Tele advice needed

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Neil, Jul 24, 2005.


  1. Neil

    Neil Member

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    I love the sound of a tele and am thinking of buying one. The number of types available is overwhelming. Can you tele experts point me towards the best value for me?

    I play Gibsons (R8, 335) and play relatively simple blues (cos thats all I can play!). I like the look of the old teles but I doubt I could get on with the short fretboard radius. I dont want humbuckers (got them). I like Robben Fords overdriven tele sound and also that clean spanking tele sound.

    Cosmetics and vintage 'vibe' arent really important. I'll invest in that stuff when I've learnt more about teles through playing one.

    What should I get and what should I pay?

    Thanks
    Neil
     
  2. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    I would suggest checking out Tele style guitars by any of the great makers of today - Suhr, Anderson, Tyler, Grosh, Melancon, Chapin, etc. Many of these have a slightly more "modern" feel, but with the great Tele tones. the quality of the Fender Custom Shop is great, but they often have a more vintage vibe than what I dig.
     
  3. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    American Standard or Highway 1 would suit you pretty well, vintage look with modern necks.
     
  4. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    Try a Fender Nocaster and the '52 RI. That could be a good pivot point for you to base how you get along with vintage specs. You may be surprised how easily the vintage appointments are to negoitate if the neck supports your hand. Personally, I feel that maple necks with vintage size frets are easier to tolerate than rosewood necks because the oils from my fingers tend to create more friction on rosewood and cause more hand fatigue. Of course, if the neck is too stickey then it's no fun either. But if it's a nitro finished neck it will break in nicely with not a ton of effort.

    Telecaster's are phenominal guitars and can do everything, plus they're super fun to mod. Many of the boutique builders nail the chemistry and put together great guitars but more often than not I go for the tried and true Fender formula, which means the ashtray bridge and brass saddles, solid alder or ash bodies and maple or maple/rosewood necks.

    Check out the Nocaster, '52 RI, Suhr Classic T, Grosh Retro T, and if you can get your hands on one , a Chapin Tele.
     
  5. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    You have the right attitude, now follow though on it by forgetting about what you already know - simple blues - and buying a starter Tele that will lead, stretch, and teach you.

    For that, you need a basic Tele - nothing fancy - something simple that you can learn on, get used to the Tele sound and vibe, and then sell quickly and easily once you know where you want to go with the Tele sound and feel.

    I'd recommend a Fender MIM Tele or, if you can spend a bit more, a Fender Highway 1 or American Tele. The guitar will be a Tele, feel like a Tele, sound like one, and be as close to a liquid asset as guitars can be as basic Fender instruments can be sold or traded anywhere.

    Unless you're rich or implusive, resist the temptation (which folks on a forum like this one will always try to convince you of) to make your first Tele a >$1K to 3K boutique or top-of-the-line Fender model. That can wait until you learn more about what these guitars do and what exactly you really want and need.

    Tom Gross's "partscaster" tele is living proof that excellent Tele tone and playability can be had for relatively few bones.
     
  6. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Yes, Jon's right, forget my first post.

    One of the things a Tele is all about is the close conection between the player and the elegant combination of wood, strings, and simple electronics. It's a plank of wood with strings on it.
    A "good" but not necesarilly "excellent" Tele is a cool way to get into em. I play my $300 parts Tele as much as my $2500 guitars.
     
  7. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    Highway One . . . . 1 11/16 nut width , 9 1/2 radius , great value , YMMV but I got a 3-burst/maple neck "tax/tag/gigbag/out the door" for 550 at GC .
     
  8. madsr

    madsr Member

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    Geez..and I just recently sold 2 beautiful american standard tele's..oh well...for what it's worth I prefer the rosewood neck on the tele and strat for that matter.. I feel like I can dig in a little better than with maple.... just my .02
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Neil,

    C'mon over the hill, and play a) my Warmoth Tele with Chapin Pups, and b), this:

    [​IMG]

    Then run over to Union Grove and try one off the shelf. Good way to spend 2-3 hours!

    Mike
     
  10. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    You know, Tom, the more I think about it, the more I believe I should mail you back your $94 for Phil's work and keep your Tele. :eek:

    :D
     
  11. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I have owned 4 different tele's (one rosewood/alder, one basswood/maple, one baswwod/rosewood and one swamp ash/maple) and my advice is this Swamp ash body and maple neck, unless you have that combination you haven't yet played a real telecaster. I know I'll catch **** for this statement but that's ok. Rosewood boards and other types of bodies will not do it. I'd suggest the following: Jap tele early 90's with the baseball bat neck. Unfortunately this guitar is basswood so it won't have quite the spank, great guitars though. Mexican tele with the swamp ash and maple. American, same combo of woods, '52 reissue, get a lighter one (not too light) that is really resonant (this statement should apply to any guitar). The guitar should shake in your hand when playing, if not, move on to another. Finally, a nocaster, most are overated but occasionally you'll find a real nice one.
    Other manufacturer's make great guitars but start with Fenders first then move on to others, you need to have a solid reference for the tele sound. If possible try to play a real 50's tele, it's always good to know what the source sounds and feels like.
     
  12. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    Muddy Waters tele. Best band for the buck Fender, IMO.

    MIM with vintage 50's style ash body, 60's style neck but with modern radius and frets. The kicker is the American bridge and pickups. It sounds great right outta the case, no mods needed. However, since I'm used to regular tele dome knobs, I did replace the amp knobs with some dome knobs I already owned.

    Similar to Tom, my Muddy Waters tele is my cheapest guitar but it gets most of the playing time.
     
  13. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    You owe it to yourself to play a G&L ASAT Classic or Tribute ASAT Classic before deciding on anything. My fave Tele-type guitar, hands down.
     
  14. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    I'll trade Teles with ya! :)

    ..I didn't think so.
     
  15. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I started looking at Tele's, but I bought a used G&L ASAT Classic. The Fenders were also nice. I don't know if I would buy a G&L new, but the used ones are the best value I've found.
     
  16. Neil

    Neil Member

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    for all the advice.

    I think I am going to look for a standard USA tele. Seems it will be a good enough starting point and will be easy to sell when the time comes to upgrade. I wont stress over maple vs rosewood just yet. It's the Marin guitar show this weekend so I will look around there for one.

    I have gibson scale guitars now . What do you guys think about converting the tele to gibo scale? (eg Warmoth replacement neck). Or I could just get used to the longer scale.....

    Thanks
    Neil
     
  17. Mike

    Mike Member

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    If you want to Grok the Tele thing, just get the Tele scale. I've got my Tele-Gib, and also this week will be taking delivery on my Tele-tele. Oh, and probably do the ashtray tailpiece with brass saddles, for the "real" Tele experience. FWIW... Different animals abound.

    Mike
     
  18. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Yeah, get a tele scale to see how you like it. The scale is important to the tone, the feel, and the whole Gestalt of the Tele thing.
     
  19. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    since you want a USA standard .. you should eh walk into some stores and play a bunch of Tele's, try Maple boards vs. Rosewood boards.
    Personally I pretty much dislike the way the modern day Tele sounds, I like a Vintage setup, Ashtray bridge, 3 piece saddle .. you should see which ones they have try both types. Once you know what you like you could get a MIM or MIJ to get it cheaper or on Ebay get a us made for around $500-600 ..
    Make sure you get a nice setup and last .. you can always change the pick ups to something better.
     
  20. ddeand

    ddeand Silver Supporting Member

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    Since you live in a metro area, there has to be a few shops/stores/megastores that carry lots of different Teles. While not as critical as acoustic guitars, playing different examples of the same model will show you that there are differences among all of them. In the same shop, you can pick up three different '52 Reissues that (other than cosmetics) are distinctly different. Weight, grain, feel - all these go into making a guitar work for you.

    I am of the firm belief that a guitar picks you as much as you pick the guitar. You might find a stunning Custom Shop Tele that screams for you, or you might find the perfect Tele Standard that floats your boat. I'd try 'em out.

    Have fun looking!

    Dean
     

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