The Limited Signature “Ghost” Fender John 5 Telecaster

February 7, 2024
Signature Guitars
Fender John 5 Telecaster- Feature image for Blog post of guitars front and back with image of artist performing in black and white

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The Signature Fender John 5 Telecaster

In the vast world of guitars, one name stands tall – Fender.

Let’s journey through the famed Guitar Company, delve into the iconic Telecaster model and its history, and focus on its latest gem, the Signature Ghost Fender John 5 Telecaster Limited.

The History Of Fender

Founded by Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender” in 1946, Fender has been at the forefront of guitar innovation.

The Fender Musical Instruments Corp (FMIC) is an American manufacturer of acoustic, solid-body electric/bass guitars, amplifiers, peddles, & accessories.

Known for groundbreaking designs and impeccable craftsmanship, the company has put out iconic instruments like the Jazz Master, Jaguar and Stratocaster

But what started it all was the first introduction of the Telecaster in 1950, which went on to revolutionize the music industry.

Early Models

After the success of the Hawaiian lap steel guitar, “The Champion” (1945), which included a patented pickup and amplifier, Fender began experimenting with more conventional guitar designs starting in the late 1940s.

Invention Through Necessity

Starting with a solid-body single cutaway in 1950, the company named their first mass-produced commercially successful electric Guitar the Broadcaster and Esquire.

What separated the two similar-looking instruments were the pickups.

The Broadcaster was a two-pickup model, and Esquire sported a single.

Plagued With Design Issues

Using a one-piece laminated Maple neck, this design was plagued with issues, and it was from these failures that new ideas and inventions were introduced.

The neck would bow in humid weather, so adding a metal truss rod into the neck allowed for a much-needed ability to fine-tune the instrument and increase stability.

Tap Here To Learn All About Guitar Truss Rods

NoCasters

fender john 5 telecaster-image of a 1951 fender "No-Caster"

1951 Fender “No-Caster” Image courtesy of Wikipedia.com – Author doryfour – and is licensed under the CC BY-SA 2.0

In early 51, the then-Fender guitars needed to be renamed after a trademark conflict with a rival manufacturer.

For this time, these models led to a limited run of nameless instruments known unofficially as “NO-casters.” (See Image)

Later, in the same year, with the advent of television, the final name, “Telecaster,” was bestowed on this iconic Guitar.

  • Fun Fact: By 1960, more Americans had televisions than refrigerators.

The Telecaster has remained in continuous production since its first incarnation and stands as an enduring brand in guitars, with a long history still seen today in modern music.

Evolution Of The Telecaster

The Telecaster was revolutionary for its time as the world’s first commercially successful solid-body electric Guitar.

Designed For Mass Production And Ease Of Assembly

The Solid-body Telecaster features a single-cutaway body shape and bolt-on neck.

The detached neck design allows manufacturing the body and neck to be milled and finished separately, with the final assembly quickly and cost-effectively performed.

 A Timeless Classic

Its distinctive twangy tones, clarity, versatility, simplicity and functionality made it an instant favourite among musicians across different genres, from country pickers to rock and roll pioneers.

They were setting the stage for the subsequent wave of groundbreaking electric guitars.

Overall Design

The archetypical Fender Telecaster (or Tele) is a flat, solid-body electric guitar with a single cutaway and distinctive small headstock with the tuning pegs mounted along a single side. (See Image)

fender john 5 telecaster-image of a 1952 fender "Telecaster""

Fender Telecaster American Vintage 1952-Image courtesy of Wikimedia – Author – Massimo Barbieri – And is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0

The wood used is commonly Alder or Swamp ash, with the neck usually made from Maple or Rosewood.

It sported 21 frets, front routed electronics, a straightforward 3-way pickup selector switch, and a single volume /tone control mounted on a metal plate, with a scale length of 25.5 inches. (64.8 cm)

A Look At The Multi-Scale Guitar

Most Telecasters have two single-coil pickups: a bridge pickup mounted in a metal plate and a neck pickup mounted in a plastic pickguard.

Fixed Universal Mounted Bridge

fender john 5 telecaster-image of a "Telecaster" Fixed Bridge with 3 saddles

Fender Fixed Telecaster (1973~76) bridge w/3 saddles- image courtesy of Wikipedia -Author – Dave Arcari – And is licensed under the CC BY-SA 2.0

Fixed bridges are almost universal, and the original design has three individually adjustable dual-string saddles whose height and intonation can be set independently. (See Image)

In comparison, newer models have six saddles, and the location of the output jack is mounted on the edge of the Guitar’s lower bout.

Evolutions

Over the decades and adapting to the changing musical landscape, the Telecaster has undergone various subtle transformations, modifications and variations while preserving its core identity and essential character.

Adaptability

The Telecaster’s enduring appeal lies not only in its rich historical significance but also in its adaptability.

From vintage reissues to modern reinterpretations, the Telecaster continues to be a platform for innovation and a symbol of timeless design in guitars and remains a testament to the enduring legacy of Leo Fender’s visionary craftsmanship.

Brand Champions

There are many brand champions of this famed instrument.

Iconic musicians like Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour & Eric Clapton have been commonly seen playing this Guitar over their careers, along with new virtuosos like our spotlight artist, John 5, having been the Tele’s brand champion from the beginning.

John 5

This artist has worked with the biggest names across all music genres: from David Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KD Lang and more, but is best known for his corpse-painted faces and country-infused guitar-shredding style, backing the likes of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie.

fender john 5 telecaster-image of a John 5 onstage with makeup playing live

John 5 at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver, 2019-Image courtesy of Wikipedia- Author Tyrel Snowden – And is licenced under the CC BY-SA 4.0

John William Lowery (July 31, 1970), known by his stage name, John 5, is an American guitarist and composer born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Country Beginnings

Lowery started playing Guitar at 7 years of age, after getting inspired by Buck Owen, Roy Clark and Jimmy Henley’s Television show Hee Haw.

Taking guitar lessons from local guitar instructors, they taught him to play classic blues, rock n roll and country music.

Rock Guitar Inspirations

Once Lowery started taking the instrument seriously, other guitar influences emerged in the Rock guitar genre, like Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, and Yngwie Malmsteen.

Hard Work & Road To Stardom

At 17, between 1987 and 1995, Lowery moved to Los Angeles and started playing in LA.

While playing in earlier projects, he met bassist Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake/Ozzy Osbourne), who recruited Lowery for his band Sun King, getting his first real exposure.

This is where he met and started working with producer Bob Marlette, who introduced him to numerous television/movie soundtrack projects, commercials and infomercials, along with being a staff writer for Chrysalis Records, which exposed him to all of the big-name rock players of the time.

Fulfilling Dreams

“When I was little, my dream was to play with David Lee Roth.”

Lowery submitted six tracks he wrote to Roth’s management to get the gig.

On hearing Lowery’s pieces, Roth was impressed by the artist’s guitar skills and asked him to schedule a recording session that lasted two weeks and resulted in the fourteen-track album.

During this time, despite already being the lead guitarist for Marilyn Manson,  Lowery continued to write and record for Roth on his 2003 Album Diamond Dave.

Marilyn Manson

fender john 5 telecaster-image of Marilyn Manson

Manson is an American rock musician & artist known for his controversial persona.

He came to prominence in 1989 and remains the only constant member.

What’s In A Name?

The frontman’s name was formed by combining two opposing American cultural icons: actress Marilyn Monroe and cult leader Charles Manson.

fender john 5 telecaster-image of john 5 brand logo

Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Lowery’s new stage name would be bestowed on him by the frontman, inspired by the Bible chapter and Lowery being the fifth member of Manson’s band.

The new guitarist’s first live performance for Manson came at the MTV Video Music Awards (2003), where he played with the outlandish frontman until 2004.

Rob Zombie

In 2005, John worked with his band project “Loser” and Rob Zombie, a cult rock artist and movie director.

fender john 5 telecaster-image of john 5 and rob zombie on stage both in the same picture.

After a year of conflicting dates with both projects, 5 opted to commit to Rob as his permanent guitarist and writer, saying…

“Rob is the best I have worked with.

We have a great time on stage together.

It has been the greatest experience I have had working with someone, hands down.”

The duo released 5 albums together from 2010 – 2021, with the latest being with supergroup LA Rats.

Presently

fender john 5 telecaster-image of Nikki Six and Mick Mars on stage together

Leaving Rob Zombie in 2022, John 5 replaced Mick Mars in October of the same year in the original lineup of Mötley Crüe and has since become a full member.

Mars retired as a touring guitarist due to his ongoing health issues, and the two famed players had been longtime friends and fellow guitarists with mutual respect, saying…

“Well, I’ve never disliked John; I’ve always liked him and still do. He’s been a really good friend of mine for a long time.”

5 says that Mars was one of the first text supports he received when it was announced that 5 would be a permanent member of the Crue; Mars wrote…

‘You’re going to kill it.’ It’s good. It’s not like it’s some stranger coming in.” 

John 5 On Vinyl

10 Solo Guitar Albums

Along with all of his work with other artists, 5 has made time to record 10 guitar albums as a solo artist between (2004 and the present ) with many guest performances from other players.

5 In Print

Lowery has also released an instructional book & DVD entitled Book of John: Wicked Guitar Licks & Techniques for the Modern Shredder (See Image)

fender john 5 telecaster-image of guitar guide book titled "book of John"

Book of John Guitar Companion- Courtesy of Amazon.com – Want to get a copy? Tap the Image.

This Guitar Educational lesson book contains arpeggio licks, flamenco fingerpicking, string skipping, speed/hybrid picking, tapping and more, with recorded demos of each exercise included.

Introduction To The John 5 Signature Telecaster

Fender Artist Series

The limited Signature Ghost Fender John 5 Telecaster represents the pinnacle of the Guitar’s evolution, marrying classic design with modern innovation.

Renowned for his versatility and technical prowess, John 5 collaborated with Fender to create a signature Telecaster that reflects his unique style.

The result is a guitar that pays homage to its roots and pushes the boundaries of sonic possibilities. (See Image)

fender john 5 telecaster-image of the fender ghost telecaster

The  limited Signature “Ghost” Fender John 5 Telecaster Image courtesy of Fender.com

Overview

Exclusive Guitar Features

The hauntingly beautiful Ghost Telecaster features a top-bound alder body, 1-piece maple neck, Arctic White gloss finish w/binding, deluxe locking tuners, 6-saddle Gotoh Style tele bridge, DiMarzio humbuckers, 3-way toggle, one master volume w/arcade-style “kill switch” and accented by red appointments along with a mirrored pickguard/control plate and more.

(Read on)

Specs And Build Quality

Body

  • Brand make– Fender
  • Model family– Telecaster
  • Model – John 5 Signature
  • Series – Artist
  • Body type– Single cutaway solid body
  • Body material –  Top-bound alder body
  • Wood top style – Opaque
  • Colour – Arctic White Finish with Striking Red Accents
  • Body binding-Red
  • Finish – Gloss Polyurethane
  • Right/Left Handed – Right-Handed only
  • Years in production – 2023-2024
  • Country manufactured – United States
  • Manufacturer part number– 0111052880

Neck

  • Neck wood – 1 piece Maple
  • Fretboard material –  Maple but with a Ghostly white paint
  • Neck profile – Custom medium “C” shape
  • Fingerboard radius – 9.5″
  • Position markers – None
  • Number of frets – 22 narrow-tall
  • Nut width– 1.65″/42 mm
  • Nut material –  Synthetic bone (Red)
  • Scale length – 25.5″/(64.8 cm)
  • Neck Construction – Bolt-on with Signature Neckplate (See Image)
fender john 5 telecaster-image of the fender ghost telecaster neck plate

Bolt-on neck design w/signature neck plate-Image courtesy of fmicassets.com

Follow This Link To Get A Complete Look At The 3 Electric Guitar Neck Construction Types

Gotoh Style Modern Bridge With String-Through

fender john 5 telecaster-image of the fender ghost telecaster fixed bridge

Gotoh fixed tailpiece w/6 block steel saddles-Image courtesy of sweetwater.com

This signature Fender sports a Gotoh Style Fixed Bridge/Tailpiece Type with the humbucker pickup cutout.

This design is a beefier version of the traditional Tele bridge, featuring six completely adjustable block steel saddles for string height, radius, and intonation.

String-through is when you string through the body and have the strings pass over the bridge and anchor in place using “Ferrules.”

Ferrules are metal cups inserted into the body that firmly hold the string’s ball end in place.

They were first created in 1950 by Fender on the Telecaster but are now standard for many other brands of guitars.

fender john 5 telecaster-image of the fender telecaster with the string through/Ferrule design

Fender Telecaster with String-through/Ferrule design- Image courtesy of Amazon.com. Tap Image to see more.

Benefits

Theoretically, this design is reported to give more sustain and resonance.

Power Station

HH Pickup Configuration

fender john 5 telecaster-image of the fender ghost telecaster with hardware and pickups

DiMarzio D Activator Humbucker pickups in an HH configuration – Image courtesy of fmicassets.com

Pickup makes and type – DiMarzio D Activator “Super distortion” humbucker pickups.

These passive mid-output pickups with ceramic magnets have been available since 2006.

They offer a versatile range of tones, are known for their clarity and mid-output, and are well-suited for various genres, allowing players to explore different musical styles.

Hardware

  • Sealed locking tuners
  • 1-piece pickguard/control plate combination in mirrored chrome
  • 1x String-Tree – On the high E and B strings

Custom Configured Controls

  • Single 70’s style Red Master volume control – without a treble-bleed network.
fender john 5 telecaster-image of the fender ghost telecaster with 3-way toggle switch on top horn

Gibson Style 3-way speed toggle switch-Image courtesy of fender.com

  • Red Gibson-style 3-way pickup “Speed knob” selector toggle switch – Mounted to the upper about for swift pickup switching and is tight.

Toggle Setup

  • First position -Neck pickup as full humbucker alone
  • Parallel-Both pickups as full humbuckers
  • Third position– Bridge pickup as full humbucker alone.

Ghostly Special Features

Arcade-style Momentary “Kill Switch

fender john 5 telecaster-image of the fender ghost telecaster with Arcade style "Kill Switch"

Arcade style “Kill Switch” Image courtesy of fender.com

Instead of a tone control, there is a “kill switch” beside the master volume pot that Fender calls “arcade style.

A kill switch is a momentary switch usually used for machine gun sounds or for creating stuttering effects.

A momentary switch only cuts off your Guitar’s signal against the ground when pressed and resumes the typical sound when released.

Customer Fender Case

The John 5 Ghost Telecaster is entombed in a custom white tolex hardshell case with a crushed red interior with John 5 Ghost embroidery, along with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Did You Know?

fender john 5 telecaster-image of a ghost playing a telecaster with the caption 'Did You Know"

It was reported that Zombie was looking to quit the music industry to concentrate on his movie career until he began to work with 5.

John has two different-sized hands.

His left hand grew more significant than his right hand from all of the fingers stretching at a young age while practicing and growing with the instrument.

To accommodate the music for Motely Crew, John 5 has added a floating tremolo setup and a Floyd Rose locking bridge to his Ghost.

FAQ

Video

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Unique Design: With a top-bound alder body, striking Arctic White finish with red accents, and a mirrored pickguard/control plate.
  • Premium Build Quality: Crafted in the United States, this signature model maintains high-end Fender craftsmanship, ensuring a well-built and durable instrument.
  • Custom Features: The “kill switch,” arcade-style momentary switch and custom white tolex hardshell case with a crushed red interior showcase innovation and attention to detail.
  • Versatile Humbuckers: With two DiMarzio D Activator humbucker pickups, the Guitar offers a versatile range of tones suitable for various music genres.
  • Limited Edition Exclusivity: Being limited to 600 units adds an exclusive and collectible aspect to the Guitar, making it appealing to enthusiasts and collectors alike.
Cons
  • Higher Price Tag: As with many high-end, US-made Fender guitars, the limited edition nature and premium features contribute to a higher price point, potentially limiting accessibility for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Specific Design Features: While the unique design is a pro for some, others may find certain elements, such as the “Ghost” branding or arcade-style kill switch, too distinctive for their taste.
  • Limited Availability: The exclusivity of being a limited edition might lead to challenges in finding and purchasing the Guitar, particularly for those interested after the initial release.
  • Single Color Option: The Arctic White finish with red accents is the only colour option mentioned in the article. Some players may prefer a broader range of colour choices to suit individual preferences.
  • Custom Features Learning Curve: Including unique controls, like the arcade-style “kill switch,” may have a learning curve for players accustomed to more traditional guitar setups.

What People Are Thinking

Based on numerous reviews on different retail platforms, the Guitar has maintained a 5-star rating.

fender john 5 telecaster-image of a customer review 5 out of 5 chart

Final Thoughts

fender john 5 telecaster-image of a ghost playing a telecaster with the caption "Final Thoughts"

Guitar Craftsmanship

The Fender Telecaster remains an enduring standard and testament in the vast realm of guitars, brands and models, exemplifying a commitment to innovation and quality.

Let’s thank the “Tele” for continually stepping up as a standard in virtually every music genre.

Whether you’re a Fender enthusiast or a guitar newcomer, this signature model will captivate your musical soul.

Luv For The Brand

My first Guitar was a brand new USA-made 69′ Tele (which I still own), and it has seen me through many decades of Gigging, Recording and Woodshedding.

I have since retired it, but the wears and marks tell a story of a guitarist’s life.

This Guitar will be no different on the design front, along with Feel & Playability, but with added personal signature add-ons.

It is distinctive, and though some might find it to be “Too John 5-ish,” I feel it’s not at the point of being unable to make it your own entity.

Should You Add One To Your Collection

Yes!

Every serious player should have a “Tele” in their lineup, and with this one sporting HH Humbuckers, the sonic palette will add dimensions to your presence.

While the price reflects its high-end US craftsmanship, the value becomes evident in the exceptional build and unique features.

Whether you are a longtime Fender enthusiast or a newcomer, every guitarist should consider making this distinctive guitar part of their collection. (if you can find one)

Pricing Unstable

The pricing has been a little non-stable, for I have seen them between 2999.99 and 6051.27 USD in used condition, and I will add the link to the location of the lower-cost unit.

Did You Like This Article

Check out our post on the Jackson Kelly Marty Friedman

Also…

Please leave your comments in the section below, and if you have a favourite player or Guitar you would like us to review, leave a note below.

Stay the course, keep playing, and see you in a few weeks.

Feature image of the Full guitar front and back courtesy of fender.com
Original Image of Artist playing image courtesy of whiteoakmusichall.com
Original Image of John 5 logo courtesy of Amazon.com
Image of Marilyn Manson courtesy of Wikipedia – Author- Patrick Whitaker- And is licenced under the CC BY-SA 2.0
Rob Zombie at the Mayhem Festival in 2010- Image courtesy of Wikimedia-Author chickswithguns- I licenced under the CC BY-SA 2.0
John 5 at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver, 2019-Image courtesy of Wikimedia – Author Tyrel Snowden -Licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
Mötley Crüe Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe – SECC, Glasgow Scotland. 14 June 2005-Author Alec MacKellaig-Licenced under the  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Gstringuitars.com website logo

Fender John 5 telecaster-image of the website company logo

The Limited Signature "Ghost" Fender John 5 Telecaster

$2,999.99
7.9

top-bound alder body,

8.0/10

1-piece maple neck, Arctic White gloss finish

8.0/10

6-saddle Gotoh Style tele bridge

8.0/10

DiMarzio humbuckers

8.0/10

master volume w/arcade-style “kill switch”

7.5/10

Pros

  • Arctic White gloss finish w/binding
  • deluxe locking tuners
  • 3-way toggle,
  • red appointments
  • mirrored pickguard/control plate

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Limited Finishes
https://gstringuitars.com/

Starting A Journey At 7 Years Of Age, The Love For The Guitar Only Became Stronger Going Into My Teens. This Leading To An Exciting Time Of Teaching, Performing, And Recording. Join Me Now As We Can Bring The Love Of This Instrument To Other Musicians Globally.

    Comments
    • Your article rocks! I was especially intrigued by the mention of Marilyn Manson, highlighting his prominence in the music scene and his unique persona. As a rock music fanatic who doesn’t play an instrument myself, I’ve always loved some of his music.  The insight into his collaboration with John 5 is very interesting. A fusion of music and craftsmanship embodied in this guitar. Great job! 🤘🏽

      Dirk February 7, 2024 8:09 pm Reply
      • Hello Dirk

        It’s great to meet you.

        Thank you for coming by and leaving your thoughts on our latest post.

        We enjoy getting all kinds of feedback, even if you are not a player of the greatest instrument in the world.

        This article covered several areas, from the history of the Telecaster to the brand champions continually pushing the boundaries of this famed guitar and the new signature guitar itself.

        In doing so with the highlighted artists, we think it important to highlight the moments in the journey up to the inspiration of the signature models.

        And with John 5, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie was one of those moments.

        Again, thank you, and if you like John 5’s playing, maybe give a read to KORN’s Brian HEAD Welch’s Signature Guitar

        Cheers

        Dino@Gstringuitars

        admin February 8, 2024 12:25 am Reply
    • Hi Dino, great and very informative article on a great instrument and performer. I am doing some research to help my nephew out with a school project and found this site and it is absolutely perfect, he can’t say his uncle doesn’t help, this is a treasure trove of the information he needs.

      Thank you Dino, for all this wonderful information, it should at least get me an A!!

      Ryan February 15, 2024 6:11 am Reply
      • Hello Ryan 

        It is great to meet you, and thank you for the terrific feedback on the latest content; it is genuinely appreciated.

        Let me know if your nephew decides to take his uncle out for dinner for getting a  top grade. LOL 

        Also, do not hesitate to leave your thoughts and feedback on some of our other content.

        We have lots ccoming.

        admin February 16, 2024 7:14 pm Reply

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