Is a Telecaster Harder to Play Than Other Guitars?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by erikzen, May 22, 2019.

  1. rhinocaster

    rhinocaster Supporting Member

    Messages:
    20,957
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    There's more physical effort to playing traditional Fender style guitars set up in traditional ways but I find a Gibson to be more difficult to play as it requires more touch than I'm used to and the flatter radius doesn't feel right.

    Mostly it's just that a different feeling guitar ends up being more difficult to play imo...

    None of this will keep Gibson players from absolutely bristling at anyone suggesting that a Tele is tougher to play.
     
    Adagietto likes this.
  2. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Member

    Messages:
    944
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Correct me if I am wrong (I am sure someone will), does a 25.5" scale not have more string tension than a 24.75", etc?

    On a Strat with floating trem, the strings give a little when fretted or, that is the way it feels to me.

    I think Tele's take little more strength to fret and bend. Awesome guitar though.
     
    neastguy likes this.
  3. truckin

    truckin Supporting Member

    Messages:
    845
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    I actually think a Gibson is notably harder for me to play, I have pretty big hands though. My 335 can be a pain in the ass because it has such a small neck, meanwhile my R9 is a little better but still more difficult than a good Strat or tele for me. I've spent far more time playing Gibsons but ultimately feel more at home on the larger scale.
     
    rhinocaster likes this.
  4. Tom Fontaine

    Tom Fontaine Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2019
    Yep, all this. I’d add that because whatever you play just comes back at you, it exposes your mistakes a bit more.

    And mine very rarely goes out of tune, and I haven’t had to adjust anything setup wise in years. It’s just a slab of wood, with another more elaborate slab. Simple, and perfect.
     
  5. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

    Messages:
    10,075
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    Capital City
    No. Next question.
     
    DV52 likes this.
  6. DCross

    DCross Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,602
    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Maybe without realizing it you're fretting too hard, which is knocking it out of tune, especially if the action is very low?
     
  7. DV52

    DV52 Member

    Messages:
    4,325
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    palmyra country club and lounge
    7.25 and vintage frets solve that problem . The action being low is not the problem . Being Pete Heavy handed and tall frets is the problem , pressure makes them go sharp and out of tune .
     
  8. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

    Messages:
    8,925
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    No. Telecasters are not more difficult to play and don’t really ‘make you earn it’, but they are inherently unforgiving and will quickly expose a talentless hack, immediately announce that a player doesn’t practice enough if they don’t, and won’t hesitate to magnify a player's weaknesses, should they have any. Telecasters are like highly sensitive seismographs that report whatever inconsistencies they detect regardless of how small or slight, and there is nowhere to hide on them, like, say, a Les Paul. It’s just part and parcel to the Telecaster design.

    Like a Telecaster, playing a very good sensitive tube amp offers much the same type of "being-seen-in-a-speedo" experience. I’ve heard a lot of players who have plugged into a really well-built tube amp at a healthy volume say things like, “Wow, I had no idea I sounded like such a sloppy soloist…”, and “Geez this amp really announces my shortcomings and telegraphs every little thing I do wrong”, and “Do I really make that much extraneous noise when I play??” Some of that also comes from wanting/having huge gobs of gain, which tends to conceal all that stuff and allows players to be as sloppy and noisy as they want.
     
    burner, Sam Hill and Adagietto like this.
  9. erikzen

    erikzen Member

    Messages:
    1,270
    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Location:
    Up and down the neck
    Lots of great responses and, being a new Telecaster player, enjoy hearing everyone's experiences.

    The guitar is an American Performer HS. Strings are 9-42.

    As someone posted we are discussing two different things, both of which I think are relevant to me. There is a bit of an intonation issue and a bit of getting used to the Telecaster sound and how it plays.

    The setup on the guitar is good for the most part. The action is low without any buzz, but the middle and high string saddles were a little sharp. Makes sense that an open A would sound off. It's a three barrel bridge but the saddles are compensated and I was able to get it in tune with a few turns of the screwdriver.

    As for the Telecaster itself, it is definitely a very clear sounding guitar with lots of sustain. I can see how this could make hitting a clam really stand out. This coupled with the high strings being sharp would seem like the culprits. While it's a 9.5 radius as opposed to 7.25, I could definitely also be fretting too hard. The frets are jumbo so on the tall side.
     
    a_ribbon likes this.
  10. Comanche5

    Comanche5 Member

    Messages:
    1,625
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Every guitar is unforgiving if you don't have experience playing it.
     
  11. TP Parter

    TP Parter Member

    Messages:
    422
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    If your primary concern is your super smooth legato lines, then yes, a real Telecaster is gonna be fighting you. Get a Tele shaped Suhr, Anderson, or Charvel and go to town..

    But if you're more concerned with hammering out some boss Jerry Reed claw picking, or some greasy raw RnR, then a Tele may just be the best thing that ever happened to you.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  12. s2y

    s2y Member

    Messages:
    18,188
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Location:
    Caught somewhere in time
    I think the shorter top horn makes it feel a tad less comfy than a Strat. The very bright tone is probably what makes it unforgiving of technique or flawed intonation/bending.
     
  13. aldocello

    aldocello Member

    Messages:
    452
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this because I think it's critical. Which telecaster are we talking about? The fretboards all have different widths and different string spacing. The Squier has a thin fretboard and the strings are spaced very close together. A Mexican Telecater has a bit wider fretboard and the strings are spaced a little farther apart. An American Telecaster has the widest fretboard with the strings spaced the farthest apart. I know this because I've owned all three types of Telecasters. I really like the Mexican Teles but I have fat fingers and the strings are just a little too close together for me. My American Standard has just the right spacing for my fat fingers. I don't have the exact specs near me but I'm talking about 1/32" - 1/16" difference.
     
  14. keefsdad

    keefsdad Member

    Messages:
    2,174
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    I think it can be harder to get a good sound, because of the range of tone from screaming treble to really dark bass. Neither of those sounds are too pleasing. It requires judicious use of tone controls, for me, anyway.
     
  15. TP Parter

    TP Parter Member

    Messages:
    422
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    All my Gibsons have single coils. They don't sound like Fenders. ;)

    Truthfully these days it is easier to play many chords on my Gibsons, but that has more to do with injuries to my fret hand than anything else. For riffing and most things my Strat begged to be throttled.
     
  16. portobear

    portobear Member

    Messages:
    414
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Dumbarton & Tyneside UK
    I don't think they're harder to play. When I play my favourite tele I often wonder why I own other guitars.
     
  17. Bankston

    Bankston Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,877
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Location:
    Houston
    Agreed. A Tele will expose sloppy technique and chops almost as quickly as an acoustic will.

    The tone of a traditional Tele is less compressed than a Strat or LP, which is why, imo, Tele's have such great dynamics and are such versatile guitars.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  18. burner

    burner Member

    Messages:
    3,140
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    Busted!!!!
    So.....yeah, that's the *real* reason a dynacomp is an important part of my sound.

    Should call it the "slop knocker"
    :)
     
    monty likes this.
  19. kunos

    kunos Member

    Messages:
    341
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    with the same string gauge/tuning yes. If string tension is something that bothers you all you have to do is go down gauge or half step and you get your tension back.
     
  20. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Member

    Messages:
    944
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    True. It does not bother me.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice