Can't find a good Tele!

Full-Tilt-Tele

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 7, 2021
Posts
203
Age
79
Location
North Carolina
Take a look at my 'TeleGator'... Big Al is a 'Blues' dream machine... You can check it out on Re-Verb...
 

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denniscariot

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2013
Posts
5
Location
Slocum, Rhode Island
Long post warning...

Telecasters have always been my favourite guitars (looks, sound), but for some reason I can't find one that truly works for me.

When it comes to guitars, playability is my #1 most important factor, over sound, looks, etc...

I do a lot of bending in my music (classic rock and blues rock) and I just can't find a Tele that gives me that loose, slinky feel for bends allowing me to really dig in. I have a great Strat that's perfect when it comes to that, as well as a PRS SE, but I unfortunately can't find the same in a Tele.

I've spent the last 2 months checking out all the Teles in my current price range (under $1000) at all the stores in my neighbourhood. Bought and returned 3 already, thinking they felt nice in the store then when I came home and spent more time they didn't feel too great.

I honestly feel like giving up at this point and sticking to my Strat.

Apologies for the long story, but:

TL;DR have you ever had such a challenging time finding the right Tele, and did it take you a while?
Hey! As it happens, I know exactly what you mean. My first guitar was a '68 tele with a bigsby. I ended up selling it after I bought a '59 strat. I've had three teles since then and none of them had that feel. I sadly sold both of them but if I could wave a magic wand right now it would be the tele I would get back. If you can't find one with a bigsby, I think the top loader bridge is a good suggestion.
 

ponycar

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Posts
399
Age
64
Location
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
As SixStringSlinger and mmannaxx noted the floating trem on both the guitars that the OP benchmarks have trem springs that move when bending. I find that to have a marked impact on bending feel.
I also use conversion necks from Warmoth and have one from Musikraft on order. Strung with 9s they bend well and can actually make bending more precise than bends on a floating trem guitar.
 

AKBluesDude

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Posts
69
Location
Alaska
See if Sam Ash will take a grand for that Rothstein tele on Reverb. I've been eyeing it for months. Unfortunately I had to shell out about $8500 for new house windows. But now that the wife is happy . . . . .
 

abcsoundguy

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2011
Posts
13
Location
Idyllwild, Ca.
Before you go spending all that money on a different guitar or you start shaving down a perfectly fine neck, may I ask if you've tried the obvious $8 solution? Endorsed by B.B. King and Billy Gibbons:


View attachment 1017146
Late 80's Fernandes ( MIJ ) Tele - ( 9.5 radius/rosewood ) Anyway, these strings, on this guitar, changed everything, I play the ( Ferny ) Tele 90% of 4hr gig, Strat just for Skynyrd. Seriously, put these 'rubber bands' on your Tele, effortless bending, wiggle whole chords, you get it. & Increased Twang, in my book. My 2 cents anyway.
 

David Menke

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 29, 2020
Posts
136
Age
69
Location
Washington
Long post warning...

Telecasters have always been my favourite guitars (looks, sound), but for some reason I can't find one that truly works for me.

When it comes to guitars, playability is my #1 most important factor, over sound, looks, etc...

I do a lot of bending in my music (classic rock and blues rock) and I just can't find a Tele that gives me that loose, slinky feel for bends allowing me to really dig in. I have a great Strat that's perfect when it comes to that, as well as a PRS SE, but I unfortunately can't find the same in a Tele.

I've spent the last 2 months checking out all the Teles in my current price range (under $1000) at all the stores in my neighbourhood. Bought and returned 3 already, thinking they felt nice in the store then when I came home and spent more time they didn't feel too great.

I honestly feel like giving up at this point and sticking to my Strat.

Apologies for the long story, but:

TL;DR have you ever had such a challenging time finding the right Tele, and did it take you a while?
If you like the sound of the telecaster, you need a neck that is identical to your strat, that you enjoy playing. I have over 20 + guitars, and back in 2004, I was living in the Seattle area and had a neck made, by USA guitars. I took my strat to the company, at that time in Tacoma, and had a neck with same dimensions as the strat, with Tele neck cut and Tele headstock. I just, finally, finished getting a body from Warmoth guitars, had the neck installed and had a great, tech in Denver Co setup the action. It plays the same as my strat! I did have a 6 piece saddle installed, instead of the 3 piece for the sake of setup, and intonation. Personal preference on the 6 piece. I have multiple telecasters with a 3 piece bridge. You could have the neck measuring done and send dimension's to a company like warmoth, and have you neck made to specs. Make sure to have a pro setup done, which makes it important. Doing bends and playing rocks blues you need a standard size neck length. Stay with the same strings you use on the strat.
 
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Nick Fanis

Poster Extraordinaire
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Posts
7,314
Location
Athens-GREECE
Step 1: Buy a Tele.
Step 2: Set it up PROPERLY (you or a pro if you don't know how to do it).
Problem solved.
There is absolutely nothing special about a Tele (or any other guitar for that matter) that doesn't allow it to play as slinky or easy as....any other guitar.
No factory guitar comes perfectly set up by the way (unless you are extremely lucky)
 

BlueTele

Tele-Meister
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Posts
252
Location
California
Long post warning...

Telecasters have always been my favourite guitars (looks, sound), but for some reason I can't find one that truly works for me.

When it comes to guitars, playability is my #1 most important factor, over sound, looks, etc...

I do a lot of bending in my music (classic rock and blues rock) and I just can't find a Tele that gives me that loose, slinky feel for bends allowing me to really dig in. I have a great Strat that's perfect when it comes to that, as well as a PRS SE, but I unfortunately can't find the same in a Tele.

I've spent the last 2 months checking out all the Teles in my current price range (under $1000) at all the stores in my neighbourhood. Bought and returned 3 already, thinking they felt nice in the store then when I came home and spent more time they didn't feel too great.

I honestly feel like giving up at this point and sticking to my Strat.

Apologies for the long story, but:

TL;DR have you ever had such a challenging time finding the right Tele, and did it take you a while?
You're in a tough spot..."budget." It is a sad thing to accept, and others can offer up differing opinions, but IMHO there is NO guitar of any make or model that is worth your money that is under $1,000...new or used. They just don't exist. We can thank the financially greedy manufacturers for that.
I don't know, of course, how many amps and guitars you have, but...I'd take a serious look at your gear and ask yourself how often you play each guitar and/or amp? Or...just rank them by how often you play them. Get rid of any and all that will yield $2,500 - $3,000 in total with your existing, budgeted $1,000. Then buy yourself a pre-owned or new Whitfill Telecaster. They are the world's best playing and sounding '52 Tele IMHO. All hand-made...hand carved necks, hand sawn/shaped bodies (these are NOT "parts-casters" like so many other supposed boutique Teles and Strats with their third-party bodies and necks). I have played for over 50 years, and played/owned more Teles of all makes/models, and when I found Whitfill, the life-long search was over. I sold "every" guitar I had so I could buy the various versions that Charles Whitfill makes. I've never regretted it for a second. So...
Bottom line is that you're better off saving your $1,000 (budget figure), and selling off what you need to, in order to get yourself a used Whitfill between $2,395 - $2,595, or a new one at $3,195 (standard solid body Tele) up to $3,495 (semi-hollow, top-bound "Slimeline" - a.k.a. "Thinline"). My TDPRI tiled icon picture is in fact one of my Whitfill Teles - a classic butterscotch black guard. Good luck in your search!
 
Last edited:

timbraun

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Posts
117
Location
Canada
My .02 wouldn't be new, just encouraging you on some points already made.

First get a better understanding of what your Strat has that you like - radius, fret style, neck finish. Follow those specs for your starting point.

Secondly, while I agree radius isn't a huge barrier, I do find my 12" radius necks are slinkier feeling, including the one on my Timbercaster vs the 7.5" radius on my JV Teles. So maybe your Strat is 9.5" radius, you might want to find a Tele with 12" radius neck.

Third is setup, including fret dressing and polish. When I get a guitar back from Lucas Rogers here in the Peg it just about plays itself.

I haven't personally found bridge - whether pan, Bigsby, tune o matic, wraparound or Strat - to make any difference to bendability.
 

Tele Plucker

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
Posts
383
Location
Alternate Universe
Long post warning...

Telecasters have always been my favourite guitars (looks, sound), but for some reason I can't find one that truly works for me.

When it comes to guitars, playability is my #1 most important factor, over sound, looks, etc...

I do a lot of bending in my music (classic rock and blues rock) and I just can't find a Tele that gives me that loose, slinky feel for bends allowing me to really dig in. I have a great Strat that's perfect when it comes to that, as well as a PRS SE, but I unfortunately can't find the same in a Tele.

I've spent the last 2 months checking out all the Teles in my current price range (under $1000) at all the stores in my neighbourhood. Bought and returned 3 already, thinking they felt nice in the store then when I came home and spent more time they didn't feel too great.

I honestly feel like giving up at this point and sticking to my Strat.

Apologies for the long story, but:

TL;DR have you ever had such a challenging time finding the right Tele, and did it take you a while?
Well blingdog, I can offer you this assessment. Since the late 70’s my main guitar was a 1964 Fender Strat. When I retired, I had a yearning for a Tele, as my very first electric in the mid 60’s was a late 50’s Tele. So I built 2 Teles and never looked back. But….getting used to the feel of the Teles took some time of growing into. Now I am totally comfortable with them beyond belief. So, I would say you need to give it some time, and I don’t miss the belly contour one iota. Good luck.
 

jageya

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Posts
716
Location
usa
i used to have 10 teles and sold them and now have only 3 esquires as i love the look and simplicity of 1 pickup teles.
 

jvin248

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Posts
11,545
Location
Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
.

+4, lighter string guage.

9s on a Fender are the same as 10s on a LP due to scale length.

More string overhang length from nut to tuner and saddles to anchors (or sharp kinks like bridge plate holes) give more spring stretch and thus slinky.

Reverse Fender headstocks change which strings are slinkier... Inversely to 'sustain' of course (for which you want headless and short length to saddle tuner locks).

.
 

Wrighty

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 17, 2013
Posts
6,004
Age
68
Location
Essex UK
Long post warning...

Telecasters have always been my favourite guitars (looks, sound), but for some reason I can't find one that truly works for me.

When it comes to guitars, playability is my #1 most important factor, over sound, looks, etc...

I do a lot of bending in my music (classic rock and blues rock) and I just can't find a Tele that gives me that loose, slinky feel for bends allowing me to really dig in. I have a great Strat that's perfect when it comes to that, as well as a PRS SE, but I unfortunately can't find the same in a Tele.

I've spent the last 2 months checking out all the Teles in my current price range (under $1000) at all the stores in my neighbourhood. Bought and returned 3 already, thinking they felt nice in the store then when I came home and spent more time they didn't feel too great.

I honestly feel like giving up at this point and sticking to my Strat.

Apologies for the long story, but:

TL;DR have you ever had such a challenging time finding the right Tele, and did it take you a while?
You’re trying too hard! Give up actively looking. Pick up a Tele that appeals when you see it. Then, however good it feels, hang it right back up on the wall, go home, pick up your Strat, and see how it feels. If it’s amazing, sooo much better than the Tele, you have your answer. If, on tge other hand, it feels good but you still lined the feel if the Tele, grab your Strat and head back to the shop for a direct comparison. Accept that the Tele will feel different, any guitar will, but does it also feel good? It won’t be long before you make the right decision. Oh, if, Strat in hand, your request to try the Tele is met with ‘sorry, it’s been sold’, well, you again have your answer, it just wasn’t the one, wasn’t meant to be.
 

kuch

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Posts
1,684
Location
Great Northwest
Well, it appears that the OP has not made any comments since he posted this thread.....

just trolling?

no comment
 

Sax-son

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
Posts
2,391
Age
71
Location
Three Rivers, CA
Teles have their pros and cons just like any other guitar. However, I consider them the ultimate workhorse guitar. If your Strat is giving you what you want, why would you want to get a Telecaster? I have a Les Paul also, but it plays differently than a Telecaster. Stick with your Strat and don't worry about it.
 

blingdogg

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Posts
432
Age
38
Location
Scarborough, Canada
Thanks for the replies everyone. To be honest I wasn't expecting this many replies so it's a bit overwhelming responding to everyone! But there's a lot of useful info and tips/suggestions here.

I'm trying to reply a bit at a time.

Something that consistently stands out is the neck specs. I've found that I tend to like 9.5 (like my Squier CV Strat) or 10.5 (like my PRS SE) inch radius necks with either medium jumbo frets or narrow tall. Preferably narrow tall.

So since my CV strat neck is perfect I looked at CV Teles, but oddly I just can't get to like their necks. Despite the specs being the same. So from many responses here I believe the setup is key.

I actually do have 8's on my Strat, for easy bends, and tried the Teles I purchased with the same gauge but the improvement just wasn't enough.

What I think is not that Teles are difficult to bend, but they feel different to bend. With Strats it feels like I can dig in more, but in the end I can bend both Teles and Strats to pitch with these strings almost the same.

So next I thought of the suggestion of neck relief and action since that's the next easiest thing to adjust. I took one poster's advice (@Enricos) and tried lower action with high relief. I set the relief on this CV Tele I have at home (was planning on returning it tomorrow) to 0.016, which is much higher than I'd like or consider on my Strat....it feels pretty nice now! Much looser feel now and comparable to my Strat at 0.010. So I think I'm on to something.

I will play around with neck relief and action a bit more and give this CV Tele a bit more time to assess playability. If I feel it gets to the point where it's a keeper, I'll take it to a pro for a setup (including nut slot adjustment if needed). But this higher relief is getting my hopes up, thanks everyone, I'll try to reply to some more individual posts as I get the time (very busy at work!!).
 
Last edited:

BobbyB

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
1,064
Location
Shawnee on Delaware,PA
Long post warning...

Telecasters have always been my favourite guitars (looks, sound), but for some reason I can't find one that truly works for me.

When it comes to guitars, playability is my #1 most important factor, over sound, looks, etc...

I do a lot of bending in my music (classic rock and blues rock) and I just can't find a Tele that gives me that loose, slinky feel for bends allowing me to really dig in. I have a great Strat that's perfect when it comes to that, as well as a PRS SE, but I unfortunately can't find the same in a Tele.

I've spent the last 2 months checking out all the Teles in my current price range (under $1000) at all the stores in my neighbourhood. Bought and returned 3 already, thinking they felt nice in the store then when I came home and spent more time they didn't feel too great.

I honestly feel like giving up at this point and sticking to my Strat.

Apologies for the long story, but:

TL;DR have you ever had such a challenging time finding the right Tele, and did it take you a while?
Several things affect "bending" in any guitar. String Gauge (lighter), scale length (shorter), fret size (taller), action height ( higher) and break angle over the bridge (less sharp of an angle).
When bending never bend with one finger, always incorporate supporting fingers.
The more you bend the more strength you will build.
 




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