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Thinking about getting boutique Tele ... worth it?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by holgaguy, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    I've had a bunch Teles over the years; a Mexican and American Standards, a Nashville, a Baja and now a Road Worn (this one is meaty but not much *sparkle*). I've been jonesing for an LsL or maybe a Fender Custom Shop or a number of others.

    Are these worth the money? Am I crazy (my wife would certainly think so)? Talk me down!
    chemobrain and horax like this.
  2. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
  3. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2008
    I have a custom shop 55 strat, A Masterbuilt Nocaster and a 52 thin skin with custom shop pickups. I love them all.
    I used to own a Crook-T that I had built for me. Although the Crooks get a lot of love here I wasn't all that impressed. It was a good guitar but no better than an average Fender. My Nocaster and 52 reissue are better for me. If you ask if the Crook was worth it I would say yes. It was easy to sell and I didn't lose much money selling it. I guess the same could be said for a high end Fender guitar. Resale should be pretty good.
    A few years ago I had a custom shop nocaster that I sold. I had it for close to 2 years and sold it for $100 less than I paid for it. I was helped by the fact that when I bought it our Canadian dollar was at par with US and when I sold it our dollar had gone down.
    Other less known boutique builders may or may not get the same resale so in that case you'd have to decide if its worth it to you for that particular builder.
  4. dickey

    dickey Tele-Holic

    Jan 2, 2010
    Get the Custom Shop, or vintage original. Don't know what LsL means, but Mexican & Asian Fenders are basically firewood.
    Evil Funk and Ripradiant like this.
  5. ALL guitars are basically firewood, with some wires and magnets and bits thrown in....some just make for more expensive fires than others. :)
  6. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 1, 2018
    Timbuktu, Earth
    I'd go with a blonde or sunburst '64 AVRI, personally.
    PelhamSG and Ex-riverman like this.
  7. I certainly wouldnt pay a fortune for one when you can get many customs like a Ron Kirn that will exceed a custom shop.

    The example of the one in the pic you posted is a pretty basic for a builder. The difference in a custom shop over many affordable custom builders is the profit made, not the cost to build, or quality, unless bragging rights is worth an extra grand to you.

    dustoff, Pickcity, hemingway and 2 others like this.
  8. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jul 24, 2009
    Ada, MI
  9. horax

    horax Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2011
    colorado springs
    I’m in the same boat as you.

    I’ve been thinking of a few builders for about s year and am ready to buy in July.

    I think the G&L IS as close to any custom builder as you will get.

    I think once you hit 1200 and up, the more you spend returns less for your dollar.

    I will follow this thread with great interest.
    LGOberean likes this.
  10. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Holic

    Sep 21, 2017
    I'd go full custom, non fender.
    TeleTown, irie and 2blue2 like this.
  11. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    Ha! Seemed a little extreme to call Mexican and Asian guitars firewood.
  12. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    What does boutique mean to you? Prestige? Price tag? The "bragging rights" Eric mentioned above? Custom options?

    I agree with what horax said above: beyond a certain price point (he said $1200, I might extend that to $1500), it's a law of diminishing returns. I especially think this is true with regard to a tele. And while I wouldn't go as far as calling all guitars firewood, there's a bit of truth to that when it comes to a tele.

    I prefer the way Brad Paisley refers to them. I'm going from memory here, but Paisley was interviewed by Guitar Player, and the interviewer asked him about really bending the guitar neck on some song on an album, and Brad replied that he thought it was done on his '68 paisley. The interviewer then asked if he worried about bending the neck that radically on a valuable old Tele like that, and Brad Paisley basically replied, "Nah...a Tele is just a cutting board with a baseball bat and strings attached. It's hard to hurt 'em."

    So personally, I just can't see myself paying more than $1,500 for one. Consequently, I haven't. And yet all my four teles are custom built by a "boutique" builder, specifically Bob Logan of Logan Custom Guitars. I haven't seen on his website very many guitars selling for $1,500+, and quite a few of them come in at just under a grand. Of course, certain custom options are additional costs added to his base price: pickups (Lindy Fralin, Klein, Bill Lawrence Keystones, DiMarzio, TV Jones, etc.), Birdseye maple, special necks, special hardware, binding, etc. But you could easily spec out the build of your choosing with Bob and stay in the grand to grand and a half price range.

    The build quality is really good. I have four teles, like I said, one of Bob's acoustic/electric tele styles, and my son has one of Bob's "Logo" thinlines, as does my son-in-law. So I've had eyes, ears and hands on seven of Bob's instruments, and the quality is wonderfully consistent. So this is a custom option that offers reasonable prices, real bang for your buck value. And would go over much better with the wife than that $2,500 "basic" one mentioned above.
    jannodude, Pickcity and horax like this.
  13. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Sounds like you need a Strat.:twisted:

    No point in spending a bunch of money unless you want investment dollars or bragging rights. If the guitars you have don't scratch your itch, something different could be the answer.
    2blue2 likes this.
  14. Boarsrock

    Boarsrock TDPRI Member

    Jan 19, 2018
    I have a few high-end guitars. One custom made Giffin. Yeah there’s a difference but I also have an MIJ Strat that I bought in ‘86 for $250. New pups and set up... I love it and would never part with it. You’ll hit the same licks on the custom shop as you’d hit on a good budget guitar. It’s really your call on value.
    Tony Forman and hellopike like this.
  15. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    Actually, I have a Strat. :)
    Zepfan likes this.
  16. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    All good questions. I suppose as the price increases, the law of diminishing returns comes into play. How much better is a Custom Shop model over a basic American made Tele? I've only played a Custom Shop Tele once (too long ago to remember anything about it).

    What I do know, is I like a guitar that feels broken in - my Road Worn was like that - so I find myself gravitating towards lightly reliced guitars.
  17. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    Probably so.
  18. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

    Jul 15, 2013
    That is a highly personal question that only you can answer. I love my CS tele (see avatar). I did buy it used tho :)
    Tonetele likes this.
  19. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    What do you like about it? How is is different from other Teles?
  20. robgilmo

    robgilmo TDPRI Member

    Jun 22, 2016
    Buy a $200 guitar and play the hell out of it, spend your hard earned on the missus.
    rich815, hellopike, blowtorch and 2 others like this.
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