Best Vintage Telecaster Year?

brockburst

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586
In your opinion, what year for Fender did the telecaster "come together" perfectly in your mind? Great neck, great pups, great pots.

I really like 52's myself...but they aren't obtainable really price wise. Piggyback question, what year in the 60's was really good as well, since I think I could probably find a great piece in there, and still afford it.
 

burstone

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1,740
some consider the maple cap necks from '66 - '68 to be very special. i like the '51 - '53 the best myself, followed by '54 - '56.
 

jaydawg76

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890
The 58' to 60' Toploaders are INCREDIBLE Telecasters.

I bet you could find a good one in there...

-Jon
I'll give that a big thumbs up!

I would expand that a little and say 58-62 rosewood board tele's & esquires. Both top and through loaders.
 

brockburst

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586
explain what a "maple cap neck is" that may sound like a dumb question, not sure if i have ever seen one
 

jimmyj

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5,548
FWIW these guys all had/have a '53 tele as their main guitar;

Roy Nichols
Roy Buchanan
Danny Gatton
Albert Lee
Vince Gill
Arlen Roth
Paul Burlison ('53 Esquire)
James Burton (before his sig model)
 
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brockburst

Member
Messages
586
what makes the toploaders so special?

anyone have an opinion on what years were especially good for higher gain stuff? i am sure there really isn't a good answer as that will be on a guitar by guitar basis....worth a shot tho
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Supporting Member
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28,378
heck, even Jeff Buckley liked his early 80's Tele - yep, a toploader.
 

russ

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3,619
They're all really different. What sounds 'best' to you one day, might not sound as good the next. Even ones made the same year can be worlds apart. Lately my 60 Esquire sounds best.
 

Garygtr

Almost as good!
Silver Supporting Member
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7,433
explain what a "maple cap neck is" that may sound like a dumb question, not sure if i have ever seen one
From Wiki (regarding the Strat, but neck info is the same):

The one-piece maple neck was discontinued in 1959 and the following year the pickguard design changed to a 3-ply (4-ply on some colors) "multi-layer" with 11 screw holes. After purchasing Fender in 1965, CBS began to offer an optional maple neck with a separate glued-on laminated maple fretboard in 1967 (known as a "maple cap" neck), with the rosewood fretboard over maple neck remaining the other neck option. Two years later, the CBS-owned Fender companies re-introduced the 1-piece maple neck after a 10-year absence. The primary reason for the switch to rosewood was to meet increased demand, as one piece maple necks required more work to manufacture and more work to finish.
 

Jerryr

Member
Messages
187
I love the 52 reissue. I don't own one (I have a Hamer U.S.A. T51) but I had a chance to borrow one for a while about 10 years ago and it was the lightest and warmest sounding Ash bodied guitar I have tried. I'm playing solo chord/melody Jazz standards mostly on a Gibson ES-165 these days but would love to get my hands on one of the Hotrod 52 Reissues. Too bad they are now $2,000+ here in Canada.
 

Garygtr

Almost as good!
Silver Supporting Member
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7,433
what makes the toploaders so special?

anyone have an opinion on what years were especially good for higher gain stuff? i am sure there really isn't a good answer as that will be on a guitar by guitar basis....worth a shot tho
The toploader models will feel different, a little looser due to the shorter overall string length. As far as high gain, I owned 2 different CBS-era teles ('67 maple cap and '68 RW board), both had squeal problems with the original pickups. I also owned a '53, no problems there with squeal.
 

notpetrucci

Member
Messages
821
The toploader models will feel different, a little looser due to the shorter overall string length. As far as high gain, I owned 2 different CBS-era teles ('67 maple cap and '68 RW board), both had squeal problems with the original pickups. I also owned a '53, no problems there with squeal.
There's something about the harmonic ring of a toploader that I've never found in any string through model. I assume it's the bridge. I've got a Squire Affinity Telecaster that I've played since I was 10 that I've since stripped most of the paint off, lit on fire, sweat to a nice gloss, put every kind of pickup in, Wilky bridge, nailed on decorations, gone through 4 nuts... The list goes on. It's my number one and I've had it head to head with most Tele's built after 53. I'd still say that it's beat them all out. Some agree, some don't. The only ones that have come close to sounding as good (to my ears) have been the 58' to 60's toploaders.

Don't ask me why, I couldn't tell you.

I'm not saying go get a Squire and beat the hell out of it. You're looking for an investment toy. Just don't count out a good top loader it you see one.

-Jon
 

johneeeveee

Member
Messages
1,613
I really like the Mahogany Thinline Tele's from '68-'69 with the maple cap neck. I would love to have an original.
 

treeofpain

Silver Supporting Member
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7,048
Black guards rule. If you REALLY want one, you can find a way to get it. Especially in the current market softness. When the economy fires back up, they will truly get out of reach for most of us.
 




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