Thinking about a Telecaster ... but what features?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dave s, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Trying to pick a backup guitar that might actually see some playing time at gigs. Current #1 player is a Grosh RC with Fralin Vintage Blues neck/middle and a Steel Pole 43 in the bridge.

    Guitars that I've owned recently that don't see any playing time include a nice GM Les Paul and a Mel P90 Artist. Just not a 'bucker or even a P90 guy.

    Let's try a telecaster. Requirements include a guitar that will pretty much do 60s spank and fuzz (when needed) through 90s clean and gain tones. No nu-metal or overly heavy stuff required. No twang or chick'n pick'n tones required either.

    Amp is a Matchless Clubman and various quality dirt and time based pedals will be used.

    My ears are hearing a clean tele-style tone from Crowded House on, "Don't Dream It's Over" or the intro to RHCP "Under The Bridge."

    What type of tele? Would like to stick with a fender (to keep cost down) and maybe upgrade the pickups only. Kind of partial to alder bodies and rosewood fretboards to keep the spank and shrillness under control as well, but will listen to recommendations either way on body and neck/fretboard woods.

    Anyone using a tele in this vein please recommend something for me. Also, what pickup upgrades work well in a tele?

    Thank you in advance,

    dave
     
  2. dzeitlin

    dzeitlin Member

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    Check out G&Ls. They have the build quality, and a different twist on tele tone. You can get either the large MFD's (p90 looking) or the regular sized MFDs.
     
  3. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I use a Bluesboy. It does pretty much everything except strat quack very well.
     
  4. Shemp

    Shemp Member

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    In general I find a used 52 RI Tele to be the best bang for the buck in the world of Teledom. Near custom shop quality at a much lower price.

    Some folks love the 52 pups, but if you don't (I didn't) they're easy to sell and there's a million other flavors on the market. I like the Harmonic Design S 90 and V+ neck combination.
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    If you're not stuck on the whole "the headstock has to say 'Fender'" thing, then it'd be worth your while to check out Melancon teles. He makes them as modern or as vintage-vibe as you want. New they're in the $1500. range, used they're in the ~$1000. range. I've tried the 52 RI tele from Fender ($1300 new $1100 used) and there's no way it comes anywhere near as close to the quality or sound of my Mel. I find it hard to beat.

    Anderson's HT classics are also very nice.
     
  6. pokey

    pokey Supporting Member

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    While both of those guitars you mention are nice they lack the ferrous bridge plate and three saddles, a most important ingredient to the classic tele tone imho. BTW my 52ri doesn't say fender on the headstock, I had it renecked with an Allparts TMNF- FAT neck(it was a early 98 with a too-skinny-for-me neck)..:D
     
  7. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Well then your 52RI isn't really a tele is it? ;) ...at least according to the people who are into that name on the headstock -- which I don't really get.

    As to the bridge plate, that's an interesting point. I've not played enough of them to say for sure whether having one makes it more like a traditional tele, but my Melancon tele sounds pretty much like Gerard describes it on his site:

     
  8. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    Call Bill "Shades" Chapin. Or check out the remaining TBird in the Dealer's Emporium under Capn Crunch's byline.

    You can't have mine... :)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Fender Muddy Waters signature.
     
  10. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    No doubt a great guitar. I'm dying to try one out. But I don't know if the OP has ~$2600. to spend according to what he said about keeping costs low.
     
  11. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    My bad. Missed that "...to keep costs down" bit on first reading.
     
  12. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    my Fender American Series Telecaster is just as good or better than many boutique Teles that cost twice as much. The thing about Fender guitars is: the build quality is inconsistent, and they aren't (usually) as set-up well as a Boutique guitar straight from the factory, so they need a good set-up. If you find a good Fender they are great

    I personally haven't found a Telecaster that nails that classic "Fender Tele" sound like a Fender can, although Suhr comes close and Suhr Teles are great

    That said, the 52 reissue has a 7.25 " radius, the American Series has a 9.5" radius, those are 2 major differences... both are great guitars, try to find ones that you can play at the store first or at least that you can try out for a while first. I got my Tele from Guitar Stop in Boston with a 7 day trial period, full refund in that time period makes it a hassle free purchase. You really have to try out a few Fenders to get the good ones. There are real dogs out there but great ones too

    I highly recommend Music One Workshop in Kalispel Montana, those guys are some of the best guitar techs on the planet and will set up a guitar for you with a set-up just as good as any boutique maker. If you buy a guitar from them it is gonna be stellar. I'm not associated with them in any way, I just think they are amazing, cool people

    The Muddy Waters Tele mentioned earlier, bought brand new from Music One for $600 or so, is so good it should be illegal for that kinda quality at that price

    Personally my favorite is an American Series Tele with ash body and maple neck. Thats what I've got. Killer guitar. I'm putting a Lollar Imperial humbucker in the neck and either a Suhr or Lollar pickup in the bridge and this thing can rival any Tele anywhere. The thing is: I searched for a great one and got a great set-up on it
     
  13. dave s

    dave s Member

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    AJ,

    thanks to you and the other posters as well. Looks like a Muddy Waters tele might be the right choice for another guitar that in the end, might not see any playing time either.

    However, with a couple of nice pickups, it might see some play time.

    thanks again,

    dave s
     
  14. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    your welcome

    for me the only thing keeping me from a Muddy Waters purchase is the rosewood fingerboard. I have found I prefer a maple fingerboard on Telecasters
     
  15. dave s

    dave s Member

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    AJ,

    Already e-mailed your buddies out west. We'll see what they have. Sounds like they provided impeccible setups to their guitars prior to shipping.

    Thx,

    dave
     
  16. unclej54

    unclej54 Guest

    do yourself a favor if you're able..have whoever you get it from convert the three way switch to a four way..i don't have the specs in front of me at the moment but basically with this particular mod you get all of the normal tele positions with the fourth being either a parallel or series configuration (i think) that boosts the overall output a bunch and gives you some big sound when needed. if you're interested pm me tomorrow or say so here and i'll pull my diagram when i get to the shop and tell you more about it.
     
  17. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    I go along with the Muddy Waters Tele.

    My 2 main stage guitars now are an ASAT and a Muddy Waters. They get about equal time.
     
  18. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

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    I have a 50s Classic Tele with a SD Broadcaster pickup in the bridge and brass intonated saddles. When I roll the tone down halfway on the bridge pickup and step on an OD, it is VERY FAT sounding.:)

    Cheap guitar to buy if you find one used.
     
  19. drolling

    drolling Member

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    I'm playin an old 52RI that's been re-fretted with medium jumbos and re-radiused in the process, so it's got that old tele vibe, light swamp ash body, but a more modern feeling neck that you can bend like crazy on without fretting out. Got some Kinman Broadcasters in there so it runs a little hotter- less twang, more punch & dead silent, to boot. Cover alot of ground with that guitar and it didn't cost a fortune, bought everything except the frets used.
     

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