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Broadcaster Reissue, AO Tele, or American Performer for First Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by mbc220, Aug 19, 2020.

  1. mbc220

    mbc220 TDPRI Member

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    Hi all, I'm new to the forum and to Telecasters/Fender. I play a mixture of Beatles/Beach Boys/Stones/Who/Petty and record original music that draws from those types of sounds. I've always been a Gibson guy and own an Epiphone Casino, SG with P90s, and an Epiphone Les Paul. Love the Casino and SG, don't really care for the LP.

    I've been saving up for a "big guitar" purchase and want a Tele to fill out the sounds available to me. In particular, I'm looking for something that will add brighter sounds to my arsenal, especially cleaner sounding ones. Based on YouTube videos and online reviews, I've narrowed it down to the 70th Anniversary Broadcaster (the production, non-CS version), AO 50s Tele, or American Performer. Because of COVID, I'm trying to narrow my search before I go out and play anything, since there's no music stores around me that carry examples of all three. I was hoping you guys could help me with a few questions.

    Broadcaster: as someone coming from Gibsons and happy with the necks, I'm a bit concerned about the narrow nut on this guitar. Can anyone speak to that? I'm not so worried about the neck radius; I'm pretty adaptable as far as that goes. But I've played Rickenbacker 12 strings in the past and had a hell of a time with the narrow neck. Obviously that was 12 and this was 6, but still. I love the sound of this model most of all three options based on videos but am wondering if it'll still give me bright, shimmery cleans when strummed. Most demos I've seen are soloing or fingerpicking.

    AO 50s Tele: For whatever reason, I like the sound of this least out of the three. The pickups sound too low output to me, and if I'm just going to do a pickup swap, I don't see the point in getting something so expensive. (Unlike the Broadcaster, which I'd be buying in part because of those pickups.) Am I watching the wrong videos? I feel like I'm missing what this model is about.

    American Performer: This gives me usable cleans at almost half the price. I'm wondering what you all think of the Yosemite pickups and whether you'd consider this if you had saved up enough for either of the two pricier models. Would it be better for someone more used to the Gibson way of doing things?

    Thanks so much.
     
  2. MAXXFIELD

    MAXXFIELD Tele-Meister

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    Whichever has the neck for your preference. everything else is mod-able.
     
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  3. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Broadcaster and AO50s are basically the same neck. One with 7.25 radius and one with 9.5.

    If you are worried about the narrow nut, the AO is spec’d a bit wider but they vary.

    As always, get to stores.

    The AO Thinline and AO60s are great. They consistently feel better and play better to me than the 50s.
     
  4. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    The Broadcaster is the much better investment, since it’s a one year only thing. Fender used to sell the pickups in it as an aftermarket set for $500! It’s an amazing sounding guitar.

    The nut is narrower, but the back is thick. For me, it feels like it has the same amount of neck in the hand as a 9.5 modern C, just distributed a little differently. It took much less time for me to adjust than I was expecting.

    It’s easily the best Tele I’ve ever owned.

    My advice is get one if you can. You’ll either fall in love with it or it won’t be your cup of tea, in which case you can hold onto it for a couple of years and sell it for what you paid.
     
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  5. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Holic

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    I'm no help because I'm no authority on how one differs from the other not having played them all or having the taste you're after. I did just take a shot in the dark and ordered the Performer about a month ago. I had to up the string gauge to 11's for my likes. I'm still feeling my way around it to get comfortable. I do like the yosemite pickups as it doesn't have that icepick sound, sounds good in any position but I'm just a home player and into clean tones, no distortion or loudness for my likes
     
  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yes, but not only the section of the neck, but also the fret size. A lot of youngsters take to the newer huge frets, but some old timers like me suffer a bit trying to play Super or 6000 wire.

    I don't think the O.P. should swing for the beachers on his first Tele. I'd start with a MIM with features I liked, then once I knew more, then I could be more informed as I approach the final decision on the expensive model. I mean, what if the new fellow had bought a $ 4,000 Gibson Les Paul only to find he didn't care for LPs? Luckily he invested only a small sum, in the Epiphone and learned, probably, the very same lesson.

    +

    Welcome! to the new guy from Washington!
     
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  7. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I would suggest looking at the Fender Vintera line. They would save you a few hundred dollars vs the Performer Line and the necks would be in the ballpark of your two most expensive options. I would think the tones should be roughly in the ballpark also.

    If you can't get to a store to try one out in person (who can right now?) I would suggest purchasing from one of the large reputable dealers who have a generous return policy such as Sweetwater, Chicago Music Exchange, Musician's Friend, etc.
     
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  8. nick79

    nick79 TDPRI Member

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    I’ve played a Gibson les Paul for years with the 60s neck, recently got myself a Broadcaster. The necks feel similar to me, certainly not enough difference to bother me.
    Before the Broadcaster I had a Squire classic vibe, now that did have smaller neck - I couldn’t get on with that at all.

    No regrets for me going for the Broadcaster - It’s my first Fender, and although not cheap it’s a very special guitar.
     
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  9. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I like the feel of the neck on my Broadcaster, and my other main guitar is a Les Paul R9. :cool::D
     
  10. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    If this is your first investment in the Tele world, I would recommend goin MIM for the first one. Preferably an early Baja. If it turns out not to be your thing, the loss will be minimal.
     
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  11. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I have a Broadcaster. I have big fingers and have no problems with width at the nut. I've felt crowded with other guitars that had a similar nut width but not this one. It is bright but (especially the neck) it seems to have more of a "rounder" sound than my other Tele that has the Twisted Tele/Broadcaster combo. I hate describing sound, so ymmv. Definitely try stuff out ahead of time and/or use a merchant that has a no muss no fuss return policy.

    The Bajas mentioned here are excellent as a stopgap, or you might decide it is enough! People are asking a lot for them these days, but they still turn up in the $500 range if you vigilantly stalk used sites. I had one that was pretty good, and one that was excellent and probably every bit the player as my Broadcaster. Or at least good enough for a lot less $$$. That said, love my Broadcaster.
     
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  12. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    One other thing to consider is that Fender is discontinuing ash bodies.
     
  13. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    Used Bajas?

    @mbc220 has been saving up for a big ticket guitar purchase and listed off a few USA Teles. How do used Bajas, or even Vinteras or any other MIM Tele, fit that description? That’s like recommending used Mazdas to someone who’s been saving up for a new Mercedes.

    Now, I agree a Vintera is more bang for the buck compared to the Performer, but I would discourage the Performer altogether. The Performer is less for a reason. Polyurethane finish, synthetic nut, Ping tuners, and a gig bag, and they’re not available in ash anymore. It’s basically a US made Player Tele with vintage style Pings and vintage style bridge and nowhere close to being in the same league as the Broadcaster or AO50s.

    @mbc220, trust me, if you want a great big ticket US Tele, the Broadcaster is your best bet. It’s only $150 more than the AO50s, has much better pickups, and will have a great resale value if you ever decide to sell it.
     
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  14. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    Unless you have played the AO or Broadcaster and really prefer them or hate jumbo frets there is no way to logically justify spending $700-$800 more for one of them over the Performer. Maybe if one is available in a color you prefer.

    The lower end American Fenders hold their value better than any other Fender models.
     
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  15. mbc220

    mbc220 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, all! Keep the advice coming. I appreciate it all.

    Re Bajas/Vinteras - I've been playing guitar for about 16 years (since sophomore year of high school). I've made do with plenty of budget-line versions of the guitars I like, from budget acoustics to no-name knockoff SGs to the aforementioned Les Paul. I've played "real" Les Pauls and still didn't care for them enough to plunk down 2k+ (too muddy, and I don't much like humuckers), but I definitely perceived the improvements in sound and playability over the one I have.

    I've frankly been there, done that, and I've found that in most cases, I'm at a point where I can tell the difference and appreciate the improvements in build quality, playability, electronics, etc. that come from a higher-end, made-in-the-US guitar. Not always -- my Casino is Korean made and a favorite -- but often. I'm not a huge DIYer and would rather pay $400-500 for better electronics, etc. than spend the money and time chasing aftermarket pickups and installing them myself (or paying someone to do it). That said, I'm also well aware that Fenders and Gibsons are different animals and that a budget Fender may be more viable substitute than an Epiphone.

    I'd love to try all these before I buy, but it's tough to find a store that carries all of them in my area, and what with current conditions, I'd prefer to do one trip to one place before buying to limit my exposure to COVID, or buy from a place with a great return policy.

    I'm definitely leaning toward the Broadcaster from a sound perspective. It's what I'd want a Les Paul to sound like. Maaaaybe a Performer with swapped pickups, but then you get into the cost delta (if I like the necks on both, etc.).
     
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  16. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    If you're shopping in that high end of the Fender budget range, consider a used Custom Shop or AV (the 2013–2017 American made reissue line, which was basically a de facto replacement for Custom Shop NOS level instruments, in terms of quality). They will be excellent instruments, and will retain much of their market value, if not all of it, or more, in future decades – a good feature if you should decide to swap out for a different guitar some day. Resale is an important consideration if it is your first guitar of a certain type, especially if it's going to be something expensive. You don't yet know if that guitar will become a mainstay of your arsenal.
     
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  17. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’m always surprised when folks coming from a Gibson choose a Tele instead of a Strat. That said, if you like more substantial necks, I would think the Broadcaster would be the ticket or even the 50s Vintera.
     
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  18. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    For you, maybe. There are a lot of reasons to justify the extra money: Ash bodies, nitro finishes, G&G tweed cases (that’s like $200 right there), bone nuts, Gotoh tuners, better pickups, and ashtrays. They cost more, but they use better woods, better materials, have greater attention to detail, and include more. As for retaining value, since it’s a limited release, the Broadcaster will be highly collectible.

    By comparison, the Performer feels like something one settles for more than seeks out.
     
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  19. mbc220

    mbc220 TDPRI Member

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    I love the sounds a Strat makes in Hendrix's hands, and I love early surf rock, but it's a little too clean sounding for me. Good Teles seem to push the amp more and have a little more mids to their tones. People talk about a LP being a Tele on steroids, but I think the opposite is true, too -- a good Tele is a LP with less low end. I happen to like that sound.
     
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  20. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Holic

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    I agree with this. I purchased my first Tele in May ('52 AVRI) and it has 6105 fret size, which are tall frets. Don't like 'em. Underestimated quite drastically the topic of fret size (it's the height of these at 0.055" that bother me). And, as far as I can tell, Gibsons and Epiphones use medium-jumbo fret wire, which are quite short in height. So coming from the Gibby side of the house, it might be a slight shock if your Tele came with the 6105s. Also, a poster before me suggested Vintera. I hear and see nothing but good things about that particular line. My opinion is that there is a ton of variations in current Telecasters and you really have to physically play each one (I do understand the challenges with that). Good luck in your quest, it sounds like fun! And welcome! And keep us posted!
     
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