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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Best tele under $1000

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Tone Freak, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. Tone Freak

    Tone Freak TDPRI Member

    Apr 3, 2008
    Hi guys,

    I've been lurking here for months but just now signed up. I've played guitar for about 20 years and I have two electrics. I've finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase a tele. I've liked the ones I've played and love the general sound of a telecaster.

    I'd like to see your opinions on which are the best telecasters for about $1000 or less. Doesn't matter if it's Fender or G&L or whatever. Naturally I'm going to go play some until I find the one that fits me but I figure I can get a better idea of which to make sure I try if I get some responses from more educated tele players.

    Any takers?

  2. byrdbrain

    byrdbrain Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 5, 2006

  3. Tritone

    Tritone TDPRI Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Tokyo, Japan
    How does the Baja neck compare with the 50s Classic Tele, or the American Standard Tele? I haven't seen a Baja anywhere...

  4. byrdbrain

    byrdbrain Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 5, 2006
    The size of the Baja neck is similar to the 50s,
    but the Baja has a 9.5" radius and medium jumbo frets,
    while the 50s has 7.5 and smaller, vintage frets.

  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    The Baja is a smidge bigger than the 50's, and has a slight keel or V on top of that. The American Series/Standard has a full width neck that is fairly thin or shallow.

    Either the 50's Classic or Baja would be a great choice, save the rest towards the amplifier.

    You might be able to find a G + L ASAT Classic for under $ 1,000 new; I've got 2 I paid $ 800-900 for each, new in case.

  6. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    Welcome Tone Freak! :D

    I haven't played a Baja, but most reviews are raving, though they seem to be a bit inconsistent - especially weight wise. But so are the MIM Classics - my 50's Classic weighed 8.6 lbs, while some of the guys here have some feather light examples.

    Personally I would recommend the 60's Classic - one of the most accurate reissues that Fender makes these days (except for the modern wiring).

    It has a slim - but not thin - well rounded C-neck that feels just very natural in my hand.

  7. Josh Davis

    Josh Davis Tele-Meister

    Jun 9, 2007
    Galveston, Texas
    Get a 52 RI off Ebay. Do not buy Mex! You would need to get a fret job and all new electronics. They look pretty, but there's a reason they're made cheap outside of the country.

  8. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    I agree about the '52RI, but not the "Mex" thing ...

  9. spicolli

    spicolli Tele-Meister

    Nov 10, 2007
    and i think if you act soon, you might be able to get a 60th anniversary "inlay" limited edition AV52RI for under 1000 bux with the special limited case too, that is if boris doesnt buy them all:!:

  10. tjalla

    tjalla Friend of Leo's

    Welcome Tone Freak. I would also highly recommend the Fender CIJ (Crafted In Japan) Reissue line. Many come with the same pickups in USA RIs, and upgrading the switch/pots ain't much coin at all. Haven't tried the Baja personally, tho that seems to be the overall bang-for-the-buck recommendation around here.

    Hey Josh, before throwing the baby out with the bathwather, perhaps check out a few more MIM reviews from players and owners 'round here. Myself I've owned/gigged Fender USA/Japan/Mexico - and it really boils down to the *actual* guitar in hand, not where its made. I had a '52RI that was 'ok' at best. Sold it in preference for my CIJ 50s RI.

    Just sayin'


  11. Dann-O

    Dann-O TDPRI Member

    Mar 31, 2008
    Erie PA

  12. BroadMaster

    BroadMaster Tele-Afflicted

    WELCOME Tone Freak. Bigger neck, 4 way switch/S-1 switching, great pups= BAJA. then there's the 50s or 60s classic.

  13. noodle

    noodle TDPRI Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    Are Av52RI easy to find for under $1000? If so, where?


  14. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

    Aug 3, 2005
    The best-playing, most nicely finished Fender Tele I played last year for under $1000 (retail) was the 60's Classic.

  15. ajgus

    ajgus Friend of Leo's

    Jan 8, 2008

  16. petebradt

    petebradt Former Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Niner Country
    I agree, even now, the CIJ line offers best value.

  17. ajgus

    ajgus Friend of Leo's

    Jan 8, 2008
    Not to hijack the thread, but please explain the difference between "Made in" & "Crafted in". I'm sure that this question has been posed before. Pardon my ignorance. :oops:

  18. Doug Ferguson

    Doug Ferguson Friend of Leo's

    Jan 3, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I'll chime in for the Squires also. Very nice guitars for very little money. I got an Affinity, pretty heavily modded now (about $130 worth), but really the only mods it needed were new pups, pots, and a switch -- about $65-$70 depending on what P/U's you'd use. So for around $250 you're getting a good instrument and putting your "signature" on it. The guitar is quite nice; alder body, maple neck and fretboard. The necks are a bit thin, however. Worth trying one if you see it in a shop. The Squire standards I've played are also very good. Just a shout-out from the low end of the spectrum.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008


    TWANGNUT Tele-Holic

    Jun 28, 2007
    American Series, definitly! ;)

    Oh, and welcome. Your gonna love it here!

  20. Legba

    Legba Tele-Meister

    Jan 28, 2008
    It would be tough to pick the "best" under $1,000 as there are so many great one's!

    I picked an 06 HWY 1, but liked some of the Baja's, Burton's, MIA, and 52ri's I played.
    Any of those choices (and others listed by other posters) that feel good to you and have the tone you're looking for would be a good choice.

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