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Back in the Telecaster game....What’s changed?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TelePlank, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. TelePlank

    TelePlank TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Jul 7, 2018
    Ok so I was a member here awhile ago ,but I don’t have access to my old email so I made a new account. Anyway I decided I want a Tele again so I began shopping around. The American Standards/Deluxes aren’t around anymore and are called something else? Also the prices have gone up? 3 saddle bridges instead of 6 on the American Standard replacements? And back to the slab? Not that I care for one over the other just curious how these changes came about.

    I guess my question is what am Iooking at for a nice used American Standard or an American Deluxe? I’d also love a White Blonde Classic series 50s Esquire, but they are hard to find now and priced higher up too. I’ve seen prices all over the place and I’m not sure what the value is so I don’t wanna get taken for a ride. Last time I was buying guitars American Standards were $600-$750 used for a pretty good condition one. I see 2012s or older even used for $850-$1000 now more so on the $1000 side or a bit more and they seem to be lacking in my local Craigslist.

    So any advice would be appreciated though I know different areas can have different prices. Hope this is in the right spot it’s been awhile and I’m using the app. Thanks guys!
    tery likes this.
  2. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    Why not build something? Are you handy with tools or know someone who is? I build my Esquire with parts off of ebay and it's one of my favorite guitars. Warmoth neck, USA Custom body, Duncan Broadcaster pickup, Fender hardware and Kluson Tuners. A friend who's a guitar repairman did the paint and another guy did the neck. I did the assembly and then had a tech fine tune the set up. All in all maybe $700? I call it the "Twangmaster" as it's the twangiest thing I own. But it's also a great blues guitar. Compares favorably with my '86 AVR '52 Tele.

    Just a thought.
  3. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Sep 20, 2005
    Kansas City
    Welcome back; lots of things have changed in the past say 10 years.

    You are correct - just about every series has changed names (with the Made in Mexico Standards now becoming the "Player" series as of 2 weeks ago). And of course prices have steadily been on the increase.

    Not sure what you mean by "back to the slab"? Are you referring to the rosewood fingerboards? If so, then they really did go back to the slab back in 1987 when the American Standards came out. If you mean no back contour on the body - then that really only existed from 2012 to 2016 on the American Standards; the American Deluxe replacements - the American Elites - still have the back contour.

    Why the changes? Fender always does periodic updates to their model. Why the name changes? Really your guess would be as good as mine, but my educated guess is Fender must have a relatively Marketing staff who wanted to put their "stamp" on the brand as all these name changes have occurred since the start of 2016 when the revised model that replaced the American Deluxe was renamed the "American Elite". Which was followed by the American Standards becoming the "American Professionals" when the revised generation was introduced in December 2016. Granted both the American Elites and the American Professionals have some significant changes over the prior models.

    In January of this year the American Vintage models were discontinued and the replacements were name the "American Originals" - but in this case the American Originals are really new models that no longer have the authentic vintage specs; they are more like the "Vintage Hot Rod" models that Fender had out in the mid 2000s.

    One reason why the 2012 American Standards go for more than the earlier models is the change in pickups - in March of 2012 Fender replaced the long-running "American Standard" alnico V pickups with Fender Custom Shop pickups: the "Fat 50s" set for the American Standard Strats, and a "Twisted Tele" neck pickup/"Broadcaster" bridge pickup (it wasn't the normal CS Broadcaster pickup so they later just called it a "Custom-wound Custom Shop" pickup). That came with $150 price increase (Fender did $50 across the board on USA models in 2012 and the American Standards got an additional $100 for rhe CS pickups), followed at the start of 2013 with another $50 across the board price increase. Really the pickups are the only difference between American Standards made from 2008-February 2012 and those made from March 2012 through roughly August/September 2016 (they did an early production change/ramp up for the American Professionals ahead of that models introduction in early December 2016).

    American Deluxes had a major update/change at the start of 2010 - getting new pickups and most significantly a compound radius fingerboard (9.5"-14"). Also American Deluxe Teles got locking tuners with this update. But other than colors there would be no differences between a 2010-2011 American Deluxe and a 2012-2015 American Deluxe other than the ash-bodied models getting the back contour like the alder bodied models (technically the "American Deluxe Ash Telecaster" became a separate model in 2004, and it had no binding or contours like the alder bodied models; it stopped being a separate model when the American Elites came out and it is just that some colors have ash bodies and some colors have alder bodies - just like the first American Deluxes that were made from 1998-2003).

    Sorry, this is probably thoroughly confusing; sometimes it's hard to track what Fender has done over the past 2 years.

    At any rate - you should probably good with getting a pre-2012 American Standard or American Deluxe as long as you find one you like.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
    Flaneur and Kreepy like this.
  4. redhaze

    redhaze TDPRI Member

    Apr 29, 2018
    Commerce, TX
    Thanks, some of us needed this info, it is confusing to sort out all of the changes.
  5. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Sep 21, 2012
    Welcome back :) - Nothing has changed … not really .
    rooboo likes this.
  6. Ebidis

    Ebidis Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 27, 2016
    To answer your question: You should be able to get a used American Standard in excellent condition for around $800.

    Just because people are asking 1K, doesn't mean they are getting it.

    Just be patient and shop around.
  7. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    Not mentioned has been the stellar quality improvements in Squier and MIM over the past decade, and longer.

    So maybe the OP should look at those guitars in relation to his originally thought of price points.
    Stu Cazz, Kreepy and nicod98 like this.
  8. TelePlank

    TelePlank TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Jul 7, 2018
    Thanks for the replies guys! I’ve also been considering a few MIM Teles. So far I like the Baja, Classic series 60s in CAR, Classic Player 60s Faded Sonic Blue Baja, Classic Series 50s White Blonde Tele and the Classic Series 50s Esquire. If I got the regular Baja I’d like the white blonde one ,but I know that was a FSR from a while back though the BSB is fine too. As for for the Esquire white blonde or bust for me on that model.

    The reason I’m looking mostly at MIA Teles my first Telecaster was a 2007 American Standard so it just holds a special place with me. If that makes sense?
  9. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    Sure it makes sense.

    I was just trying to drive home the point of a famous old advertising slogan that you're way too young to remember anyway. Ask your dad:

    "This isn't your father's Oldsmobile."

    In other words, Squier and MIM no longer have the negative connotations attributed to them in the past based on the assumption that less expensive means bad/worse, etc.
  10. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Tele-Meister

    Feb 2, 2018
    St. Louis
    I would look at the American Special. I effin' love mine.
    AndrewG likes this.
  11. TelePlank

    TelePlank TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Jul 7, 2018
    Ok so a I narrowed it down to a Baja and an American deluxe with N3s. Not sure which to get. I know both have different things about them ,but I’m having a hard time choosing. I can play both skinny side necks and thicker necks. Baja is minty used for $735 and the American Deluxe $1000 used in pretty dang good shape. Can’t play either sadly , but the guitar pool around me is slim pickins. Thoughts from you Tele fanatics?
  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member


    Except our fingers work even worse than before, sometimes.

    And yes, prices for new guitars are up so buy used or build something fresh.
    tery likes this.
  13. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 27, 2007
    Only esquires with bigsbys are cool any more...
    zephyrR1 and tery like this.
  14. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Holic

    Mar 1, 2011
    Beltway, USA
    Those prices quoted above seem high, especially for the Baja. I see Bajas on CL for around $550.

    Since you say you can’t try them, I assume you are ordering. I’d keep looking, unless price isn’t important.
  15. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 8, 2003
    Santa Clara
    Hmm, ten years ago, a telecaster was a plank screwed to a neck with a couple of pickups and a chrome strip with controls. Fast forward, and a telecaster these days is a plank screwed to a neck with a couple of pickups and a chrome strip with controls. When it comes right down to it, not much has changed over the past 60 years!

    In terms of what you can get used, I bought a 2012 American Standard strat in really great shape for $800 a few months ago. I traded that one off pretty quickly. Strats are OK, but dang it, they just aren’t teles!
    nicod98 likes this.
  16. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    I've tried a few....

    AVRI52 was a bit ....well plain, despite looking and playing great.

    Squire Classic Vibe sounded great, really nicely finished at twice the price, but too thin neck and the squire brand bugged me. sad but true :)

    50's Baja....pretty close to perfect.
  17. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    There are 60,000 models of telecasters and strats and they all look and sound the same.
    tery likes this.
  18. TelePlank

    TelePlank TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Jul 7, 2018
    I apologize the Baja is listed as used because it’s an open box model still has the tags. That price is with shipping included.
  19. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

    Aug 18, 2017
    A lot of new models/versions of the Telecaster out yes.
    But basically it's the same guitar as in the fifties – just some minor tweeks back and forth over the years.
  20. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2007
    Exeter, England
    Obviously I'm going to suggest an American Special!
    Floyd Eye likes this.
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