~ Guitars I have known... and owned ~

Bill Hillman Guitar No. 20
Fender Telecaster J5
No. MSN621194

I purchased this beaut in the summer of 2005. The Tele J5 signature model was a "gotta have" instrument that I needed to round out my arsenal of Teles. The hot pickups, special features and very unusual headstock design piqued my interest as soon as I came across it in the new Fender catalogue. The price of the Fender Custom Shop model with Bigsby was prohibitive, however. 

My solution was to order the much more affordable Mexican-made model sans Bigsby and to install a designed-for-Tele Bigsby I had bought earlier on e-Bay. Unfortunately, this Bigsby kit was designed for the standard Tele pup layout, but with the help of friend Jim Ghidoni we did some drastic metal cutting in his hot rod custom shop and adapted stock Tele Bigsby plate to fit over the J-5 bridge pickups. While at it we installed my patented B-bender rod to the headstock. 

This is indeed a custom model - I've done modifications to this very expensive instrument that would make most guitar aficionados shudder : )


This unusual Telecaster guitar was co-designed by talented shred-meister John 5 himself. Its aggressive Fender Enforcer™ humbucking pickup at the bridge position and Custom Shop Twisted Tele™pickup at the neck will melt even the heaviest metals. Other features include a three-way pickup selector switch, chrome hardware and a radically distinctive headstock design.

Click for larger imageModel Number:  013-9000-(306) 
Series:  Artist Series 
Colors:  (306) Black, (Polyester Finish) 
Body:  Ash 
Neck  Maple, ‘60s “C” Shape, (Polyurethane Finish) 
Fingerboard:  Rosewood, 12” Radius (305 mm) 
No. of Frets:  22 Medium Jumbo Frets 
Pickups:  1 Custom Shop “Twisted” Tele® Single-Coil (Neck), 
                             1 Enforcer™ Humbucking Pickup (Bridge) 
Controls:  Volume (Neck Pickup), Volume (Bridge Pickup) 
Pickup Switching:  3-Position Toggle:
                      Position 1. Bridge Pickup 
                      Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups 
                      Position 3. Neck Pickup 
Bridge:  American Tele 6-Saddle Humbucker Bridge with Chromed Brass Saddles 
Machine Heads:  Fender®/Schaller® Deluxe Staggered Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines 
Hardware:  Chrome 
Pickguard:  1-Ply Chrome 
Scale Length:  25.5” (648 mm) 
Width at Nut:  1.6875” (43 mm) 
Introduced:  7/2004 

Unique Features:
Matching Black Painted Headstock, 
Bound Top, 
Toggle Switch Mounted on Upper Bout, 
Chromed Brass Pickguard, 
Chrome Switch Tip, 
3-Over/3-Under Modified Tele XII Headstock Shape,
No Jack Flat Spot on Body Perimeter,
Dot Position Inlays 
Strings  Fender Super 250L, Nickel Plated Steel, (.009 to .042), p/n 073-0250-003 
Case Accessories:  Deluxe Gig Bag 

015-5000- J5 Bigsby® Telecaster, rosewood………………US$3,634.99
015-5000- J5 Telecaster, rosewood………………….......…US$3,295.99
013-9000- J5 Telecaster, rosewood (w/gig bag)….…………US$1,041.99  

Copyright © 12.03.2005 Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. All rights reserved

Click for Tele J5 Service Manual
Adapted from

1949: Leo Fender's ideas for a solid-body electric Spanish guitar gradually take shape. The instrument will be loud without being prone to feedback, with the piercing tone characteristic of Fender steel guitars and a detachable neck for easy construction, adjustment and repair. It will be easy to tune precisely, easy to hold, easy to play and affordable to working musicians. He builds a prototype over the summer, followed by an improved second prototype in the fall.
1950: Promotion begins in spring for Fender's new solid-body electric Spanish guitar, a single-pickup instrument that Fender sales chief Don Randall names the Esquire. In fall, truss rods are added to the necks, and a two-pickup version goes into production; Randall names this model the Broadcaster.
1951: Single-pickup Esquire guitars with reinforced necks go into full production in January. In February, Randall renames the dual-pickup Broadcaster model the Telecaster.
1952: The controls of the Telecaster (two knobs and a three-way switch) are reconfigured in such a way that there is no setting in which both pickups are on simultaneously; an arrangement that last until 1967.
1954: The color of the Telecasters´s pickguard is changed from black to white. One of the great early Telecaster albums, 2 Guitars Country Style, by Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant is released. Luther Perkins meets and starts playing guitar with Johnny Cash.
1955: The Telecaster's pickup selector switch tip is changed from the original round type to the "top hat" type.
1956: Moviegoers see the Telecaster (in its single-pickup Esquire form) on the big screen when it appears in seminal rock ´n´ roll film The Girl Can´t Help It during numbers by Little Richard and Gene Vincent.   Johnny Burnette and the Rock ´n Roll Trio record their first album in a Nashville studio. On a rock ´n´ roll version of 1951 jump blues song "The Train Kept-A-Rollin´," guitarist Paul Burlison uses his Telecaster to play one of the first recorded instances-if not the first recorded instance-of a contemporary fuzz guitar sound.
1957: Dale Hawkins scores what is probably the first Telecaster-fueled U.S. Top 40 hit with "Susie Q," a song built on a catchy guitar lick by his band´s young guitarist, James Burton.
1958: The previously blonde-finish-only Telecaster becomes available in custom color finishes for an additional 5 percent cost. Fender changes its two-color sunburst finish to a three-color sunburst. James Burton joins Ricky Nelson's band. Muddy Waters tours England in October, shocking audiences who were expecting folksy acoustic sounds by blasting out loud, stinging blues on his Telecaster.
1959: The first significant variation of the Telecaster, the Custom Telecaster, is introduced, with a bound body and rosewood fingerboard. Bakersfield Sound pioneer Buck Owens charts his first singles with "Second Fiddle" and "Under Your Spell Again."
1962: Booker T. and the M.G.s release Green Onions, featuring the impeccable Telecaster work of Steve Cropper.
1963: "Act Naturally" becomes the first number-one hit for Buck Owens and the Buckaroos; it also marks fiddle player Don Rich´s first appearance on lead guitar (Owens´s Telecaster).
1964: In the U.K., the Yardbirds play "Louise" and "I Wish You Would" on Granada Television's Go Tell it on the Mountain in July, with relatively new guitarist Eric Clapton, 19, tearing up both songs on a red Telecaster.
1965: In order to save money, Who guitarist Peter Townshend takes to playing and then smashing sturdier, less-expensive Telecaster guitars (as opposed to more delicate and more expensive Rickenbacker guitars) for the group's destructive set-closing number, "My Generation." He continues this practice into 1966. Jeff Beck replaces Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds; his main guitar is a 1954 Esquire.
1966: The Telecaster becomes a vital part of the Merle Haggard sound.
1967: The Telecaster is used on albums by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and many blues artists. Gene Parsons and Clarence White (the Byrds, Nashville West) invent the Pasons/White String Pull, later known as the B-Bender, and equip White´s ´56 Telecaster with it (Fender released its own B-Bender-equipped Telecaster 33 years later). The Telecaster´s controls are reconfigured so that the three-way switch delivers neck pickup/both pickups/bridge pickup operation.
1968: Fender acoustic guitars chief Roger Rossmeisl develops a new hollow-body version of the Telecaster called the Telecaster Thinline, which features an f hole and an elongated pearloid pickguard. The "Paisley Red" and "Blue Flower" Telecaster models are introduced. The Tele is used on albums by Led Zeppelin, Albert Lee, Roy Buchanan and many others. George Harrison plays a custom rosewood Telecaster atop the London headquarters of the Beatles' company, Apple, during the famous Jan. 20, 1969, rooftop concert that would be the group's final live performance. James Burton joins Elvis Presley's band. Albert Lee records tracks for his first solo album, Black Claw and Country Fever. In October, guitarist Jimmy Page uses a Telecaster to record most of the guitar parts on Led Zeppelin´s eponymous debut album.
1971: The single-coil pickups on the Telecaster Thinline are replaced with humbucking pickups.  Keith Richards acquires what will become one of his favorite guitars, a butterscotch 1953 Telecaster he nicknames "Micawber" after a character in Dickens´ David Copperfield. On quintessential Led Zeppelin epic "Stairway to Heaven," Jimmy Page plays a memorable solo on his ´59 Telecaster. PBS airs hour-long documentary film Introducing Roy Buchanan, about Roy Buchanan, which earns the guitarist a record deal (with Polydor) and an invitation to join the Rolling Stones (which he declines). Buchanan´s main guitar is a ´53 Telecaster he nicknamed "Nancy." His debut album, Buch and the Snakestretchers, is released this year.
1972: Fender introduces the Telecaster Custom, which has a humbucking neck pickup and single-coil bridge pickup. Bruce Springsteen´s debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., is recorded.
1973: Telecaster Deluxe is introduced, with two humbucking pickups, a Stratocaster-style headstock and a choice of hard-tail or tremolo bridge. 
1974: Steve Howe uses his 1955 Telecaster for most of what many consider Yes´s most musically progressive album, Relayer.
1975: Bruce Springsteen´s breakthrough album, Born to Run, is released; the famous album cover photo is of Springsteen holding his modified Fender Esquire. American Music, the first album by Washington, D.C., guitarist Danny Gatton, is released. 
1976: In London, Joe Strummer leaves his old band, the 101'ers, and accepts an invitation to join a new band, the Clash, which makes its live debut in July in Sheffield, England, opening for the Sex Pistols. His main guitar for the duration of the band's legendary career is a battered 1966 Telecaster. 
1977: Andy Summers joins the Police and subsequently uses his battered 1961 Telecaster on all of the group´s chart-topping hit singles and albums.
1978: The Pretenders form in Hereford, England; leader Chrissie Hynde remains a devoted Telecaster player throughout the band's career.
1982: Newly created Fender Japan plans the first Vintage series reissue instruments, including a 1952 Telecaster model.
1983: The short-lived Elite Telecaster is introduced.
1984: Fender Japan introduces more Vintage series reissue models, including a 1962 Custom Telecaster, and 1972 Telecaster Custom and Telecaster Thinline models.
1985: The American Standard Telecaster is introduced by the new post-CBS Fender.
1988: The Fender Custom Shop produces the 40th Anniversary Telecaster model.
1990: The first artist signature Telecaster models are introduced, bearing the names of Albert Collins, Danny Gatton and James Burton.
1992: The Jerry Donahue Telecaster is introduced.
1993: The Clarence White Telecaster is introduced.
1995: The Waylon Jennings Telecaster is introduced. The Fender Custom Shop produces its first beat-up or "relic-ed" replica guitars; these soon include a ´50s-era Nocaster model. "Britpop" is in full swing in the U.K.; the movement´s top guitarists, Graham Coxon (Blur) and Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), are avowed Telecaster devotees.

1997: Merle Haggard and Will Ray Telecaster models are introduced.
1999: The Deluxe Nashville Power Telecaster is introduced. Brad Paisley´s debut album, Who Needs Pictures, is released.
2004: John 5 Telecaster with 3by3 tuning keys on a unique "shovel" head.
2006: The Highway One Telecaster introduced.
2007: The Vintage Hot Rod ´52 Tele, Blackout Telecaster, Deluxe Nashville Tele, G.E. Smith Telecaster, Jim Root Telecaster, John 5 Triple Tele Deluxe, Joe Strummer Telecaster and Fender Custom Shop Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster are introduced.
2008: The Jim Adkins JA-90 Telecaster Thinline and newly redesigned American Standard series Telecaster are introduced. James Burton is inducted into the Fender Hall of Fame and is present at the ceremony.
2009: The Road Worn ´50s Telecaster is introduced.
2010: The American Special Telecaster,Acoustasonic Telecaster and Blacktop Telecaster HH are introduced.
2011: The Road Worn Player Telecaster is introduced.


Robin Hillman  ~ Bill and Sue-On ~ Jim Andrey ~ Kenn Jarvin
2011: Celebrating 50 Years On Stage ~ Hometown Arena Dance in Strathclair Arena


One Body CCR Band Rehearsal 
J-5 ~  Mo ~ Dana ~ John ~ Heather
Hillman Studio

On the Big Top Stage at the German Festival 2005
with Sue-On (drums) ~ Robin Hillman (bass) 
Kevin Pahl (keys)

The Cantina Jam Band
Ken Storie ~ Bill ~ Ken Daniels
Cantina Jam Band: I | II | III

Brandon Tribute Band: "The Beetles" ~ New Year's Eve ~ Double Decker British Pub
Mo Karrouze (drums) | Kevin Pahl (keys) | John Schellenberg (bass) | Bill Hillman (J-5) | Jon Chiupka (guitar)

2010 Hilites

2011: On Stage with Hillman Express

2011: Hillman Duo

Hillman Guitar Contents Page

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Hillman Career Collage Archive

Fender Website
Fender Telecaster Set-Up Guide: Adustment and Care
Telecaster Wiring and Switching Diagrams
Fender Pre-CBS Factory Video Doc

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