I don't remember much about my Grandmother, but I do recall the flowery wall paper on her parlor walls. Large pink Chrysanthemums and big green leafs engulfed the room.
What I also recall is that in the 1960's I was growing up and trying to fit in with my school crowd. The British Invasion had come and brought with it not just music, but fashion. To be Mod you needed a paisley shirt with puffy sleeves and bell-bottom trousers. And that was for the guys!
Fender took a queue from this era and came out with four new guitars and a bass. All used wall paper on their finishes. Yep! I did say wall paper.
There was a flowery Telecaster finished in light blue and floral Stratocaster and a Telecaster and Stratocaster finished in hot pink paisley. Not to forget the bass players, Fender also produced a Telecaster bass in a pink paisley finish.
Fender used self-stick adhesive backed wall paper that was cut and applied to the front and back of the already painted bodies. Another coat of spray was applied around the perimeter of the body to create a sunburst effect. The body was then lacquered.
The pickguard Assembly was clear plastic so the finish could be seen throughout the guitar. The effect appeared as if someone had taken a great deal of time to carefully hand paint each guitar.
These guitars were only produced from 1968 through 1969. At the time sales were flat. Fender saw this as a marketing ploy gone bad. But the old versions are extremely collectible now. In Japan the guitar became very popular and in 1984 the Japanese arm of Fender began producing reissues. They continue being produced only in Japan through the present.
When Fender opened it's Mexican production plant in the 90's they stopped importing Fender guitars from other countries. Paisley/Floral Teles and Stats were sold through non-approved channels through 2003.
Since then FMIC purchases them through Japan for sale in the US using the Fender logo. The newer versions have eschewed the use of wallpaper and instead use preprinted clear plastic that is embedded with the paisley or floral design.
Brad Paisley and James Burton devotion to Paisley Telecasters have popularized these guitars. Brad Paisley now has his guitars handmade by a luthier named Bill Crooks.
Fender is not the only company using wallpaper or a variant as a finish. Ibanez came out with a series of guitars they call the Talman. These come in an electric verion and also an acoustic-electric version.
Many of these guitars appear to be made of an expensive flamed or quilted wood. However it is actually a photo of wood that is processed and glued on the particle board top and back and then heavily lacquered. The process is called Photoflame.