The James Burton Telecaster takes a sidestep from the classic Tele pickup configuration by including three specially-designed single-coils, adhering to Burton’s specifications. As well as master volume and master tone, the controls stretch to a five-way ‘Strat-o-Tele’ switch to choose between the three pickups, as well as an S-1 switch that – in short – can help create a fatter, rounder tone similar to a humbucker.
In addition to the pickup configuration, there’s some further Strat influence with this Tele in the bridge, which is a string-through-body hard-tail Stratocaster bridge featuring six saddles. All gold-plated, of course. At the other end you’ll find six very responsive sealed tuners with pearl buttons for a guitar with solid tuning stability. As for extras, you get a stylish tweed case, which is fantastic, as well as a strap and cable for extra convenience.
The trio of pickups, designed with Burton himself, are tailored to voicing this guitar accurately and provide a great tone that can deliver both the twang of a Tele and the spank of a Strat. Output is surprisingly big and a little darker than your traditional Tele, but this beauty can cope with everything from Elvis and Clapton to ZZ Top and beyond, especially with the S1 switch engaged. You can also get some pretty good James Burton tones from it too…