Anyone else go through a gazillion Teles?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by emdub123, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. emdub123

    emdub123 Supporting Member

    May 20, 2011
    Over the last 10 years, I just couldn't find a Tele that worked for me, there was always something that wasn't quite right. I would buy one, keep it for a while and never play it. Sell it, then get GAS for another one. Buy one, keep it for a while and never play it. Here's what I've been through:

    2006 American Standard - First tele. Sounded great but I got it in my head that sunburst was for dad bands and sold it almost entirely based on looks. Early onset mid-life crisis apparently. 2010 MIJ '62 Reissue - Beautiful, double-bound, sounded pretty good but kinda thin and anemic, didn't really like the neck or tiny frets. 2009 American Deluxe - Another beautiful guitar, this time with a fantastic neck. However, the pickups were the SCN noiseless and just sounded to "perfect" and not tele-like. Hard to describe, but it was uninspiring to play. 2002 '69 Thinline Reissue - loved how light-weight it was. Hated the 1 meg pots, swapped the pots and pickups and proceeded to play it for a grand total of 15 minutes over a period of months.

    Nothing wrong with any of these guitars, I started to think I just wasn't a tele person?

    Fast forward to last week... I made an impulse low-ball offer and am now the proud owner of a 1998 American Standard Black with rosewood neck. This one has two good size gashes with exposed wood, lots of scratches all over and appears to have been someones gigging guitar without the use of any sort of case or gig bag. The previous owner sanded down the back of the neck. Someone somewhere along the way swapped out the bridge pickup and wired it backwards, so the middle position didn't work. Previous owner claims to not have realized there was a problem. Once I got into the guitar to fix the wiring, I was able to ID the bridge pickup as a Duncan Antiquity. After correcting the wiring, this thing sounds amazing. I actually kinda like the sanded neck but am concerned about bare wood over the long term. Anyway, I really love the sound of this guitar. It has a ballsiness that none of the others had. Sounds compressed in the midrange and the bridge pickup has a crunchiness to it that I haven't heard in other pickups before. Lots of treble to be had but it's not ice-picky...

    In the end, it took 5 tries but it appears that I found the right telecaster for me. Who knew that it would be a 17 year old beater??? I'm generally not picky and like most other guitars (like SGs, 335s, Jazzmasters, etc.) that I play, so what's the deal with Teles?
  2. doc

    doc Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Middle Tennessee
    I don't think I've ever played a Tele I didn't like to some degree. To me they're just different flavors of "very good". To be fair, I haven't quite gone through a gazillion though, so I'll repost if I get there.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
    Turi and silot like this.
  3. silot

    silot Member

    May 15, 2006
    Athens, Greece, EU.
    Guitars are like cars. You need to own one for a while in order to find out if it covers your needs.
    That said I've gone through probably 10 Teles by now. At some point there were 2 nocasters and a masterbuilt broadcaster in front of me. You want to know what finally made it for the stage ? A partscaster made of fender mim and warmoth parts...
  4. dazco

    dazco Member

    Jul 25, 2003
    For me teles more than any guitar respond big time to little changes like saddles, setup, pickups. No tele i've had was one i'd have kept if i left them stock. And a big part of it is the saddle type/brand and the setup, especially regarding break angle. Get those right and add some pickups that match the guitar, which with teles is not the easiest task, and you can make almost any tele a keeper. But anyways, whether true for others, thats the case for me. Most aren't keepers till i change those things, then most any is. With a strat i can use most any pickups and saddles and as long as the break angle isn't crazy they're all good. They aren't finicky like teles, nor are gibsons or anything else i've ever owned.
  5. lovehifi

    lovehifi Member

    May 31, 2014
    Seneca SC
    Went through a couple of Tele Standards, a Deluxe, a 52RI and now found my keeper which is a 52RI Hot Rod.
  6. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Member

    Jun 8, 2010
    North Jersey
    I bought my current one (used) in 1980, I've been thinking of adding another one. Does that count?
  7. marsos52

    marsos52 Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    south jersey
    I've been lucky.. three teles and they are all very good. first was a high end parts teles to 52 specs. next was a Ron Kirn that was truly so fine.
    both did me well but I grow to like a 9.5 radius over the vintage 7 1/2.

    then came my holy grail tele. a Michael Tuttle blackguard. for me this is the perfect tele...
  8. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2007
    Yeah. I've had many Teles over the years. Dug them all.
    Got my first brand new in '88 , an American Standard.
    Had a couple Custom Shops , a few Thin Skins , a few boutiques and now have a killer '11 Baja.
  9. straightblues

    straightblues Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    The LBC
    I have had that same experience with Strats. I went through 10 before I found the one for me. I kept on trying because I like the way other people sounded with them. It paid off in the end. I am glad I persisted because I have a great one now.

    On the flip side, I have never found a Tele I didn't like.
  10. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    Frazer, PA
    I went through about a half dozen or so off-the-shelf Teles (with tweaks to each one by me) before I found the two that I have now. They are both made from parts sourced from TGP and, and both are keepers. One of them is shown in my avatar.
  11. gibsonES330

    gibsonES330 Member

    Feb 25, 2015
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah, I've been through a bunch. I love Tele's, but have yet to find one that was a keeper. I have only owned regular production Fender USAs, MIJs, and MIMs - maybe my next one needs to be a Fender custom shop or boutique build?
  12. monty

    monty Member

    Mar 2, 2009
    parts unknown
    There is probably a reason it was so beat up- sounds like a player to me.

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