Telecasters vs. Les Paul Specials

TVa

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
335
I have owned neither, and have only played a tele on a few occasions. I have always admired a good telecaster player (Gatton et al), but always thought the prototypical "tele sound" wasn't really my thing (use a 335 most of the time).

I recently heard a good LP special player live, loved the tone, and then obsessively started listening to songs that featured one, looking at youtube clips, etc.

Does everyone else feel that the "LP Special" sound remarkably similar to the "tele" sound? Anyone switch from a tele to a LP special and cover the same ground with basically the same tones?

I really dig it and think the special seems like an even more versatile, bigger sounding telecaster. Maybe those aren't the right words, but it really has that extra "something" for me (obviously this has led to GAS). I especially like Greg Koch's demo of the TAG version:




Oh also, show me your LP Specials!!
 

omfg51

Member
Messages
2,915
They are certainly two different beasts. The main thing to compare between these two guitars is their feel and playability.

Tone is something that any capable person with the right ear can shape and bend to their will, but the feel and playability of these two guitars will be what separates them in the end.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
I have both and my special is a lot more biting and gutsy than my ash/maple tele with nocaster pickups. However, the tele destroys the special when it comes to rolling back the volume to get snappy cleans. To my ear it's not even close. I think P90's are killer for OD, but rolling back just can't compete with the tele IMO. That for me makes the tele more versatile. Then again I've always been a fender guy at heart. But i do love my special. Nothing cuts and grinds like it with OD on 10.
 

27sauce

Member
Messages
36,953
I have a '52 RI Tele and a '62 SG Special, and I don't think they could sound any more different.
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,130
Rolling back the volume on an R6 (for P-90 discussion purposes) and either of my two Teles both give great results.
I do have to say that a Tele has more incremental changes overall with more variable characteristics.

I am a big user of the volume controls with both though.
 

mullytron

Member
Messages
1,261
Omfg is not wrong that they are apples and oranges, but I know what you mean. Despite one being bolt on and one being set neck, what both designs share is a "pop" and a clarity that Strats and Les Pauls lack. In one case, I believe the floating bridge, as awesome as it is, kills part of the front or the attack of the note, plus the cool reflections in the sustain are damped out by the compliance the springs, so the Tele has a ripping sound and a boldness that the Strat never will. And in the other case, the single-species body wood approach, plus the wrap around bridge/tailpiece, provides a clarity and bounce that a Standard can't produce. They end up being like half-siblings, tonally, at least I think so anyway. You really got to find the right P90, or a Junior is no fun and won't put out, and it's weird, the same pickup sometimes doesn't sound as killer in two different examples of the same guitar. The beauty of the Junior is the simplicity of the design, so a heavier body or a thinner neck will totally throw off a given hardware/electronics approach. To really and truly twang on a Gibson, I think you need 2 pickups and 2 volumes, to dial it in, but a sweet Junior, even an SG Jr or Melody Maker, is a beautiful thing. Get both!
 

mslugano

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,327
You want a Tele and LP Special (and LP) in one guitar? This could be your solution. The bridge humbucker splits for some very convincing Tele tones. I gig with a country/classic rock band and I could play this one guitar all night except for three tunes where I need my strat. It has relegated my excellent Tele to second fiddle, sadly.

 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,274
You want a Tele and LP Special (and LP) in one guitar? This could be your solution. The bridge humbucker splits for some very convincing Tele tones. I gig with a country/classic rock band and I could play this one guitar all night except for three tunes where I need my strat. It has relegated my excellent Tele to second fiddle, sadly.

I really like that!

:cool:
 

59Bassman

Plank Cranker
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,131
Not quite an LP special, but....

This guitar sounds like the world's largest telecaster when run through a Bassman RI with the volume up. Very similar to my Teles, but with a bit more capability in the jazz arena. P-90's are special pickups, these are Fralins.

 

Turi

Member
Messages
9,485
I haven't played an LP Special, no idea whether they sound like a Tele or not (doubtful).
But you obviously want that one, so go for that one.

I will say that the stereotypical Tele twang sound is something I can't stand, hate that sound, but I absolutely love the **** out of my Tele.

They're WAY more versatile than you'd think. When I play, regardless of pickup, it doesn't sound twangy or country or stereotypically Tele sounding at all, and my guitar is completely stock.

I had an LPJ in the past, loved that too, but now I've got my Tele, I can't imagine playing anything else.

The sound that you're gravitating towards is probably just the P90 sound and not really guitar-specific.
You can stick P90's into a Tele. Stick one in the bridge of a Tele and you'll have a Tele that covers all bases and won't sound anything like the Tele sound you've got in your head.
 

scott520

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,111
I haven't played an LP Special, no idea whether they sound like a Tele or not (doubtful).
But you obviously want that one, so go for that one.

I will say that the stereotypical Tele twang sound is something I can't stand, hate that sound, but I absolutely love the **** out of my Tele.

They're WAY more versatile than you'd think.
When I play, regardless of pickup, it doesn't sound twangy or country or stereotypically Tele sounding at all, and my guitar is completely stock.

I had an LPJ in the past, loved that too, but now I've got my Tele, I can't imagine playing anything else.

The sound that you're gravitating towards is probably just the P90 sound and not really guitar-specific.
You can stick P90's into a Tele. Stick one in the bridge of a Tele and you'll have a Tele that covers all bases and won't sound anything like the Tele sound you've got in your head.
Oh yeah, I got so befuzzled by the Krautster that I forgot to actually contribute to the thread as I originally intended. :) Anywho, this is me to a T. I LOVE a tele neck pickup played on a bit darker amp. The '52 tele I once owned paired with my Reinhardt was a killer combo. With that being said, I now own a CS LP Special and it is an awesome guitar. Without a doubt, it is a much "meatier" tone but can certainly be dialed down to get softer tones but I wouldn't necessarily call it tele-ish. If forced to choose between the two, it'd be a close call but I'd likely go with the Gibson simply because I prefer the playability of a 24.75" scale length and I prefer darker tones offered up by the special.
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,998
I play two teles (one being a classic type with light ash body, Rumpelstiltskin pickups) and now a 1990 Gibson LP Special with Gibson P-90s. They don't sound or feel at all alike to me. Both are remarkable in their own different ways. P-90s are just a different world. There's a twang in that sound too, but it's not the spare, stark twang of the tele. Everything is fatter with P-90s. The feel is rather different too. The bridge and saddle setup and longer scale on the tele give it remarkable clarity note to note in chords.

IMO, no way around it. You need both.
MD
 

monty

Member
Messages
23,152
I own both. The Tele is more versatile IMO but the special I find is easier to play and sounds better dirty.
 

shane8

Member
Messages
31,599
They are certainly two different beasts. The main thing to compare between these two guitars is their feel and playability.

Tone is something that any capable person with the right ear can shape and bend to their will, but the feel and playability of these two guitars will be what separates them in the end.
feel wise they are very different so pick the type you prefer

& yes a lot of sounds can be got out of a single guitar (see the J Page tele - LP paradox :) )
 

Triton76

Member
Messages
697
cool guitar at the top of this page. what other hybrids are out there?
I know G&L has one with P90 neck and HB bridge in a bolt on gtr.
 






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