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"After playing live gigs for years where I was with either fiddle or lead guitar the "Tele-fiddle" seemed like a good idea." - Maxi Werker

Posted: March 19, 2024
Werker hails from Wyoming but recently moved to Nashville for luthier school. The shift pushed her to create her second Tella-fiddle – the one she demos in the clip. It’s only a few weeks old and, as such, she says she’s not done “pimping it out” just yet and still intends to fill out some of the joins and add a paisley pickguard.

Photos credit: Perry Joseph

Revolutionize the music industry, or are hybrids outdated? Hybrids have always been a revolutionary tool or means to accomplish something simultaneously. In fact, cars are often associated with the Hybrid topic. The first hybrid car was created by Ferdinand Porsche. Who designed the first-ever hybrid car, unveiled as a prototype in 1900 – 110 years before the launch of the Cayenne S Hybrid in 2010. A hybrid car has an internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric motor which work together to power the vehicle and its systems, such as the climate control, stereo, and more.

While I am not a fan of hybrid vehicles, I am a HUGE fan of hybrid instruments. It even gets my attention when artist will release a song that is a compilation of sounds. Many are fans of the original design and what it was intended to accomplish. However, more music lovers and artists are well acquainted with the benefits of hybrids.

In some cases, you have talented artists that are not sold on one purpose instrument. Their creativity goes beyond the box. They are so outside the box, that it almost seems impossible to accomplish. Such as the The Tella-Fiddle – a Telecaster and electric violin hybrid created by Maxi Werker.

Maxi Werker is a multi-talented musician and luthier based in Nashville who has spent the past few years working on a unique hybrid instrument combining a Telecaster and electric violin, dubbed the Tella-Fiddle. Recently, she shared her latest take on the concept on Instagram and it caught the attention of YouTuber Tyler Larson, who invited Werker for an interview on his channel Music Is Win. 

I recognize the value of having the Tella-Fiddle in the hands of artists Worldwide. However, will it catch on an revolutionize how both instruments are played? If Maxi Werker has anything to do with it, IT WILL.

Werker hails from Wyoming but recently moved to Nashville for luthier school. The shift pushed her to create her second Tella-fiddle – the one she demos in the clip. It’s only a few weeks old and, as such, she says she’s not done “pimping it out” just yet and still intends to fill out some of the joins and add a paisley pickguard.

INTERVIEW WITH MAXI WERKER AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: Hi Maxi. I was intrigued by your creativity. First, you got my attention by your ability to play the guitar. Next you have a love for Fender Telecasters as well. Is there anything else that you can’t do?

Maxi: Thank you. I think it’s important to be well-rounded in your trade. I value having a mechanical understanding of the instruments I use as well as the theory and skill of musicianship.

Guitar Thrills: I want to dive into the Tella-Fiddle. What was your “need” to develop a hybrid?

Maxi: After playing live gigs for years where I was responsible for both fiddle and lead guitar it seemed like a good idea. It’s a great way to get a fiddle solo in a song where I’m playing guitar or vice versa. For example, it’s great for a lot of Alabama or Shania Twain songs. And people in the bar love watching it being played live.

Guitar Thrills: When did you develop the idea for the Tella-Fiddle?

Maxi: The idea sparked after seeing Jr. Brown live with his Guit-Steel with my dad. We thought it was a cool concept and made the first prototype. A few years later I built the second model and then a few years after that built my latest version in Nashville (modding it to be better each time).

Guitar Thrills: What sound were you trying to get from it? You don’t just aim for average. Does it solely rely upon the mechanics of the Fender Telecaster?

Maxi: I am aiming for clean tones thus modeling it after the Tele. I put a third nob in to control the fiddle volume and a 5 way switch instead of 3 way. One shuts the guitar off, one can have both on at the same time and then the fiddle off with a typical three way for a telecaster. I put Lindy Fralin pickups in the guitar and Barbara violin pickup in the fiddle.

Guitar Thrills: Have you received a license from Fender to produce more models, for the public?

Maxi: If I do a small custom run there will be no infringements to any licensed Fender headstock shape or trademark names…Tella-fiddle has been a nickname. If  I run a line they will likely be what a lot of companies refer to as a T-style guitar. Although it is modeled after a telecaster, building it from scratch I made sure to change certain specs that are different from a Tele and customized to my preference.

Guitar Thrills: Has there been a high demand for the Tella-Fiddle?

Maxi: I wouldn’t say there’s been a high demand for it. I was initially intending to be the only one with it. However, there have been plenty of quires about the Tella-Fiddle. Even some musicians from notable bands have expressed interest in it.

Guitar Thrills: Where are you selling the Tella-Fiddle and has any retails stores contacted you about selling it?

Maxi: I will likely sell the small run from my online store maxiwuerker.myshopify.com.  

Guitar Thrills: How has it contributed to the quality of your performances?

Maxi: I like the audience engagement and entertainment of it. I see this as an instrument that makes a crowd happy and makes a connection with what’s going on in the music because it’s visual.

Guitar Thrills: Do you plan on using it in the studio? Did you think about the impact AI would have on the number of users that would be interested in the Tele-Fiddle?

Maxi: I have no plan to ever use it in a session. When I’m in the studio I have my standard instruments I’m most comfortable with and sound the greatest.  Although the Tella-fiddle plays well and sounds good its main purpose is for the visual entertainment and live stunt.

Guitar Thrills: I know many fiddlers that are in the Nashville area. Have you had any artists reach out to you regarding it?

Maxi: There have been plenty of quires about it. Even some musicians from notable bands have expressed interest in it

Guitar Thrills: Are you focused on the role you play as an artist, or are you going to concentrate on your new concept?

Maxi: I view it as part of the role as an artist. I don’t see this being a mass-production instrument, so it will be a side project as I continue to work as a musician.

Guitar Thrills: Is there any reason why you went with the Fender Tele, versus the Strat, or even a different brand all together?

Maxi: I’m typically playing country music with the fiddle, so having a guitar that coordinates with that is crucial. Although, the very first prototype was done on a Jackson. My Tele version’s are built entirely from scratch.

Guitar Thrills: What projects are you working on outside of the Telle-Fiddle?

Maxi: I am currently playing as “Nancy Willson” in Barracuda-America’s Heart Tribute. When I am not on the road with them I play gigs on Lower Broadway and other clubs in Nashville. As I continue to grow my social media (@maxiwerker) I just got my new store running online on Maxiwerker.myshopify.com. I have also been doing freelance session work.

Guitar Thrills: Make sure you keep us posted, as we are always willing to promote the artists that we interview. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today.

Maxi: Thank you Guitar Thrills!




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