A true rock ‘n’ roll original, Bruce Springsteen is one of the most documented individuals on the face of the planet.
Surprisingly, the guitar he plays remains something of a mystery. Immortalized on the cover of the Born To Run album, the question persists: Is the guitar a true Fender Esquire, or something else altogether? Experts have analyzed the instrument as if it were the Shroud of Turin.
Bought for $185 in the early ‘70s (“my official you-get-a-record-deal-you-get-a-guitar”) at Phil Pitello’s guitar shop in Belmar, New Jersey, Springsteen liked the Tele because it was light and had feel. Previously, he had played a Les Paul.
From all appearances, the neck is a ’57-‘58 Esquire and the body is from a Telecaster (circa ’60-’63). Little else has been changed to the workhorse guitar (Bruce would add Joe Barden dual-rail single-coil-sized humbuckers in other Telecasters), although in the mid-’80s noted New York luthier Roger Sadowsky did some ’waterproofing’ to the pickups to guard against Springsteen’s profuse sweating during shows.
And for those who doubt The Boss’s skills on the six string, check out his soloing on Adam Raised A Cain. Case closed.