1973 telecaster worth it? I really want it

KoreanVintageGuy

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
Oct 30, 2022
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2
Age
32
Location
South Korea
Hello, friends
I'm very interested in the Fender Telecaster of the 1970s.
A year after I started playing the guitar, I realized that I was pursuing a vintage sound.
It is very fantastic and makes me happy.
I don't do professional performances or recordings, but I dreamed of an original vintage instrument.
I already own two Fender Stratocaster. Therefore, I'm looking for the appropriate vintage Telecaster.

Considering the appearance, the times and the price, I would like to have a 1970s Telecaster.
However, I have a question below. Please help me.

1. Why is there a big price gap between similar Telecaster models in the 1970s in Reverb?
It ranges from $3000 to $8000.
Of course, it depends on the originality, appearance, and condition. But even considering this, there are many prices that are not understood.
I have a budget of $3000 to $4000 right now. Can it bed in this range? I'm very worried.

2. Is Telecaster in 1973 vintage enough?
For example, Stratocaster, as far as I know, has been "Old" since 1975, not "Vintage".
Quality is guaranteed until 1973 ~ 1974. Right?
Should I think that Telecaster is same?

3. Do I have a fantasy about the guitar I want to have?
I really want a Butterscotch color, Maple neck telecaster.
But if you think about it, generally when Fender releases a reissue product (such as American Original or Anerican Vintage II), these guitars from the 1970s are not considered.
Is this just because the Telecaster that symbolizes the 1970s is Thinline or Custom deluxe?

4. Characteristics of the sound?
I am observing the sound characteristics of this guitar through various videos on YouTube.
I know most of all is calibrated sound source, but it sounds fantastic to my ears.
It works very well with Fender Princeton Reverb. The high notes and the Twang sound are excellent.
It doesn't feel big different from the Telecaster of the 1960s. What is it like in real life? I'd like to know how you feel about playing various telecasters.

There are a lot of stupid, long questions.
However, there are very few people who can answer these questions normally in Korea where I live.
Please help me. Great American coolies.
 

Jeru

Tele-Holic
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Posts
945
Location
Chicago
If you really want this:
1) do your homework
2) proceed with caution
3) I wish you great success and much happiness.

Now, the advice which you have asked for. I urge you to think very hard about
WHY you want a vintage instrument. Do you want a guitar to play or is a very
large part of this to own an object..? I have owned just a couple of vintage
guitars, and sold them when I realized that they were objects, and that my
time and money were better spent on instruments that would play better
and that I didn't need to treat as if they rare and valuable possessions.

There are AMAZING guitars for a fraction of what a vintage instrument will
cost you that you can get any sound out of that you would like.

I now have about 6 electric guitars -- all are wonderful and special and each
has cool things about it that none of the others do. All together they are not
worth anywhere close to the $3,000-4,000 that you are considering spending
on one instrument.

Whatever you choose, I hope that it brings you happiness.
 

msalama

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Posts
1,779
Location
EUnistan
Quality is guaranteed until 1973 ~ 1974. Right?

Well, no. There're no guarantees on any guitar of any vintage if it is used, so you're exposing yourself to all kinds of snags and risks if you buy it sight unseen. First, how do you know the guitar is all original to begin with? Is the neck straight and does the truss rod work? How are the frets? Are the PUs microphonic? How does it play? Have the electronics been tampered with? And so on and so forth.

At the very least, insist on a good return policy if you're buying the guitar online. And remember there're lots of scammers out there nowadays, so if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
 

Fretting out

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Posts
12,672
Age
31
Location
Land of Mary
Everything depends on what is available to you, something out of Japan should be easier.

I would not want to spend that kind of money without playing it or getting a very generous return policy
Definitely! I’d suggest playing one if the o.p has never played a guitar/fender from that era

I have limited experience but the old guitars I’ve played are a big difference from newer guitars, not bad just different

I’d also suggest doing a lot of research here if newer to teles
 

slack

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 26, 2003
Posts
3,310
Location
Los Angeles
Hello, friends
I'm very interested in the Fender Telecaster of the 1970s.
A year after I started playing the guitar, I realized that I was pursuing a vintage sound.
It is very fantastic and makes me happy.
I don't do professional performances or recordings, but I dreamed of an original vintage instrument.
I already own two Fender Stratocaster. Therefore, I'm looking for the appropriate vintage Telecaster.

Considering the appearance, the times and the price, I would like to have a 1970s Telecaster.
However, I have a question below. Please help me.

1. Why is there a big price gap between similar Telecaster models in the 1970s in Reverb?
It ranges from $3000 to $8000.
Of course, it depends on the originality, appearance, and condition. But even considering this, there are many prices that are not understood.
I have a budget of $3000 to $4000 right now. Can it bed in this range? I'm very worried.

2. Is Telecaster in 1973 vintage enough?
For example, Stratocaster, as far as I know, has been "Old" since 1975, not "Vintage".
Quality is guaranteed until 1973 ~ 1974. Right?
Should I think that Telecaster is same?

3. Do I have a fantasy about the guitar I want to have?
I really want a Butterscotch color, Maple neck telecaster.
But if you think about it, generally when Fender releases a reissue product (such as American Original or Anerican Vintage II), these guitars from the 1970s are not considered.
Is this just because the Telecaster that symbolizes the 1970s is Thinline or Custom deluxe?

4. Characteristics of the sound?
I am observing the sound characteristics of this guitar through various videos on YouTube.
I know most of all is calibrated sound source, but it sounds fantastic to my ears.
It works very well with Fender Princeton Reverb. The high notes and the Twang sound are excellent.
It doesn't feel big different from the Telecaster of the 1960s. What is it like in real life? I'd like to know how you feel about playing various telecasters.

There are a lot of stupid, long questions.
However, there are very few people who can answer these questions normally in Korea where I live.
Please help me. Great American coolies.

1) Yes, it does depend on originality and collectibility factors like finish. But, prices in general, and especially on eBay or Reverb, are somewhat random; sellers ask high and consider offers. And often, sellers are not truly knowledgeable about what they're selling (many listings have errors - often the year of the guitar).

Can you find a good, desirable, worthy 70s Tele in your budget? Probably. But, you need to learn about them first and be an informed buyer. And patient.


2) There is nothing really notable about 1973, Tele-wise. 1972 was an important year, and many or most Teles from that year are more desirable. It was during 1972 that Teles went from one to two string trees, and the notch where the upper bout meets the neck truly went away, slightly but notably altering the body shape. Standard colors also expanded. (The next milestone year was 1976.) Btw, the 70s Custom and Thinline Teles were model year 1972 (earliest ones made in 1971), and the Deluxe came out in 1973.


3) Well, there was no "butterscotch" finish in the 70s. But, an aged Blond with maple neck should be more common than other preferences.

As for Reissues... The reason the 70s Customs, Thinlines, and Deluxes are reissues is because those versions are from that era. Regular Teles from earlier periods are more "iconic" than the 70s model, thus generally more desirable and certainly more marketable.


4) You probably have a good sense of the general sound of a 70s Tele, but of course it can vary dramatically from one guitar to the next just like Teles from earlier periods. This is one of those variables that you just can't sort out until you play a guitar yourself. And yeah, if buying online, that unknown is part of the game.

---

If I were shopping from your position, I would focus on originality, fit/finish/condition, weight, and price. Loving the guitar and bonding with it is a gamble, but losing money doesn't have to be. As long as you don't pay too much, then you should not lose money if you don't like it and wish to sell it and move on. Keep in mind that lightweight 70s Teles are far more desirable and marketable than heavier ones. In the modern world of online shopping, many people purchase vintage guitars like this; research and buy carefully, and then sell and move on if you end up not liking it.
 

Sparky2

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Posts
5,241
Age
63
Location
Harvest, Alabama
KoreanVintageGuy,

The correct answer is, "if it's worth it to you, then it's worth it".

Me personally, I wouldn't spend that much money on ANY guitar without handling it, playing it plugged-in, and checking it out in detail, in person.

The key word that jumped out to me, in your original posting, was 'fantasy'.
You fantasize about owning a butterscotch color, maple neck telecaster.
Alright then;
Find a butterscotch color, maple neck telecaster that you can play and handle, in person.
Regardless of vintage or country of origin, proceed from there.
It might be American-made from 1981 or Made In Mexico from 2004.
If it feels great and sounds old-school, that's the one.


(Unless you are a millionaire.
Then forget everything I just said.
If you are a millionaire, just order whatever strikes your fancy off of Reverb.)

😉
 

ClashCityTele

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Posts
3,299
Age
60
Location
Washington, UK
I have a '76 black Tele Standard. It's heavy, 9lbs.
It had 1 Meg posts so was ice pick bright. I put up with that for years then finally installed 250K pots.
Best thing I ever did, along with brass saddles. Reverb prices are now around £2,300.

You may not get a perfect '73 model. You may still have to modify it a little. Go for the guitar you want regardless of the year.

My latest guitar is a Squier CV Tele Custom. Cost 12% of what my 76 is worth. And it's a better guitar in my opinion.
 

Alex W

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 29, 2003
Posts
3,651
Location
In my tube amp coccoon.
Hello, friends
I'm very interested in the Fender Telecaster of the 1970s.
A year after I started playing the guitar, I realized that I was pursuing a vintage sound.
It is very fantastic and makes me happy.
I don't do professional performances or recordings, but I dreamed of an original vintage instrument.
I already own two Fender Stratocaster. Therefore, I'm looking for the appropriate vintage Telecaster.

Considering the appearance, the times and the price, I would like to have a 1970s Telecaster.
However, I have a question below. Please help me.

1. Why is there a big price gap between similar Telecaster models in the 1970s in Reverb?
It ranges from $3000 to $8000.
Of course, it depends on the originality, appearance, and condition. But even considering this, there are many prices that are not understood.
I have a budget of $3000 to $4000 right now. Can it bed in this range? I'm very worried.

2. Is Telecaster in 1973 vintage enough?
For example, Stratocaster, as far as I know, has been "Old" since 1975, not "Vintage".
Quality is guaranteed until 1973 ~ 1974. Right?
Should I think that Telecaster is same?

3. Do I have a fantasy about the guitar I want to have?
I really want a Butterscotch color, Maple neck telecaster.
But if you think about it, generally when Fender releases a reissue product (such as American Original or Anerican Vintage II), these guitars from the 1970s are not considered.
Is this just because the Telecaster that symbolizes the 1970s is Thinline or Custom deluxe?

4. Characteristics of the sound?
I am observing the sound characteristics of this guitar through various videos on YouTube.
I know most of all is calibrated sound source, but it sounds fantastic to my ears.
It works very well with Fender Princeton Reverb. The high notes and the Twang sound are excellent.
It doesn't feel big different from the Telecaster of the 1960s. What is it like in real life? I'd like to know how you feel about playing various telecasters.

There are a lot of stupid, long questions.
However, there are very few people who can answer these questions normally in Korea where I live.
Please help me. Great American coolies.

IMO a 1970s guitar is just "old" without carrying "vintage" mystique, at least not much. Whether paying $3,000-$8,000 is worth it is relative and also personal.

I personally don't get $8,000 worth of enjoyment out of any guitar. I might be tempted to spend that kind of money on an instrument if I held it in my hands and played it and it totally blew me away, AND it was something that had lasting market value like a Martin acoustic guitar made out of Brazilian rosewood. I am not convinced that 1970s Fenders have any special or lasting market value. In fact my brother owns a 1970s Stratocaster and it's just another strat IMO. It's not bad, but it doesn't have any special mojo.
 

bgmacaw

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
11,425
Location
Near Athens GA USA
I used to own a 1973 Strat that I made the mistake of selling for a mere $250 back in 1992. It was a nice guitar but if I had the choice of buying it or one like it back for about $8000 or buying a new Fender Custom Shop, I'd go with the new Custom shop.

I am not convinced that 1970s Fenders have any special or lasting market value.

While I agree with your brother's opinion, the market says they do. Otherwise, that '73 Strat I mentioned would be selling for about $600-$800 (with inflation adjustment) and not $8000 (the one below is exactly like mine was, including the original case).

1973strat20.png
 

jvin248

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Posts
11,650
Location
Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
.

Spend your time searching for a top guitar tech near you. The guitar tech all the owners of vintage 1950s-1970s guitars take them to for repairs, setups, or improvements. Shopping for a guitar tech will take as much or more effort as finding a guitar.

Once you find them ... take any '$50 Beater' guitar to them and they will make it play like a Custom Shop / Famous Vintage guitar. Many of the vintage guitars never left the factory in as good of playability and high quality as they have received in the years since their value went up and owners started taking them to reputable repair shops.

All 1970s guitars were universally hated, regardless of model or brand, until about five years ago when the last of the late 1960s guitars floated into unreachable prices. Then players thought the 1970s guitars are not so bad after all.

After you locate that guitar tech, buy any modern Player Series MIM model that strikes your fancy and have them go through it as if it's a 1950s guitar. Have them do things like rolled fretboard edges, bullet fret ends, smooth out grub screws, soften any sharp metal edges. Make the guitar feel lived-in. You don't need to relic it, just make it feel like it's been played for decades. You know the difference between brand new dark denim jeans and jeans you've worn a thousand times. Same thing with a guitar. Shop for that guitar tech first. If you still desire a vintage guitar for some reason you can buy one sight unseen and you know who can get it to play and feel perfect even if it arrives as a bag of disassembled parts.

.
 

Alex W

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 29, 2003
Posts
3,651
Location
In my tube amp coccoon.
I used to own a 1973 Strat that I made the mistake of selling for a mere $250 back in 1992. It was a nice guitar but if I had the choice of buying it or one like it back for about $8000 or buying a new Fender Custom Shop, I'd go with the new Custom shop.



While I agree with your brother's opinion, the market says they do. Otherwise, that '73 Strat I mentioned would be selling for about $600-$800 (with inflation adjustment) and not $8000 (the one below is exactly like mine was, including the original case).

View attachment 1045979

Maybe you're right. I am thinking more about market value over the next 25-50 years. Who knows, maybe they will hold their value that long.

As an aside, I am mystified by the prices on Fender Custom Shop (and Gibson, and Gretsch) guitars. Online retailers have lots and lots of instruments priced in the $4500-$8000-ish range which leads me to think they are moving a lot of product at these prices. (As opposed to having mostly guitars in the $2000-$3000 range [which is also a lot of money] with a few halo pieces in the $4500-8000 range.) I can't figure out if all my fellow guitar players are saving up to buy one of these pricey guitars, or are a handful of young stockbrokers and cryptocurrency millionaires buying one every month? What gives?
 

bgmacaw

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Posts
11,425
Location
Near Athens GA USA
I can't figure out if all my fellow guitar players are saving up to buy one of these pricey guitars, or are a handful of young stockbrokers and cryptocurrency millionaires buying one every month? What gives?

48 EZ-Payments of only $125 a month.

Basically, on credit, sometimes subsidized by the manufacturer. This keeps inventory moving. The question now is how sustainable this business model will be in a time of rapidly rising inflation and interest rates.

My personal approach is to only pay cash for hobby purchases but some people don't mind running up huge credit card balances to buy luxury items, be it custom shop guitar gear or golf vacations.
 

bsman

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 8, 2003
Posts
2,860
Location
Santa Clara

1973 telecaster worth it? I really want it​


The second line is telling. Asking a bunch of co-dependents for affirmation means you've already made up your mind. Hopefully Mrs. KoreanVintageGuy never sees this thread... :D
 

Alex W

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 29, 2003
Posts
3,651
Location
In my tube amp coccoon.
48 EZ-Payments of only $125 a month.

Basically, on credit, sometimes subsidized by the manufacturer. This keeps inventory moving. The question now is how sustainable this business model will be in a time of rapidly rising inflation and interest rates.

My personal approach is to only pay cash for hobby purchases but some people don't mind running up huge credit card balances to buy luxury items, be it custom shop guitar gear or golf vacations.

I agree with your approach. I set aside a little each payday to my personal toy fund, and I save up for every purchase. It makes me think twice before purchasing something, for one thing. Aside from avoiding ill advised impulse buys, it also means I have my powder dry when there's some great sale or something I have long been hunting for pops up on the market.
 

msalama

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Posts
1,779
Location
EUnistan
and not $8000

Won't sell for $7999 though. $4000 tops, if folks haven't lost their minds completely. That guitar isn't worth 8 grand, not even near.

But then, some EU eejit is asking €10000 for a factory black '73 too... :D
 




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