Affordable Fender Tele's?

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
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21,816
Okay, I happened to actually look through the giant Musician's Friend magazine I got and noticed the pricing on some of these Fender "contender's" for a Tele look pretty good. But, I need reassurance from the TGP brethern. Please inform/rate and add opinions about what Tele you think is the cream of the crop (out of these models). I would definitely expect to replace the bridge/saddles, electronics and possibly pickups in the future:

Fender Highway One - USA MADE!!! Nitro??? supposedly pretty nice necks, JUMBO fret wire, 9.5 radius! How about the pickups and electronics? What's the deal with these, ~$700 new, MIA = WOW?

Fender Classic Series - MIM, right? Poly, supposedly nice necks and maybe a little chunkier, medium jumbo frets with 7.25" radius <might be okay>. Pups and electronics not so great?
How about these? ~750 new.

Fender Road Worn Tele - MIM, necks are supposed to be great, fatter 50's, medium jumbo 6105 frets with 7.25". Texas Specials? I think the yellow is Ash, the burst is Alder so I'd look for an Ash one, but could be swayed. $950 new (way too much, I'd look for used). The overly done relic is a bit of a turn off.
 

dividedsky

Member
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4,261
If you like those jumbo frets on the Highway 1 I'd go with that. I just couldn't live with them. Played Classic Series and Road Worns but didn't like either but really that had a lot to do with not liking the radius on those. I think they are all good guitars though just try to play before you buy to find one that feels right to you.
 

XmasTree

Member
Messages
3,962
HIGHWAY!!! ...mine is an extremely solid guitar
The electronics are GOOD. and the GreaseBucket Tone Circuit is kick ass. BUT some people don't like the bridge pickup.
I like it enough that i haven't changed it yet. YET
It can do really good clean stuff AND metal!!!
METAL!! ...that is a versatile bridge pickup.

I recommend it. ...and it's American ...and it has nitro paint, if you give a **** about that....

RIGHT NOW, THE PRICE IS LOW ON THESE
I WOULD NOT BE SURPRISED IF THEY CEASED PRODUCTION IN 2010
DO IT
 

XmasTree

Member
Messages
3,962
OH --- The Road Worns DO NOT HAVE TEXAS SPECIALS
...I believe they are called Tex Mex....

....carry on............................wayward son............
 

Gtrman100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,848
I've got a MIM Standard that is one great guitar. I love the neck, the medium jumbo frets are well finished and I'm partial to a 6 saddle bridge so this suits me well.

The pickups are hotter than a vintage Tele, which also suits me, but the guitar twangs just fine through my DRRI, and other bright amps. I got mine for $299 on a Musicians Friend Fender Friday deal, but I'm sure you could find a good deal now, or a good one used.

If you're not into 7.25" radius and small frets, you might want to take a look at a Standard Tele. I was shocked at how good a guitar it is...
 

pitseleh

Member
Messages
806
As far as sub-1k Teles go, I've had some experience with a few RWs I've played, a Highway 1, and a Baja. I've never been too fond of the Highway 1 series. I'm not crazy about the neck, they don't look particularly appealing to me, and!! the pickups are on the modern side (read: too hot). All of this is preferential but I suspect a lot of people here agree with the last part. You can swap them out but... I just don't care for them. I like the RWs. Nice, chunky necks, decent pickups (the neck pickup would be swapped out almost immediately, though), nice feel, nitro (not a big thing for me, neither is being MIM). The ridiculous fretboard relic job irritates me, though. Ultimately, I'm just too superficial to get over the sloppy, tacky relicing. As a rule of thumb, I don't buy any guitar I'd be embarrassed to be seen playing in public. For those who don't care as much about the look, it's a very good contender!

I own a Baja that I prefer. Significantly better pickups, I like the S1 wiring setup, the neck is chunky as hell and has a very playable 9.5 radius. It feels really good, plays well, and sounds how I think a Tele should. I find it a more versatile guitar than the other two due to the increased usability I get out of a Twisted Tele pickup and the S1 thingy. It's MIM and has a Poly finish, which might bother some, but mine sounds more resonant, unplugged and plugged in, than any of the 3 of the RWs I played. Maybe it's just a good piece of wood, I don't know. I'm not going to extrapolate my experience and apply it to anyone else but, yeah, I would say I'd get the RW before the Highway 1, but I'd look for a Baja before either. They're all more or less the same price. No experience with the Classic series!
 

Wilbur

Guest
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517
Ditto the comments about the HWY 1 pickups. I bought set for a Tele clone. Yes, the bridge pickup can do metal. Overwound A3 and no base-plate. It didn't do Tele twang, at least not in the guitar I stuck it in.
 

JefeMaximo

Huge Member
Messages
2,397
In this market, I would definitely recommend getting used rather than new. There are some super deals available.
 

ethomas1013

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,021
Fender Road Worn Tele - MIM, necks are supposed to be great, fatter 50's, medium jumbo 6105 frets with 7.25". Texas Specials? I think the yellow is Ash, the burst is Alder so I'd look for an Ash one, but could be swayed. $950 new (way too much, I'd look for used). The overly done relic is a bit of a turn off.
The necks are not fat 50's - at least the ones I played. More if a medium size. Smaller than I expected.

I don't know about the other two, but I think a used RW is a decent deal if you can find one that is set up right and plays well. I like the bigger frets, and the 7.25" radius worked well with those frets. Regarding the relicing... IMO the relicing on the bodies isn't too bad, but the maple necks look hideous.
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
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12,828
I jammed on a Road Worn Tele the other day and I have to say, it's got about 90% the mojo and feel of my CS Nocaster Relic for about a third the cost. Pretty cool IMHO!!
 

Last

Member
Messages
4,279
Just got a Highway One Tele for $545 shipped using Holiday Coupons & MSN's Bing Cash Back Savings @ Casico Interstate Music

Brand new with full warranty & gig bag not too shabby considering they list everywhere for $699.00
 

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
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21,816
I jammed on a Road Worn Tele the other day and I have to say, it's got about 90% the mojo and feel of my CS Nocaster Relic for about a third the cost. Pretty cool IMHO!!
The neck on the Nocaster must be much fuller/fatter, no?

Thanks all... I really wish I could 'undo' some of the relicing on the fretboad on those lol!
I do have a local shop that carries Fender (finally a place I can sort of "run the racks", albeit small ones ;). But, I never by new especially in this market (unless MF is pratically giving them away).
I really want a nice and fat CHUNKY neck that is comfortable. Normally fret wire size and radius are not a huge concern. I guess the Baja (because of it's neck would be a top contender) but I've also seen where they weigh in the 9lb mark? A little heavy for a Tele, no?
 

frankiestarr

Member
Messages
1,340
I really like my new Joe Strummer tele...it's ugly, but it sounds great and has a real cool feel and neck. I dropped some Don Mare pickups in it, and it holds up and then some to a 60's vintage tele my buddy owns. Since it has the relic thing, it doesn't have much paint on it and it breaths more. I would also add....to think carefully about what your looking for in a tele..the maple board teles and rosewood boards are so different. I never knew Joe Walsh did Funk 49 with a rosewood board tele ! Also Blind Faith Had To Cry Today. I would go with a maple board tele for the country chicken picking stuff. But for me, I wanted one that could rock too, and the rosewood board does that better IMHO. I also always loved Robben Ford's tele sound. I cant's say enough about the Don Mare tele and strat pickups. He is one of the best in the business....
 
Messages
3,625
+1 to the Baja in that price range.

Check out the telecaster forums over at http://www.tdpri.com very good site for tele information.

My favourite standard production tele is the AV52RI, but that is more expensive.

the classic vibe is good too, but the Baja is a killer guitar... still fighting the temptation to pick one up!

Cheers

BMF
 

coldfingaz

Member
Messages
11,213
FWIW, I have heard nothing but enthusiastic praise for the Squier Classic Vibe Tele, both in the press and from players.

Reviews:

http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/Squier-Classic-Vibe/Nov-2009/102483
http://guitargear.org/2009/11/10/gear-review-squire-classic-vibe-telecaster-50s/


Yeah, I love mine, but the slender neck is not for everyone. But, truly amazing quality (fit, finish) that cannot be beat for the price.

I really like the older Highway 1's... they used to come with more twangy (i.e. more traditional sounding Tele) pups, medium frets & none of the other modern appointments they added recently. I also think the Highway 1 quality is far more consistent than some of the MIM's like the Baja, etc.

Can't recall when the new ones were first made, but I think it was around 2007. You could get a great deal on an older one, I'm sure. The only negative about these guitars for some is the very thin finish, which I really like.

There's a Tele for everyone out there somewhere... take your time & check a bunch of 'em out.
 

ethomas1013

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,021
The neck on the Nocaster must be much fuller/fatter, no?
Depends... The current production necks are fat, but I have an early '96 Cunetto NoCaster and that neck is midium sized (it measures 0.84" at the first fret). I have always wished it had a bigger neck, but it sounds so good that I can't get rid of it.

Thanks all... I really wish I could 'undo' some of the relicing on the fretboad on those lol!
You and me both. Or better yet, I wish they would have offered the sunburst/alder version with a rosewood fretboard.

...I guess the Baja (because of it's neck would be a top contender) but I've also seen where they weigh in the 9lb mark? A little heavy for a Tele, no?
IMO, 9lbs is WAY to heavy for a Tele. A good Tele should be no more than 7.5lbs.
 
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MBreinin

Silver Supporting Member
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4,822
Classic Vibe. I have a '60s Strat, love it. Will be getting the Tele next. I am going to Esquire it.

Mike
 




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