Let's talk about 50's Teles vs. 60 Teles!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ToneRanger, Feb 5, 2006.


  1. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Ok, right until yesterday I've been wanting to get a 50's style Telecaster, mostly the AV52RI. Yesterday I saw a great CIJ 62 Custom Telecaster in black in the local guitar store. What a looker! I'd never even thought about a black Tele before, but with the binding it was such a classy look I couldn't believe it. It was quite affordable as well.

    So, let's talk about the differences between 60's specs Teles to the 50's ones. The wood differences are obvious, ash vs alder and 2ofcourse the fingerboard as well, the maple vs rosewood..

    How much does this REALLY effect the sound? I've grown to be pretty sceptic to all these myths..

    One difference more: the bridge saddles. The saddles were threaded steel on the CIJ 62 vs to the brass saddles of the classic 50 designs. Are the steel saddles brighter sounding? That's what I've understood and was this to compensate for the warmer sound of the body and neck or something?

    It seems like the 50's style Tele is "the one", but the 60's seems cool too. Are there things that can't be done with the 60's model? Is a 60's Tele a real Tele? :) How big a role these things really play? Educate me, anyone with experiences of both??
     
  2. twoheadedboy

    twoheadedboy Member

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    I have the American version of the '62 Custom, and I can tell you that I like it much better than the 50's style teles. The body is alder, which I think has a more pleasant, less harsh sound than ash. Also, the fretboard is rosewood, which helps to tame some of that shrillness as well. The guitar is still snappy by all accounts, but it doesn't throw as many icepicks as an ash/maple tele might. I really like the neck as well. It's a C-shape, but not really a modern c-shape. It has just a little more girth in all dimensions. The 50's v-style or baseball bat type necks tend to dig into my hand in weird ways and I find them very uncomfortable to play.
     
  3. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    The AV version must be super sweet... I have a '57 AV RI strat, and I love it. It's got the V-neck which I love and I really like the AV52RI Tele neck as well, it's an u-neck nowadays I believe (changed in '98 from v to u if I'm correct).. Anyway, I really like the vintage C-shape, it's great, so I think I'll be really happy with it.

    Do you know what kind of role the saddles play? The black body with binding looks seriously cool.. I used to have this japanese strat which was really good after some mods. I already own two MIA Fenders, so I think now could be the right time to check out a Japanese one..
     
  4. Bill

    Bill Member

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    I have a couple of original 50s Teles and a couple of original 60s Teles and the differences are dramatic. The maple versus rosewood necks sound very different with the maple being a lot brighter sounding. In a side by side comparison you can hear a significant difference. The steel vs. brass saddles do make a big difference in sound with the steel saddles being much twangier, brighter or punchier but not necessarily better.

    In short, the two eras of guitars are very different from each other but it would be hard to pick a favorite. They are both magic.
     
  5. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a '56 Esquire maple neck (w/ the second pickup added in) and a '66 Tele w/ Rosewood fretboard.

    I have to say, when I compare them with 'similar' insturments of the same vintage ....

    I find damn near as many differences as I do similarities between alike built insturments. I've heard ash that sounds like alder, and alder that sounds like ash.

    There are some consistencies: I find that Maple is not necessarily brighter, but to my ears, it attacks faster.

    Rosewood is "spookier" sounding, to me - it has a hint of mystery, a hint of 'I'm not telling the whole story' to it ....

    One thing I HAVE heard the differences in consistently is saddles and bridges. I have heard amazing changes when switching saddles alone. I changed the stock "threaded stock" saddles in my '56 ( yes, I know they're not supposed to be threaded in a '56 in general, but some are - more inconsistency) to Music One slotted Steel saddles - HUGE difference. It sounded the same, but wa bigger with way more sustain. Of course, I kept the stock ones, which despite very detailed cleaning buzzed and sizzed like crazy. Now it just sustains!

    There's this guy, Glendale http://www.glendaleguitars.com who makes a lot of really nice looking bridge parts. There's a lot of good info on that website too, from a guy who's clearly on the Quest for the Holy Telecaster(s). Sound samples too - a little hard to hear 'cuz they're with a full band, but it sounds good enough to tell differences.

    For my tastes, the pickups are going to make a bigger difference in the sound than the wood does. That said, the wood DOES make a difference, but it's pretty hard to put your finger on it, except as a pretty general statement.

    I'm sayin' bridge, saddles, and pickups make a really big difference. Wood too, but less so.

    Check out this website. Pretty interesting.

    Dana
     
  6. George H

    George H Member

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    I believe this to be true as well & is precisely why I refuse to choose............



    [​IMG]
     
  7. Bill

    Bill Member

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    Dana,

    Great post. My experience with old Teles is like yours. I have heard of the Glendale bridges and have been meaning to order one and give it a try. My current favorite player is a 61 Custom Esquire. I play that thing all of the time. I also have a 53 Esquire that was my favorite until recently. Like you I find these guitars to be very different from each other but I like them all. They all have their own special kind of magic going on.

    George, what a stunning group of guitars you have there. Tell us a little about each one.
     
  8. shuffle

    shuffle Member

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    Not to hi-jack, but im looking at buying a tele, but im not very informed about them though, all i know is that i love the sound of it.

    Do ALL 60's teles + Strats have Rosewood necks and alder bodies? And 50's Maple and ash.

    Also in the case of buying reissues, which ones do people prefer? Are there are simple things i should be aware of and look into?

    Sorry to hijack!

    Thanks
     
  9. Sammy

    Sammy Member

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    Totally agree I have an original 1959 and a 1966 both sound and play great, though for some reason the 59 is easier to play and I can use slightly heavier strings, but as you say both are magic and could not decide between the two if I could only have one. Apart from the 59 is worth a lot more!
     
  10. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Thank you so much for your experiences!

    I feel ashamed to even think about which of the following I should get: a CIJ 62 or a Highway 1 Texas Tele, when people have real 59's and stuff :)

    Well, that's my budget right now.. Actually I think I'll do pretty good with either of those.. If the wood speaks to me, then I'm okay, everything else can be changed.

    Are there any general styles that the 50's/60's Tele works better for?

    I love maple fretboards but really like rosewood too.. The maple neck on my '57 reissue strat is just awesome. My '57 is ash/maple (it's white blonde, the other colors are alder) and it's actually quite bright to the point where I hoped it would be little less so.. But anyway, love the sound. This can be compensated with pickups. Although I always buy guitars based on their acoustic resonance, 'cause even good pickups cant bring life to dead sounding wood IMO.
     
  11. billygoat

    billygoat Member

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    Highly reccomend glendale guitars. His Twang Plus set of saddles made my 52 RI come alive. BTW, it's a 96 and its neck is most definitely U shaped.
     
  12. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Yes I'll definately look into some compensated saddles when/if I get the guitar, whatever it will be..

    Has anyone experience with the Wilkinson compensated saddles? Does the Wilkinson saddles allow intonation adjustment for individual strings as well somehow?

    I just feel somewhat suspicious how the compensated saddles work, and especially how they work for me since I use 10-52 strings. Intonation is really important for me as I spend a lot of time recording guitar..
     

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