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

I want a cheap Tele knock off, but which one? Please need help with selection.

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by kuskus265, Aug 1, 2017.

Ohhh there is a poll

  1. Stagg

  2. HB tele

  3. HB JazzMMaisteer

    0 vote(s)
  1. claes

    claes Tele-Holic

    Aug 20, 2007
    Yes, stay away from the "prince" and the "tl 52"...THE BLACK paisley is the one to get because of the weight problem. I've had both and sold them because of the weight.
    The black paisley has the wilkinson compensated bridge that people upgrade there more expensive fenders with and the pickups is great....
    Bristlehound likes this.

  2. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 4, 2017
    D'you know what the neck radius is? I've seen reviews that say it's not what's quoted on the HB site which is 350mm or 13¾".

  3. GM60466

    GM60466 TDPRI Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    Planet Earth

    $199 for a real good axe

  4. Rookery

    Rookery TDPRI Member

    Jan 5, 2017
    For those interested, in the end I spent £109 and got an SX STL50 in lake placid blue and so far, I'm very pleased with it. The review of sorts is in the Owners Club forum.

  5. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    Jul 7, 2014
    Looks like I'm the only person left in the world that has his doubts about Harley Benton.

    Have a TE-30 with a neck that needed a lot more than a fret job. The varnish of the fretboard disappeared after only a few hours of playing.
    Have a brown paisley (it's not black but brown) with a nut in the neck, that started to warp the neck after a while. The control plate is about one centimeter lower than on a normal Tele, so only custom made pickguards fit.

    They have some interesting models, but so far my "experience" has been that they usually only look pretty good, but I'll take any Squier, any day.

    Here in Belgium, I see more Stagg guitars than HB, but I never played one.

  6. Teleposer

    Teleposer Tele-Meister

    Sep 28, 2016
    I keep shilling for Aria Pro. They kind of changed the game back in the day a few decades ago, but through letting things slack they just seem another no name oriental brand.

    I love my Teles by them. But check them over. You need to really know what you are looking for. Over-beveled frets are no joke and can ruin an otherwise perfect guitar. You can rejig, you can re-bridge, whatever, but really, a re-fret is what you need. All because some worker got sand-happy on the edges of an otherwise perfectly good guitar.

    Having said that, my Strats by them don't have that problem.

    They cost the same as an SX or a HB, but if you can find one, I'm pretty sure you would agree the quality is 10 times better. Then again, even they vary by the same make. I should know, I've bought a few of them

    If you can find one, check them out. They make about the best copy you are going to get at this price point. Once you feel that neck in your hand, once you hear the quality of the pups, once you see the finish of the paintwork...

    I think you can even buy them on Amazon as well. I decided I want a 'real' Tele, but they got me in to the game. They showed me what the shortcomings of a cheap copy were. I accept that now. But there isn't much in it. They are exceptional value for money.

  7. dannew02

    dannew02 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 2, 2010
    Erin Prarie, WI
    That Stagg is really appealing... I tried a different Stagg at a store once, and I LOVED the neck on it so much, I ended up buying it. I hadn't expected to bring a guitar home that day, either...
    Can you try anything out before you buy, or are you limited to ordering online?

  8. DonM

    DonM Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 21, 2016
    I second the recommendation for SX Furrians. I have two and love them. Only thing cheap about them is the cost; but I did mod them up.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg

  9. pdcorlis

    pdcorlis Tele-Meister

    Depends on where you live... in the states give Rondo a good hard look - lots of bang for the buck. Guitar Fetish seems to have some real quality control problems making their guitars hit and miss and Harley Benton (who offer great guitars for low money) suffer from a very high percentage of shipping damaged guitars. If there is one thing you want to avoid like the plague it's trying to ship a guitar back to Harley Benton from the US.

    If you're in europe or the U.K. I think Thomann is the obvious answer. Not only do they stock their HB brand, but they offer a huge range of other brands as well. Heck - their price on a 1x12 Harley Benton speaker cab was such a killer deal I could order one and have it shipped to my house in Idaho for just a few bucks more than the cost of buying a raw 12" Celestion Vintage 30!
    Alamo likes this.

  10. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    Great looking guitars. But what are the necks like? Are the fretboards as flat as advertised?

  11. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Holic

    May 24, 2016
    I have a HB "prince" tele and it is a shockingly good guitar for the money. For the price I'd definitely take a chance on them again. That being said, I am not going to be buying one as I'd rather bide my time and find a used Classic Vibe instead.

  12. warrent

    warrent Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Sep 15, 2009
    I just got an email from monoprice they have a new line of guitars coming next week. The interesting part is this:

    "All Monoprice guitars are setup by hand in Southern California. Setups include having the frets filed so they are free of sharp edges, ensuring that the nut and bridge are properly seated at the correct height, that the strings have the right amount of action with no buzzing, and that the electronics are functioning properly, so you can plug in and play right out of the box!"

    They look pretty nice for 199.99


  13. pdcorlis

    pdcorlis Tele-Meister

    Yes they are.
    raysachs likes this.

  14. HdCornerCarver

    HdCornerCarver TDPRI Member

    Mar 18, 2017
    Lake George, NY
    I'd vote for a Squier, though I'd try to get one that's above an Affinity series. I can't speak for other brands, but at least with a Squier you're just about guaranteed any Fender parts will be a match so mods are a breeze. The local shop pretty much only carries Staggs and I've never been too impressed by them (though I haven't given them much of a chance as that shop marks them up to MIM Fender price range and has "DO NOT TOUCH" signs on every guitar in the place)

  15. gretsch_guy2

    gretsch_guy2 TDPRI Member

    Jul 10, 2004
    "Earl Slick" Guitars at, great pickups, finish is done right.
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.

  16. Teleposer

    Teleposer Tele-Meister

    Sep 28, 2016
    I saw an SX in my local shop and I tried it. Not sure if it was a Furrian though. I wasn't impressed. The neck was beautiful. Incredible sort of bird's eye maple or rather flamed maple kind of thing. But it was very sticky. Could rub it down I suppose. But it just didn't scream quality, play me, buy me! Maybe it is a different Tele to the ones others are talking about.

    I did buy an SX bass there and it's an incredible guitar for the money. It cost as much as my Aria Pro Teles. The SX Tele was the same price as well. The body was much lighter, the switching was poor, but that neck...

    I don't know enough to say what was wrong with it, I'm sorry, but if you ever get a chance to play the Aria Teles, you will know they have necks to absolutely die for. Quite slim necks though, and my next Tele I'd like a bit chunkier.

    The SX wasn't a bad guitar, but it seemed more of a kid's toy guitar. It must have been a different kind of model.

    I'm definitely getting an HB at some point. I know there are quality control issues, but Thomann in Europe have a pretty good rep for returns if you really aren't happy.

    Then I'm going to get one of the more expensive Squier Teles. They look impressive. That'll be four Teles then. That's enough right? I mean, who needs more than four Teles? :)

    One thing I've learned from buying cheap knock-offs (if you can call the Aria Pro's that) is that if you aren't completely happy with the scratch plate, it's an absolute nightmare to change for a reasonable price. I don't know, I assume changing pups, knobs, circuitry etc. would be easier, but scratch plates? Doh!

    I won't buy another cheap guitar that I'm not completely happy with the scratch plate on. The worst thing is you get a plate that fits perfect, but the screws are out a smidgen, so all you can do is drill new holes next to the old ones, collapsing the other ones and now having a really big hole that doesn't work. It's ok if they are out by a bit more than a smidgen as you can just do the new hole and the plate covers up the old (that's the theory). Apart from that they are all cut wonky anyway at the bridge (the cheap eBay ones I've bought). I might be able to tolerate the wonky bridge outline, but do I want to go butchering the wood just for that? NO. Completely useless waste of money. You'd think someone would take a photocopy of the plate and post a full size image. Actually, now I know whey they don't. Caveat Emptor.

    It's why I'm buying a Squier next as at least you can buy replacements for that. I just love the idea of swapping out the plates every few string changes for a bit of variety. The iconic scratch plate is what drew me to the Telecaster. A 3-Toneburst Tele looks out of this world good either with a single ply mat black plate, a 3-ply shiny black plate, even a tortoiseshell adds a bit of class! I'm even toying with the idea of a clear 'plastic' plate. But please Lord, no more White.

    Sorry for the rant about scratch plates. I feel better now. There's probably a dedicated thread on it, but it's definitely something to keep in mind if people are looking here for a cheap Tele, all the while thinking they will just change the plate later. Not so simple. It's easily done, but very expensive. I'm looking at half the price of the guitar for a bit of plastic with holes in it. I can buy a set of pups for that! I'm happy to do it though when I get a bit of cash.

    Ok, I'm really going to shut up about scratch plates now! Sorry for the slight derail.

  17. draggindakota

    draggindakota Tele-Meister

    Jun 28, 2017
    Lehigh Acres, Florida
    My only tele style is a Douglas from Rondo, got second hand. The neck is great, no sharp frets, smooth and fast. The only thing I don't really like are the tuners. They feel very cheap (but it does stay in tune).
    callasabra likes this.

  18. jdbunda

    jdbunda TDPRI Member

    Mar 16, 2014
    Austin TX
    Here is my $.02 - I have a Douglas Furrian, and an older Agile thinline. I also have a couple MIM Teles, and a partscaster that I built myself. I haven't played the HB, or any of these others, but have some experience with Chinese and Korean made instruments.

    The Agile is one of my favorite guitars - I bought it used in your price bracket. The prior owner modified quite a bit - headstock milled to Tele shape, new bridge and saddles, new pickups and electronics. I am quite sure he had well over $400 into the guitar when I bought it, and the only part that hasn't been touched is the body. It was so shockingly good, I decided to pick up a Douglas when Rondo put them on sale. And learned my lesson.

    The Douglas immediately felt cheap - pots and switch are junk, the pickups are strident (bridge) and dull (neck). The neck has a thick glossy finish that I had to steel wool to get rid of the stickiness, and the tuners feel cheap. I had to adjust the truss rod, file the nut, and adjust the saddles just to make the thing reasonably playable. I rarely pick it up, I don't like the pickups and pots, and I just can't bring myself to spend more than I paid for the guitar to upgrade it. By the way, just another thing to consider, many of these cheap ones, possibly due to licensing issues, tooling, or whatever, do not interchange parts with Fenders. My Douglas body will not take a Fender neck, the saddles are crap (buzzy and don't stay put when bending) and the bridge plate is larger than standard - a fender bridge leaves a gap to the bridge pickup rout. Upgrading these isn't as simple as you might think - not impossible, but it might take more trouble than you expect.

    My partscaster (see my avatar) probably cost me ~$400 by the time all is said and done, and 1/2 of that was the MIM tele neck. It's a nice guitar, but I don't consider it inexpensive.

    The body and finish are the most visible things about a guitar, but what makes one great are the neck, pickups, components, and of course - setup. It's true that you can upgrade one of these cheap guitars, but that quickly erodes the price advantage. Getting a good pro setup can cost you 25% of the purchase price (or more). Unless you enjoy modding and fooling around with a guitar yourself (I kind of do) I just don't think these cheap guitars are the bargains they seem. By the time you get it where you want it, you probably could have bought something much nicer that didn't require all of the trouble, plays nicer from day one, and actually has some resale value.
    Pixies2005, pdcorlis and rjtwangs like this.

  19. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 15, 2006
    How can a nut warp the neck? :confused:

    apples and oranges, plus some bananas.
    Affinity, Standard and Classic Vibes Squiers don't share the same specs either.
    look at the frets 22 vs. 21.
    flimsy bridge vs vintage style ashtray.
    generic die cast tuners vs. Kluson style safe-T tuners, and so on.
    the OP was looking at a TE-52, vintage speced affordable guitar. not a TE-30

  20. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    Jul 7, 2014
    a "nut" in the sense that it is a mark of where a branch used to be... it does warp a neck. I've sold hardwood (mostly French oak and beech, and I assure you wood can warp at those places)

    You're right that a TE-30 is not supposed to be the same quality as a TE-52, but a TE-70 (the one with the nut and warped neck) is supposed to be the same quality. To stay on topic, none of the HB telecasters I've ever held in my hands (about a dozen) reaches the quality of all of the Squier Affinity telecasters I tried.

    On the other hand the same is true about Squiers as you mention, but to many people all Squiers are "equally" bad too. I like the Affinity, but it is not the guitar a CV is, you're absolutely right about that.
    Alamo likes this.

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