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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. jim777

    jim777 TDPRI Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    South New Jersey
    I've been playing for 45 years and have about 15 guitars at the moment (have literally had 100's), and my cheapest guitar (a MIM Baja Tele - the one with the maple board) is getting 90% of my play time these days. They don't need anything upgraded, and play and sound fantastic. Buy one used, and if you don't like it you can flip it for what you paid for it.
    RadioFM74 and Piggy Stu like this.

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    The 50's or 60's Baja might just be the best value to dollar choice.
    RadioFM74 and Greggorios like this.
  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    A match made in heaven!

    Ydwen Jones, LocoTex and jim777 like this.
  4. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Meister

    Mar 13, 2018
    It's actually a good time to get a Tele as Fender's retooled lines have great options at every price point. I would focus on individual Tele lines rather than just place of manufacture. My $.02 is that the sweet spots for new Teles are in order of expense:

    1. Squier Classic Vibe -- not sure where these are made maybe Asia?
    2. Classic Player Baja -- MIM obviously
    3. American Professional -- MIA obviously

    There's no need to mod any of these.

    The Baja is a stupid good value and compares very favorably to the American made Fenders I've owned and played. Just my very subjective opinion, but the quality of the Baja isn't really equaled until you get to the American Professional series which are significantly more expensive.

    Regardless of what you choose, the best value of course is to always buy used. I bought my 50's Baja used for around $600 and really can't conceive of a better bang for buck guitar at that price.

    Good luck, I know there's a Tele out there with your name on it!
    Gabeezlebub and jim777 like this.
  5. Evil Funk

    Evil Funk Tele-Meister

    Sep 23, 2017
    try as many different kinds as you can, and preferably on an amp that you might eventually pair it with, or at least something you really favor. one will speak to you i'm sure. but do yourself a favor, and try out a Baja, a Paisley and an Elite before you purchase. they are a cut above the rest.

    i also see a lot of advice on "great bang for the buck", and "value".

    is that what you're looking for? Value? .... or a great guitar? you'll have to honestly ask yourself what your priorities are in a guitar. is it features, craftsmanship, nostalgia, sound, comfort. looks?

    we all had our different reasons for each guitar i'm sure. "value" was never one of mine. i don't buy guitars for "a great value".
  6. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    I would not look at origin but at the specs. Do you like a guitar that is made like in the 50s or rather a modern incarnation?
    Like big or small necks? Or something in between?
    You can find good guitars all over the spectrum of price and specs. Just find out what you like and how much you want to spend. Used is also a great option if you want to spend less – totally reasonable if you are not so sure what you like because you'll probably loose less than on new guitars if you trade or sell down the road.
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  7. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Well I'll be damned. Here I thought Pepsi was.

    Oh how could I have been so wrong all this time. :cry: :lol:
  8. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Jul 5, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    FWIW, I'm more of a Strat guy than a Tele guy, but the only Tele I've ever had that I've liked enough to keep is my Squier CVC with bound body and rosewood board. But, my favorite Strat is my Player Series (my avatar) which I like as much or even more than my Am Pro Strat. The Player series are a definite step up from the MIM Standard series that preceded them IMO.
    Although I've never played either, both the Baja 60's in Sonic Blue and the Nashville in Daphne Blue (both with rosewood/now Pau Ferro board, which I prefer) seem to be calling out to me every time I see pics of them. The Nashville in Fiesta Red and the Am Performer in Sonic Blue are also very cool looking.
    But, as others have said, play as many as you can until you find the one that says to you "I love you, take me home".
  9. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Mar 11, 2018
    Chino Hills CA
    I can’t stop laughing

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  10. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Mar 11, 2018
    Chino Hills CA
    Elite with compound radius neck and 4gen pups. 5 months-can’t put it down!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Evil Funk likes this.
  11. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Vancouver, BC
    ...another vote for the Baja (50s) -- I love the neck on it, as well as everything else.
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  12. Dog Bite

    Dog Bite TDPRI Member

    Oct 30, 2018
    I bought the American Special and have no regrets, makes me smile every time I play it.
  13. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I agree, except buy an MIM used and around $ 300-400 and spend time just playing it and playing it and then read what people are talking about here and try to determine WHICH FEATURES are important to you and which features are just a bunch of fluff.

    A $ 2,000 USA Fender Tele is of little use to you if it has the wrong size fretwire or pickups that keep you from sounding like you or it is wanting to be set up with the strings so low you cannot get at them. Each of us here have features we prefer and other ones that send us for a loop and you shouldn't drop too many bills until you know what you actually prefer. I'm not going to recommend a 4x4 Tundra pickup to you if you really need and want a Miata and maybe you don't really know which of those you actually do want yet (in a Telecaster).

    Bub, what amp(s) have you got? No crime at all if you spend twice as much for the amp as for the Telecaster - make room in your decision making for amps if you haven't already.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
    LocoTex likes this.
  14. john_t

    john_t Tele-Meister

    Feb 25, 2014
    I first bought a used BSB Classic Vibe that already had upgraded pickups (great option as you can get nice pickups for basically free). Then I bought a sunburst CV and upgraded the pickups. Then a white blonde CV. Then a used AVRI 52, the pinnacle. For the last one, I searched Craigslist everyday for 2 years and found a great deal. The only one I sold is the sunburst and I really regret selling it. The feel is everything. I’ve tried many Teles at GC that did not feel right. Try it first if you can.
  15. memiller

    memiller TDPRI Member

    Jan 9, 2019
    For anyone just learning I always offer this advice... don't break the bank, but don't buy garbage. I wouldn't even consider an American Tele. In part this is because it's too easy to resell! "I haven't picked it up in a week. I should sell it." becomes less of a thought when you're losing 1/2 of your value immediately upon purchase. Think of it as a self-enforcing practice policy.

    If you want to get into specific models, the one I've always recommended is the Nashville Tele. It's one of the most versatile guitars I've played and will still get you classic Tele tones. It's under a grand and definitely good enough that you can't blame the guitar.
    Evil Funk likes this.
  16. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Gabeezlebub, here's an example of what I'm talking about: Dog Bite has a really nice guitar here but I'm not getting one of these because the fretwire is simply huge (in terms of my tastes). But this fretwire might be just fine for you. So I would use caution spending money until I knew myself well enough to know if the fretwire is right or wrong for me.
    Gabeezlebub likes this.
  17. jim777

    jim777 TDPRI Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    South New Jersey
    There's nothing quite like having an hour or three to kill in a decently stocked guitar store :)
  18. Gabeezlebub

    Gabeezlebub TDPRI Member

    Jan 8, 2019
    Lol!!! Thanks Piggy. I’ll try not to break the bank!!!
  19. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Dec 27, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Going by your description I chose MIM, since I think you'd be plenty happy with them. They are well made, use quality components and are reasonably priced.

    That said, out of the ten guitars I currently own:

    (4) are American made
    (3) are MIM
    (2) are Crafted in China
    (1) is Korean made

    All the ones I have are excellent players, so, bottom line: There are quality guitars to be had from all ends of the earth, it really just depends on what you want, feature-wise, quality-wise, image-wise and price-wise...

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  20. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    So, Features are the first and last and most important reason to buy one guitar over another and this doesn't mean "more" features but the "correct for you" features.

    As for Quality, when I started in the 1960s the lines between Great USA Guitars and All Others (including some bad USA brands) was really stark and honestly, huge.

    In 2019 the differences are much smaller. What it ends up boiling down to is the nicest USA models, at least half would be keepers for a long time if you bought them. The cheaper USA Fenders, you might like 25% of those you tried and you might have to play ten MIMs to find the right one and have to play 25 Chinese or Indonesian ones to find the right one. But the difference between the absolute best, cream of the crop of all the mass production sources is small and getting smaller still and the only thing stopping more of this is the Executives are applying the brakes and telling the contractors to stop trying to match the USA product so much.
    soulman969, Gabeezlebub and LocoTex like this.
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