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Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by JCzuR98, Sep 7, 2015.
This thread brings a question that I'm sure plenty of you know: When was the first imported tele?
I echo tonyj. Thank you, indeed, Mr. Kirn!
tele or Tele™?
just think... some of the most expressive music ever played was done by some of the blues great on guitars most wouldn't take the time to throw away... yet... no one suggests the tone sucked....that was completely occluded by the quality of the music, and the talent of the guitarist..
Guys, if you "got it" you got it... and no one's gonna gave a hoot what ya play when you're delivering 'it"..
And if you make it big as a musician, others will just want exactly what you use and the value of that will go up and the cycle will continue to go on and on and on......such is life.
Exactly! If the music is in you, it will come out no matter what you play.
Case in point: The late, great Jeff Healey. Came out playing a Squier Strat and tore the world of guitar greats a new one!
This is a great intro ... "Who said you need to buy a guitar."
If you get a chance to watch the full show, do it. Very interesting to see the contrasting approach taken by all three players profiled.
I read somewhere about soldiers during the Viet Nam war buying somewhat crude Fender copies made by locals in the region, saw some pics, very obviously fake, but interesting and probably a lot of fun at the time.
Play a bunch and buy whichever one you like most, regardless of where it was made.
Not too long ago I played an American Standard in my local store that had some of the worst fretwork I had ever experienced. Seriously, the fret ends were so bad that I thought I was going to shred my hand just running it up and down the neck. On the other hand, the fretwork on my made in Mexico Muddy Waters Tele is outstanding.
As for upgrades, you can make them to American Standards as well. And depending on the model you might not have to upgrade much, or anything at all, on a Mexican made guitar. I would never upgrade anything on my Muddy. I doubt many people upgrade their Baja Teles. The Classic '50s and '60s wouldn't need much upgrading either. A MIM Standard, however, definitely would need upgrades.
This question always generates a lot of conversation. Here is my two cents worth.
When I went shopping for a Tele about 3 years ago, I had very simple criteria:
i.e., just like the ones I played in the 60s.
I couldn't find any on the rack that were even close to what I wanted, except the CS Teles. The CS repros of early Teles were bang on but also out of my range. I concluded that Fender kept the lighter wood for CS guitars (even some of the less expensive CS Teles were pretty hefty). I also got the feeling that over the years (I am an old guy) Teles became more of a rock guitar than twangy country thang.
I don't like really dense and heavy guitars. Even my old LP is not nearly as heavy as most modern LP's. I believe (rightly or wrongly) that even a solid body vibrates to some degree and that this has a lot to do with tone and especially the feel, the way it responds to the right hand. It isn't really the weight that puts me off; it is the density. Heavy and dense guitars just don't seem to respond to the way I play (clean, very little overdrive, if any, with hybrid picking and a lot of pulling and snapping on the strings).
Eventually, I got a custom Tele made by Marc Rutters which is one of the best Teles I ever played. His main guitars are repros of early 50s Teles so I got him to put more early 60s pickups in mine for a more Buck Owens sound. At that time, it cost me around right around the OP's upper limit and it is a great guitar, exactly what I wanted. He may be more expensive now, especially after being featured in a number of TDRPI giveaways.
Was it worth it? If you played my guitar and and off-the-rack 2K Fender, you would be able to tell the difference right away, even with a blindfold on. I should that I played lots of MIM Teles that were really good and met most of my criteria. But 2k for a REALLY good solid body guitar is not out of line.
The big house guitar manufacturers aren't dummies... you will find the better the guitar, the better it feels... and often that is in subtitles.. neck profiles, body shapes, fret ends... all are little things the average guy aren't tuned into ... they keep abreast of what's "in" and what's not... and will often incorporate those features into their better offerings...
Many in the guitar market have any clue how important a good setup and fret work are... so they just grab... play Stairway... reject.. and move on to the next...
buy a guitar from one of "us" immediate we're ahead of the curve with ya... you're ordering what YOU want with the features YOU want... so when ya get it... far better chance of you 'head" being into it...
However that doesn't mean a Squire cannot be made into a great player..
I dare you to go on a Gibson forum and ask what the difference is between a $5000 Gibson and a $500 Epi. lol
I don't know what it is that makes some guitars better than others. I've had a lot of good guitars, some U.S., some Japanese, some Mexican. None of them came close to $2000 and all were very good guitars.
Then at one point I came into some money and splurged on a custom shop tele. It was around $2200 back then. This guitar was head and shoulders above every other guitar I'd ever played. I don't know what they did at the custom shop, but it was pure magic. It's not just a matter of better electronics, better wood (although it was really light), or better parts. It was the feel. It was just alive in my hands. Even my EJ strat, touted as near custom stop quality, is not really close to the feel of that tele.
I just don't know if you can buy cheap and upgrade your way to that.
Ahh, good point. How about licensed under Fender, imported telecaster.
It happens all the time.
My 2-cents worth: Buy Cheap and upgrade if you aren't 100% about what it is you really, really, want.
Being Expensive is no Guaranty the Guitar will be something you like.
Many times it is just the opposite. They are made with a very, very, narrow and limited customer base in mind.
I have a couple of higher-Priced Guitars.
I didn't buy them to impress people by how much I was willing to pay.
I bought them because they blew my mind by how well they played.
For the record, I own 19 guitars.
All but 3 are stage-ready at a moments notice.
12 of them were bought used for less than $500 Dollars.
I've played (and still play) a lot of gigs with the under $500 guitars.
what some just don't get is that each guitar is a unique assemblage... it is absolutely impossible to make any 2 that are identical...
While some can be made that are very close, and within a specific model share similarities.. at some point differences exist.
Some have more acute sensibilities, and focus on specific areas of a guitar, noting subtle differences... while others can be, more forgiving of differences, and play away, with remarkable acumen..
One group does NOT have an advantage over the other.. in fact, I'd say, possibly, those that can pickup anything and play like "ringin' a bell" have the advantage.
often, in these forums, there seems to be an overwhelmingly aggressive desire to render the "guitar playing experience" down to the mechanics... that is stunning to me...
Music is artistic expression... sorry but that's it.... try telling a fine paint artist that his art is due to the type paint, the medium he paints on, or the paint brushes he chooses...
Or suggest to Ansel Adams, Jay Maisel, to name two,, that they were what they were due to the camera, or more absurd, due to the make of the lenses in that camera.
It's not the gear, it's never gonna be the gear, I don't care how computerized it gets,, if fact I would suggest that the addition of "computers" defeats it's being called a musical instrument... but... it's not the gear, it is the artist, back then, today, and forever....
I've owned guitars right across the price spectrum, and my favorite by far was my 50's Classic Esquire. Needed a pickup swap and setup to get it how i like, but that was it.
When a guitar feels right, it feels right regardless of price.
The happy medium, IMO, is the parts builders. If you can show me, in detail, the significant differences between a unfinished but fretted Warmoth/Musikraft/USACG Vintage spec Neck/Body and that of a vintage spec custom shop on the front end (contours, fretwork, etc) or back end (wood choice, treatment of said wood) I will be shocked to the core. Because, I can point out obvious differences across the spectrum of price for the name brands but the good parts builders are on par with the ridiculously priced stuff. In fact, I think quite a few of the expensive Closet/Relics have a more plastic-y feel than just spraying up some bodies/necks at home. Add to that, the attention to detail on fretwork is on par with custom shop guitars, my Warmoth & Musikraft necks were certainly finished off better than the American Standards and G&L I own (butter smooth almost vertical fret ends on dead flat boards versus the generic bevel with file marks). That's not to say that stuff makes or breaks an instrument, it's just another element of cost/quality analysis. Plus, you can get a giant fatty of a neck & make your own contour then wear in your own finger pattern that will actually match your style. In summation, you can get $2,000 details/quality at a fraction of the cost coming from a name brand if you're willing to learn a bit and get your fingers dirty.