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GE Smith Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Twang Guitars, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Twang Guitars

    Twang Guitars Tele-Meister

    Apr 14, 2010
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Anybody playing the GE Smith Tele?
    How do you like it?
    Have you made any mods to it?

  2. Starrman44

    Starrman44 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2010
    North Dakota
    I had one for a year. Unfortunately with my operation margin, I have to sell guitars to get new ones. I buy them for great prices and try and get the same amount or more for them. I started buying up guitars with then end goal of getting a nocaster, so that is what I have done.

    There is a GE Smith Club in the Club section. A lot of great info there.

    Here are my impressions, FWIW. I love the big, chunky neck. 7.25 radius and vintage frets make for a very smooth neck. My frets were done perfectly. The action on the big E string was 4/64 and the small e string was under 3/64. I could bend just fine. You almost feel like you are playing a fretless, it's that smooth.

    Fit and finish was excellent (neck was nice and tight in the pocket, frets were leveled and no fret sprout, also no finish over the frets, everything was straight). Tuners stayed in tune perfectly. I think the pups are basically Original Vintage (if not, they are close, very 50's tele sounding, not as bright as the 62's). Pups are always personal preference, but I thought they sounded good.

    I don't play with much gain, so I couldn't tell you how it does with that. To me the function of the half bridge just seemed to result in the strings feeling a little more slinky. I don't know if it gives a little more being a half-plate, or what, but it didn't seem to go out of pitch with bends or anything, it just felt slinker, if that makes sense.

    Mine weighed about 7 1/2 lbs.

    Really the only negatives to me was that the neck seemed to be a little orange. Some of the AV52s do to, IMO. Some folks like it, some don't. Another negative to me, was the frailty of the finish. I barely bumped it (and I do mean it barely made a sound) and it popped off about a half inch or better piece of finish. Again, some folks don't care, some do. Personally, while I hated doing it, I didn't care all that much. I have other Nitro finishes and that one is by far the most fragile. My Nocasters finish is so thin it is sucked into the grain of the wood, but it doesn't seem to be so fragile as the GE Smith.

    Final analysis, for me, is I would definitely purchase another. It was a keeper, but I had an ultimate goal in mind. I think they are wonderful guitars. The thing that comes to my mind, actually I found myself referring to that guitar in this manner, is it's a "workhorse." It sounded good, played well, stayed in tune, had a huge neck (a heavy hand on the neck wasn't going to pull it out of pitch) and the finish was fragile enough that you just didn't care if it got bumps and bruises.

    Others may have different opinions, but that is mine. Sorry so long.
  3. Cry of Love

    Cry of Love TDPRI Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Good post, Starman. I started to pull the trigger on one a couple years back. I'm pretty sure I could of got it under 1200, maybe closer to 1000. But, I had my sights set on a Nocaster and I wasn't going to let anything get in the way. I do love the way the GE looks, and I bet it IS one fine guitar. Didn't mean to highjack op, good luck in your quest!
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  5. wallis222

    wallis222 Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 24, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    Lots of love for the GE around here, myself included. Think of it as 52ri with a very fat (almost Nocaster) neck, a half bridge, and some funky inlays. Of course people around here are gonna like it.
  6. Ramblin Ray

    Ramblin Ray Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    New York
    I'm looking for one now. It's just gotta be light.
  7. xMercury69x

    xMercury69x Friend of Leo's

    Nov 9, 2012
    It seems to have a lot of features other Teles don't:

    Different 3-way wiring/switching
    Half bridge w/bridge pup set direct into body
    Elaborate inlays on fretboard

    I imagine it has a true Tele sound with a certain individualistic feel and sound.

    Love the Dakota Red
  8. 2wang

    2wang TDPRI Member

    Nov 27, 2011
    I bought a honey blonde G.E. Smith a few months back and love it. Most of these are relatively light weight. Mine weighs 6 pounds 14 ounces. I love the big neck and I agree with Starrman 44's comments about the playability and smoothness of the neck and frets.

    The pick ups sound great to me and the bridge pick up has a nice tone to it without any spikeyness to the sound. Contrary to Fender's website description these are all wired with the modern circuitry three way switch - neck with tone control, both pick ups in combination with tone control and bridge with tone control. They don't have the early "dark circuit" tone. Fender's website contains many errors about other models as well.

    While I have no bending issues with this guitar at all, I don't see how the abbreviated bridge plate would affect the action. Maybe someone can enlighten me. I think this notion may be derived from a casual comment G.E. himself made on the great introductory video he did on this guitar.

    Mine also stays in tune really well. Overall, it's definitely a keeper.
  9. Alex W

    Alex W Friend of Leo's

    I've tried one and thought it was excellent. As far as I can tell the GE Smith model has the fattest neck of any non-custom shop Telecaster. And it has the vintage fingerboard radius and frets, which most Nocasters anymore don't have, so in that respect it is closer to a vintage Tele at least in playability terms. i.e. aside from the cut-down bridge and the lapsteel style position markers.
  10. Cuco

    Cuco Tele-Meister

    Dec 31, 2008
    A guitar so nice I bought it twice.
    I Esquired one and kept the other original.
    Love 'em both.
  11. hal

    hal Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 4, 2006
    Memphis, TN
    I think the GE is one of the smartest Tele designs ever. I would have one if could tolerate a neck that fat. It's too big for my hands. I cut my teeth on my 68 neck.
  12. wallis222

    wallis222 Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 24, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    I've been looking for one for a almost 2 years now; locally and online. I've messaged every seller on eBay, and the lightest I've found was 7lbs 4oz. It needs to be in the 6s to make me bite.
  13. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 25, 2007
    I've been lookin for one too. 7lbs 4oz is a perfect weight IMO.
  14. wallis222

    wallis222 Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 24, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    Perfect to me is 6lbs 4oz, or lighter really. :lol:

    I think one of the Dakota red ones on ebay right now is less than 7.5lbs.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  15. Twang Guitars

    Twang Guitars Tele-Meister

    Apr 14, 2010
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Thanks for the info. I've been watching for one and two times other guitars got in the way, a Heritage Prospect Custom, and recently a true closet classic 1991 ES-335. So I'm getting my sights set again.
  16. Ramblin Ray

    Ramblin Ray Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    New York
    You guys are really giving me gas pains!
  17. doster

    doster Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 2, 2007
    Pittsburgh, Pa
    I love mine and agree about the fragile finish. The neck is a fat mutha which is awesome. My tiny, girl hands love it.
    Check out the owners club here, tons of information there.
    My favorite tele.
  18. Zagnut

    Zagnut Tele-Meister

    Mar 21, 2009
    I agree with all the positive comments here, it's just a fabulous guitar and it's the one I play the most. I've clacked the headstock on a couple things here and there but no finish flaking, just little nicks. Thinking I could improve on something that didn't really need it I installed a set of Rutter's intonated saddles and a Glendale bridgeplate while I was feeling flush. Realizing it didn't sound any different and there was nothing wrong with the original brass saddles I reinstalled them but with a $12.00 Fender full bridgeplate. It's a personal thing but I just don't care for the look of the exposed route with the half plate. I love the lap steel fret markers and that neck is just the best. Mine's about 7 pounds 4 ounces too, interestingly enough.The bridge pickup has a lot of grunt to it, especially with the tone rolled off and a boost/OD pedal and/or some volume. With the tone on full it has enough twang to make Buck Owens happy if he were around to play it. ;)
  19. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 25, 2007

    Do you have back issues?
  20. wallis222

    wallis222 Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 24, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    Nope, just prefer 'em light. The body/neck I just ordered from mjt should build to be right around 6lbs. Swamp ash and maple.
  21. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 25, 2007
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