Telecaster Options

Phrasemaker

New member
I'm looking to buy a Telecaster over the next month or two mainly for studio use. That said I still want an instrument which looks like it needs to be played as opposed to something utilitarian in appearance. I'm thinking thinline, perhaps I'm heading up the wrong path. I'm certainly thinking two single coils as I have more than enough humbucker options already. I do want a maple fret-board, I don't want gold colour hardware. So the crux aside from the icing is pretty much, to go thinline or a solid body. Switching options might be something else I need to look at in a bit more depth.

I'll be totally honest in declaring I know very little about Tele's, my reason for thinking the thinline option is the possibility of it offering something I might not get with a solid body in respect of playing in close proximity to a cabinet and having that interaction come into play with the semi hollow body.

As always, any thoughts from people with hands on experience will be appreciated and considered as I whittle down the options.

Many thanks

Tim
 

pikingrin

what is this?
I have one of each; a mexi standard tele and a '59 thinline reissue but I only play through combos that may not interact the same way as a 4x12" cab would. Personally, the thinline generally stays in the case while the solid body is at arms reach but it's not necessarily due to a huge difference in overall tone - the solid body mexican standard tele is just much more comfortable to play (for me) as it has a thicker neck and the frets are just a little larger than the thinline.

If you have a shop that has one of each to put your hands on I would definitely recommend doing so during the decision making process...
 

JDOD

therecordingrebels.com
Consider a tele FMT HH. Reasonably priced from the far east, with a pair of humbuckers but you also have a coil tap so you can get a wide variety of tones. I use the split pickup on the neck position a lot.

Rosewood board, set neck, arched flame maple top. Certainly not utilitarian. Black nickel hardware.
 

ausrock

Well-known member
Probably the most versatile Tele was the later version of the Tele Plus from the mid '90s. Three lace sensors with an additional switch to bring in the usually missing pick up combinations..........they are a great instrument.

:cool:
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
I have an American Deluxe Tele (ash, in butterscotch blonde). It has the compound radius neck/fretboard. It feels a little clubby in the middle fret positions (unlike the Standard and Squier), but has a great feel in the upper positions. My main complaint about it is that the neck pickup (N3 Noiseless) does NOT like high gain/high volume. It's a feedback monster if you feed it into too much saturation or volume. Could be that mine is microphonic, or could be a common issue with that pickup. Either way, the guitar sounds great on clean and crunch tones.

Also it's not extremely twangy like I normally associate with a Tele. I saw Lt. Bob mention that this is probably due to the 6-saddle bridge instead of the traditional 3-saddle bridge. I'm not sure if that's solely responsible for the twang, or if the bridge material and pickups factor in there as well. Anyways, just a few pieces of FYI about the Am. Deluxe in case it's in consideration.
 

GONZO-X

Well-known member
i would build a custom tele,
using USACG parts, or warmoth,
and choose your own bridge, pickups and wiring schemes.

chances are,
you will build something that will be superlative to anything off the shelf,
for cheaper,
and custom.

play a bunch of them first,
figure out what you like,
and then custom order it.
 

Phrasemaker

New member
Thanks Guys, as I said my knowledge of Tele's is pretty limited. After reading through the replies here so far I've got a fair bit of choice to consider. I've explored the links supplied here, and googled the remainder and now I'm beginning to appreciate the vast array of variants that are available. I'm probably going to lean toward something which is what I'm gradually appreciating as a more traditional Tele configuration although I'm clueless about the saddle variations in respect of how it sounds/plays beyond the six or three saddle option. I'm ruling very little out at this stage, aside from a select, violin burst thinline I looked at yesterday which was a whole heap of money to buy and is no longer in production. I stumbled across a brand new one and I could have lived with the gold hardware as the body was stunning. It had a couple of marks in the finish which came to my rescue as I almost hung myself.

I do need to play a whole bunch of the variants of thinline and solid, which is my next move. I'm going to play one like the picture I added below over the next couple of days and try a number of others at the same venue.

It's greatly appreciated that you've all given me some options to ponder, I value the input and will not make a rash decision until I've had a lot of hands on with the different types.

Many thanks

Tim

Just read the custom build option kindly offered by GONZO-X, yes that's another consideration, I'll check out suppliers and see how easily I can get the parts together. Thanks you.

Thinline tele.jpg
 

notCardio

I walk the line
it looks like there are very few options if you want single coils w thinline

i would have to opt for the squier

Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster Thinline Electric Guitar Natural | Musician's Friend

because the other choice

Fender American Deluxe Telecaster Thinline | Musician's Friend

is 1800 buks

If you want a traditional, old-school, twangy Telecaster sound, I would agree with Squier, but I would go for the Classic Vibe solidbody. The Classic Vibe series is a step above the rest of their stuff. I would warn you that the neck is heavy gloss, if that's not you're thing.
 

notCardio

I walk the line
Do you have any hollow body humbuckers?

Also, here's my take on the whole 'variety' thing. If you've got a bunch of humbuckers and you want variety, why limit yourself to a tele? There's also a strat and P-90s. If you want a tele, or a semi-hollow tele, because that's what you want or it seems intriguing, then by all means go for it. If what you're looking for is variety, then I would think more along the lines of a Nashville tele. I also like the 'assemble your own' thought if you can afford it, as you could create something with a tele bridge, strat middle, and P-90 neck and have a lot of bases covered.
 

minerman

Tonetard
Probably the most versatile Tele was the later version of the Tele Plus from the mid '90s. Three lace sensors with an additional switch to bring in the usually missing pick up combinations..........they are a great instrument.

:cool:
I had one, actually it was a Tele Plus II, great guitar, 2 Red Lace Sensor p'ups in the bridge (looked like a humbucker, but was actually 2 single coils), Blue in the neck, with coil tap (which was actually a 3-way toggle), again, great guitar, wish I still had it....



Just looking on fleabay, these guitars are getting hard to find, & are expensive....I paid $800 for mine used in '98, & again, I wish I still had it, it was a great playing/sounding guitar...
 

jeap

Banned
very nice

lotsa famous guys used lace sensors for a while

ive never tried them

i opted for fender tele specials because of the aftermarket humbuckers

ive had problems with single coils and stage lighting

I had one, actually it was a Tele Plus II, great guitar, 2 Red Lace Sensor p'ups in the bridge (looked like a humbucker, but was actually 2 single coils), Blue in the neck, with coil tap (which was actually a 3-way toggle), again, great guitar, wish I still had it....



Just looking on fleabay, these guitars are getting hard to find, & are expensive....I paid $800 for mine used in '98, & again, I wish I still had it, it was a great playing/sounding guitar...
 

Phrasemaker

New member
notCardio, thank you, yes I have a couple of hollow body guitars with humbuckers, I use a 335 and have cheaper one with flatwounds on. I also have a couple of humbucker loaded guitars with coil tap. I'm a bit of a guitar junkie, so having a varietyof instruments to lay my hands on is already where I'm at. I have two U.S. strats, one all single fat 50's and one HSS. I probably set out my aims for a tele here in a way which could be improved upon with hindsight, and maybe after playing a few the objectives have blurred a little.

minerman, thank you, the lace sensor tele looks an interesting option. I'll certainly try and track one down and see what it plays like, as I'm not ruling anything out at this stage.

Jeap, I've also listened to a few known guitarists using single coil teles of late and found the sound very appealing, although they probably have really good gear to play through.


Just to make matters a little less clear, I had a Squier affinity tele dropped in for a repair this week. It cost new about the same as the tweed case I bought for one of my strats. It actually plays really well and I'm finding it hard to see differences which fully justify paying ten tens times more for a U.S. made Fender. Yes, I'll likely get a U.S. tele but that's just my personal preference as a collector.

The Squier had an intermittent output from the bridge pickup only when selected on its own. Turned out to be a poorly soldered connection to the selector switch. Two posts on the switch were supposed to be linked together, but the wire had not been positioned well to securely bridge the the two posts.

1.jpg

I de-soldered it and secured the wire before re-soldering, it's fine now.

2a.jpg

The action on the Squier is pretty good and having plugged it in for an hour it sounds better than expected. The only aspect of the sound I found poor compared with more expensive teles I played during the week at retailers was when playing chords, the notes of chords seem way less articulate.
Looking closely it gradually becomes clear that the cheap squier is put together in a real hurry and little attention has been paid to matching screw head dimensions to countersunk holes in the metal plates on this guitar. None of the screws are put in straight either, which is a shame as the actual components seem to be reasonably well made.

3.jpg4.jpg

I'm off out to play a few more in the coming days with the focus being on single coils and deciding to go solid or semi hollow. I think that's where I'm at now, right up to when I pick up something else and find I can't put it down.

Many thanks to all who have contributed here.

Regards

Tim
 

ausrock

Well-known member
This is my Tele Plus........Fender issued two different p/u configurations, one is in previous pics, this is the other.
_J8F0499.JPG
 

notCardio

I walk the line
This is my Tele Plus........Fender issued two different p/u configurations, one is in previous pics, this is the other.
View attachment 93550

Now THAT would be something to try out for variety.

Looks like a tele neck in the middle, insted of the usual Nashville strat middle.

And damn, that is a beautiful guitar! If the color that's showing up on the monitor is true to the actual color of the gutar, I WANT THAT!

Seriously, if you ever decide to sell that, pm me. I'm sure shipping would be an arm and a leg, but that is gorgeous!
 

notCardio

I walk the line
Phrasemaker - I'm with you on the Squier thing.

I have two Squier teles, both Affinity's but they're older and imo better than the newer ones. But I bought them because I really loved the necks even though they're both different. I actually base almost all of my purchases on the feel of the neck and then comfort of the guitar.

Anyway, one has Fender Custom Shop pickups in it, and the other has Texas Specials (crap, now I can't think of the name of the Irish guy here who gave them to me). I'm not saying they wouldn't sound better in a real MIA Fender, but I probably couldn't tell which was which by ear, and they sound good to me.

One good thing about getting older (there aren't many) is that I've learned not to care so much about what others think about my choices (like I ever did).

Don't be embarrassed about what you like. If they can't be happy for you finding what you wanted, then screw 'em, they're not you kind of people anyway.

Wow, I can really get OT, can't I. :o
 

Phrasemaker

New member
Thanks ausrock, as notCardio, says that's a great looking instrument with a configuration that's certainly worth looking into. Thanks for posting, much appreciated.

notCardio, I see nothing wrong with OT, I think of it as a quality which demonstrates passion. I agree that getting older can enhance one's ability to be less concerned about what someone else might think is a better alternative. I've also figured there is a lot to learn from the expensive mistakes of others, and to listen to those with real experience without it diminishing my aims, albeit I might gain some insight which convinces me to modify my direction a little. The initial aim of this post was to see what is out there in a human way, rather than just looking at pretty pictures. It's been a useful thread, as I know a lot more than I did at the outset about tele's.

I have a balancing act to fulfill, it's what pleases me about the guitar before and after I play it. I can't be the only guitarist who buys a guitar with the aim of it pushing me to explore tones and styles of playing which guitars I already own might not. For instance I had a long period of writing and recording material which suited a very over-driven saturated tone. Having got a couple Strat's, I have been enjoying clean to crunch tonality in a big way. A Tele will likely inspire me to explore other sounds and styles. I see what I like, I've played a good few now and still fancy a thinline, I do like the look of the Olympic white with binding. It has the series option for the middle switch position. If nothing else it would put a smile on my face and if I need to learn to get the best out of it I've gained something. I'm going to play the tele I have for the repair for a few days, the owner says I am welcome to do so. Then get out, take a valve head with me and go play some thinlines.

I'll make a decision over the next week or so then go about sourcing what I want in the finish I decide upon. I had planned to be having loads of studio time this year, unfortunately it's not happened. I've decided to grasp the steering wheel a little more firmly and make sure September onward I get some time to record each week. I have some new musical ideas which differ from what I was doing with the heavier material, I wanting to see where the strat or tele sound will take me.

Much appreciated.
 

ausrock

Well-known member
NC and Phrase,

Firstly, the Tele will never be for sale ;). I can't remember which lace sensors were where but I think the middle and neck were the same.

This pic shows more of the body shape, the strings are DR's coated hot pink ......P8140006.JPG
 

Phrasemaker

New member
Nice selection of instruments. I've got one guitar strung with DR's they actually sound remarkably sweet, just annoying that the coating chips when playing with a bit of gusto. The Hendrix mural is a great backdrop.
 
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