There are so many incredible builders out here today. When you say tele-type...do you mean that you want it to have the traditional tele body style? Also, when you say some of the original sounds of the tele, does that mean that you are open to some of the sounds + sounds that a traditional tele doesn't typically get?
I'd say Rick Kelly too!
Granted, I haven't played any of the other makers. But Bill Frisell plays one of his guitars on the duet album he did with Jim Hall last year. And Marc Ribot has been touring with one of late.
And I LOVE MINE! If you can deal with the long wait (sometimes almost two years) it's a great deal for $1600.
He built and painted mine using a body and neck from Tommy at USA Custom Guitars that I had drop shipped to Rob. Callaham Tele kit drop shipped along with a set of Don Mare 2324 Nancy pickups. I even shipped Rob the case from MF. Here is his work:
The fretboard and back of the neck are done in Tru-Oil while the headstock (face and back) and body are thin, thin Nitro. I got every detail the way I wanted it and the craftsmanship is incredible.
If you are looking for a traditional Tele, you should consider LSL. Use the search function and also www.lslinstruments.com for pics.
There are several recent threads about these guitars which are made from raw wood, available in pine or ash, and have pickups made by the builder. They are usually relic'ed, but I got mine with minimal relic'ing. Very reasonably priced, too.
My Uncle has a NOS Nocaster Thinline and it is absolutely stunning. I have played some less than incredible CS Teles but this is ****ing awesome. I can't see how something could be much better, it's beautiful!