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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

What model of telecaster to buy?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Gabeezlebub, Jan 9, 2019.

Best initial tele purchase?

This poll will close on Jan 23, 2019 at 10:55 AM.
  1. American

    34 vote(s)
  2. MIM

    46 vote(s)
  3. China, Indonesian, etc.

    10 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Gabeezlebub

    Gabeezlebub TDPRI Member

    Jan 8, 2019
    Hi gang. Excited about joining this thread and hearing from some experienced tele fans.
    Here is my dilemma. There are a ton of teles out there!!!!! I would be a first time buyer. I could afford American and my first inclination is to screw it and just buy American. But most of you guys buy cheaper teles and then mod the hell out of them.
    I am not an accomplished guitar player and dont even know if I will become proficient enough to play one of them. Still, I have good taste and appreciate quality. But I am also one of the cheapest SOB’s on the planet earth. So, you can understand my dilemma.
    If I do not buy American, what would be the best tele to purchase? Ideally it would be one that I am happy with stock, but also worth modding if I ever get excited.
    This ought to light up the airwaves. Thanks for your help and input. This is driving me crazy!!!!!
    JayFreddy and bcorig like this.
  2. blille

    blille Tele-Afflicted


    That is the definition of many people in the forum so you fit right in :)

    I love my American Standard but a bit cheaper the Baja is LOVED here and even cheaper the Squier Classic Vibe.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
    daza152, JayFreddy and Piggy Stu like this.
  3. John E

    John E Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    I vote MIM. I got a Brad Paisley Roadworn tele last month and I am head over heels for it. It was the clear winner for me over any of the other (Fender) teles I played over the course of a couple of months at various music stores (regardless of price)... and I got it cheaper than any of the American models.
    Kebmel, Omiewise65 and Fendereedo like this.
  4. NJ Deadhead

    NJ Deadhead Tele-Meister

    Jan 25, 2017
    Greenville, SC
    Get the Classic Vibe, you won't be disappointed. I'm a professional in the sense that I gig enough that the taxman takes his cut and I play out regularly with this guitar. After 25 years of playing I have accumulated plenty of nice, expensive guitars. The Classic Vibe brings me just as much joy as my expensive guitars at a fraction of the price.
    Hear2learn, Kebmel, beagle and 4 others like this.
  5. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Used MIA.

    Cheap SOB == used
    Appreciate quality == MIA
    daza152, Kebmel, Evil Funk and 3 others like this.
  6. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 23, 2003
    Midland TX
    Mexican teles are pretty good values, regardless of playing ability
  7. joealso

    joealso Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Dec 25, 2012
    East Haddam, CT
    I got a used MIM and spent the money I saved on upgrading the pickups (Fralins) and, later, the bridge. Finally, a really good setup job.
    Kebmel likes this.
  8. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2006
    I have a MIM Standard that I love. Lots of readily available aftermarket parts for any mods you might want to do later, as well. But the above posters have been correct in there being models in every price range worthy of consideration.

    Don't discount used guitars, either. A little research can find you a fine guitar that might be big-ticket new at a more comfortable price.
  9. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 1, 2014
    Whatever you like the feel of when you try one out. Good luck.
    LocoTex likes this.
  10. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Buy whichever one inspires you to play it. A Classic Vibe that gets ragged daily is a better guitar for you than an American you bought because of its origin. Try a few out.
    The Mexican made guitars I tried in my quest for a Tele were all good, but I'm a sucker for a double bound, 3 colour sunburst and I preferred the neck of the Classic Vibe. That swung it for me.

    Try a few out. Which neck do you prefer?, that's the one for you. It may be a Mexican, it may be American, it may be Chinese. Try second hand too. Let someone else take the hit for being fickle. All that matters is you want to pick it up and make noises with it.
    Later, buy another. They don't like to be lonely.
  11. LocoTex

    LocoTex Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 16, 2018
    Waxahachie, TX.
    If you want quality and value you can't go wrong with any of the MIM FSR (Fender Special Run) Telecasters they have put out over the years. They seem to get a higher degree of detail work than the average. And in the used market you can find great deals. My Tele is an FSR from 2011 that I got used and I'll never let it go.
    joealso likes this.
  12. DADGAD

    DADGAD Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2003
    Welcome Gabe!

    The secret to buying a Tele is to play as many as you can and buy the one that feels right to you. I have Teles from Indonesia, Mexico and USA. They are all fine instruments but I was selective. There are gems and there are dogs. You don’t know until you play it and ordering online can be hit or miss.

    Good luck on your Tele search!
  13. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    Well, for build quality you could go for a 50s Baja.

    But if it's a great sound you want, try the 50s Baja.

    On the other hand, if it's value for money you're after, I'd say 50s Baja.

    But I suppose you could think out of the box and get a 50s Baja?

    If none of those options tickles you, just get a 50s Baja.

    I know, decisions . . . .
  14. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Here's my take on it and I own American, Mexican, Chinese, and Indonesian Teles.

    It's a very basic guitar so the differences from one to another aren't all that great. Some will have features or a finish you prefer over others but in each "category" you can find very good sounding very playable guitars. Squier Classic Vibes are not vastly inferior to MIM or US built models.

    The difference between a $400 Chinese Squier and a $1000-$2000 US Fender are not as great as you might imagine when taken from that perspective. My advice is to set a budget for yourself and play as many as you can within that price range. Eventually one will win out over the others.
    t guitar floyd likes this.
  15. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    With some things, ain't nothin' like the real thing.
    I think this is one of those cases.
    daza152, LPTyler and CK Dexter Haven like this.
  16. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Sep 21, 2012
    Some MIM models like the Baja or the Brad Paisley are very high end guitars .
    Greggorios and LocoTex like this.
  17. Mr.Ike

    Mr.Ike Tele-Meister

    Sep 18, 2011
    All good advice from the crew here. Play a ton (used) and get the one that speaks to you.
    boris bubbanov likes this.
  18. LocoTex

    LocoTex Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 16, 2018
    Waxahachie, TX.
    The Mexican Fender thing is like the asian car market was not too long ago. First Japan in the 70s, and then Korea in the 2000s brought reasonably priced, reliable cars to the U.S. market and the U.S. automakers yawned. The Japanese ended up dominating the market. And do you remember when Hyundais and Kias were mocked? Now they have a very large market share. MIM Fenders are like that - good, reliable and affordable guitars that some mock because they don't say MIA on the headstock.

    As for me, I'll continue to buy MIM Fenders and wait for the rest of the guitar world to catch on to how good they are.
    Straydogger likes this.
  19. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    Get a used MIM. IMHO, the best-bang-for-the-buck instruments Fender makes.
    LocoTex likes this.
  20. GEECEE


    Mar 26, 2018
    All the good suggestions have already been given. I was in the exact same boat as you. Tried a variety of flavors and really liked how the neck on a used MIM I found felt and how it played. Had been sold on a Baja but then tried the MIM -- and the feel sealed the deal.
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