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Contemplating a Major Guitar Change

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by EllenGtrGrl, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

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    I finally got my unemployment back-pay from the State of Wisconsin, to the tune of well over $3000. I'm one of the lucky ones who still managed to work during the whole Covid-19 thing (just not full-time, up until 3 weeks ago, only 4 days a week, hence the partial unemployment). I'm sitting OK financially, due to at least earning some income during the time period, when my employer had us only working 4 day work weeks, but I don't want to blow all of the money. Still, it has me thinking about guitar related things.

    With the unemployment back-pay, something that's been sitting in the back of my mind, since i tried out a Nocaster several years ago, has really entered my consciousness again - slimming down to one main electric guitar. Why? Well, other than the church band thing (done with my Taylor 12-string acoustic), I'm not really doing the band thing anymore (I moved to my current location for work, 10 plus years ago, and it has been nigh on to impossible to get into a hard driving rock band, especially being in my 50s age-wise). As a result of this situation, I wind up gravitating towards one electric guitar (as of the present, my Vintera 50s Tele), and my other electrics (at this time, just my Heritage H535), wind up staying in the case as case queens. That makes them wasted guitars, and in the case of those guitars with binding, can lead to binding rot over time, due to outgassing from the finishes in a closed up case. So, I'm thinking of going to just one REALLY GOOD electric, with a nice and chunky neck. Guitars presently being contemplated are:

    1. Fender Nocaster Thinline - as I alluded to briefly earlier, I tried out a Nocaster about 7 or 8 years ago, and thought it was a fantastic guitar. The only reason I didn't buy it was due to my hesitation to trade 3 nice electric guitars, to be able to afford it.

    2. 50s-type Esquire - I had a Classic 50s Esquire that was a great guitar (I regret getting rid of it), and I admit that at times, the neck pickup is almost superfluous for me. You might say, why not get another Classic 50s Esquire?, but then I'd wind up adding to my "case queen" woes. Also, I don't feel like dealing with the hassles that private sales (as a result of guitar downsizing) can entail (shipping, tire kickers who aren't really serious about buying the guitar, etc.). I will admit though, that during my weaker moments, when I play jazz, you can't quite pull off the smokey neck pickup sounds that are a staple of jazz, on a guitar with just a bridge pickup.

    I'd consider another Gretsch Country Club, but one of the reasons I got rid of my last one about 4 years ago, was due to getting sick of dealing with thinner necks.

    P.S. - I don't feel like going the partscaster, or boutique builders route.

    Feel free to chime in if you want to.
     
  2. hepular

    hepular Tele-Meister

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    $3k would go a long way towards a refin'd early 60s tele . . . or a newer suhr or the like.

    (full disclosure: i have an 01 santana se that i got for next to nothing 2-3 years ago. that's it. i LOVE the neck, replaced pickups: and i don't need or want anything else, although the concept of a tele appeals to me, their necks usually don't.): so, get the instrument that speaks to/through you.

    or, buy an amp.
     
  3. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    Actually I got $3400 in unemployment back-pay, and I'd trade both my Heritage H535 and Vintera 50s Tele towards one guitar, I don't want to use all of my unemployment money up. PRS - I'm not wild about their necks (it's the main reason why the PRS 7-string I bought online went bye-bye). I'd get a nice Gibson (I was a Gibson fangirl from 1984-2000 [my main gigging guitar in the 1990s was a Howard Roberts Fusion]), but it's a pain to find one that doesn't have a 60s Slim Taper neck.
     
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  4. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm a bottom fisher in the guitar marketplace, so I don't have much experience with today's $3000 guitars. I used to have some high end Gibson back in the 60s and 70s, so I know what the high end can be like.

    You could take a look at the current Epiphone line. The quality is really good and the necks I've tried are nice and chunky. I just got a 2015 LP STD for $325, love it as is, no mods.
     
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  5. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    Hard for me to recommend spending that much money on a guitar sight unseen. I'm not sure how far you are from guitar stores, but I'd consider taking your time and playing as many you can until you find one that you fall in love with at first strum. The more open you are to trying different models, the better your odds are of finding "the one."
     
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  6. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Finding your Holy Grail, single electric guitar is really about finding what you really need and bond with, not how much it costs. It could turn out that something under $1k would do the job. I've got a decent collection of guitars and I've thought about thinning the herd to just a couple, but haven't done it yet.

    My logic would be that I would want a guitar that gives me a very broad range of tones. I want to be able to play rock, jazz, blues, surf, punk, metal, whatever, and have the guitar work. For me that most likely means either HH with ability to split coils, or possibly SSH or HSH.

    From what you've said, I actually own a guitar that might be something that would work for you...it's a Gibson Les Paul Trad Pro with a 50s neck. It's a nice, fatter neck, cherry sunburst, has Classic 57s. They can be split using push-push pots, and there is even a boost circuit that runs on a 9v battery that you can totally ignore or use to take leads over the top. If I had to have just one guitar this would be a candidate. Aesthetically, there is no genre of music where an LP looks out of place on stage, except maybe acoustic folk or bluegrass....

    On the other hand, if you just gotta have that Strat "quack" tone in your arsenal, then you are probably looking at SSH or HSH. I actually have a partscaster Strat that I put the David Gilmour EMG pre-loaded pickguard into. This setup gives me a mid-boost circuit and also a mid-scoop boost circuit. I am very impressed with how much sonic ground it can cover. I don't miss humbuckers when I use this guitar because if I bump up the mid boost then it sounds great distorted. But unlike passive Strat pickups where you are trading off enough mids for distortion vs. thin enough for clean "chime", when I want that clean chime I just turn off the mid-boost circuit, and turn on the mid-scoop boost circuit a little bit and I get that wonderful clean Strat quack and chime. Finally, no compromise needed on my Strat pickups, and no hum, either.

    Another question to consider is whether you want a vibrato bar or not.

    If you like offset guitars, Fender's HH offerings are pretty interesting these days. They come with coil-splits and give a wide range of tones, right out of the box.

    I think a 335 style guitar is also incredibly versatile, especially if you can split the pickups. Works sonically and aesthetically for pretty much every genre of music except maybe death metal. I could probably do just fine with my Ibanez AS153, and being semi-hollow it's not as dang heavy as my LP.

    I also am really tempted by the Ibanez AZ series guitars. Their pickup configuration gives an incredible array of tones. Very well built guitars, too.

    Still, though, if I had $3,000 to spend I would probably rather have a Tele, a Strat, and a humbucker guitar, all adding up to $3k, then a single guitar that cost $3k.

    Shop wisely, buy used, and then no matter what you buy you can probably sell it for close to what you paid if you move on from it someday.
     
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  7. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    Seems like your love of the Esquire and Vintera, along with some realism about the band situation in your locality, is driving you towards consolidating- and buying a top-end Tele.

    Sounds like a great idea, if you aren't given to remorse, about the diminished resale value of your stable of instruments. Find the one you want, play it through your perfect amp, love it! :)
     
  8. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Budget $1500 for the guitar and buy a new amp to go with it ...
     
  9. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

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    I'm OK in the amp department (I just bought a new amp a couple of weeks ago). Ditto for acoustics. I'm on vacation today, so I'm thinking of going to my favorite guitar shop (it sells low and high end guitars, vintage, used, and new guitars, and is only 5 miles from home to boot :)), to look at guitars and possibly try some if they interest me. I'll have to bring a face mask, and a pair of nitrile gloves with me (due to the fact that I have a severe nickel allergy [which results in me having to have my guitars refretted, and me using Ernie Ball Cobalt guitar strings], to avoid skin breakouts from fretting the strings).

    I will admit, I do not normally consider guitars in the price category I mentioned in my original post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  10. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow, a nickel allergy. I'm thinking stainless steel frets. But you also need to avoid nickel-silver pickup covers and nickel-coated guitar strings, etc. That must be difficult.

    Re-reading your original post, of the two guitars that you are currently most interested in I think a Thinline might be more versatile. Whether it needs to be a Nocaster (at Sweetwater all I see is CS Nocaster Thinline at $4.2k) is probably quite debatable....chances are you can get a great player's Thinline for a lot less....anything from the Jim Adkins JA90 at $824 on up the $2k American Original looks like it could be a really great playing and sounding thinline guitar. Throw in fret change to SS, some setup work, and maybe new pickups, and you've got a sweet guitar still under, possibly way under $3k.
     
  11. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

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    I've had a couple of thinlines over the years, and they're cool. I actually prefer hollow and semi-hollow guitars - to me they not only sound good for jazzy tones, but they have a nice an throaty sound, when the gain is cranked up. My main problem, is that it's hard to get a Tele Thinline (with the exception of maybe the '72 Reissue, which I found to sound kind of blah) with a chunky neck - they all seem to have thinner necks. I would assume that the CS Nocaster Thinline has the typical thick Nocaster neck? I play classical style (thumb behind the neck), and thin necks aren't comfortable for me. I put up with thin necks for decades - especially since I believed the whole "a thin neck is a fast playing neck" concept. Around 10 years ago, I played a guitar with a relatively chunky neck, and found it much more comfortable, than the thinner necked guitars I'd been playing. As a result, I realized that it's nonsense to say that you can't play fast on a thicker neck.

    As for stainless steel - I need to treat it with caution. I also have a major allergy to chromium (which is a key element of stainless steel). I can't even take multi-vitamins (like Centrum), due to the chromium in them giving me skin breakouts. When I was diagnosed back in April 2014, with my chromium and nickel allergies, I had such severe dermatitis, I looked like a burn victim. I was starting to get a staph infection (complete with fever and chills), and would have more than likely wound up in the hospital within a week or so, if I hadn't gone to the doctor. I'd had skin breakouts in previous years, and since I'm an asthmatic, and some asthmatics suffer from eczema, I assumed that I was having eczema issues. It took diagnosis by a dermatologist, to tell me (by conducting a patch test, that lasted week), that I had mega allergies to nickel and chromium. For a while there, it was looking like I was going to have to say goodby to decades worth of electric guitar playing (I was OK on the acoustic guitar front), due having major difficulties with finding electric guitar strings that were both non-nickel, and non-stainless steel. Out of about 200 plus product lines of electric guitar strings, I could only find 2, that met my requirements (even then I e-mailed the string manufacturers to confirm they were hypo-allergenic) - Rotosound British Steels (which are made out of plain old steel), and Ernie Ball Cobalts (which are made out of cobalt alloy). I opted to use Ernie Ball Cobalts, because they are available in more string gauges.
     
  12. Dadzmad

    Dadzmad TDPRI Member

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    Ellen - good luck with your search. I sympathize with your allergies as folks in my family suffer from this type of problem.

    By the way I believe I have your blue baja with hypo-allergenic frets (EVO?). I got it from Cream City late last fall. It's my best guitar (beautifully set up) and gets a lot of time.
     
  13. LAPlayer

    LAPlayer Tele-Meister

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    I agree with Chris M. Find something you love. I would have no reason to panic-purchase (quickly) a guitar if I was content with what I have. Consolidating, for me, means first finding something I really want and then selling off the others (or trading). The problem for me is I buy a one-of-a-kind that I love, or a special limited edition - but then don't want to gig with it. Then I just end up with 1 more. After decades, I've learned that if I can't do it with the great guitars I have, I just can't do it.

    I suggest looking at a Nashville Tele or G&L ASAT Classic 'S'. These 3-pickup T-Bodies give a LOT of different tones in one guitar.
     
  14. Thinline casket

    Thinline casket Tele-Meister

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    In my world, spending that much money on an electric guitar doesn't compute. But an amp does compute. I'd put lollars in the tele you like and spend the rest on a holy grail amp. (Assuming you don't already have it.)
     
  15. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    I mentioned this earlier in another thread about the typical guitar forum pattern that happens when seeking out a "one and only" guitar.

    Start: "I'm selling all my other guitars to buy this new guitar. It's going to be my #1 for life!!!"

    1 month later. "This guitar is great! Just what I wanted in a guitar!"

    2 months later. "I miss that guitar I sold. I shouldn't have sold it. But at least I have my #1 for life!"

    3 months later. "I can't get the sound I want. Maybe if my one and only guitar had new pickups...."

    4 months later. "Pickups didn't help, perhaps a new boutique 'transparent' boost or fuzz pedal is what I need..."

    5 months later. "Maybe I need a new boutique amp to really bring out the best in what should be a fantastic guitar..."

    6 months later. Posted in a 'for sale' section of a guitar forum. "I'm selling this guitar to fund the purchase of my one and only guitar. It's a great guitar but I just couldn't bond with it."

    Rinse. Repeat.
     
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  16. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    Whats wrong with the vintera? If you absolutely gotta have something the nocaster has like that huge neck or nitro, (personally i prefer poly) i get that. But otherwise the vintera is at worse a pickup set away from being as good. Wood is wood unless u r talking about some super cheap guitars. But all u said about it was you wanted "1 really good guitar" and a vintera with as good a pickup set would be a really good guitar. Thats assuming they aren't already really good like the classic series they replaced who's pickups are mediocre at best. You can get a set of nocatsers for a bill an a 1/2, a far cry from the several grand u'd pay 4 a nocatser. Thats my opinion but the way i see it i think u r wrongly thinking paying a lot more means u will get a lot more. I believe with the same pickups and saddles you would be hard pressed to her the difference aside from luck of the draw as wood goes, and a nocaster could just as easily be made with a piece of wood thats a dog. If you think they play the finished product then $hite-can it because it's tonally mediocre you'd be wrong. Trust me, if the wood is dog wood it goes into a box and heads to a dealer anyways. So your guitar with the same pickups and saddles is going to be as likely to sound good as the nocaster. By the way, saddles DO change the tone and often radically. So again, unless u gotta have the huge neck or nitro i would suggest getting a killer P/U set and saddles for your vintera and saving a bundle. Get the same ones as the nocaster if thats what u think u want. (i love nocaster bridge pickups but not the neck) Vinteras are well past the point in quality when price plays a role in how good a guitar u get. At this point it's all about features.
     
  17. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

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    I'd look into Tele Custom II Squier ...and spend the rest on steaks!
     
  18. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    If you really want your "all time final guitar", and don't want to put it together yourself, call Bob Logan, or Ron Kirn, or any number of custom builders who can write down every single specific detail you want, and translate that into YOUR guitar.
     
  19. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    OK... based on the two things you specifically stated:

    1) You prefer a nice full neck
    2) You prefer a semi-hollow body...

    I'd say there's no need to blow thousands when you can get those (and MORE) with a great Epiphone ES-339. For several hundred and, if desired, spend a couple hundred getting your dream pickups/harness installed in it.

    You get the nice chunky neck and semi-hollow body, great playability & tone, and save a TON of money which you can enjoy in many other ways.

    I did just that with a barely used natural finish ES-339 with rosewood fretboard that I found on Reverb (seller was asking more, but I offered, and he accepted, $339 for it). I installed a set of Cavalier Phoenix Firebird pickups in it, along with a new wiring harness, and could not be happier with it. It is every bit as nice as my Gibson ES-339, but with a fuller neck profile.

    If I decided I needed to, I could be very happy with this as my only guitar - it is that nice!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  20. clayville

    clayville Tele-Meister

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    If I was in your shoes I'd set the Vintera aside and play the Heritage H535 for a couple of months... and then decide.
     
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