1973 telecaster worth it? I really want it

carpenter

Tele-Afflicted
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Dec 2, 2018
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1,455
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mountains in Kentucky
I have a 73 tele, but is hard to tell. Neck plate number says 73. The neck says Jan 72.
I paid $350.00 in 1978. A few years back, purchased rosewood neck from fender.
Price was $550.00 I think. I am attached to it for a number of reasons. But if i had the money I would just buy a custom shop new. Just saying. And forgot to say picture
to the left with chrome pick guard is the guitar.
 

landofahhs

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Nov 5, 2018
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Arkansas City, Kansas
As an older person who lived through the 50's and is still kicking, I can say most of the vintage market is mostly just...well...people who have too much money and purchase or collect, as a personal extension, so they can have bragging rights. Even the collectors that play, put the instruments on a shelf because they have spent so much money they are afraid to touch them much less play a note.

My advice, as others have eluded to, purchase the guitar because YOU like it. Any guitar can be vintage when it has a loving and caring owner that respects and takes care of it...Survival is the only prerequisite to being vintage. Don't place so much value upon the hype others spew about how differently one guitar was made versus another after the management changes. It's the sound and your fingers that matter, right? As a player trust your fingers and ears...what do THEY tell you??

Your life is YOURS. You are intelligent, can play, and have ears...use those tools and trust yourself, because if you buy a nice guitar, I want it to be YOUR baby the rest of your life. Conversely, if you don't like the guitar I don't want YOU to blame someone on this forum either and end up trashing a nice instrument.

Forgive me...I did not mean to rant or insult anyone. I just hate it when I see or hear a young person who hesitates and doesn't listen to their own impulses. If I'd done that back when I was 21 I would have NEVER owned a 60's Tele.
 

blue metalflake

Doctor of Teleocity
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ireland
I have a ‘73 Tele, bought new in January ‘74. I now know I was fairly lucky in getting a guitar that sounded like I wanted, was good quality, etc - still my pride & joy.
There‘s no guarantees however, as there’s some terrible guitars from the same era. Change to body shape (notch), 2 string trees, CBS influences at the plant, seemed to be an era of change, with the Custom & Deluxe 3 bolt versions coming out at the same time. I’ve played some right dogs from that time, so you don’t need to buy blindly.
The other thing to bear in mind is authenticity, if you’re paying big money. You need to be very careful, to forensic detail, in every aspect. At the time, I don’t think anyone was too interested in preserving original parts. Spares were introduced as required, bits swopped about & not with the intention of defrauding someone 50 years on, but just due to necessity.
My guitar has a neck pick up replaced one Saturday afternoon, with a replacement from the local Fender dealer. Went down at a gig on Friday - needed for another gig Saturday. By early 80’s it was getting rough looking, so I had a refin done - I fancied something a bit different.
It still sounds like it always did, but I didn’t do the valuation any good.
Its too big a gamble to buy unseen. You need to play, feel & hear it, before paying big money.
 

takauya

Tele-Meister
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425
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Forest
If a 70s Fender and a MIM today were the same price, and if you think without their vintage values, I'd gladly pick the MIM.
 

msalama

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EUnistan
Custom & Deluxe 3 bolt versions coming out
Those are however much better guitars than their reputation was initially, or at least the ones I've had have been. Yeah, their necks can be chunky, some are heavy, and the thick poly will withstand a nuclear attack, but I've found them great playing and sounding axes regardless. Just my inflated 70's $0.001 though, whereas YMMV... and most likely will ;)
 

Tubeboy

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May 20, 2017
Posts
202
Location
Saratoga Springs NY
Had a 73 Tele in like a Creme color but you could still see the grain paid $350 for it. It was modified with a brass bridge and nut one of my first good guitars. Got scammed out of it by a supposed friend gave him the guitar but he didn't give me the money. About a year later I got a set of skis for it I'm pretty sure they were stolen sold them for $100. Wish I had it still!
 

rocnrik

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Sep 20, 2008
Posts
21
Location
madison hghts,va
I’ve been disappointed with almost every Vintage guitar I’ve played … especially fender . The neck radius,small fret wire are not good for bends and just don’t play like a nice modern guitar .. the few good ones I played all had refrets/ flatter radius .. to each his own but unless you are collecting there are great options that are a fraction of cost without the worry of taking out a vintage piece to a bar gig ..
 

Terrygh1949

Tele-Meister
Joined
Nov 14, 2018
Posts
303
Age
73
Location
Kansas
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.
IMG_20200126_203847122.jpg

This is a 1974 Fender American Tele. Bought it new and, have played it a bunch. Sweet playing, sounding, and, the feel of the neck is velvety smooth and, like they always say Like butter. Original hard case and, ash tray to cover the bridge. I've been offered a lot of money for it but, for sentimental reasons and, just because I still like to play it, ain't going nowhere. If I were you and, could find one I surely wouldn't pay more than $3000. The vintage are nice but, in my opinion the new ones are quite well made and, sound pretty damned good. Just sayin'.
 

Ron Likes Teles

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Posts
31
Location
Kennesaw, GA
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.
3. Do I have a fantasy about the guitar I want to have?

Maybe. GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) can make you feel as though your life will only be complete when you obtain X instrument. From personal experience, I can say there was nothing magical about the 1975 telecaster I bought off ebay many years ago. It was built in a factory by ordinary people who took no special care to assemble it, and played by people who treated it like a working tool. It was old and the neck had issues that I couldn't see until I actually played it. The tone, to my ears, was not appreciably different from the 1990s telecaster I owned at the time. Today it would be worth about 3x what I paid for it then, but I was so disappointed in the actual instrument that I sold it after a couple of months.

As others have pointed out, you can find some really great sounding and playing modern instruments. NOW is the golden age of guitars for tone and playability. I'm a huge fan of Strandberg:
 

sg2k

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Posts
15
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I spent weeks playing high end guitars and ended up buying a 74 (neck 73) Tele Deluxe. Best guitar I played in my search. Light, flat and thin neck, plays like a dream. And the pickups are divine. Played numerous CS guitars as well. Nothing came close.

I know this era is seen as a mixed bag, but in thst mixed bag as amazing instruments. You'd just want to ACTUALLY play any guitar from this period BEFORE you buy it if at all possible. Because thst same mixed bag has a lot of garbage in it.

FTR mine is 8lbs 2 ounces. There's a 78 in the same shop, a Custom, and it's almost 13lbs.

So caveat emptor.
 

wrr3

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Posts
35
Location
CA
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.
Hello, old timer Tele player here and I wish you luck in your pursuit of vintage sound! These are not stupid questions and I understand your desire of wanting that vintage sound.

Here's an article worth reading if your haven't already-

I'd like to add that the 1970s CBS Teles (and all Fenders) were the ones we avoided like the plague back in the day. I'm not up on the value of these but if you're looking for a vintage sound I can't imagine these are the ones you want. To my ears and those of my guitar playing friends they didn't have the resonance, body and character of the pre CBS Teles. The three bolt necks were especially undesirable.

If vintage sound is your #1 goal I'd suggest playing as many as you can and when you find the right sound buy it regardless of year!

I've had 50s and 60s pre CBS Teles and they varied quite a bit. They weren't all great but a couple were. In the last few years I started building "Partscasters" in my attempt to recreate a vintage sound and have been successful. They won't have great resale value but to me their value is in the feel and sound I remember.

Good luck in your search!
 

Tom Grattan

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
Joined
Nov 10, 2020
Posts
168
Age
76
Location
California
"I am observing the sound characteristics of this guitar through various videos on YouTube" Wrong. It may
"sound" good to you listening to a clip on YouTube but it'll never give you an accurate representation of what the guitar sounds like. Remember, you've got an electric guitar and you have to plug it into an amp. That's a big part of the equation. Wanting something is great, we all do it but when you get what you want it just might be different that what you imagined it would be. I've got my "fantasy" guitar along with some others and I was not looking for it when I got it.

Good luck
 

ricknbaker

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Posts
1,470
Location
Watford, UK
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.
This. I have a 76 Strat. It's nice but new ones are better. Much lighter for a start.
 

bluesmain

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2013
Posts
46
Location
tucson az
went thru decades of fender and g&l
then discovered warmoth find the site also see warmoth guitars on ebay and reverb see my pervious posts one warmoth i own was built by john carruthers luthier at fender and musicman also one i found on ebay and sent to bill nash in seattle to upgrade to warmoth neck
now i own over 10 warmoths and other partscasters
wanna see a hardcore '72 tele watch tab benoit shows and interviews
untouched 72 thinline
fender is not the only answer IMHO
 

msalama

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jul 16, 2021
Posts
1,779
Location
EUnistan
The three bolt necks were especially undesirable

Yeah, given your generation's prejudices, they of course were. I, on the other hand, currently own two 70's Customs and one Deluxe, and their neck slots and joints are just as good, tight and sturdy as on any 60's Teles I've ever owned or played - and yes, I've owned a couple of those back in the day, too.

And yep, CBS did manufacture more stinkers than Leo did, per se, but that wasn't my point. Find the good ones and you'll find that they're still good, albeit vastly different from the "golden years" stock. Whether you can accept this however, is up to you...
 

BluegrassPicker

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Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Posts
32
Location
Pacific NW - USA
My two pennies is that there is lots of great advice in this thread. I have an original '72 Custom that I bought used back in the '70's at a time when I was relatively cash poor. I wanted a Tele and the local music store wanted $300. It was in rough shape and had been modded to what extent I didn't know but it played and I bought it since it had the "Les Paul" volume-tone configuration that I liked and was the only Tele available at the time in my area like that and that I could barely afford. I wish I would have known some of the things people here on this thread are saying but for me it would have come down to affordability and what I wanted.

The general guideline for me now is if you can afford it without taking away from the roof over your head or food off the table or clothing off your kids' back and have your position in life set for the rest of your days, then choose wisely with a multitude of counselors such as here in this thread, and then get what you really want.

The bottom line is you only travel this road once and you can't turn the clock back at the end of the road.
 
Last edited:

adjason

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Posts
6,169
Location
virginia
Well the tele custom in my avatar picture is a 73. A couple of things about it- it has the best bridge pickup sound from any tele I have ever heard even with the 1 meg pots- I just turn the tone knob down, its nut width is a little thinner than a modern Fender, I love the look but really am not a big fan of the wide range humbucker ( I know this is sacrilegious to some). I actually sold it a couple of years ago but would love to have a regular old standard 70's tele. I say enjoy the hunt and try to play some- you should be able to find a mid 70's tele in the $2500-$4000 range.
 




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