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Author Topic:  Telecaster love
Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 30 Sep 2017 11:56 am     Reply with quote

In my personal opinion, the most versatile electric guitar ever made is the Fender Telecaster.
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Last edited by Andy Volk on 1 Oct 2017 6:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 30 Sep 2017 1:11 pm     Reply with quote

couldn't agree more. For me it's a toss up, do I like playing Steel better than the Telecasters or the other way around ? Bought my first Telecaster in 1965 at Rudy's Music in NYC, $149. Since then I have owned multiple Telecasters, some good ,some just ok, some much better than others. Today I'm down to 3, just recently sold one.
I would buy a nice Telecaster on the spot if it crossed my path.


In the photo, the one in the middle is the regular duty axe, 1989/52RI USA, I have owned it since around 2001. I think I'm on the 3rd set of pups,( Fender Vintage) I just put in the 3rd set of pots,selector switch, and I think the 4th set of saddles. Its had one fret job and two bone nuts. This guitar has been on countless gigs since 2001 and still goes to all gigs today.

the one on the right is a stock 1988 / 52 RI USA, my wife gave it to me for a Valentines Day gift about 10 years ago, it never leaves the house , it's pretty dang mint. I love looking at it and play it often.

The one on the left I've had for about a year, a 1987/ MIJ TL-62, 1962 RI. Excellent shape, great player. It comes out now and then. Wasn't cheap!

To me, the Fender badge on a Telecaster or a Strat is equally as important as the guitar. Many will say they have great Teles, better than Fender, and I've played some really nice Telecasters that were not Fenders, but to me, the badge is part of the journey.



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Clyde Mattocks


From:
Kinston, North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 30 Sep 2017 4:03 pm     Reply with quote

I have owned a bunch of them. Guys ask me about how to shop for a good one. I tell them to go to a store that has a lot and play them all without looking at the price tag. Two of the same specs and price may not play alike. When you find one that is to your liking, it may be one of the cheaper ones.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 1 Oct 2017 12:39 am     Reply with quote

ahh...talking Telecasters, whats not to love ! Regarding my friend Clydes note above, I agree . Maybe one day Clyde and I can sit with a dozen Teles over 2 or 3 cups of coffee ( or something else) and talk Tele talk ! Heck we both live in NC . Thats as much fun as playing Tele's !

Most stores around don't really have many Tele's hanging around, even the GC's, they are loaded with lower priced guitars rather the higher priced guitars. Younger players and parents are not going to roll out $1400 for a brand new 52RI. Price doesn't make the guitar worthy, the overall guitar makes it worthy, regardless of price. Ever notice at guitar shows, a couple of thousand guitars in the room and MAYBE 6 Telecasters. I always found that odd.

IF a player likes a fatter neck, they won't like my three guitars, they are fast, low action and 7.25 radius. Each are strung with 9's. IF a player does indeed like a fast, low action 7.25 radius then indeed they will enjoy them.

The overseas guitars are nice, some of them play really well, but play-ability is not the only criteria, it's ONE criteria. On a 4 hour gig the guitar and it's nuances will reveal its overall strengths and weaknesses. I have owned a few of the price leader guitars, bought them because the Tele community bragged on them, . Yep out of the box I liked them, yeh man they played well. But as time went on, compared to what I already owned and what I am accustomed to, they started falling short. Soft wood bodies, thin sounding pups, lack of extended sustain, pots that didn't respond etc. Neck profiles were of course very good. For the money, very good. For me, over the long haul, not so good. OF course this criteria is not just for overseas guitars but can also be for the in country built guitars at the higher price.

Many times the best Tele hanging in the store comes across as the worst one as it is not setup and the strings are dead. Telecasters need fresh strings and a poor setup almost makes it un-playable.

True story, not a lie. At a very recent bi monthly Thursday gig which is a 2 hour show, I do this on Steel and /or Telecaster. This gig brings out many fine folks and also many local players , it's a good time.

One guy I noticed was just watching me for the entire two hours, I suspected (what a shock) that he was a player, and of course he was. After the show he came up and we talked guitars for about 15 min. he commented very nicely about me, my Tele ( the 89 mentioned above) and the Blues Jr, which I use .He loved the natural tones. Tele, chord and an amp. He proceeded to tell me that the Classic Vibes were the best Telecasters on the market and they were second to none. I said, yes, in the price range, I would agree. I knew where he was going, been here a million times. Then he started making the comparisons, his CV and my 89. I just listened and nod my head. I asked him what his preferences were, neck radius, strings etc, hey, it was 7.25 and 9's . He talked for a few more minutes, was very polite and convinced. At this point I reminded him that the CV's are 9.5 neck profiles not 7.25, at first he was not convinced but another player listening in confirmed. I said very firmly, you are talking to a Tele nut case here, don't make me pull out Google ! He laughed and said ok. Then this, I handed him my 89 , just said, tell me what you think, I would like your opinion. he sat for about 5 min, first comment was very weight balanced, second was , plays really smooth, love the setup , the low action and light strings, then third was, the CV I have is nothing like this. I didn't ask him for that he just blurted it out. I reminded him that the CV is a great guitar in the price range and it is not supposed to compete with a higher priced guitar overall. He asked me if all 52 RI's were like mine, I just said probably close but I have no way of knowing. I own two and have played maybe 6 or 8 after setup and they are similar. He kinda laughed and said, well I guess now I need a 52 RI ! I replied, well as long as you like 7.25 necks , Ash or Alder bodies and fast thin action otherwise you may not.

It's not about the price. It's always about the guitar.

Telecaster discussions are not foreign to our Steel Guitar Forum , we've had plenty over the years. I always chime in with my take, my opinions, which are just based on " FOR ME". Over the years I have received many PM's telling me to try a brand X Telecaster, as it is way better than Fenders. Thats nice to hear is always my reply Smile
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 1 Oct 2017 1:28 pm     Reply with quote

I've had a bunch of Teles over the years beginning with '52 that I bought in a pawn shop in Long Beach, Ca. in the mid sixties. It was hanging on the wall with no strings and I got it for $100.... I played it for two or three years until I saw a Tele in Blackie Taylor's Music that was sunburst with binding and a rosewood fingerboard. I forgot what I paid for it but I sold the '52 for $125 so I made a little profit on that. (I wonder what it'd go for today).....

I've had several Teles since then until '83 when I bought my "toploader"... It's by far the best Tele I've ever had and there's not enough money in the world to buy it... As you can see by the picture, it's been heavily modified... It has:

Seymore Duncan bridge pickup
Fender neck pickup mounted in the middle
GFS humbucker at the neck which is tappedd
A Parsons/White B-Bender
A Rolling G-Bender
Hipshot D-tuner on 6th string at headstock.
2 Keith banjo tuners on the 1st and 5th strings
mini toggle on/off switches for each pickup
pull pot for volume which turns on/off phase switch
pickguards I made with my trusty scroll saw..

All in all, it's one Tele which really does it all. I have 5 more Teles, three with B-benders....JH in Va.



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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 1:33 am     Reply with quote

I've had a few Telecasters, but my current and favorite is a Squie Thinline Tele - can't believe how good it sounds right out of the box. I plan to change the bridge and pickups - but then again, it's pretty good as is and I like it better than my former Fender '62 reissue.

What other single electric guitar model can cover rock, blues, surf, jazz, country, funk, fusion so well? The design is so pure - a perfect marriage of form and function.



Hot young jazzer Jullian Late has even been playing one lately ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a3qAp81vY8
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 8:03 am     Reply with quote

I've been an all-Telecaster guy for 50 years. I love the simplicity of the guitar. Just a plank of wood with two pickups. I bought my first one in the 1960s at a yard sale for $50. It was a 1950s, blonde, with a very thick neck. I was trying to learn bar chords at the time and the neck was too fat for me. So I traded it for a student model pedal steel guitar! I've had several other Teles over the years. I currently have three of them, a 1968 sunburst, a 1989 Squier, blonde, that was given to me... I played that guitar last night at a Country Club in the Berkshires. It sounds good for a cheapo Squier. And a 1992 black, USA. That one is the best sounding one I've ever owned. The picture below was taken a few months ago at the Ital-Am Lodge in Pittsfield, Mass.


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Last edited by Doug Beaumier on 6 Nov 2017 6:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 8:24 am     Reply with quote

I bought a very nice new Tele in '71. It was not quite, more "nicotin" white (I wish I knew the proper colour name).
On day I had the silly idea to take off the paint and the sealer underneath it. That was the day I ruined it completely.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 11:20 am     Reply with quote

Joachim Kettner wrote:
I bought a very nice new Tele in '71. It was not quite, more "nicotin" white (I wish I knew the proper colour name).
On day I had the silly idea to take off the paint and the sealer underneath it. That was the day I ruined it completely.


Joachim, thats what we did ! All of us.

My 65 Tele was probably the same color you are describing, not quite white. About a year after I bought it I allowed a local artist to strip it then paint it up psychedelic with multiple neon paints and patterns. It gave me a severe headache under the strobe lights ! So, I stripped it down to bare wood again and stained it dark brown. Then sold it and bought a 62 Strat. Then sold the Strat and bought a 69 Tele which I kept and played for another 15 or 20 years, this time I didn't strip it down and repaint it! Very Happy Been there done that ! Laughing
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 11:47 am     Reply with quote

Back in the day players would repaint their Teles and Strats, drill holes in them, change pickups, change necks. I'm guilty of that too. Neutral
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 2 Oct 2017 12:12 pm     Reply with quote

Tony, I think the main mistake was to take off the sealer which made the guitar sound muddy aferwards. To get it off I needed a belt sander as it was so rigid. I also, like you, stained it and put a coat of clear laquer over it. It sounded shrill and piercing afterwards.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 2:33 am     Reply with quote

Doug Beaumier wrote:
Back in the day players would repaint their Teles and Strats, drill holes in them, change pickups, change necks. I'm guilty of that too. Neutral


yep we changed necks cause we could ! But we are talking about an era +/- 45 years go. Who could have ever imagined that the $149 / 1965 Tele I bought from Rudys in NYC would be worth a small fortune ? Heck at the time I was just hoping to sell it for something close to what I paid for it !

THIS: the very first Fender electric guitar I ever saw , I remember this very well. I think I was maybe 13 which puts this around '61. There was a very small folk music shop in our town, the first beatniks I imagine. I used to go in and visit and strum whatever acoustic guitar they had. well, one time they had a very early Strat, NO Tremelo , hard tail, probably a 54 or 55, asking $75. I remember I went home begging for the $75 which of course I was turned down before I even finished asking !

What do you suppose that Strat is worth today or was worth in the price heyday ? Early Strat, hard tail, no tremelo ...20K, 30K, 40K, more ???
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Doug Beaumier


From:
Northampton, MA
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 5:22 am     Reply with quote

I think the Telecaster (Broadcaster & Esquire) was the first electric guitar with a bolt-on neck... actually 4 screws. So the necks were easily removable and interchangeable. That led to more cobbling and mixing and matching by owners. I think a lot of players back in the 60s considered Gibson to be a more high-end guitar than Fender. Fenders were seen more as production, assembly-line guitars, while Gibson had a long history of hand crafted guitars. That's the impression I had back in the 60s.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 5:34 am     Reply with quote

Strat man here. though I was a Les Paul kid first.

I've always felt like the best Teles I owned did the thing they do really well, but not much else. The bridge pickup was always a little too much on the honking midrange for my taste, though in the hands of Jim Campilongo it sounds amazing.
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Steve Pawlak


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 3 Oct 2017 5:36 am     Reply with quote

I'm a Strat guy
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Brett Day


From:
Pickens, SC
Post Posted 8 Oct 2017 7:49 pm     Reply with quote

If I could play electric guitar, I'd play a Fender Telecaster because a lot of my favorite guitarists in country music play them, like Vince Gill, Terri Clark, Steve Wariner, Jimmy Olander-guitarist with Diamond Rio, Ricky Skaggs, Ray Flacke, Heath Wright-lead singer/guitarist with the band Ricochet plays a Telecaster, in addition to Stratocaster.

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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 9 Oct 2017 4:06 pm     Reply with quote

Anthony Wilson plays an archtop behind Diana Krall but (like Ted Greene, Bill Frisell and Julian Lake) he's another jazzer who sounds great on a Tele.

Anthony Wilson, Geranium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ7hYDh3Mig

Bill Frisell, Little Surfer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnDZ7yb5g-c
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 2:34 am     Reply with quote

I keep wondering what the world would be like if Ibanez had been putting out a decent-quality, Japan-made 24-fret "RG" in 1957. Different, I bet. The good-for-the-money stuff wierds me out*, too. What do players really want? A guitar that is not too trebly/screechy, nor too bassy/muddy. An amp like that too. And a neck that isn't TOO big, yet not TOO small. Pickups that have some power, but not too much. Tuning pegs that turn easily, but not too easily as it would de-tune itself. In simple terms, the best guitars are the ones that sound the most AVERAGE, the ordinary ones, right in the middle. I should put on my raincoat & helmet before I hide under the furniture, huh.

*(Do NOT ask me about collectable rare $800 FUZZtones - the ones that are best at making a guitar sound the most awful? Boggle, boggle boggle.)
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 5:00 am     Reply with quote

No need for the raincoat but I'm not sure I understand your point.
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 5:39 am     Reply with quote

I think the most important thing about a Tele is the pickguard. Wink




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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 7:41 am     Reply with quote

Some folks would definitely agree ...

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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 7:43 am     Reply with quote

And then there's Sarah Ryan's work which is in a whole 'nother category ...

http://www.crestonguitars.com/guitars/sarah_ryan
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Jim Cohen


From:
Philadelphia, PA
Post Posted 10 Oct 2017 7:44 am     Reply with quote

Andy Volk wrote:
And then there's Sarah Ryan's work which is in a while 'other category ...

http://www.crestonguitars.com/guitars/sarah_ryan


OMG, that's brilliant!
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David Mason


From:
Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 11 Oct 2017 1:38 am     Reply with quote

Ms. Ryan's work immediately brings up the Great Spiritual Conundrum of our time: When is a "tele" not a "tele"? My Number One for many many moons was a telecaster-shaped guitar - USA Custom body and neck, amber tele(ish) finish, BUT a Lawrence L500 bridge PU, roughly close to having TWO "real" Tele pickups side by side. It has it's own four-way switch, too get both coils in series or parallel or each coil separate, which powerfully affected the combination with the neck (Lawrence STRAT) pickup... the whole POINT was to be able to approximate Santana & Allman tone in a bar band, which led to an almost ANTI-TELE, referencing Steve Morse's "telecaster-shaped guitar." Like, Mr. Hayes guitars are cool to ME, and I think you can sneak the B-Bender, G-bender and pickguard extravagence under the wire, but that wiring is at least as heretic and apostate as mine!

Do NOT tangle with the tele priests over at TDPRI; except, but... umm... to make a tele even MORE tele than Fender, you need to repair it with a Callaham bridge, snd there are any number of pickup makers who make pickups because Fender apparently can't make Telecaster pickups correctly. This stuff is WAY past merely yakking about and fiddling with guitars, it's more akin to the Spanish Inquisition.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqreRufrkxM
My other "tele-shaped guitar" actually has a genu-ine Fender body, except... it's hollow aluminum, Fender commisioned a hundred in 1994 and a few fell off the truck. Smile
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 11 Oct 2017 5:00 am     Reply with quote

I would disagree that the Tele is the most versatile of the electrics. Three pickups with the switching to combine them in or out of phase
is more versatile to me. But I'm a Strat person, that refined shape and feel--but this is not a Strat lovefest.
A Strat can't do the tailpiece pickup sound. Nothing can replace the Tele.

The Tele IS the most iconic. Jim is right; whoever came up with the pickguard, tossing it off lightly as the most simple solution maybe
didn't know how iconic it would become. The Tele is the original axe, the basic block of wood, a sturdy workingman's guitar.
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