American Original 60’s Tele Vs. American Elite Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DustinG, May 8, 2018.

  1. DustinG

    DustinG TDPRI Member

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    I think I've narrowed down my next tele purchase (and my first non-MIM tele purchase) to either the American Original 60's tele and a Thinline Elite tele?

    Thoughts from anyone who's played both?

    Regarding the Elite, I could potentially go with a used older Deluxe instead as I would likely swap out the noiseless pickups for a Twisted Tele/Broadcaster (or bridge Nocaster) set, and I'm not sure if the other small changes beyond the pickups justify the cost of the elite over the deluxe.

    With the Elites/Deluxe, I like the compound radius fretboard and the countered neck heel, and I like the light weight of the thinline.

    I was pretty set to go this direction, until the 60's American Original came out. I'm not very familiar with the '64 pickups (beyond watching some youtube videos). I'm a sucker for that double binging & fiesta red though. :)

    The only Elite I've been able to play is a solidbody one in Guitar Center, but it was set up like crap, and had bad fret sprout, so it was tough to get a good impression of it.

    I currently also have a 50's Baja tele, and a MIM Thinline Deluxe (as seen in my profile pic). I'd likely sell the Deluxe Thinline to help pay for one of the guitars mentioned above).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's

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    All the Elites have been great that I've seen. The big difference between the two (for me) is the neck shape. Original series feels thicker/fuller.
     
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  3. DustinG

    DustinG TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, that's one thing I don't love about the Elites. I like the compound radius fretboard, but would rather a bit of a thicker neck. Could go the Warmoth route, but tough buying it sign unseen, and Warmoth parts don't hold their value as well as Fenders if I needed to resell it).
     
  4. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    If you're open at all to Used, I'd go back and look at nice examples of the "Pure Vintage" era AVs, such as the AV52, AV58, AV64, 2012-2017 roughly. These are just way more guitar than this new American Original. The AO is a cost cutter guitar and it shows. Some things about it remind me of the older Highway 1 guitars, from 2001 to 2005 or 2006, which cost more like $ 400-500 then.

    If you like a fat neck, you can't like rosewood also - Fender won't work with you. Check out these AV52s or even a used FCS No-Caster from a few years ago.

    I've had good success with combining rosewood and fat necks and compound radii with Warmoth, but these necks are visually MUCH more different from FMIC than most people realize. The naked profile of the headstock may seem similar, but the shaping of the heel to neck section is radically different, the fall away in front of the truss rod adjustment is almost vertical and the truss rod looks wholly different. IF you buy Warmoth, get the VM and not the "Pro". The Gotoh rod in the Pro is so powerful, you will feel like you're playing a neck made of metal.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
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  5. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's

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  6. MRey

    MRey Tele-Meister

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    The biggest selling points of the Elite are the neck and electronics, you already don’t want the electronics, which neck do you want more? Only you can decide, ha ha.

    I have an Elite and love it.
     
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  7. DustinG

    DustinG TDPRI Member

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    Glad to hear you like the Elite. I might just need to spend more time with the N4 pickups before writing them off. My MIM Deluxe has the N3's, which are ok, but not great.
     
  8. whoanelly15

    whoanelly15 Tele-Holic

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    I haven't played the AO yet but I like the specs a lot. And the 64 pups are amazing, especially the neck. If you were disappointed in them, you'd be the first. ;)

    I prefer 7.25 or or 9.5 radius and a bigger neck, so I don't get along with the Elite's compound radius and smaller profile. I'm sure they're great guitars though. Play em both in your amp and see what you like.

    If I were buying another tele today, I'd be playing every Baja (which you already have) or 60's AO that I could get my hands on. The 64 pups with that binding... righteous!
     
  9. Festus_Hagen

    Festus_Hagen Tele-Holic

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    Are the AV's Poly or Laquer ?
     
  10. h4ck.b0x7

    h4ck.b0x7 Tele-Holic

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    How is the AO 60's Tele a "cost cutter" guitar? I own an AO '60's and a PV '64. I also owned a PV '52 until I got the '64. What cost cutting are you talking about?
     
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  11. nedray

    nedray Tele-Meister

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    I've got a Thinline Elite that i like a lot. The N4 pickups are good enough--they'll spank if you play them right, plus they're noiseless and they work with the S1 Switch, which puts the pickups in series to sound like a humbucker. The Thinline model also has a totally unique bridge, which slides down into a slot in the body and is supposed to maximize vibration transfer. I don't know about any of that, and a pure traditionalist will hate it, but I think it's interesting and it would take a Bigsby with little or no modification if you're into that at all. I also have a AVRI 52 Tele and a Custom Shop gold sparkle styled after a '66 model. Those do a better job of copping the classic Tele spank, if that's what you're looking for. I've seen the 60s AO but didn't plug it in, so I can't speak to that one specifically. It looks good though. If you want a versatile instrument, the Elite might actually be better. And did I mention it's noiseless? Lot to be said for that.
     
  12. Caillon

    Caillon Tele-Meister

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    Here is mine:

    [​IMG]


    It is a very balanced guitar, ethered, with a sustain more than correct, can be thanks to this bridge. The neck is a treat and the pups allow you to go from jazz to blues to rock...Plus it is light. My back thanks me.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  13. The Birdman

    The Birdman TDPRI Member

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    I haven't tried an Original 60's yet, but I do have a Thinline Elite. I would definitely try the N4 pickups at length before giving up on them if you decide to go for the Elite.

    Maybe someone here knows better, but I don't think the pickups in the MIM Thinline Deluxe are N3s. I believe they are the older Vintage Noiseless. I also have a MIM Deluxe Thinline, and those pickups are very different from the N4s in the Elite. The N4s have much more clarity.
     
  14. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The AVs from 2012-2017 are this "Flash" type of "nitro" lacquer topcoat. Looks expensive. FMIC was so proud of it, now they're not saying much.
     
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  15. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    That is correct; the MIM Deluxes use the old Vintage Noiseless pickups.
     
  16. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Another to consider is the American Professional. The whole American Professional line is killing it, IMO. Every time I pick one up, I'm blown away. Even though I am predisposed to nitro. The finishes feel and look great. Medium full C neck. Great pickups. Great fit and finish. Great value. Won't scratch a "nitro" itch. But neither will the Elite.
     
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  17. BigD

    BigD Friend of Leo's

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    I bet the dealers killed the AV/PV line. How many NGD's would say they got a deep discount for a finish flaw? There goes the dealers profit right there. I'm glad I got a couple before they dropped the line. I actually have a "First 46" 58 Tele : )
     
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  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You don't seem to have answered h4ck.b0x7 's question. I would love to hear your answer as well.

    As an aside, for every "isn't my ultra thin finish" great post about the "flash coat" AVs, there seemed to be 3 complaining that they chipped just looking at them, and don't dare breath on them. I suspect Fender went away not as a cost-cutting measure, but because they got tired of reading that (or getting complaints).

    The AOs are nitro finished (at least the part I touch, which is all I care about). The fit, finish and fretwork are really great on every one I pick up.

    I own a 50s AO and a 60s AO Tele. They are just really fine Teles. Beautiful rosewood and maple. Beautiful finishes. Ring like a bell. I prefer the slightly flatter radius and (very) slightly taller frets over the AV. Fender hit a homerun and to state they are lower quality with no support is not productive, nor is it reflective of reality IMO.

    I've owned really nice 50s and 60s AVs, but they are long gone. The AOs addressed what I didn't love about the AVs. But that's just personal preference. I certainly see no quality difference between them.
     
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  19. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    Those are my two favourite current Teles!
    I’ve been playing an American Elite for 2 years now — still absolutely love it. However I have recently played the AO 60s and it’s a very good guitar indeed. Here are some of my thoughts:
    * pickups — I don’t think you’ll have a problem with the N4s. They sound great to me and very little noise indeed.
    * tuners — locking tuners on the Elite, making for quick easy string changes vs vintage on the AO which are a little more fiddly perhaps
    * truss rod adjustment — super simple wheel adjust on the Elite vs traditional butt adjustment complete with removing at least the scratchplate and maybe the neck
    * series pickup mode on the Elite via the S1 switch. I vastly prefer this to a Baja-style 4-way switch but I personally don’t find this a terribly useful sound so I wouldn’t miss it. Some people worry about reliability with the S1 switch
    * compound radius fingerboard vs 9.5” radius — I will be honest, I don’t find the compound radius terribly noticeable, just very comfortable. The slight change in the neck carve as the fingerboard flattens makes it feel very consistent all the way up. I’d be equally happy either way I think — but I’m not a shredder...
    * modern 6-saddle bridge vs traditional 3-saddle — I’m happy with either, to some people the trad bridge is the only option, to others only a 6-saddle option allows accurate intonation. I was swayed to the Elite partly by the 6-saddle intonation argument but I would discount this now and would be quite happy with 3 traditional saddles.
    * belly carve on the Elite — it’s comfortable but not essential for me. However the front binding makes its presence known to my forearm... I think the rear binding might dig into the ribs after a long session. But damn it looks cool!
    * finishes — far more options on the Elite, including the Mystic Black which I have and gorgeous Ocean Turquoise, but both the red and blue AO 60s are beauties.

    So — to sum up — YMMV! Hope some of this helps your decision making... enjoy whichever way you go!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  20. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I’m going to throw in a vote for the Elite.
    Though I don’t own one, I’ve liked every one I’ve tried.
    I see one in my future!
     
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