Other Guitars

Advice on a Tele

26

Having played a truckload of Teles from various eras, I reckon the age isn't as important as the parts. This may be a different recipe for other players, but basically if you want a classic Tele sound it should probably be an ash body. I like reasonably light but not featherweight. Too light and the tone gets fluffy. Around 7lbs for the whole guitar is great. But weight alone will not get you there.

I like the old ashtray bridge with three saddles best. Some guys like brass saddles for the squishy warm tone - I like cold rolled steel for the extra punch. Rutters make my favourites because they look just like the old steel saddles but they have little grooves cut into them which not only intonate the strings perfectly, they stop the strings from slipping around and getting stuck in the screwholes.

You don't really need fancy expensive pickups. Fender's '52 vintage pickups are fantastic. The neck should probably be all maple but I have played some great RW board Teles. But I do prefer the vintage style tunes because they are so well designed and have less mass on the headstock. To me the guitar just seems livelier with vintage style tuners.

Neck radius and fret size are a personal thing, but I like flatter boards and bigger wire for the ease of string bending. So the stock '52 necks are more difficult for me to play.

Tele players are some of the most strongly opinionated on the specs of their guitars I have ever met! So I agree with the sentiments expressed here - just find one you like. Knowing the details can help but may also hinder. Be aware of the differences but don't let them stop you getting the guitar which speaks to you.

27

I've had 7 Tele-style guitars-3 Esquires('58,'80s MIJ,'04 Mex Classic '50s),3 telecasters('75,'96 50th Anniversary,'99 Nashville B-Bender),and a '94 G&L ASAT.The G&L is the best built and the 50th Anniversary has the best neck and sounds the best,although all of them are/were eminently gig worthy.Honorable mention to the B-bender for the Strat-style switching and the Mex Esquire for the Louisville Slugger neck which when I'm not thinking about it feels great in an oddball way.The '58 and MIJ Esquires are long gone,but here's a pic of the rest.

Since the OP asked for advice,here's my take.Play as many as you can;the right one will let you know.And if it turns out to be a new USA model,don't be afraid to throw some money at it.We're talking a friend for life,not something to flip for bux.

28

At Guitar Center they had a Squier made of pine wood. Used. Sounded great and felt just right. Used about $225. Look into that.

29

At Guitar Center they had a Squier made of pine wood. Used. Sounded great and felt just right. Used about $225. Look into that.

– ThePolecats

That would be a hell of a deal.

Some specimen tend to be on the heavier side (mine was light as a feather) but the pine body CVs sound great.

30

At Guitar Center they had a Squier made of pine wood. Used. Sounded great and felt just right. Used about $225. Look into that.

– ThePolecats

225 $ it's a good deal

31

I have a '95 MIJ Tele custom, and a '16 MIM Baja. Both are great guitars. Heard a lot of good things about the Squier CV's. From what I've seen, the MIM Teles are hard to beat from a price / performance point. You can get slightly different specs for the American Teles....but for a lot more money. The MIM's seem to be in the sweet spot, especially for used ones. ...and if you eventually find it's not perfect, it's easy to tweak or upgrade without worrying about spoiling it's 'resale' value.

32

You will know the right one when you pick it up.Don't stop until one speaks to you, don't get impatient. This is my Japanese 62RI with bigsby best Tele I have ever owned.

33

I got to try a few more out today... the FRS really felt good. And sounded real nice also

https://www.long-mcquade.co...

One thing i noticed.. and this is kinda odd. The G string seemed louder (which made it seem brighter) that all the other strings. The only thing i can think of is they Chang ed the string with the wrong gauge or could it be the stings height? What could cause that?!

I can get a pretty good deal on a classic vibe in vintage blonde (I love that colour) Has pretty much the same neck as the FRS, but if i did that I'd want to chang the pups. The ones I've heard and like are Fender 52's and Nocaster 51's. What else are good, worth checking out? Overall I'm looking for a classic Tele sound, full, not thin, but with tons of twang and bite.

Help is much appreciated... and there have been some really helpful comments. Thank you!!! You guys are great!

34

Sometimes the g string in a Tele can have a ghost note or wolf note because of lack of break angle over the nut. It's a Tele thing. That's why the later ones have 2 string trees. Maybe that's it

35

Never weighed my '69, but I bet it weighs 9#. A real boat anchor. Sounds killer, though. I'm not a twanger, so I'm OK with the extra girth...it definitely has a different vibe from lighter Teles

36

Never weighed my '69, but I bet it weighs 9#. A real boat anchor. Sounds killer, though. I'm not a twanger, so I'm OK with the extra girth...it definitely has a different vibe from lighter Teles

– charlie chitlins

Agreed- I have discovered, over the years, I like heavier teles. Mines 8+. I have lighter ones, 7-something, and 6-something, and I like my boat anchor the best :)

37

This question is sort of like asking which kind of donut you should buy, or which bourbon is best. If you like them they're awesome, and from there it's really personal preference.

I have a MIJ 50's reissue with Duncan Antiquities, a '75 American Deluxe with the original Seth Lover Wide Ranges and a Mexican Cabronita with TV's. The MIJ and MIM have beefy necks, and are among my favorite necks of any of my guitars. The American Tele Deluxe is beat to hell, has a smaller 'C' neck which I don't like as much, but sounds like nothing else, and if I could only save one guitar in a fire, it would be that one.

Teles...you can't have just one...

38

These rock...

– Curt Wilson

those look amazing!

39

Over the last 2 weeks i've played dozens of Tele's. the stand out's have been 50's Baja Tele, FRS Deluxe Tele and the American Pro Tele / rosewood. the best one for me so far has been the FRS. feels and plays great and has a really full tone with lots of Tele bite. This one: https://www.long-mcquade.co...

it's not so much about cost, it's about finding a great guitar. i haven't looked at non Fenders.. that Schoolhouse looks real sweet! i know there are other boutique Tele's out there too. harder to find them locally to try out.

40

One Tele I looked at recently which impressed me was the new American Professional Tele. I prefer vintage style tuners but it's a really cool Tele. Played well indeed. Decent price too.

41

For the $$ this would be a great Tele. Seriously, apart from CS mojo Teles this would be as good as it gets for me.https://wildwoodguitars.com/product/V1737117/american-vintage-thin-skin-52-telecaster-23/?cat_id=230

All the vintage stuff (although I would change the neck pickup!) plus modern playability. I like Rutter steel saddles for the bridge too, but apart from that you're good to go.

42

That 52 thin skin is real nice. but it's not an easy thing spending that much on a guitar i can try out first. too bad cause it does look pretty amazing.

I did try out a few American professional Tele's and they are very nice as well. great feeling guitars. very well designed and refined. i didn't love the tone of the treble strings. sounded a bit thin to me. do they come with .9's or .10's? So far the the FSR Deluxe Tele is still the winner to me. if i stick with that i would change the neck pup, and the saddles. it's hard to believe that a guitar that is a fraction of the cost of the higher end ones is sounding and feeling just as good or better to me. i guess it's just personal taste. i suppose the reverse controls would be a deal breaker for those wanting something more traditional. it doesn't matter to me at all. i like it, i ca reach the volume knob easier when i play it

43

It's really easy to reverse controls on a Tele. There is usually enough slack so you can just change things around, or of not 10 minutes with a soldering iron will fix it. The cool thing about Teles is that they are very easy to make your own. And they really don't have to be expensive to be good. I've been fortunate to play a few thinskin Teles and Strats and they are probably up there with the "NOS" CS guitars. The finish means they will age well too.

For a lot of these cool guitars I have to buy without playing because of where I live, and the thinskins have never disappointed. If you know the sort of weight you like it's pretty straightforward. With cheaper guitars it's important to play them first, but the better ones I find it's less important because they're usually good. Fender do know how to build a good feeling guitar.

I think the American Professional series would come with 9s. There are a couple of factors to consider with new guitars - a big one for me is that they usually (always!) set the action too low at the factory; I guess it's to make the guitar feel easy to play. But even if it doesn't buzz to much it's hard to get a fat tone or sustain because the strings hit the frets too much. The strings will feel like they lack punch and sustain. So I ALWAYS raise the action a little and then the tone gets bigger and fatter. You don't have to raise it uncomfortably high, just enough to give the strings some room. 10s are enough to get a good Tele sounding fat. And new strings always sound better than what comes with the guitar.

Then you can tweak the pickup heights a bit. Not too close with a Fender or you'll get the tone wobbles up the neck, but often slightly higher than factory is ok and will definitely get you a fatter sound. All this stuff is part of getting used to a new guitar, and part of the fun IMO.

45

I've got four Teles, and my two Classic Vibes (CV50's and CV Custom) get as much play as any of them...

46

It sounds like you're on the right course: try a whole bunch and see which one picks you!

I picked up a Squire Classic Vibe Custom a while ago (from Long & McQuade), and I like it a lot. I prefer rosewood necks to maple, but I agree with the others who say a lot of it is the neck. In fact, I think that may be the first thing that speaks to me about any guitar, is how the neck feels in my hand. Then it's the sound.

I used to have a 2000 American Standard Tele, and I had a CS Nocaster pickup in the bridge. Great pickup. I had assumed that I would go that route with the CV but so far I have no complaints with the CV pickups. The selector switch has begun to get a bit finicky when I switch to the bridge position (cuts out) but I think I'll replace it with a 4-way and do that in-phase/out-phase wiring. May also put a Bigsby on it like Raye's above (that looks killer!).

Good luck in your Tele-journey.

47

I've got a Classic Vibe Custom as well. These are really nice Teles - no need to swap out the pickups at all. I believe the pups are made by Tonerider.

48

Edit posts is in the Reply drop-down.

Warmoth is so close to you. I ended up with a partscaster because Fender wasn't selling a '52 when I started to assemble mine. The more you look at them, the more you realize you want something specific, really, really specific. You can buy one and modify it, buy a used one that will almost certainly have been customized and change it again or start from scratch.

I would suggest getting the one that feels best or plays lovely, then do with it as you wish. But keep all the original parts.

One of the nicest Teles I've seen was an FMT, not a real Tele with 2 humbuckers, but so pretty. Another standout was the very first white James Burton I saw, with the tiny frets. I love those little frets, but that's not what I have on mine.

There are a lot of Teles on Craigslist in Vancouver. You may want to bring someone who can spot something questionable, there are lots of fakes, breaks and scams these days.

I like Mexican Teles. You would like to pay less than these. I guess everything is expensive in Vancouver. https://vancouver.craigslis... https://vancouver.craigslis...

What is this. https://vancouver.craigslis...

It should have a Bigsby. https://victoria.craigslist...

a few G&Ls out there, too.

49

Edit posts is in the Reply drop-down.

Warmoth is so close to you. I ended up with a partscaster because Fender wasn't selling a '52 when I started to assemble mine. The more you look at them, the more you realize you want something specific, really, really specific. You can buy one and modify it, buy a used one that will almost certainly have been customized and change it again or start from scratch.

I would suggest getting the one that feels best or plays lovely, then do with it as you wish. But keep all the original parts.

One of the nicest Teles I've seen was an FMT, not a real Tele with 2 humbuckers, but so pretty. Another standout was the very first white James Burton I saw, with the tiny frets. I love those little frets, but that's not what I have on mine.

There are a lot of Teles on Craigslist in Vancouver. You may want to bring someone who can spot something questionable, there are lots of fakes, breaks and scams these days.

I like Mexican Teles. You would like to pay less than these. I guess everything is expensive in Vancouver. https://vancouver.craigslis... https://vancouver.craigslis...

What is this. https://vancouver.craigslis...

It should have a Bigsby. https://victoria.craigslist...

a few G&Ls out there, too.

– hammerhands

Thanks, Hammerhands, for the "edit" advice!

50

I've got a Classic Vibe Custom as well. These are really nice Teles - no need to swap out the pickups at all. I believe the pups are made by Tonerider.

– Telechamp

Telechamp,

That's what my main player is.

Perfect weight, feel and sound, dead stock as it came.

My other CV is a pine body one, and someone put a hotrail in the bridge. I'm not sure if I want to keep that in there.


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