American Original 60’s Tele Vs. American Elite Tele

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

  1. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I won't speak for Boris B. but here's my take on it - the AOs are really a "cost cutter", but they have to be less expensive for Fender to manufacture and stock:

    Finish - Yep, that "flash coat" finish was thin. And it dented easily - it seems like Fender did something to toughen it up a little bit after the first couple of years because you stopped see quite as many posts about "the finish on my AV flaked off just by looking at it" posts. So a slightly thicker but easier to apply and handle (i.e. less like to be damaged during manufacturing and less likely to be damaged by the dealers) is a cost savings. From the few AOs I've picked up and played the finish really seems to be similar to the 1998-2012 AVRI models.

    There is also some overhead cost savings by Fender no longer having to stock special cases, reprint paperwork, "vintage wiring kits", and other case candy that is no longer included in the AOs. Fender had to stock 4 cases (tweed for the '52 Tele and '56 Strat; brown tolex for the '58 Tele, '59 Strats, and '64 Tele; black tolex for the '65 Strat; larger black tolex for the Offsets); they could cut that by 1 (tweed for the '50s models, black tolex for the '60s models, larger black tolex for the offsets) and change to a more generic/modern case center pocket case design that could be used for other models. The AVs were specific for the series; Fender didn't sell them separately. Then there's the extra time (and time is money) packing all that stuff into the cases when the guitars are completed.

    It's not a huge difference, but on limited selling models it becomes more important.
     
  2. Revelation

    Revelation Tele-Meister

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    Though the elite is a great guitar, I prefer the sound of the pickups on the Professional and American Original 60's. When you get the quiet pickups, its design doesn't get the same classic sound. The same can be said with the Fender jazz Elites bass guitars vs the Professional or American Standard. Don't get me wrong, the Elites still sound amazing but it's not the sound I am looking for if I want a classic Tele sound.
     
  3. gregrjones

    gregrjones TDPRI Member

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    I own both the AO 60's AND an Elite and I can't really decide which I like best. The differences in the guitars have been thoroughly discussed.... I don't have anything to add there.... what strikes me is how we guitarists can OBSESS over those differences.

    In the end, the traditional vs modern saddles, as an example..... make little if any discernible difference in terms of intonation or tone to my ears. I certainly couldn't tell the difference in a blind-fold test.

    If I were to be blind-folded and play the two, the biggest difference I hear are in the pickups but even so that difference is still relatively small. The N4's are smoother sounding (a characteristic of noiseless in general) while the 64's are a little 'hairier' or 'rawer' in the mids & highs.

    Both are great guitars. I'm thankful to own both!
     
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  4. Evil Funk

    Evil Funk Tele-Meister

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    This is my American Elite. Love it. It has many features that are not found on other models. Sadly it has spoiled me, and any other model i look at seems too inferior to even consider. I know that's not true, but the American Elite series just does that to you. I even bought an American Elite Jazz bass to match.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I couldn't answer it because I don't think we have any agreement as to what is "nitro" and what is "poly".

    The lacquer I shot as a little kid in the early 1960s is voyages away from the "lacquer" we often see today. Chemists today are adding all kinds of substances to so called lacquers, to change the performance and the characteristics of the finish. Things dry slowly, resist runs, mightily resist checking and so forth and while they haven't achieved something like an Imron finish, these are advanced, modern finishes. Maybe we need a new category, between the traditional polyurethanes and polyesters, and something you could easily strip off in a few seconds with the right solvent.
     
  6. gregrjones

    gregrjones TDPRI Member

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    BTW, OTOH, I CAN tell a difference between the stock stainless steel saddles vs the brass ones I swapped in on the AO. But only after I made comparison recordings. The brass opens up the tone, giving better top end and clarity.
     
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  7. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Afflicted

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    That's why I'm glad some pickup makers compare their own pickups not only based on output, but also on bass-mids-trebles. I wish Fender did the same. I quite like some mids (and I like some ceramic pickups because of their mids), I'm not a big fan of trebles. But that way at least we would have some indication about what to expect from the pickups, even if both guitars are expected to be of high and equal quality.
     
  8. Lenny1716

    Lenny1716 Tele-Meister

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    Unable to decide, so....
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. CV Jee Beez

    CV Jee Beez Tele-Holic

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    Horses for courses but, if I didn't have a custom shop Tele, I'd get the American Original.
     
  10. Revelation

    Revelation Tele-Meister

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    Nice but why get the same color? Now the difference between the two is even less.
     
  11. Old Tele Hack

    Old Tele Hack Tele-Meister

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    Attaboy!!!!
     
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  12. Lenny1716

    Lenny1716 Tele-Meister

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    That's a story in itself. Went to GC looking for the Orig 50's to try out. And, it was the last day to take advantage of 15% off sale. They did not have one in stock. The sales person said they could order it and have it in 3-7 days and, the 15% would apply, if I paid for it "now". My wife spotted the Elite hanging and said, "Why don't you try that one?". I did, and, I liked it. But, as said, the 15% off deal ended that day. After some discussion, the sales person said if I bought both to compare them, I had 45 days to return either. It turned out, they are two distinctly different guitars (for a number of reasons). I liked both. Had I perhaps taken more time to consider alternate color(s), I may have ordered the Elite in a different color scheme. But, I don't mind that each are Butterscotch. Of my Strats, a couple are the same color, which I don't mind either. All and all, color is the only similarity between these two guitars. They are vastly different in sound, design and, overall specs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  13. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    The AO is a '60's-style guitar in terms of most specs, including the fact that the finish will age differently than a modern style guitar, due to the more fragile finish. Out of the two you named, if you want a traditional Tele, get the AO. If you don't care about it looking like a classic old Fender, then just get whichever you find to be the best feeling and sounding guitar.

    Personally, I like the way old-school Teles look, feel, and break in. Of those two choices, the AO would be a no brainer for me. I'm not a fan of the contours and such on some modern Teles, and I always prefer lacquer finishes whenever I can get them. They just look so good over time, and break in so nicely to my hands on the neck.
     
  14. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Holic

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    I own the very same guitar. Agree 100%. Once I tried the Elite...no other Fender neck worked for me...haven't tried any custom shop stuff tho...that is a different kettle of fish!
     
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  15. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Holic

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    So Lenny1716.....did you end up returning one of the Teles or did you keep both? What are the differences between the two? I own the Elite and am curious.:)
     
  16. Lenny1716

    Lenny1716 Tele-Meister

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    As a long time Strat owner, these were my first Teles, so decided to keep both, as (other than color), their basic feel (neck) and sound (pickups) are distinctly different. Beyond that, the differences are significant; starting with body contour (as you should know the Elite). The 50's Gloss Nitrocellulose, body (Ash) and neck finish, 52-U neck shape, 21-vintage tall frets, 9.5" radius fret board, vintage tuning machines. Those are the primary differences from the Elite. For me, because I have small hands, I find the Elite C-D neck shape and fretboard 9.5"-14" profile, the best I have played. That's my view.
     
  17. vox Phantom

    vox Phantom Tele-Meister

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    Here is mine I sold a Amp and a Strat to get a used 2015 American
    Thin Line Deluxe Telecaster. The guitar is light just 6.2lbs had it setup
    Compound Radius Neck N3 Noiseless Pickups with the S1 Switch with
    and F Hole. the guitar was Mint fen15tele-amdlx-thinline-nat2.jpg fen15tele-amdlx-thinline-nat.jpg
     
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