Cheap and expensive Teles the same?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by kimanistar, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. kimanistar

    kimanistar TDPRI Member

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    I was wondering do any of you think that since the Tele is such a bare bones guitar that there are huge differences between the cheaper and more expensive ones when you just look at the necks and bodies?When I see strats and pauls I see quality control being a big issue but when you see how Teles are built the big differences come in wiring and pups (outside of something that is a real piece of crap of course). Opinions please.
     
  2. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    Differences on any cheap guitar in no particular order in addition to what is mentioned above....
    1. Wood quality (does not necessarily affect performance)
    2. Decoration/inlays/binding (does not necessarily affect performance)
    3. Hardware, this is a biggy, a set of tuners can cost more than a cheap guitar and does affect performance and durabillity. Also included in this catagory are bridges, jacks, etc.
    4. Electronics, cheap switches and pots are a common repair item on cheap guitars.
    5. Finish type and quality (does not necessarily affect performance).
    6. Set up. A lot of guitars need a setup job. This is not done to a great level on cheap guitars.
     
  3. bluebilly

    bluebilly Tele-Meister

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    Ale is one of the oldest beverages humans have produced, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC and recorded in the written history of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

    There is crap beer and there is good beer.

    There are good Teles and bad ones.
     
  4. kimanistar

    kimanistar TDPRI Member

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    So do you agree that if we have a good Tele neck and body we can switch out the rest and get a good guitar?
     
  5. Daddydex

    Daddydex Friend of Leo's

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    Sure there are "good ones" and "bad ones" but the one you might think is a "good one", I might think is a "bad one". Opinions. That's all we got.

    Dan
     
  6. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, the neck is the more important IMO. Squire Affinities and CVs tend to be narrower and thinner in my experience. You may prefer that or not. Off brands necks can get really different, with flatter radiuses and bigger frets. With a little work tho most any of them can be made to play nice.

    Ive got a plywood Rogue with a 12" radius neck and jumbo frets I like a lot. Its a weird neck but Ive always liked it. It was a $90 guitar. Ive upgraded the tuners, pickups, and bridge, and I like it as well as anything. Sounds great.

    But I wont begrudge anyone who plays a 52AVRI or Custom Tele. Nice guitars are nice and they cost what they cost for a reason.
     
  7. nic'o'caster

    nic'o'caster Tele-Afflicted

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    I have found that a Tele is like any instrument, quality comes from the the sum of its parts.
     
  8. basher

    basher Tele-Afflicted

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    That's why I like telecasters. If you know how to work a screwdriver and a soldering iron, you can turn your tele into anything you want it to be.
     
  9. Birdmankustomz

    Birdmankustomz Friend of Leo's

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    I have a pair of teles, an Xaviere ($150) and an AmSd ($1100). I have had the Xaviere for 3 years and my AmSd for 5 my breakdown.

    Sound: Honestly the Xaviere wins out of the box on this one. The AmSd had a weak bridge pickup that I ended up swapping out for a blade pickup and the neck pickup ended up unbalanced and was swapped for a LP neck humbucker. The Xaviere had a great chunky tele sound right from the gate and still has the original pups in it three years later.

    Playability: The AmSd was nearly in tune from the factory, the guy I bought it from ordered it directly for me and as a result I got it two weeks after the neck stamp date. He said when it arrived two strings were out of tune, this was after a cross-country flight from Corona to Western NY. The Xaviere arrived and not only were the strings loose, but the bridge was so low that the strings were resting on the fretboard. The Xaviere while decent, started to develop slight fret sprout after the first year and a half, the AmSd is still as perfect as the day I got it. The rolled fingerboard is another plus to the more expensive tele (though it's easy enough to do on a cheap guitar).

    Quality: The AmSd is an excellent guitar, tuners are solid and have a great dampened tightness to them, the Xaviere while not having anything wrong with them, has tuners that feel cheaper. The bridge on the AmSd is a thick steel plate with perfectly smooth saddles, the Xaviere has a much thinner bridge with barrel saddles that came with burs on them. The pots on the Xaviere feel cheap, I can't really explain why, they just don't have that same solid feel as the AmSd pots have. The Selector switch is the same way.

    Fit and finish: The Xaviere has great fit and finish, as does the AmSd. The finish is thinner on the AmSd though and as a result has shown its age much more rapidly than the Xaviere.

    Final thoughts: The Xaviere is a great guitar, especially for the money, same with the Squiers and Cheaper Ibanez guitars (Stay away from the Cheap Epiphones and Deans though), but to match the quality of an expensive instrument, they need some work.

    Hopefully that helps somewhat, all just my experiences, obviously a lot of it is personal preference.
     
  10. headache31

    headache31 TDPRI Member

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    I own a pair of MIM Tele's ($700 each) and an Indiana Tele-city (under $200 new). The Tele-city actually came with a better setup than the MIM's. I've had it over ten years and like the neck on it better. Again, personal preference. It's also bone stock and I've never had any problems with it.
     
  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    What about the fret wire quality? I've noticed that my Chinese guitar (not a tele), that the fret wire is wearing faster than any of my other guitars. Just wondering if that is a difference on teles.
     
  12. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

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    In my experience, more expensive Teles ($900 and over range) are more consistent in quality and playability and the cheaper ones (especially MIMs and CV/ VM Squiers) are more hit and miss, depending on the individual guitar.

    The nice thing is that the cheaper "hits" can really hit when you find one.

    I own a VM Squier Custom that I paid less than $300 for, and in terms of sound, playability and intonation it easily rivals the more expensive Teles I've owned or played. Clearly the pots and switch are flimsier options, but they can easily be replaced with better Fender parts if & when they wear out.

    Then again, while that particular guitar cooks, then I've played some others in a similar price range that were awful.

    I guess it really depends on each individual guitar, and price is only ONE of many indicators that can lead you toward better or worse instrument.
     
  13. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

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    One of the best players I know plays a "cheap" Tele. He sounds great.

    He would sound great on an expensive Tele, too.
     
  14. electric

    electric Tele-Holic

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    There are good teles and there are better teles
     
  15. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

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    It's a combination of a lot of things, and like everything else around here, there really is no cut and dry, cook-cutter answer! It is a combination of a sum of it's parts so to speak, AND personal taste and preference. Mojo and a little bit of brainwashing/psychology come into play as well here!

    The Tele that looks the best on paper, as far as specs go, might be great for one, but horrible for another. Also, we all ahve different criteria that determine what a good Tele is. Some have to have the most expensive, absolute top of the line, while others are just fine with something that gets the job done, and everything in between. All of those are correct, and the beauty is, there's a Tele to satisfy everyone.
     
  16. TeleDrifter

    TeleDrifter Tele-Afflicted

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    Blind Test some as in the youtube video, See what you learn.
     
  17. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah they are all the same. Don't let anybody tell you different.:D
     
  18. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Guitars are like jewelery: you don't need the stone to be a diamond unless you plan to cut glass with it.

    I have no idea what that means.
     
  19. BrettC

    BrettC TDPRI Member

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    I have two MIA tele's one old one 2011 the new one is lighter and Im old, so I play that one most and have had some fabulous times making music with it. Both were about $1000, I dont think that is very expensive for such a wonderful instrument. Get the good one
     
  20. MrTwang

    MrTwang Friend of Leo's

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    I'd say that in general a more expensive instrument will sound and feel better than a cheaper one but there are exceptions.

    A well set up cheap instrument will sound better than a badly set up expensive one.

    If you grab 3 Tele style guitars priced $80, $800 and $8000 there is likely to be a big difference between the first two and much less difference (maybe not even noticeable) between the other two.

    You might even that the cheap one feels and sounds better to you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
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