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Is it all marketing ?

Rick57

Member
Messages
176
I had a chance to play 2 Fenders Side by Side Yesterday

American Ultra Telecaster and Journeyman Tele $2000 vs $4000

First let me clarify These were a band mates . So I may not have the exact prices . I know for sure the expensive Tele was a Customshop he had paid over 4K for . The Ultra Tele he just bought .

I've own many CS Guitars that I bought used . Tried out didn't like the feel and got my money back .

IMO This Ultra way out played the CS Tele . THe tone was even right there . Based on Shops who list the Guitar weights , I was expecting it to be a Heavy Beast . It was heavier then the Customshop . But not enough to really noticed once strapped on. Makes me question the 8.4 - 9 lbs I've seen in listings .

I am a Nitro guy . Buttttttt these Ultras are impressive . By the way it was the Blue with Maple board . Very Pretty guitar
 

Cheddar Kung Pao

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,352
Those are two pretty different instruments. The Tele is trying to be a vintage instrument, the Ultra is a modern instrument. If you like the Ultra better, then you probably just like modern features like a flatter board, noiseless pickups, slimmer neck, etc. more. There's not a right or wrong answer, they're both just different flavors.
 

sunking101

Member
Messages
2,588
Those are two pretty different instruments. The Tele is trying to be a vintage instrument, the Ultra is a modern instrument. If you like the Ultra better, then you probably just like modern features like a flatter board, noiseless pickups, slimmer neck, etc. more. There's not a right or wrong answer, they're both just different flavors.
Quality-wise, if you ignore the poly/nitro debate, there isn't any difference between my Elite strat and my double-the-price CS tele. There is nothing to suggest that the CS costs even $10 more and in fact the noiseless pickups and compound radius neck might make the uninitiated think that the Elite strat cost more...
 

Jarick

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,858
Yeah, both very different.

One day I went to a shop and played a bunch of Teles, a Player ($600), Performer ($1000), Ultra ($2000), and Original Vintage ($2000). My favorite was the Performer. Had the best feeling neck, was the most resonant, and I liked the bigger frets.
 

Cheddar Kung Pao

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,352
Quality-wise, if you ignore the poly/nitro debate, there isn't any difference between my Elite strat and my double-the-price CS tele. There is nothing to suggest that the CS costs even $10 more and in fact the noiseless pickups and compound radius neck might make the uninitiated think that the Elite strat cost more...
Well, that's not my experience with USA Fenders vs. Custom Shop Fenders. But Fender has a lot of variance. I've played some amazing Mexican Strats and some clunker CS Strats. But I've never played a Mexican or USA Fender that sounded and played as well (IMHO) as my Custom Shop Strat. But this guitar is what I want, I don't like the modern neck profiles or noiseless pickups or poly finish.
 

JB6464

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,313
It's marketing , take both guitars and have a professional set them both up identical and they will pretty much play identical .
CS is overpriced because they can , they know there are certain people that want yesteryear specs and Nitro because their convinced that's the only way to get that old sound again .
The ultra guitars are damn fine guitars with poly , but really , how much different can the rest of the guitar be if it's built right with quality parts .
Again , it's all in the pro setup and quality of the pickups imo .
 

Soundhog73

Member
Messages
749
I played an ultra tele last week at a Sam ash here and it was an amazing guitar.I think they are worth their price,American professional series are very good guitars,but that ultra was a great playing guitar. Imho.
 

Strummerfan

Member
Messages
3,187
In this case I think the quality difference isn't the whole story. Some people like the idea of a guitar with more hand crafting and less CAM. Some don't care as long as the finished product is a good guitar. I'm in the latter camp, but I get the former camps view. I just don't plan on spending that much for the difference.
 

Scomac

Member
Messages
3
I have an American Original series Esquire and a Custom Shop Telecaster. While I love both, the CS Tele is a significant step up in quality. If I could afford to keep only one guitar, I would happily settle for either of those.

I have an American Standard Stratocaster and a Custom Shop Stratocaster. The CS Strat is the best sounding and feeling instrument I have ever played. It's not even close.

If you prefer the American Ultra Tele, save yourself the cash and play that, certainly! My experience has been that it's not all marketing, but that the Custom Shop makes better instruments.
 

JB6464

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,313
All these posts related to "I liked the cheaper model vs. the custom shop version" are driving me crazy. :p

First, if you can't tell the difference, good for you. It will save you alot of money over the course of many years. Each guitar stands on its own. There is going to be a difference of opinion based on a number of issues.

Here's just a few:

1) your preference for vintage vs more modern
2) fret size and neck radius
3) finish type
4) hardware
and 5) a biggie.....how long you have been playing guitar?

I am not saying a new player doesn't know what they like or don't like. I'm just saying that it takes years and many many guitars going through your hands to realize the subtle differences between guitars.

So, great if you like something that's half as much money as something else...wonderful.

The devil is in the details. YMMV
And some players can't move on or adapt from the 50's & 60's specs .
1) 6 hole vintage tremolo sucks for real bar work , not just wiggling it or wanking off at the end of a songs .
2) Razor thin frets don't always get the job done , 7.25 radius is fine if that's your thing .
3) Todays Nitro is NOT what it was back then , it has some Poly in it .
4) Some don't like aged out dated hardware on new guitars , some may prefer newer hardware designs .
5) 4 decades of experience here but that don't mean much anymore , I know players in their 20's that can play circles around me with awesome tone even on modern built guitars and amps .
 

misterg71

The premier Hack Guitarist
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,960
Perhaps some of its marketing. Those 2 guitars are two sides of the same coin (imo). But I hear you on the CS thing. I had a CS 54RI hardtail Strat that did nothing for me. While I had a MIM Robert Cray Strat that was the Bee’s knees. I’ve had similar experiences (and with more frequency) with Gibson Historic LPs’. I always have found the ones that worked best for me were Standard USA models, even though on paper I should have bonded better with the Historics. Never really know until you play ‘em.
 

Jedi

Member
Messages
1,754
And some players can't move on or adapt from the 50's & 60's specs .
1) 6 hole vintage tremolo sucks for real bar work , not just wiggling it or wanking off at the end of a songs .
2) Razor thin frets don't always get the job done , 7.25 radius is fine if that's your thing .
3) Todays Nitro is NOT what it was back then , it has some Poly in it .
4) Some don't like aged out dated hardware on new guitars , some may prefer newer hardware designs .
5) 4 decades of experience here but that don't mean much anymore , I know players in their 20's that can play circles around me with awesome tone even on a modern built guitar and amps .
I never said that vintage was better than modern or vice versa. I simply am pointing out that some new players do not have the experience of many, many guitars going thru their hands and sometimes identifying the subtle difference between why something is $500 and something is $5000. Talent is a whole different subject. Yes, a good player can make anything sound great. We are talking about gear here.

Also, you can spend considerable money on a vintage style or modern style. The issue is the constant barrage and negativity of anything that is considered Custom Shop or expensive. It's like all the Gibson bashing all the time. My so and so guitar is just as good as this expensive Gibson. It get's old. Play what you like.

Lastly, I have been gigging, writing and recording since the early 80s so we are probably close in age and experience and we probably know what we like and don't like at this point in our life.
 

Rick57

Member
Messages
176
I wasn't trying to make an argument surface : Just pointing out that these Ultra's play nicer then the CS I played . I'm sure part of that has to do with it having a Neck shape that everyone seems to want . But Fender never delivers when it makes Team Built Custom Shops . More attention is on paint colors and duplicating Vintage then God forbid putting a playable neck on a 52 Relic Tele or 57 Strat vs a Baseball Bat . Because that wouldn't be authentic :
 

Sean6247

Member
Messages
626
Marketing is largely psychology. A major pricing principle of this psychology is value proposition, which states the more expensive an item is the higher quality it is believed to be.

Guitars are relatively simple machines (not in the lever type of way unless one decides to use their guitars to pry stuff). As such the main difference between custom shop stuff and production line stuff is options, most notably, finish options. Yes the wood used might be lighter or prettier, but has the same general characteristics the stuff used in production models. Because they are built in smaller batches they are going to be more expensive as they loose economies of scale, and they use higher level talent which is also more expensive.

To the question, "Is it all Marketing?". No, it is not all marketing, but marketing plays a much larger role than most are willing/able to recognize.
 

sunking101

Member
Messages
2,588
It sounds like you like all the modern, very non traditional tele features of the Ultra.
It's more the quality for the price point. The CS gear costs double with no increase in build quality over the Elite/Ultra line. We're not talking about pickups or fretboard profiles, none of that costs any extra (or less).
 






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