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Thinking about getting boutique Tele ... worth it?

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

  1. Johnson johnson

    Johnson johnson Tele-Holic

    Dec 30, 2016
    Gotta give a nod to Ron Kirn here, he makes excellent guitars.
    hemingway, dustoff and irie like this.
  2. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    I already have way too many $200 guitars. Maybe I should sell them all!? :D
    LPTyler and telemnemonics like this.
  3. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    Depends on the guitar and your interaction w/ it and how it sounds w/ the rig you have, or will be getting to go with it..

    I had a teacher years ago who's take on gear was pretty simple; "Can you make the sound you hear in your head, if so, is that sound something that others want to hear, and will pay you to make"

    If the answer is yes to all then you are good no matter what the gear is and what it costs, if not you need to alter some part of the equation, the easy answer for most is change the instrument, in my experience what would better serve most players is to better define the sound they are trying to achieve, then figure what if anything needs to change to get there, if the answer is a specific instrument,(and it can remove limitations or provide inspiration) so be it, but don't discount putting the energy and money in to study/listeing or some other type of interaction that will broaden your horizons both musical and personal
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    hellopike and RadioFM74 like this.
  4. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    Having one special guitar can provide focus and inspiration..
    Evil Funk, rich815 and John Owen like this.
  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Boutique guitars are great!
    My avatar is a boutique guitar, and it's the only Tele I have ever kept.
    I've had it over 30 years.
    It's been modded a bunch along the way, but the "bones" (body and neck) are the best (for me) I have ever experienced.
    Good luck!
    Crobbins and telemnemonics like this.
  6. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

    Jul 15, 2013
    That quickly dissolves into mumbo jumbo ... It just feels tighter and sounds better.

    I was on my way to band practice before noon on a saturday and stopped by local dealer on the way. Since the place was empty and I had my tele with me, I A/B'ed it against their stock of tele. My tele was a us std with bare knuckle pups.

    My tele smoked the bajas and other us stds, but paled compared to the CS stuff .. especially a CS 63ri was amazing.

    So from then on it was just a question of finding a fairly priced used CS tele
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    telemnemonics and holgaguy like this.
  7. ickylick

    ickylick Tele-Meister

    Jan 21, 2011
    New York
    A boutique or CS tele is really nice.. even at a premium.
    Especially if you can't replicate the sound or look by modding/upgrading parts.

    Some people don't feel comfortable spending extra $$$ on aesthetics or for that +1% tonal difference you may be hearing, but if that's what you seek and it makes you happy, I say why the heck not.

    I have been wanting and searching for a CS tele for 10+ years, had the funds, but never jumped on one because I'm still waiting for the perfect one that calls to me.
    Evil Funk likes this.
  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2006
    Near Athens GA USA
    Yep. I have to double or triple the cost of any new guitar. I think my new Mosrite style kit build cost me around $800, $300 for the kit and upgrades, $500 for the matching diamond earring set.

    As for buying a custom shop or the like, the big question to me is debt and income.

    If you are a casual player and have the available cash where you can comfortably afford it, then get it. It's fun and inspiring to many people have a nice instrument. However, do not incur any debt in obtaining it. Hobby credit card debt creates problems for a lot of people, be it guitars, golf, boats, vacations or what not.

    If you are a pro or semi-pro player who earns substantial income from gigs, then it might be a good investment with a good ROI. You would need to determine that part of the equation before taking on any debt to pay for it. Once again, if you have the available cash on hand, why not?
  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    Buy used. Maybe if a small boutique builder you can find a used beat up one 'for cheap' (relative) and ask the boutique builder to bring it back to their standard (setup/fretwork).

    Are you one to mod your guitars flipping pickups with the seasons? Don't go custom or you'll feel 'trapped'.

    I tend to keep the nice and expensive guitars in their cases and packed away while I play the cheaper ones every day because I don't worry about those. So I don't go after the expensive ones anymore. If you will baby an expensive spend then don't get it.

    Tonetele likes this.
  10. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2008
    When I toured back in the early 80's I played a 62 tele that cost me $600. Now I play occasional weekend gigs for fun and gas money and have 30k tied up in 5 guitars.
  11. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Holic

    Nov 8, 2012
    I say go for it, if that is what you want, and your wife is ok with it. I don't think you necessarily have to break the bank to get something special.
  12. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 22, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
  13. kafka

    kafka Tele-Holic

    Oct 18, 2013
    "Boutique" and "Telecaster" just don't belong in the same sentence, for me. It's the original anti-boutique guitar. There were boutique guitars when Leo Fender invented it. You could have bought an Epiphone, or Gibson, or D'Angelico. Leo could have made something that looked more like a Bigsby. But instead, he came up with a slab of wood. And it turned out to be really useful.

    Get what you want. Get whatever makes you happy, and whatever you want to play. That's what it's all about. My personal thought about Telecasters is that they're the guitar that you get when you just don't care about anything about the guitar other than playing it.
    Owenmoney likes this.
  14. Torz Johnson

    Torz Johnson Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Jun 9, 2003
    I had a custom shop Tele Closet Classic a few years ago. Boy was it a nice guitar. It cost $2500 back when CS guitars only cost about $2500. Now it would probably be around 4 grand.

    I now have a Baja (and some other Mexican "firewood" teles). Boy is it a nice guitar. It cost $675 brand new just a month ago.

    The Baja and my other Mexican firewood are not quite as nice as the CS. But really not that far below it. If somebody gave me 4 grand today I sure as hell wouldn't spend it on a boutique tele.
    hellopike likes this.
  15. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    There's always PRS.
    Clifton C likes this.
  16. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    And a $200 guitar is certainly capable of being special
    bgmacaw, holgaguy and cnlbb like this.
  17. BopT

    BopT Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2011
    Look for a used custom shop! Lots of the out there they have made tens of thousands of them. Try as many as you can!
    Totally_Tod and bgmacaw like this.
  18. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    I would agree .. I have a wide variety of things I enjoy and could rely on any one of them as a only instrument.
  19. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Holic

    Jun 19, 2014
    United States
    There are a lot of great options out there that will get you the special feel without Fender Custom Shop prices. The new Hahn Model C comes to mind, but as others have pointed out there's a new wealth of reasonably priced 'boutique' instruments out there. Perhaps look into some of those.
    ianstrike likes this.
  20. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

    Jan 27, 2010
    Kingston, Ontario
    I have owned two CS Fender teles, built two of my own, and also owned a low end Peavey tele. I have also extensively played (but did not own) a Mexi-tele. Without question the CS teles are the best of the bunch. Are they better than a new '52 Tele, or a new '62 Custom? Depends on taste, but a used CS is about the same price. I sold one of my CS Teles for what I paid, which means I used the guitar for free for 8 years. Everyone who played that guitar loved it (except me - I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it). This is the guitar in my avatar.

    In short, they CS Teles were worth it for me. I enjoyed them, didn't lose any money, and they are noticeably better than the other teles I have owned or played. This is just one person's experience though.
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