Confession: my tele isn't my first choice for gigging

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by bsman, May 31, 2019.

  1. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    I've owned literally dozens of electric guitars, and the one I've had in my collection the longest at this point is an 09 MIM standard I've modded with Emerson 4-way electronics and Mojotone 52 clone pickups. It's a great playing- and sounding guitar, but I have to admit that it's not my first choice when I'm grabbing a guitar to play out. Rather, the nod tends to go to one of my P90 guitars (a Gibson LP Special, Godin LG-SP90 or Reverend Sensei Jr.) I know folks around here an other places tend to hold the opinion that an S-S telecaster is the Swiss army knife of guitars, but I've actually found that P90s are at least as versatile - being capable of throaty, warm blues tones to searing, hot rock - and at least in my experience are even more sensitive to volume and tone adjustments. If there's a tone I need for a song, I am 100% confident that a P90 can nail it.
     
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  2. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

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    First off, I had one of those Godin LG-SP90s a while back. Nice guitar.

    And as much as I love my Teles, the past couple of years my gigging guitar has been a Gretsch 5420. There's just something about the Gretsch tone that works for me. I still carry a Tele to gigs, but it mostly sits in its stand.
     
  3. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    Similar for me - I normally bring the tele as a backup, because I know if I break a string or have any other issue, it's always going to be good-to-go.
     
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  4. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Meister

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    I think my Tele is about to become exclusively open G for gigs. Which means it likely won’t be used at all in my funk group. At least that’s my plan this second.

    Definitely loving my new Hendrix sig strat. But it could be just the “new toy” effect. And let’s not forget the Firebird. I’ll probably alternate between those two as my main guitar until one really starts to distinguish itself... IF that happens.

    Going open G will make my Tele kind of like a “special guest” during sets... which is also kind of cool. I also do enough stuff in open G to ensure the Tele still gets enough reps each gig.
     
  5. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    It depends on the music. For blues, classic rock, and anything like an open mic where I have no idea what may be thrown at me, the Tele still is king for me!

    However, if doing my own tunes, I tend to prefer my LP for the rawk that will be played.

    Most of what I play out is contained in the first paragraph. I can see my newish LP Jr fitting either paragraph, so...maybe I'll be joining you in P90 land!
     
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  6. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    Interesting. I've also toyed with the idea of keeping my tele in open E or G.
     
  7. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    Same here. This recent $129 acquisition (new, no less) has just about sidelined my '60s Baja and my '57 AVRI Strat. Crazy.

    IMG_0282.JPG
     
  8. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    They are nice, but it's also possibly the heaviest solid-body I currently have, so it often gets left behind while the LP (a 2012 "Junior Special" with the heretical baked maple FB) gets the nod most of the time. The LP is also probably my least 'flashy' guitar, which I rather like.
     
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  9. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I LOVE P-90s.....in fact on more than one occasion I've contemplated building a P-90 Tele. My "backup" is a PRS SE One, with bridge P-90, modded to include volume AND tone controls, as well as a hot rails-style neck pickup...but my Telecaster has the neck and feel that's best for me. So while I may not get precisely the sound I always want at the moment on the Tele, it feels better.....and I think I PLAY better.
     
  10. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    Back in the early 00s, I came THIS CLOSE to buying one of those TC-90s. I had also contemplated one of the Squier Custom IIs (back in the 70s, I had an original custom telecaster - the one with the WRH in the neck), but was put off by the fact that it was made of agathis (wood snob that I am)...
     
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  11. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    P90's are the Rodney Dangerfield of pickups. They get no respect, at least compared to the other main PU types. See my Avatar, they're my favorite too. I have a 58 Tele that gets nowhere near the play that my vintage GT Les Paul does.
     
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  12. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

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    Those epi specials are one of the best buys there is! Here's my slightly modded 0520171911.jpg one!
     
  13. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Me neither.
    My Chet is my #1 go-to, UNLESS it’s all country/all night, then it is my Tele.
     
  14. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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    P90s are cool, although some of em get a little loose in the bottom end. If you aren’t careful they can get muddy when you crank the distortion.

    Some folks make hybrid styles of PUPs, too. My neck PUP is supposed to be 75% P90 25% Stanard Single Coil. Seems to tame some of the P90 roughness a bit.
     
  15. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've go various first choices for individual tracks and am lucky enough to be able to indulge myself for the most part.

    About 60pc is a Tele, so that makes it number one at the moment.

    That said, I gigged for decades with a Strat and a Les Paul Custom with coil taps a la Jimmy Page. And I thought was essentially covering all the electric bases!
     
  16. Telecasterless

    Telecasterless Friend of Leo's

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    I'm curious to hear more about why that guitar has taken over for you.

    I got one too, and enjoyed it at first, for what it was, but ultimately it just isn't getting played over my Gibson SG with P90s, Tele and Les Paul.

    The Epi doesn't do anything that the others can't do, and frankly, not surprisingly, it does it a little worse. I get that it was only $129 (actually I got mine for $119) so I don't try to compare it, but:

    1. The Epi P90s just don't sound as good as my SG P90s. It's a noticeable difference. The Gibson P90s are far more articulate and melodious sounding.
    2. The Epi doesn't intonate very well, so some chords sound "off"; and the G string always goes sharp. And although it stays in tune "OK", it definitely needs to be tuned more frequently. It bends out of tune pretty quickly compared to my other guitars (the tuners are not nearly as smooth and easy to dial in as my other guitars). My Tele could sit in its case for 2 months and I pull it out and it is nearly perfectly in tune, despite weather changes. It is a tank in that regard.
    3. The Pickup switch is already going bad with only 6 months use and not many hours of playing. I switch it and it crackles and sometimes there's no sound unless I flip it back and forth. That is annoying.
    4. While I like the fatter neck, it really needs a proper set up, not surprisingly, the action is really too high, although playable, and I can tell not all the frets are level. Unless I do it myself, that's more costly than the guitar.

    #1 and #2 are really the main issues; the others can be fixed.

    I really want to play this guitar more, but it just doesn't provide the same level of joy.
     
  17. Jimmy Owen

    Jimmy Owen Tele-Holic

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    Y’all are making me feel better. I love Telecasters and have owned a couple of early 70s models (back in the 70s). I now have a MIM Burton.

    I’ve played them in many band practice sessions, many jams, and many hours in the woodshed. But I’ve typically gigged with either a 72 gold top (with p 90s) or the 50s Strat in my avatar.

    Go figure. I’m thinking the sound that I so enjoyed in my favorite tele was just on the edge of microphonic. It didn’t work at gig volume.
     
  18. Marquee Moon

    Marquee Moon Tele-Meister

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    Lets be honest, a tele can do anything, but it is the hardest guitar to play and make sound good. Not everyone can play a tele.
     
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  19. Telecasterless

    Telecasterless Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah? Try playing a '63 double cut Danelectro most of your life and sounding good.

    When everyone was rocking strats into Marshalls, I was doing everything I could to try and keep up with a single lipstick pickup guitar made out of cheap materials with blade neck and cutting board-flat fretboard into a bargain basement amp and no pedals. There is nothing forgiving about that guitar; not its sound nor its playability. Maybe the only saving grace vs. the Tele is the short scale, I'll give you that.

    But when I picked up a Tele, it was like I was an instant rock star. Juicy neck, radiused fretboard, quality up and down the guitar, great tones - it was instantly transformative.

    Only now after being a fat pig gorged on more and more guitars, can I look back on the Tele with its longer scale and whine about it not being as easy to play as my SG or LP. Still love the crap out of it though.
     
  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    You just need to mod that Tele until it transforms into your number one gigging guitar. Four way switch is my favorite.
    You can also change things up a bit... (includes 4-way switching of individual bobbins).

    [​IMG]




    Coil split with a hot 16kohm humbucker gives a great Tele bridge/P90 tone. Necks are like a good Tele neck.
    Every time I see a thread of 'an old guy' giving up his ten pounder LP to save their shoulder/back ... just get one of these Epis. Thinner lighter body. Fix the frets. Maybe load it up with the Gibson pickups and electronics. But they are often too frightened of bolt-on necks, the headstock shape, and the logo.

    I'll pick these Epis up because of the necks and stopped messing with any of the Squiers. Fender needs to spec Squier with two necks and mark them clearly so even fuzzy ebay images will reveal if it's a guitar for you or not.
    [​IMG]
     
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