Fender honours the late outlaw country icon Waylon Jennings with a meticulous $25,000 Custom Shop replica of his leather-covered ’54 Telecaster

Fender Waylon Jennings Telecaster
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender has unveiled a quite stunning Masterbuilt version of Waylon Jennings’ 1954 Telecaster, which comes straight out of the Custom Shop with every detail of the original replicated by Dave Brown, right down to the hand-tooled leather cover that protects the instrument’s period-correct Butterscotch Blonde finish.

As reproductions of classic electric guitars go, they don’t get much more exacting than this. But the parts and labour will cost you – Dave Brown’s handiwork on this dream machine Telecaster will set you back a cool £23,500 / $25,000. 

Now, that is not everyone’s idea of an impulse purchase but this signature series extends beyond the guitar to a Waylon Jennings phaser pedal, plus an accessories line that includes pickguards, a guitar case, and guitar strap.

But first, the guitar, and what a guitar it is, too. It is a Butterscotch Tele not that you’d notice right off the bat. The body is covered in a decorative tooled-leather cover that will be instantly recognisable to anyone who caught Jennings live in concert – or those of use who’ve had to settle for watching him on the tube.

It has a two-piece ash body, a bolt-on neck of quartersawn maple that’s shaped into 10/56 “V” profile. The fingerboard has a chord-friendly 7.25” radius and upgraded vintage profile frets. 

This will feel old and lived-in. Tone-wise, it’ll sound old, too; this is a Golden Era Telecaster with a pair of Custom Shop hand-wound ’50/’51 Blackguard single-coil pickups at the bridge and neck positions. The wiring is modern Telecaster. There is a ’51/’54 Tele Bridge with three brass barrel saddles.

Even the hardware at the headstock is bespoke, with a set of Schaller M6 tuning machines augmented with a low E banjo tuner for drop tuning on the fly – it’s no D-Tuna but c’mon, the vibe is ‘50s. The nut is bone. If ever there was a guitar to have a make a night of it and have a good time with a Deluxe Reverb and a Dyna Comp, it’s this.

Fender Waylon Jennings Telecaster

(Image credit: Fender)

You can watch Waylon’s son, Shooter Jennings, put it through its paces in the video above. He certainly can vouch for the guitar’s authenticity.

“This collection means so much to my father’s legacy. You would never find him without his Telecaster, and this Custom collection is a beautiful way to continue honouring him,” said Jennings. “The Fender Custom Shop model is spot on, and it’s amazing to think that players will be able to honor my dad by playing on a replica that’s so identical to his.” 

Fender Waylon Jennings Telecaster

(Image credit: Fender)

The opportunity to work on a Telecaster like this is not something that comes along every day, and Dave Brown said the honour was all his.

“The original Telecaster was gifted to Waylon back in the ‘60s which he eventually had wrapped in a hand-tooled leather,” said Brown. “I was excited to feature its incredible specs, including the banjo tuner that allows players to detune the low E enabling them to drop to a low D. The Telecaster, the pedal and accessories from the capsule collection pay a beautiful tribute to Waylon’s musical legacy.” 

If the Telecaster has a lot of vintage mojo, then the same can be said of the accompanying phaser pedal.

The Waylon Jennings phaser pedal has an all-analogue circuit based around JFET transistors and controlled by Range, Rate and Feedback dials, with a phase selector switch offering the choice of selects between 2, 4, and 6-stage phasing, and a Sweet switch.

The Sweet switch acts as a sort of cheat code for your electric guitar tone, mixing in the right balance of processed signal and dry, or, as Fender puts it, “perfect for adding the right amount of flavor to your favorite cowboy chords”.

Other features include a tough aluminium enclosure, top-mounted jacks, you’ll need 9V from a pedalboard power supply to make it work. Priced £119/$129. 

Those who already have a beloved Tele in their life but still want some more Jennings mojo on-hand can choose from white or black leather pickguards (£139/$149), house their instrument in a Waylon Jennings signature hard-shell guitar case (£/$219), lined with orange plush, or keep it from hitting the floor with a signature high-grain leather guitar strap (£119/$149).

For more details on the pedal and accessories, head over to Fender, and put on your best duds and head over to the Fender Custom Shop for more information on the Waylon Jennings Telecaster – perhaps stopping en route via the bank manager.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.