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Thinking about getting boutique Tele ... worth it?

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

  1. TwangToInfinity

    TwangToInfinity Tele-Holic

    May 2, 2013
    if compelled to spend that level of money i would only get a used fender cs

    after i demo'd a whole bunch of them
    holgaguy likes this.

  2. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Holic

    Feb 1, 2018
    San Clemente, Ca
    A boutique guitar is a good choice (IMHO) if you fall in love with it and it's sound, and you are going to keep it forever. A 'boutique' or 'off brand' guitar is tough to sell, a real Fender made piece will move much faster.

    If you're buying for the long haul get whatever, but for re-sale/long term value, Fender.
    oldfish likes this.

  3. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    The guitar I always play when just sitting around the house is a late 90s Danelectro. Used to gig with it, but it needs new tuners and the pickup selector switch is shot. Fun to play and I like the way it sounds.

  4. holgaguy

    holgaguy Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 23, 2003
    When I first started shopping for a Tele, probably 15 years ago, the local GC had two CS Nocasters; one reliced and one a Closet Classic. Both were in the $1100-$1200 range. Seemed like a lot of money at the time. Oh well.

  5. rhcole

    rhcole TDPRI Member

    May 12, 2017
    Petaluma, CA
    Take the price point where a company starts relicing guitars or offering fancy and unusual finishes. At that point they have run out of ideas for how to make the guitars better. Back down from those prices and look at the models just below that level.

    Those guitars are the best instruments that they know how to make. For Fender, that number is around $2k.

  6. mgreene

    mgreene Tele-Holic

    Jan 27, 2010
    south carolina
    I played a Nash over the weekend - it wasnt any better that either of my partscasters but cost 3X as much.

    Really, it wasnt as good - but I am making allowances for an unfamiliar setup.

  7. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    No. Unless you are a full time musician and can take a tax write off on it.

    Your wife is right on this one, and you have nothing to gain by pissing her off with a ridiculously over-priced guitar.
    hellopike likes this.

  8. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 3, 2015

    This. I’d take my wife and go on a nice vacation. $4000 can go a long way.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    holgaguy and rich815 like this.

  9. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    I have two Custom Shop Telecasters, each custom built to my specs. (team built)
    I also have two Custom Shop Wildwood 10 Stratocasters.
    They are the finest instruments I have ever played.
    In terms of quality, the are a notch above the 2012 era American Vintages series. I had 64 AV Tele and it was a great instrument. If had 9.5" radius and the taller frets of the Custom Shop I might have been satisfied.
    However, there is something to owning a guitar which has all the features, finish, etc that match your personal wishes. It's an individual thing. An psycho-emotional bond or whatever. It's yours. Built for you. This assumes one has the financial resources to make the investment.
    Also, there are many fine builders out there. I still prefer the tradition Tele or Strat headstock, the spaghetti Fender logo for the vibe.
    I am glad I have my Custom Shops. They were worth it to me.
    Sinner1980 likes this.

  10. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Seriously? It's a Tele.

    Stop and think a minute.

    Are you going to have one built by a boutique builder or the CS? Guess what - you can't touch that instrument before you buy it. You might get it and think, meh.

    More sparkle is not something a boutique build gives. You'd be far better off haunting local shops playing every one you can get your hands on until you find the one that is special to you.

    But only after you conclude the ones you have are not special. Or couldn't be, with a really good setup and fret level. I think with a boutique/CS Tele, best case that is what you are paying for - final care in the assembly and finishing. You can get that from a setup on your existing Tele(s).

    I guess you can also get one spec'd to your desire - but keep in mind, until you play that unit when it's done, you won't know (a) if you really love those specs or (b) if that particular unit is special to you. Because resale is terrible on boutique Teles (and you take a huge hit on custom spec'd CS models) if the stars don't align and that particular unit is not special to you, you are screwed.

    Sell your Teles that aren't special. Have the one or two you love set up really well, and then play every one you can find if the one or two keepers in your stable are not "the one".
    elihu likes this.

  11. Old Tele Hack

    Old Tele Hack Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Mar 31, 2017
    Custom gives you the opportunity to get something you specifically want. If you're buying to "collect" - the boutique panache is nice. If you're buying to PLAY? Then spending $$ on things that don't increase the guitar's playability/sound doesn't make much sense. If you know what you'd want in a custom/boutique guitar, and can't find that in an off-the-shelf offering? Custom/Boutique makes sense.

    I like my cheap guitars, and my nice ones. I'm really interested in finding one of the Dean Zelinsky LaVoce guitars to try out - they look REALLY nice, and at an excellent price point - and they can do some interesting custom offerings too.

  12. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    Forget the name on the headstock.

    Go play as many as you can. Find the one that you can't let go of or put back.

    That's the one.

    Then find out how much it costs.
    MilwMark and brookdalebill like this.

  13. etype

    etype Tele-Holic

    Sep 23, 2014
    For me, there are three reasons to go custom.
    1. Weight. I like my guitars in the 6.5-7 lb range and there are not a lot of stock Telecasters in that range (Sweetwater recetnly had two American Pros in that range, and before I could calculate whether I could swing one at that time, they sold).
    2. Color. I seem to like colors (e.g. shell pink) that are uncommon in the stock lineup (BSB excepted).
    3. Neck. For me, what separates the great from magical guitars is how effortless the neck feels. Shape, frets, etc. It's taken a while, but I think I'm finally getting to know what feels right. Once you have that nailed down, spending the money to get whole package is worth every penny.

    I think I'd go with a Kirn before spending 2x-3x on any of the others.
    rich815 likes this.

  14. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    Most of my solid body guitars are quite inexpensive, (less than $200) I find that spending additional money on acoustic or primarily acoustic instruments, and amplification is more rewarding.

    There are a wide rage of decent Fender style instruments in the 1 to 1.5K range but most of those have a less expensive mirror that are perhaps a quarter of the price, but give a significant % of the experience.

    If you have never played a nice arch top, or a all solid acoustic, I would suggest taking a few for a spin before splashing out several thousand dollars for a Fender style instrument.

    The OP also dosen't mention what he is using for a amp, it might be worthwhile to run one or two of his current guitars thru some different amps just to see what that's like..
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018

  15. Pickcity

    Pickcity Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2017
    Atlanta, Ga.
    I have never owned a CS Tele, but they are the best sounding to my ears. I've played two different CS (A Tele and a Strat) quite often over the years and they were a cut above the rest...At least they were to me.

    I would like to have a CS, and have seriously considered one, but it is at least twice as expensive as an American professional. So I had to ask myself, "Self, is a CS more than double the price better?" The answer was a resounding no.

    YMMV. Many others feel differently than me, and that's what makes the world go around. I won't lie. I would still love to own a CS.

    As for boutique builders, I have no clue, but I am seeing some names of builders being dropped in here and I will be paying attention. I would love one of those as well.

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