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

Why are some celebs playing non Fender brand teles?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Vintage Fan, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Vintage Fan

    Vintage Fan Tele-Meister

    Sep 10, 2014
    Why do some celebs play non Fender teles? Such as Redd Volkaert, Bill Kerchen, Dale Watson, etc.? They can afford anything in the Fender arsenal....Do their non Fender teles have some superior materials or workmanship or do they have an endorsement deal? I've seen interviews with them all talking about the brands they play. Any of their chosen electronics and pickups are available to put into a Fender Tele. I've never seen any of those celebs brands here in Dallas to try out.

    Personally I think the American Fender Telecasters are the best Fender has ever made due to more accurate building technology, stable consistent necks, and their easy to play. In the early to mid 70's I owned a few mid 60's to late 60's used Fender Telecasters which were all plagued with neck problems. I have a couple Fender Telecaster American Specials and their sound, playability, and intonation is so well balanced I don't need a compressor pedal to even out anything....I get a good balanced sound and tone plugging straight into the amp.....

    Your thoughts on celeb's non Fender teles?

  2. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    There's no law that says they should play a Fender. My next guitar will probably be a G&L tele. People play what suits them.
    savofenno likes this.

  3. Lazer

    Lazer Tele-Meister

    Mar 21, 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    They have found something better.
    savofenno and brookdalebill like this.

  4. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Yeah Dale Watson plays a G&L, right?

    That's more Fender than Fender, if you know what I mean
    savofenno likes this.

  5. Brandon mac

    Brandon mac Tele-Holic

    Jun 9, 2009
    north alabama
    I thought dale watson plays a tomkins

  6. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Stainless steel frets. Better sounding pickups. Getting exact specifications for 1 - 2 grand instead of 4-5 makes sense even to a rich and powerful guitarist making 1-2 million a year after taxes.

    Because then you can buy 2 or 3 guitars you are definitely going to play thd snot out of per year instead of just 1.

    I mean, maybe because Fender in general aren't very kind to retailers (demanding that 50% of all stocked product in a store that carries "Fender" be Fender products is a little bit of a anti-people move).

    There are actually tons of reasons I and others don't play fenders much anymore.

    For me it's definitely more motivated by specs and cost.

    You can get it as good or even better, exactly the way you like for half the price or less, a lot of places now.

    My favorite is USACG, Stew Mac and Wilde Pickups.

    With me assembling, we make a mean tele. A mean tele to be sure!

    Edit: for the record, I still love some fender parts and hardware for builds though!
    savofenno likes this.

  7. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    Could be, I've not seen him for some years now. Heck, his hair was black when I saw him last. Dale was asking for requests, as they often do. Waylon had just died and I yelled out "Ain't Livin Long Like This" and they did it, but Dale didn't really know the words

    Dale's great, my buddy and I drank with him before the show and he promised to try to get our band an opening slot next time he was in town.

    Hey Dale, I'm still waiting :D
    rjtwangs likes this.

  8. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    This guy definitely makes more and he still plays Fender


    Because they like custom specs that Fender does not offer (I am not rich and famous or even a great guitar player but Fender does not offer what I like : a 1" fat U shaped maple/Rosewood neck ,unless (and still I am not sure if they do) you pay $10.000 and go to a CS Master builder :D) or because simply put they LOVE the custom made guitars custom makers THROW at them for FREE.

  9. WaylonFan76

    WaylonFan76 Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2008
    South Lousiana
    Dale is now endorsed by Fender. He quit using the Tomkins. Redd uses whatever he feels like that night... I've seen him play Hahns, Glendales, even Les Pauls.
    My guess is that the players you are referring to have discovered there's better guitars out there than what Fender puts out these days. My Trussart Steelcaster is better than any other Teles I've ever played, and a friend of mine recently bought a Nash Tele and finds it better than any Fender CS Teles he's ever played.
    Small boutique guitar makers are beating the big guy at his own game.

  10. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Hey! The Boss and anyone else can totally stick with Fender. I am pretty sure Bruce is a pretty big salesman for FMIC and will never stop using them as the 2 are 1 now.

    That being said, I really take no issue with Fenders quality, it's the cost and specs that push me away these days from buying a new Fender.

  11. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 12, 2009
    Clarks Summit, PA
    I don't know. Maybe they are guitar whores who play whatever plays better. I do the same for drivers in golf. Whatever hits the ball further is what I use.

    The same is true for most guitarists. The only professional I know who stayed with his signature model of guitars is George Benson, who still plays his GB Ibanez guitars. Not even Jeff Beck or Buddy Guy stayed with the version of signature guitar that Fender issued. Clapton plays Gibsons...a lot. I don't keep playing the same guitar at a gig, and freely change between Gibsons, Fender, Ibanez, and Yamaha versions, as the song demands. But I play so many styles I have to change. If I played only smooth jazz I'd use only a Strat, Country and basic RNR I'd use a Tele, Rock = Les Paul and those aren't written in stone.

    No one should have to play one guitar, unless you're Les Paul, because he was paid. But even he didn't. When I or the rest of us have a contract to exclusively play a guitar, then to avoid a lawsuit, I would. Otherwise, it's a free country and me and the rest of us guitar whores will be happy.

    But I think I know what you're saying. Though these guitarists have become famous with a Fender Tele in hand, why would they abandon the guitar that brought them there? It's always the little things, like a capacitor, finish, fret choices, or neck radii. Neck shapes are big for me. If Fender continues to put those Skinny-assed modern C necks on American standards, American Vintage, etc., I won't be buying them. My favorite neck is the Soft V shape of my Baja's neck. If I could afford it, I would have a Nocaster baseball neck. As it is now, I would only buy a MIM model because of the necks they offer OR whatever company that would offer a customized neck to my liking. As I get older, so are the musculoskeletal complaints increasing, in relation to the guitars I play. Right now I have a 1990 Stratocaster so awesome in sound, but the damn neck is just too skinny, and my carpal tunnel symptoms (cramping, weakness, spasm) act up under prolonged stints of playing. This never happens with a 1970 Stratocaster, Gibson, or my Baja, Ibanez, Yamaha, and no other guitar I have. Yes I know that just changing neck would be a solution, but what neck from Fender has an ebony fingerboard, like this one? I'm still a playing collector.

    There is another reason for the changes. Preservation of a treasured friend that brought them the fame. I know some guys will not bring a great guitar on the road with them to play because of the quality. They are too afraid of it falling into disrepair, or pilfering. I only have so many guitars, so if I am gonna play I will still bring the best for my effort.
    Dunnigan likes this.

  12. Redd Volkaert

    Redd Volkaert Tele-Holic

    Mar 23, 2003
    Cedar Creek, Texas
    Well . . .

    I don't think famous necessarily . . . .

    Dale jumped ship from Tomkins, and is now a Fender endorsee.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I myself have a few vintage Fenders
    each of them have their own sound/voice.
    Some, I've changed a few parts on over the years, most not. They don't need it

    I've always been a tinkerer, taking everything I own apart just to see
    what makes it work. Modding, pickups, wiring, saddles, swapping necks
    to see if they sounded different, blabla

    Like players, though subjective, like some or not, I think builders have a style
    to their work/production.
    Thats why we bicker all the time on who's better or not to us . . . YMMV

    I have some great custom made guitars that "I" love i.e. Tomkins, Hahn, Glendale, Shippers,
    Aronson, Neville, Fisher, Trussart and some I've put together myself
    from parts that I think are from very good parts makers.

    Each of these guitars are made to my specs;
    All the whiney little things/ideas, measurements that "I" think or have learned and tried/experienced
    lots from this great forum too (Home Depot)

    So the way I see it is that,
    though I still love and play all of my vintage and newer custom guitars,
    each one sounds, feels, acts different when I play them, to me.
    Hopefully that inspires me to play a little different on each one,
    so that I might come up with some new and interesting ideas
    and hopefully sounds (some good) as well.

    Its kinda like having several different shapes & sizes and colors (moods) of girlfriends
    and getting away with it, while still being married.

    My lovely wife thinks that a good idea too :oops:

    danpan and rjtwangs like this.

  13. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    And there ya have it! :D
    rjtwangs likes this.

  14. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Aug 29, 2007
    MV, CA
    Yeah, Redd nailed it.

    Playing various guitars is like dating all the pretty girls. You never know what you will find and there's a little magic in every one.

  15. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 12, 2009
    Clarks Summit, PA
    Redd speaks. We are not Worthy!! (as in Wayne's World)

  16. voodooblues

    voodooblues Friend of Leo's

    Sep 12, 2012
    Berwyn, Il
    I would imagine that it's for similar reasons that non-famous people don't play Fender: Fender isn't the only company ever to make guitars. A lot of great builders out there with a lot to offer, and some people (as has been stated) can't find what they're looking for regarding specs with what Fender offers. It's not too bad, but from time to time I see brand snobbery show up around here, as if to say that a guitar is automatically inferior if it dares to be a T-Style but doesn't have the Fender logo on it. Really, the question I have is: How can people only play Fender?

  17. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    To extend the analogy further: lots of the not-so-pretty ones have something great and special to offer, also :D

  18. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

    imo not the best example.. His guitars get stripped down and rebuilt before he gets them..

  19. MHtele

    MHtele TDPRI Member

    Sep 8, 2015
    As has been pointed out there's just so many choices and variations of the telecaster available out there. Seems to me that the Fender Telecaster is to guitars as is the Chevy small block V-8 is engines and the Colt 1911 pistol is to handguns. A great original design that has lent itself to many skilled craftsman taking it and making their own interpretations and (sometimes) advancements of the original. Hard not to try some of those out if you have access to them, as the pro guys do. It's a good thing. :)

  20. old goat

    old goat Tele-Holic

    Aug 1, 2008
    Donner Lake
    Pretty sure none of the guys in the OP make 1-2M/year. I suspect most of them are making less than all the wannabe guitar players in the audience (like me).

    Still plenty of people playing Fender--Vince Gill (ok, that one is over 60 years old), Merle for two.

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