Fender released a new version of its already-successful Telecaster guitar in 1959. Called the Custom Telecaster, it featured top and back body binding, which, at the time, was a bold statement for Fender. It became a classic instrument.
Thirty-five years later, in 1994, singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow was just about to embark on her first tour as a “new” solo artist when most of her band’s equipment, including her own Custom Telecaster, was stolen. The band quickly acquired new gear, and Sheryl’s backup guitar became her main instrument.
When the band performed at the Backyard in Austin, Texas, a fan who had read about the band’s stolen gear approached Sheryl with a slightly used 1959 Fender Custom Telecaster, suggesting it as a suitable replacement for her stolen instrument.
The young man explained to Sheryl that the guitar had belonged to his mother, a fan who had lost her battle with breast cancer, and that he thought it should continue to be played. Touched, Sheryl accepted the instrument, and it remains one of her favorite guitars to this day.
The instrument was brought to the Fender Custom Shop in 2011 and recreated in meticulous detail. When the first replica was sent to Sheryl, in fact, she immediately mistook it for the original. The original 1959 Custom Telecaster went home, and Sheryl has used that first replica ever since.
Only 60 of these instruments have been made, with one signed by Sheryl and donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in October 2012 in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Watch Sheryl tell the story of her beloved guitar: