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

What are some undervalued teles to look for on the used market (under $1K)?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Golem, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Golem

    Golem Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    So I was won a set of Fishman Fluence Gristle Tone pickups but don't have a tele to put them into. I always prefer to buy used guitars, and even more so in this situation since I'm going to replace the pickups and there's a slim chance that if the control cavity isn't deep enough I'll have to make it deeper. Really my only strong preference is that the guitar should be one I can add those pickups to without buying a new pickguard and knobs (they provide a scratch plate and jack with this set). I have no brand preference. After that, I want it to be a tele worthy of such an upgrade. I really want the electronics to be the only thing I'm going to want to mod.

  2. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 27, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    As far as I can tell, the Fishman Fluesnce Gristle Tone pickups are a "direct replacement" Tele set, so I'd think they should work with most Tele style guitars.

    Anyway, I think a USA made Fender Highway One would make a great platform for pickup upgrades and they can be had for around $600 - $700 on eBay.

    Good Luck!
    rich815 and Golem like this.

  3. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    I don't know of any "undervalued" Teles under $1K. Folks have generally realized the value of what's out there. My go-to gits for initial value are the Baja 50's and the James Burton Standard, but they're not undervalued, tend to hold their value, and the stock pickups are pretty good as-is.

    If you like a modern C profile, 9 1/2" radius neck with medium jumbo frets, a recent MIM Telecaster Standard is a good mod platform. Some players don't like the tone of the stock pickups and replace them. A Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster is another possibility. It may have a slightly slimmer neck (and you might like the stock pickups enough to save them for when you build a partscaster). Also cheap enough that you might consider buying one new.

    If you like a chunkier U (edit: chunkyish, but more C than U) profile, 7 1/4" radius neck with small frets, a Classic 50's Tele can often be found for a decent price. Some players find the stock pickups to be a bit wimpy and replace them.

    It really comes down to the neck. You'll need to find one or two of each and play them, first.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
    Piggy Stu, Golem and JayFreddy like this.

  4. gretsch_guy2

    gretsch_guy2 TDPRI Member

    Jul 10, 2004
    James Burton Standards! When I was looking for a back up Tele, the specs matched up with the Waylon Jennings Tele, Minus the leather decoration.

  5. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    A MIM Standard would be a great choice. Everything's great with the pickups being the only thing that might need improvement. If you get a higher model MIM or MIA, it'll probably already have some pretty good sounding pickups.

  6. Strebs

    Strebs Tele-Meister

    Dec 24, 2015
    Birmingham, AL
    Not that I've touched a lot of them, but every MIJ Telecaster that I've handled seemed high quality and well done. A used one would be well below your budget.
    Southpole and Piggy Stu like this.

  7. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Meister

    Oct 27, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Or you could just sell the pickups and pocket the cash.
    rich815 and AxemanVR like this.

  8. felis

    felis Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2011
    "used", "undervalued", "under $1k", "no brand preference"; (early '80s) Tokai Breezy's fit the bill.
    Golem and bparnell57 like this.

  9. Tim S

    Tim S Tele-Meister

    Oct 27, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Maybe it's just me, but buying a guitar because you won free pickups is like buying a car because you won free tires.
    Morgancolgrave and hdvades like this.

  10. beninma

    beninma Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    Doesn't that depend on what the pickups are worth?

    Tires cost what 1/100th of what a new car might cost?

    If you're talking about these "undervalued" Telecasters you could have really great pickups that are worth 1/2 or more what you paid for the guitar.
    Piggy Stu likes this.

  11. o'Romany

    o'Romany TDPRI Member

    Feb 3, 2015
    What a great dilemma! I recommend the Classic Vibe Custom (I would, as I've got one...) I replaced the electrics + the pick ups with the Oil City Honky Tonk Angel and Summer of Love and haven't looked back.

    In fact I'm going to say it's become my no.1 guitar.

    Decent pick ups + decent guitar + set up = can't go wrong.

    And.. if you don't get on with the guitar, flip it for something else. Just pop the original components in and off it goes!

    Happy hunting!

  12. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jun 11, 2010
    Works for me. I've bought guitars with no justification at all!

  13. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jun 11, 2010
    Gristle Tone?
    Golem likes this.

  14. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 22, 2014
    Pahrump, nv
    Peavey teles, at least the ones I've played, are great guitars. Generally pretty cheap too.
    JayFreddy likes this.

  15. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    Isn't the answer to this to just play as many as you can unplugged and see what you like?

    I would like something with a U neck: but up to you. Under 1k buys the majority of what is available on the used market - and a huge portion of the retail market?

    Poor me only owns 4 telecasters, and all too precious to wreck. I myself am looking for some cheap thing I can ruin installing a Bigsby and will let the universe decide for me by picking up something cheap
    rich815 likes this.

  16. regnirrab

    regnirrab TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2017
    South Carolina
    Classic player Baja tele in my opinion. If you want to go even cheaper, you could go with the Squier Classic Vibe 50s tele.
    Golem likes this.

  17. joshigh

    joshigh Tele-Meister

    Jun 10, 2003
    Plant City, FL
    That's a really high budget for what you're looking for.

    I'd keep an eye out on the forums/CL/ebay for a full MJT build. You'll typically pay about half of what it would take to put one together and chances are the person that built it used pretty good parts to begin with.
    Golem likes this.

  18. brogh

    brogh Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    there are a ton of teles that would fit that description,

    you need to do some homework on board radius, frets, the body shape is "the same" only material and color would be the things you need to look for, the neck is different. i'd try to get an idea playing a couple and understand what's your taste about the neck.

    then you can go different ways, partcaster, custom, used, new.... i would get a good platform, a MIJ or MIM, you can possibly find them well under 1 k, if you want to go dirt cheap find an affinity, or a SX
    Piggy Stu likes this.

  19. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Not sure where you live, but near urban areas one can always find some partscasters for that price range. Since the builders (and their skill level) vary there are some lemons, but there are also some real gems out there to be found.

  20. Golem

    Golem Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    I've been looking for a good warmoth or MJT type partscaster.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.