What Is The Telecaster Sound?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Digiplay, May 19, 2019.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    Would someone please tell me what is "The Telecaster Sound" I always hear about?


    As there are many current variations available now, is the main difference the pu's and the resistors/etc of the way the control plate is wired?


    If it were that easy, couldn't one take any of the above electronics, and install them in their Telecaster, and that would make, say a Baja, sound like an American Elite?



    If "The Telecaster Sound" is defined by a player or era, then that leads me to believe there is no such thing as "The Telecaster Sound :) :) :)
     
  2. jondanger

    jondanger Poster Extraordinaire

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    1) Break angle
    2) Scale length
    3) Bridge pickup
     
  3. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Get yourself a Telecaster
    Put a strap on it.
    Play it for five minutes.
    Look where your picking hand is located.
    It's probably just behind the bridge plate, pick between the saddles and the bridge pickup.
    A little twang, a little bright.

    But, knowing that, you don't need to stay there -- a Tele has been used to sound like everything else. But few can sound like a Tele ;)



    .
     

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  4. ConsiderMeMiles

    ConsiderMeMiles TDPRI Member

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    "If you have to ask, you'll never know." - anthony kiedis
     
  5. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    Then why all the models that sound so different?

    Then Anthony's Tele sounds like Keith Urban's?
     
  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    the intro to "Brown Sugar"

    more or less
     
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  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Electric single coil guitar.

    We like to mythologize it, but I doubt we could tell blind.

    Particularly if the amp is a bit overdriven.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  8. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    The capacity to impale you on a treble spike.
     
  9. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    And which model did he use on the original recording?
     
  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not sure there is ONE "Telecaster Sound". There are LOTS of Telecaster sounds, largely depending on who's playing it. I think (at least for me) the appeal of a Telecaster is the overall design simplicity of it. A funny word that I believe applies to my Telecaster is "succinct"....I won't type out all of the definitions or synonyms, but they describe precisely how I feel about the Telecaster. In the words of The Lovin' Spoonful, "It's like tryin' to tell a stranger 'bout Rock 'n Roll.".......
     
  11. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    the one that had the Telecaster sound
     
  12. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    Do you actually mean the one that had THAT Telecaster sound? :)


    Guys, please don't take my Topic the wrong way.


    I'm new to guitars (I've played piano/keyboards, bass guitar and drums my whole life), and the ONLY guitar I would want would be a Telecaster!
     
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  13. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Meister

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    I suggest that you get copies of these two books on the telecaster. Lots of good information on telecasters over the years, i.e., Leo Fender, CBS and Post CBS years. You will find that pickup materials and construction, types of body and neck wood and wiring configurations play a large part in how a telecaster will sound. As a benchmark I would say that the Leo Fender designed Blackguard and Whiteguard tele's represent the tele sound but that's my opinion. IMG_3219.JPG
     
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  14. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Meister

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    Then a Road Worn would be "close" (the real Blackguard is out of my price range:) )?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  15. RYAN1987M

    RYAN1987M Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    The Paul Balmer book seems long out of print - does anyone know where you can still source a copy?
     
  16. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    And also:

     
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  17. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    The Telecaster is an ideal platform to create a variety of sounds. Early on it was a bright, spanky single coil sound that appealed to country players. Guys like Roy Buchanan slit their speakers and got a more distorted sound that went more blusey. Today there are many models with single coils, humbuckers and even the Strat like sounds of the Nashville.

    It's a simple guitar that is easy to play but hard to master. That's the beauty of it, you never get tired of seeing what you can do each time you strap it on.
     
  18. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    As @nojazzhere said, there are loads of different Telecaster sounds. That is true, even if we limit ourselves only to the dual single-coil format and only those from the 50's and 60's. I suspect that a great deal of the variety has to do with the lack of consistency in pickup production, for one, and then trends in how pickups were wound in different decades. There is a real possibility that even two Telecasters from 1952 could sound pretty different if the bridge pickup is wound differently. And many were. Then there is alder versus ash versus pine, top-loader versus string through, and maple versus rosewood board. On top of that, add the Teles with humbuckers in the neck position or even dual humbuckers, and you've got something different still.

    And that's not to mention the various under-the-hood tone and volume control wiring schemes.

    Compare the Julian Lage Blackguard clip and the Bill Kirchen pinecaster clip above. They're both Telecasters. But I don't think Kirchen's sound during the first half of that video can be had on anything else.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  19. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

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    I was enjoying the guitar tones on Lucinda William's "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" recently... and I REALLY like the sounds on that album, and I've been pretty sure that they are made with a Telecaster.

    Then I saw a video of one of her shows, and the guitar player was using an SG.

    Maybe the "Telecaster Sound" can be made from other guitars, too.

    I'm still not sure what was used on that album, does anyone know?
     
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  20. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can't be sure that the guitar tones you reference above weren't RECORDED on a Tele, then in performance a totally different guitar is used. ;)
    You're absolutely right about different things on different guitars possibly affecting sound.....but as I've mentioned here (until everyone's probably sick of me saying) is I've had both string-through and top-load bridges on the same Telecaster.....with EVERYTHING else staying consistent (body, neck, pickups, etc) and I could NEVER tell a discernable difference between them. And, even after I switched to a Warmoth "conversion" neck, (Gibson scale-length) it STILL sounds like a Telecaster. Again.....my guess is the PLAYER has the greatest effect.
     
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