Other Guitars

Advice on a Tele


Hello all, I've been shopping around for a Tele. I'm m looking for some advice from those with more experience than me.

What models should I be looking at?

Today I played a road worn 50's, frs deluxe tele, and a classic vibe squire.

I liked the neck on the Frs best with the classic vibe a close second. As for tone, the classic vibe squire sounded best!

I see a lot on Craigslist and can score a 52 RI for a good price. But is it any better than the others?

I like a maple neck, lots of twang!!

Any pointers?



It all depends on what you want. I have had several Teles over the years, and have settled on my 'AV '52 and AV '64 Reissues to keep. The 7 1/2' fretboard radius takes a wee bit of getting used to, but I have never found it to be a problem, and I love the sounds both produce.

If you like a maple neck and tons of twang, the '52 RI has all that in spades (I have had two, and they both had it...and it has a very cool vibe. You can upgrade the pickups on any good maple-neck Tele, though, and get a pretty great sound. A bandmate plays a late '90s American Standard that weighs a ton. He upgraded the pickups to Di Marzios (Area 51s, or something like that), and the thing sounds incredible. One of the 2-3 best Teles I have ever heard.

Teles don't need to be expensive. You just need a good body and neck, and you have about a billion pickup choices. I love the 2012-2016 AVRI pickups, but there are so many great pickups out there that with some looking and listening, you can find just what you are looking for.


Well I'll tell you, I have owned dozens of Teles. My current number one for the last four years actually, is a fender roadworn. I put a Lollar Charlie Christian in the neck, and a Lollar vintage t in the bridge and added a chopped b6. If I had done that to practically any tele body out there the results would've been pretty close in my opinion. But before we get into any yackety-yack about the distressed guitar concept, I went with the road worn for the unfinished neck. It feels just like my black guard 53 telecaster. Maybe it's an acquired taste, but it feels like I'm playing a really nice pool cue the whole time. It's a bit heavy, and I have picked up Roadworns that were exceptionally light so maybe that might be a minor difference. But for something you should expect to find used for about 700 bucks, maybe less if you're diligent, it does the job for me.


Those Classic Vibes are some of the best guitars I've played, regardless of brand. If I had to have a Fender I'd get the Baja or Muddy Waters or 52RI.


I have one Classic vibe that's my main gigging tele. Sounds incredible and it's built to near perfection for me.


Just keep trying until it's the right one. The CV is well regarded.

Mine is a partscaster built and set up by Josh. I would put that up against any Tele I have touched.


I just bought a 2006 52 RI. I have had 3. I paid $1000 for it. I like it a Lot better than the new ones that cost more like $2000. But really pay attention to the radius it's a deal breaker for some people. Good luck


Good point. I love the small radius and small frets, but a lot of people get frustrated with them. Be sure you like it before going full vintage on a Tele


Also the early eighties Japanese ones can be nice. As NJB said keep playing until you fined one you like. I played a beautiful blonde Mexican esquire in London years ago . Just resonated , rang and twanged


I have a bunch of Teles, and my late 70's E-series MIJ is my #1. Amazing maple neck.


Sometimes the best Tele is a G&L ASAT.


I have a bunch of Teles, and my late 70's E-series MIJ is my #1. Amazing maple neck.

– Powdog

No MIJ Fenders in the '70s.


Sometimes the best Tele is a G&L ASAT.

– Don Birchett

That's what Carl Perkins thought.


Some people just put upgraded electronics in Japanese ones... some say the non Fender Japanese ones are ok also.


Why not a nice Thinline?


You're on the right path: neck, and sound. Having to choose between the 2, I choose neck, because pickups can be changed pretty easily... but a good neck that you really connect with is more elusive... for example, Fender's "Modern C" necks are not all the same. I have 3 teles with modern C necks, and they are all different. The differences are subtle, but on a neck, subtle can make all the difference. While I am comfortable on all 3 necks, 2 of them are great and 1 is THE neck for me.


Thanks, some good ideas here

Going out and playing some: i started that yesterday, and i got to play 4 different Tele's. The problem with thtat is; bad set ups, dead strings. So gauging the tone and playability is somewhat hard. It was very helpful for seeing what neck shape/size felt best.

Thee classic vibe, had .9's on it so while it did sound and feel good it was thin sounding as well, but i felt there was a great tone in there!

The road worn felt pretty good, i liked the relic finish better than the older ones. It was way more subtle. And ther FRS looked like a goof value. Nice neck too!

I don't really care about the name on the headstock, Fender or Squire doesn't matter to me.


When I can afford it, I'd love to have a Curt Schoolhoused Tele.

The recipe for the NJBob Tele is documented in another thread. It's a good one!


I've a Classic vibe upgraded with a pair of 51 custom shop nocaster pickups. it's a killer guitar


Consider a Partscaster. Get all of the bits you want, assemble it yourself.


Schecter makes a variety of nice teles - their PT models. Very reasonable MIK or expensive USA custom shop.


No MIJ Fenders in the '70s.

– sascha

Oops, I stand corrected. Mid-80's. Still, best dang Tele I ever played.


I dig both the Cabronita I made from Warmoth body and neck, as well as my Fender 62 reissue Custom Telecaster .
Have you checked the new Brad Paisley Road Worn Telecaster? Sounds interesting... I'd like to try one.


These rock...

– Curt Wilson

Yes they do! Review to come soon...

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