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.