You can now buy Prince’s modded Telecaster Thinline as it goes up for sale on Reverb for £39,500

Prince's Fender Thinline Telecaster
(Image credit: Reverb)

A Fender Telecaster Thinline that was owned by Prince is up for sale on Reverb. The Thinline was customised by Prince’s luthier, Chuck Orr, and was owned by the late Minnesotan pop icon during his early years and through the ‘80s – when it would have been a viable alternative to his Hohner Madcat, which for years was his number one electric guitar.

The guitar is finished in Butterscotch and comes with a certificate of authenticity from Paisley Park, though there are no details as to the exact year of the model. At any rate, this is one vintage Telecaster that would be rated as player grade, with visible signs of wear from Prince’s guitar pick – which on a guitar like this, is what you’re really paying the money for.

Prince was no purist. With his first love a ‘70s Hohner T-style knock-off with an animal print pickguard, he did not stand on ceremony, and this Tele has duly been modded with a pair of EMG single-coils. 

Designed by Roger Rossmeisl, formerly of Rickenbacker, the Thinline Telecaster made its debut in 1968, and came with single-coils until 1972 when Fender equipped them with Wide Range CuNiFe humbuckers. 

From the photos and the description here, there is no confirmation if Chuck Orr swapped out humbuckers for single-coils or whether it was a straight swap. The ‘spaghetti’ Fender logo on the headstock would suggest this was an older neck retrofitted to the body. But as with the wear, this only adds to the mystique. The bridge also looks like an aftermarket mod.

Orr’s fingerprints, however. are all over this. The guitar’s serial number reads #Orr on the headstock, and his surname is stamped onto the neckplate. Prince held Orr in the highest esteem. The guitar comes with a copy of a photo of Prince that is signed and addressed to Orr, “the greatest guitar maker in the world”.

Making a Frankenstein Thinline Tele would have been an afternoon’s work for Orr. He made some more outré creations for Prince, including the cream/white Orr Guitar – an oddball offset with a quartet of dials and switches to control its humbucker pairing – and a custom bass guitar. You can watch the Orr Guitar in action in the Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? video.

And if you fancy a Thinline Telecaster, once owned by Prince, head over to Reverb, where it is presently listed for £39,500 in the UK by the Gear Emporium.

Budget alternatives are available, of course, and what would be more Prince than buying a cheap electric guitar and modding it to your own specifications – a Harley Benton TE-69TL Hot Rod offers a similar Thinline platform at just £189.

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.