Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced the global launch of the Limited Edition Terry Kath Telecaster, honoring the legendary “Chicago” guitar player’s legacy with a collectible, limited run guitar created by the esteemed Fender Custom Shop.
The ‘Shop’ is distinctly honored to pay tribute to such an acclaimed pioneer by recreating Kath’s custom Telecaster guitar – which was played throughout his live performances with Chicago and truly embodied the notion of “custom” long before the Fender Custom Shop was founded. Master Builder Dennis Galuzka has replicated the guitar in exacting, every scratch-for-scratch detail, from the Pignose stickers to the gaff-tape-sealed rear body route and every other custom element. With up to 50 units made worldwide, the Limited Edition Terry Kath Telecaster is a guitar for the ages, and a meticulously crafted homage to one of the true guitar greats of our time.
The late Terry Kath has been praised by fans and guitar greats alike for his brilliance as an absolute playing powerhouse. Kath, who Jimi Hendrix once cited as his favorite guitarist, fused sophisticated songwriting ability with his soulful vocals to launch Chicago Transit Authority in 1967. The band shortened its name to Chicago in 1969, achieving worldwide success and 2016 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A consummate innovator, Kath created mind-blowing, never-before-heard guitar tones by experimenting with unorthodox guitar/amp configurations. His instinctive command of his completely original tone is heard on memorable tracks such as “25 or 6-to-4”, “Free Form Guitar”, “Introduction” and others.
His main axe – the one with which he is most identified, and which accompanied him on the journey to cult-status – is a most unusual 1966 Telecaster guitar, completely customized and plastered with stickers. Kath was so attached to the guitar that he’d buy a seat just for the instrument when traveling by air, rather than entrusting it to airline baggage handlers or even Chicago’s road crew.
The Tele guitar was an amalgamation of highly personalized modifications, including a synchronized Strat guitar tremelo with a sawed-off Tele guitar bridge plate, a humbucking neck pickup, custom body routes, a reverse control plate, custom tuning machines and three “wing” string trees. Adorned with Pignose stickers and other intricately placed regalia, the guitar has become legendary in of itself and is synonymous with Kath and his enduring musical legacy.
“This moment has been a long time coming,” said Michele Kath Sinclair, Terry’s daughter. “When we were making the documentary about my dad (Chicago: The Terry Kath Experience), we didn’t know where the guitar was, so the film almost became a hunt for this Telecaster guitar. We finally found it at my grandpa’s house; he labeled all of the guitar cases and this one said “Terry’s Favorite”. Finding this guitar meant everything to me because it feels like I have a piece of him with me that’s so iconic.”
The Limited Edition Terry Kath Telecaster is offered in Aged Vintage White with a lacquer finish and custom elements, like Pignose stickers and other intricately placed regalia.