire with a 1954 neck pickup, and original bridge pickup. Restoration and aging on the body by Dan "Danocaster" Strain. Both pickups were rewound by Ron Ellis.

Strings: StringJoy Pure Nickel Round Core 10-44 (10,12,16,24,34,44)

Pick: D'Andrea Medium-Heavy

Amp:1965 Deluxe Reverb with a 60s JBL D120F gray frame speaker with its original cone. Used with AmpRX Brown Box set to 113v

Effects used: Amp reverb, MXR Clone Looper