Best Tele for under $1000?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by wyman101, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    road worn are nice ...
    Or buy two Squiers ...


    Everyone needs a back up ...
     
  2. wyman101

    wyman101 TDPRI Member

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    Is the baja better than the road worn?
     
  3. Fuggle

    Fuggle TDPRI Member

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    A Baja...
     
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  4. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 Tele-Holic

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    Used American Standard, seen quite a few in tje upper $800 & $900 area.
     
  5. Thinline casket

    Thinline casket Tele-Meister

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    I looked for it again. I think someone bought it. :cry::cry:
     
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  6. tbp0701

    tbp0701 Tele-Afflicted

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    Since you mentioned Japan-made Teles, I have one, a '62 CiJ. It's quite nice, although you'd likely find the neck too slim on that model, but the switch didn't last long. When I changed it and the pots I noticed the holes are drilled a little smaller. I was able to replace the switch but used the old pots until I get around to some time with a drill press. It's a little thing I didn't expect when going CiJ. Also after the duties, bank fees, etc., I should have just gone with a US or Mexico-made Tele.

    So if I'd do it over again now I'd likely look for a Baja or Classic Series, maybe watch for a deal on a good 52RI, or go with a US G&L ASAT which seem plentiful on the used market for under $1K.
     
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  7. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    50s Baja almost per definition.
     
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  8. bcorig

    bcorig Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    50’s Baja. Now find one.
     
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  9. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

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    +1 on the 50s Vintera. I have one. Looove it's nice and chunky neck! It's very close to a '52 Tele neck, but like the 50s Modified Vintera (which is basically a 50s Baja with a few changes), it also has a poly finish. If you insist upon a lacquer finish, maybe one of the now discontinued Classic 50s Telecaster Lacquer migh do the trick for you.

    https://reverb.com/p/fender-classic-series-50s-telecaster-lacquer-white-blonde
     
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  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Buy any MIM Fender Tele, the older Standards or the new Player Series, used. Then go on Stratosphere and Reverb to find and buy a chunky neck. Many Baja and Vintera buyers will swap the necks off for skinny little wimpy necks and sell off the nice chunky ones. I like chunky necks but many of the regular Tele necks are ok too.

    .
     
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  11. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I totally agree, except the OP wants a fat neck. The CV necks tend to be on the thin side from my experience, but otherwise they're excellent guitars.

    The MIM '50s Classic series (precursor to the Vintera, now discontinued) were great too, but the necks weren't quite as fat as the Bajas and the pickups weren't as nice. If you find a good deal on a used one though, it's a solid guitar.
     
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  12. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    MIM, MIJ, CIJ.
    That is all.
     
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  13. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell Tele-Holic

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    I heard of but never played the 50s Baja. When Fender announced they were discontinuing it, the praise for it showed up all over this forum and others. So I started looking for one I could afford. I'm still looking. The prices definitely went up and they last about three days on reverb. So if you see

    You might also want to look at this California Fat one on reverb. If I didn't need ever dollar during this mishegas, Id' buy it myself.
     
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  14. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    @wyman101 you said that you'd be "okay if it's not Fender." And you mentioned not being able to get out and test drive some teles, given the current circumstances, especially in your state. So I'm going to ask: have you considered, or would you consider a tele built by a boutique builder?

    It may not sound like this option is in your price range, but you'd be surprised. This guy I know in Wisconsin builds teles (and strats and jazzmasters, etc.), using licensed Fender necks, and his prices are in your ballpark.

    This suggestion is coming out of left field, I know. It may be out of your comfort zone. So I'll say no more about it unless you ask.
     
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  15. wyman101

    wyman101 TDPRI Member

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    I'd definitely consider something along those lines. I would just hate for someone to build me something custom and then I hate it.
     
  16. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you can't find a 50s Baja it has to be the Vintera 50s Mod. Although why they put black guards on those colours I will never know. Stick a white one on it and Bob's yer uncle.
     
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  17. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Wyman... did the guitar you borrowed and loved so much with the beefy neck have true vintage details? (7.25" radius and vintage frets.). You really need to know these details if you're going to try to get a good match to that neck.

    If so, you may not be so happy with a Baja '50s neck. While it is a beefy neck, it has modern, not vintage, details (9.5" radius and medium-jumbo frets).

    The Vintera '50s (not the Vintera '50s Modified) is a beefy U-shape, and does have the vintage details of 7.25" radius and vintage frets, so depending on what your borrowed guitar had on it, this neck may be a better match to your borrowed one.

    The 3 color choices on a new Vintera '50s may not please you. (They don't please me, anyway.) You could cherry-pick a used MIM body (eBay or Reverb) in a color choice you would love, and pair it with buying a "take-off" Vintera '50s neck from Stratosphere. This solution may please you the most - you get to pick and choose a body that thrills you, paired with the neck you specified.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, if the '52 Custom Shop Tele you borrowed had 9.5" radius and medium-jumbo frets, then you can buy pretty much that same neck as the Vintera '50s Modified. (Beefy V-shape, 9.5" radius, medium-jumbo frets). Stratosphere has a couple of those necks in stock right now ($300). Then pair that neck with whatever Tele body floats your boat (from eBay, Reverb, or Stratosphere). OR, buy a Baja '50s, if you can find one.

    Fender's Classic Series 50s Tele necks had 7.25" radius, but were not beefy (Classic C-shape), nor did they have vintage frets.

    So... just what were the specs on that Custom Shop '52 Tele neck that you liked so much?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  18. nicknklv

    nicknklv Tele-Meister

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    I don't own one, but as far as I now, they did a classier job on the relic on the latter ones. The first ones were really beat up, some argue unreasonably reliced. And btw, the neck of the RW is more of a C from what I've heard from folks. Regular Vintera 50s is a U, 50s Modified is a Soft V.

    My profile picture is a lovely Vintera 50's Modified for just under a grand. It is absolutely fantastic, my first Tele, too! :)
    There was a limited edition Daybreak Telecaster, 60's style white with black binding, that was around that price point, but there are not many of those left in circulation as it was a special run. I'd also look for used MIJ's, for example, the TL-62 and then maybe put a little more money into fixing up the electronics/ swtich pickups if you feel the need.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  19. wyman101

    wyman101 TDPRI Member

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    Thank you for your response! Here’s the thing. This guitar was by no means a traditional Tele. The neck was made by the custom shop specifically for Danny Gatton but then the dude shot himself. I’m not sure if the body was custom or not. The pickups are ron ellis 52s. I’m barely starting to learn ideas of radius and all that because i never thought i’d need to know. I don’t know if you can by pictures tell specs or what not but FC3ACC66-D18E-4C1F-B3D6-B780E13CB3A1.png here’s a pic of it at the last gig i did.
     
  20. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    That is definitely a valid concern, one I shared my first time out a dozen years ago. I'll address that concern more in just a bit, but for now let me get specific about my recommendation of a builder, and my experiences with him.

    In July of 2008, I custom ordered my first tele from Bob Logan of Logan Custom Guitars. I was a little nervous about ordering a guitar without being able to play it first, but obviously got over those fears and pulled the trigger on the deal. In the intervening dozen years, my collection of Logan Custom guitars has grown to seven. Here they are...
    10-20-2019 - Logan Custom family couch pic.jpg

    With one exception, all of these guitars were shipped to me from Delafield, Wisconsin (where Bob lives) to Corpus Christi, Texas (where I live), a distance of about 1,400 miles. The one exception is the one hanging on the wall in the upper right hand corner of the pic. It's Bob's design, a Challenger, in orange haze finish. In September of 2018, my wife and I vacationed in Wisconsin and Michigan, and while there actually got to meet Bob face to face for the first time. While visiting with him in his shop, I got to try out a bunch of his guitars: teles, a strat, jazzmasters and the Challenger. And that's what I came home with. I hadn't ever owned a guitar with humbuckers, so that trip remedied that. (And that makes for an ideal vacation, IMO. Visit some states you've never been to before, come home with a guitar. Nice!)

    Okay, how do you get over the fear of not liking a custom ordered guitar? There are two things that safeguard against this happening: (1) the buyer; and (2) the seller.

    Buyer. Here's what I mean by that. As a buyer, you have the responsibility to know for certain what features/specs you want. Or, if you don't know for certain every aspect, but you're willing to take a chance, then recognize that fact going in, and if it doesn't work out to your satisfaction, own the fact that you are the one that took a chance, you are the one that chose the specs. Then, if you don't like it, it isn't Bob's fault, and you either live with it or mod it. I'll give you two examples from my experiences/those guitars above, one that worked out to my liking, the other not so much.

    (1) The first tele on the left of the pic was my first. (All 5 of those teles are arranged from left to right on the couch in the order I acquired them.) The body is solid mahogany. The neck has a lot of Birdseye maple figuring, and is amber tinted. The neck pickup is a Wilkinson P-90. Because the mahogany body is a dense wood, it's heavy; the guitar weighs 9 lbs. 2 oz. That didn't matter to me a dozen years ago. I've gigged with that guitar strapped over my shoulder without giving it a second thought. The P-90 neck pickup is obviously a different choice than a traditional tele style neck pickup, but I was/am very happy with that P-90. I'm glad I have that in my sonic arsenal. So I made decisions about wood and pickups that didn't conform to the norm for teles, but I was delighted with the results.

    (2) The Challenger that I picked up while at Bob's shop is my only humbucker guitar, and I chose it in large part for that reason. I had been wanting to try humbuckers, so I made that decision. But as it turns out, I just don't like humbuckers as much. That's not Bob's fault. I chose it; it was an experiment, and it didn't work out like I'd hoped. Oh, and BTW, the neck with that snakehead headstock is the chunkiest of all my Logan guitars, and a different profile. I can't remember if it's D shaped or U shaped, but it's a different feel. But I really enjoy playing it; that neck feels good in my hand. I don't gig with it as much as with my teles, but I've gigged that Challenger more times than I can count.

    Seller. Okay, part two of the dealing with fears concerning a custom ordered guitar. Know as much as you can about the seller's reputation and policies. This is a general principle. For example, I've bought a couple of guitars and a couple of amps from Sweetwater Music online. They have a great reputation, and they are great about making things right if there's a problem.

    It's the same with Bob Logan. I discovered him in 2008 on eBay. I didn't buy one of his pre-made guitars off of eBay, but I followed the link to his website, and after about a day of checking his guitars out, I filled out his online form to get the conversation started. He called me within hours. For the next couple of days, we talked on the phone and exchanged emails, and I sent him a deposit. A little less than a month later I had in hand the very guitar I'd ordered, and was elated with the quality.

    But what made me trust enough to pull the trigger was his assurances that he wanted me to be happy with my purchase, and would do whatever was reasonable to make that happen. Also, his rating as a seller on eBay was 100%. And the positive feedback was 100%, with a lot of people talking about having bought multiple guitars from him, and the quality was consistent. So I felt certain that this was no scam, and that getting a good guitar from Bob Logan wasn't just a fluke, and so it didn't feel like much of a gamble. And when I got the guitar in hand, what little doubt remained was gone.

    And I now know from years of experience with Bob that his name is way more important to him than making a buck. Bob had his own custom home building/construction company in the little town of Delafield for like four decades or something. When we visited him, he took us to lunch in Delafield, and as we drove through the town, he would point out business buildings and homes that he had built. Doing quality work, doing it right has always been the way he's done business. Accordingly, he is a man with a great reputation in his community, and rightly so.

    Now he's retired from construction. He has a good retirement, and a very nice home and office/workshop. He doesn't really need to make a living from selling guitars, but he's always loved guitars. He played in a band as a young man, and a tele was always his preferred guitar. So now he's doing what he loves, and even though he's a "boutique" builder, as they say, he charges prices comparable to off the rack Fenders. You can choose the most expensive pickups and hardware, the maple necks with the most figuring, extras like bindings, etc. And that will cost you more.

    But it's absolutely doable to get a well made player's guitar for a grand or even a little bit under. Another example from my collection: that 5th tele on the right end of the couch I spec'ed out at right around a grand, I think maybe a little over (don't recall the exact price offhand). BTW, Bob charged me a little less than that. I don't know if he was giving me some preferred customer discount or charging me less because I had supplied the wood for the veneers top & back. When I ordered it, I didn't try to wheel and deal on the price because I supplied that wood, but even then, it spec'ed out at a little over a grand.

    Okay, I'll shut up now. I promise I'm not a shill for a scam artist. I don't get commissions from Bob for every guitar he sells, or anything like that. It's just that Bob Logan is the real deal, and I'm a very satisfied customer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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