Anyone else not like Thinlines? Or at least, most of them?

Thinlines: Love 'em or hate 'em

  • Love

    Votes: 79 51.3%
  • Hate

    Votes: 7 4.5%
  • Meh

    Votes: 47 30.5%
  • I've found a few I like

    Votes: 21 13.6%

  • Total voters
    154

El Tele Lobo

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Now don't get me wrong...I've wanted to like thinlines. I think they look cool, I like the lighter weight and would expect a warmer, more airy sound from them. But almost every thinline I've ever tried has sounded, if anything, brighter and thinner than their solidbody counterparts, yet with less of a traditional-sounding twang. Maybe they just need higher-wind pickups. Maybe it was wood choice (does wood affect tone in an electric guitar? <grabs popcorn>). Or maybe it's the design. I suspect that less body mass leads to both less full twang and less warmth in warmer pickup selections. So, to my dismay, I've generally found them both less able to do the "jazzy" thing and less able to do the traditional tele thing. If you happen to find one that you like the sound, great, but I've yet to do so. At least with stock tele pickups.

The one exception to date (for me) seems to be the 72 reissue thinline...every one I've played has a nice warm tone with plenty of balanced, high-end clarity. Makes me wonder how much pickups (case in point: the very warm-sounding wide-range humbuckers) factor into this...

What do you think? Poll included.

NOTE: The purpose of this thread is simply a friendly discussion of our opinions...I'm not trying to trigger anyone. I'm fully willing to consider I'm in the minority here...or maybe not. But please remember the RULES here and treat each other (and me) with RESPECT. We remain the friendliest guitar forum on the web only so long as we continue to respect one another...ESPECIALLY those we differ with. Love you guys.
 

fender4life

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Sep 18, 2011
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Not my experience in general. Yes, so can sound thin but so can solids so i'm not really seeing this. If ash and maple yes, they can be bright and i happen to have one. But it's only bright if i let it be. I can dial the amp in so the brightness is not thin but instead nice and chimey and crisp and i love it. BUT, i will say that you gotta use the right pickups and fender in my experience rarely chooses the best for a given model. It's not thier fault because no matter what they put in them there will be plenty of people who don't like them.

Anyways, mine has pickups that would be anything BUT dark, in fact bright. But they just work in it. 6.4k A5 bridge and 6.2k A5 neck. Sounds wonderful. But remember, it's the amp too, it's the way u dial it in, it's your needs/expectations, it's how you wire it, the list goes on. My question to you is how many thinlines have you owned? Because there's no way that listening to clips or playing them in the showroom is going to come remotely close to what you will experience if you own it and experiment till u get the best from it, meaning amps, settings, pickups, etc. Mine HAS sounded like u said in the past. But only when i was playing it thru an amp that was exceptionally bright and/or with pickups that were way wrong for it.

In short, it's ash and maple and i don't find it any different than a solid ash and maple tele, BUT, ash/maple is bright and you do have to figure out what works for it whether it's solid or a thinline. Thats my experience anyways. Mine is very light by the way at 6 Lbs 6 oz and it's a 68' RI with the traditional bridge and pickups, not a WRHB or anything like that. It's one of those rare guitars that u buy and can't imagine ever selling it. Bought it about 3-4 years ago and i like it as much or more today than ever.
 

UPtele

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They are growing on me. Thinking about building a parts caster soon. Hopefully natural ash with a maple board
 

KC

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My #1 tele's a Thinline so I guess I have a dog in this fight. I have also owned a few solid body Teles and my operating theory is that pickups, string choice and mysterious guitar personality have more to do with the sound of each guitar than the body types. Of course, body type contributes to mysterious guitar personality but so does fingerboard wood, radius, neck thickness and a bunch of other factors. When I changed pots & pickups on mine and had the thing set-up, leveled and crowned by and excellent tech, it changed from a good guitar to a great one. But I wouldn't expect this from every thinline, or every solid body.
 

msalama

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I'll refrain from voting, because I honestly don't know. I've tried a couple and they never swept me off my feet, but OTOH weren't bad either. Meh, then?

And yet if I had to choose between the traditional and the semiacoustic, the trad would probably be my choice every time...
 

MilwMark

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My #1 tele's a Thinline so I guess I have a dog in this fight. I have also owned a few solid body Teles and my operating theory is that pickups, string choice and mysterious guitar personality have more to do with the sound of each guitar than the body types. Of course, body type contributes to mysterious guitar personality but so does fingerboard wood, radius, neck thickness and a bunch of other factors. When I changed pots & pickups on mine and had the thing set-up, leveled and crowned by and excellent tech, it changed from a good guitar to a great one. But I wouldn't expect this from every thinline, or every solid body.

That sounds similar to my perspective. A Thinline is just a Tele with a small hole in it. I doubt that hole makes a predictable and consistent difference. Maybe for those made of mahogany, but at the margins?

I also don't think Thinlines are consistently "lighter". My uninformed pure guess is that for ash ones, maybe if anything heavier ash goes into the thinline pile? Not that much wood is removed and they seem to range generally what solid body ones do, whenever I've looked.
 

Frontier9

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Greetings from Sunny New Jersey
The 2003 (or there abouts) '69 reissue that I have came with era correct 1MΩ potentiometers in it. Those, and the original meh pickups made it sound a bit thin. With 500KΩ pots and better pickups, it sounds pretty good to me. It is basically a solid body guitar, btw. Just a plank you can stick various metal and electronic bits into. It can end up sounding like any other single coil bearing tele...
 

Winky

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Can't imagine why I'd want one. They seem to be a watered-down version of a "real" semi-hollow. Having said that, I'm sure there are great examples out there. Might be an option if I was determined to ONLY have one guitar. But even then, it might not be my first choice.
 

kuch

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I found one that I like. It's a G&L Asat classic semi-hollow/thinline.
I don't know if it's the body or pickups, probably the pickups, but it sounds like my Am std, just more mellow.

04 G&L Asat classic thinline.jpg
 

ponycar

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I have tried to like thinlines. I enjoy seeing comments about them just to learn about the characteristics etc. I also like the way Daryl Hall plays his.
If given one I would sell or trade it immediately. Can't stand the way they look. The exception to that negative comment is several photos I have seen posted, of builds by forum members, that have used a modified shape for the "F" hole.
As usual the creativity of the forum members is so refreshing and inspiring. To each his own.
 

LOSTVENTURE

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There are two distinct models. The single coil version I like, the HB version I don't.
Mine is an American Vintage 68 which came with no-caster pickups. It weighs around 5 pounds and is very resonant. I find it sounds much different than solid body Teles, but not in a bad way.
My only experience with the HB version was back in the early 70's, and it was very short lived. I already had the 68 LPC, and the Tele was just no match. Really dull sounding at all switch settings.
 




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