CS owners- what makes a CS instrument worth it, to you?

Joe M

Super Moderator
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Mar 16, 2003
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3,681
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Michigan
It was in a Mars Music. Remember them? Mars: The Music Planet!

I saw this beat-up-lookin' Lake Placid blue Tele on the used guitars wall and took it down and played it a bit. It played great. But $600 for a beat up Tele in 2003 was sort of goofy. Then I noticed the CS decal on the back of the headstock. I took it to the counter and pointed out this mis-marked price. I told the guy there should be a 1 in front of the 600. He looked it up in the system and said yeah, you're right. But it's marked $600 and you can have it for that price if you want it. SOLD.

It's a CS Time Machine '63 Tele made in 2000.

Fender-CS-63-Tele-LPB.jpg
WOW!:eek::eek: Even $1600 in 2003 would have been a steal…..
 

VillainSean

Tele-Holic
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Posts
638
Location
Seattle, WA
I've played guitar for 30+ years and most of that has been spent on very cheap instruments.
Only in the last 3 years have I had spare money that the wife has allowed for guitars. So I've acquired some good stuff, a Proline Gretsch, Duesenberg Paloma, 335, AO Jazzmaster, Ultra Telecaster.... then a month ago a CS shop Tele'.

The CS is sooo good I'm considering ditching other guitars to get another. For me it's the playability and feel. They are just on another level from anything else I've ever played. They make me play better, and sound better. I want to play it all the time. It's just special in a way I couldn't imagine until I played it.
View attachment 857810

This is picture makes me instinctively reach for my wallet.
 

burntfrijoles

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Feb 12, 2010
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8,677
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Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Did I spend too much? Did I waste my money? Like I told my neighbor who blew close $7k on a cruise a few years back. That money paid for almost 3 of my guitars, that are still sitting in my music room waiting to be played. He has a bunch of pictures.......its all what's important to you!!

Exactly! My neighbor has an immaculate C7 Corvette but in June he will have a new C8. A friend spends around $8,000 each on golf. Another spends that much on marina fees, gas, maintenance for his boat. I don’t have remorse for my gear purchases although I do regret a few impulse buys. My guitars give me a great deal of enjoyment and I spend a lot of time with them. I have friends who are retired like me but they don’t have a hobby or sustainable interest to keep them occupied.
 

Unionjack515

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Posts
1,347
Location
Batavia, IL
For me, it’s the only custom built guitar that has a distribution channel which allows me to try/see most of the options in person.

I am lucky enough to live within 45 min of Chicago Music Exchange. Before my first CS build, I planned to spend a day there looking at paint colors, trying out pickups, aging levels, wood types, neck profiles, fretboard radii, fretwire sizes, so on and so forth. They set me up with what equates to a “dressing room attendant”—he asked me what I wanted to try on, periodically checking in to see if I needed new sizes, etc. Even brought in a vintage ‘62 to compare. That was a bit of a jerk move in retrospect...ha. I say that in jest of course. Amazing guitar. Anyway. Think about essentially all the other brands of guitars of that level or better. With the possible exceptions of something from Gibson or maybe PRS, you will not be able to put yourself in a position to try more than maybe 5 at any given store. I probably played 20-30 guitars that day, no exaggeration. I feel confident enough in their *vast* options list now that I can 1) probably order another without spending more than 15 min or so in the shop just to look at colors 2) order one sight-unseen and/or used online (as long as there’s a decent return policy...sometimes there’s dogs. There just is.) AND the wait wasn’t that bad given the context of other builders’ turn times.

Case study: I love Mario Martin guitars. I’ve custom-ordered 3 now and have bought 2 others: one from dealer stock and one from a private seller. They will accommodate just about any request, use parts I send them if that’s my desire, and do not limit material selection like FCS does on team-built guitars, all at a cost at least 33% less than FCS. Chicago Music Exchange has zero currently (not a dealer for Mario so any they have would be used). A large Mario distributor, Amelia Island Guitars, currently has 3 in stock. It’s a 3 hour flight to get there. Not enough to get a good idea of anything really. Then I custom order one based on really no research and I wait 18 months.

Especially for a first-time custom guitar order, for convenience, for overall experience, and especially if you find a great dealer with personal assistance from an experienced salesperson, FCS is hard to beat.
 

Paulie13

Tele-Holic
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Posts
712
Location
Columbia, SC
Here's mine:

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I have only bought one CS Tele, and it was ordered online and I could not see it in person. That was the first time I had ever done that with a new guitar.

The quality of the finish, the wood, the details all did it for me. I know I am biased but I feel like the CS absolutely nailed it with this model. As others have said - part of the problem for me is that there are sooo many builders out there, and so many different models from each, that it is slightly overwhelming. With Fender CS I knew what I was getting quality wise, and from a place with generous return policies if it doesnt work out.
 

Crowcaster

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 10, 2010
Posts
678
Location
North Dakota
I never thought I'd get one, but I always thought a blue sparkle, double bound would be what I would order. And this summer Dave's Guitars had them in stock, so I emailed a couple guitars for trade and a deal was struck!

Spectacular Tele that is great in every way, but I don't sound or play much better than I do on a well set up AVRI or Classic Series MIM.

Custom Tele 2.jpg

Custom Tele 1.jpg
 

KATT

Tele-Holic
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Posts
581
Location
Essex, England
I wanted to buy a decent bass guitar and knew I wanted a Precision as I'd been borrowing a '90s Japanese Fender. I tried out an American Performer which was quite nice. Then tried out an American Standard or two which were even better. I then tried a deluxe which I preferred and then an American Vintage which was my favourite by far. Finally, I tried a custom shop Precision (which incidentally was the same price used as the new American Vintage) and it blew me away. Very light Ash body, perfectly shaped neck, great balance and sounded great. It was unique too being an ash body with rosewood neck, yet a 60s reissue vibe. It still blows me away every time I play it and is very inspiring to play.

IMG_20191023_223531.jpg


I went guitar shopping with a friend for a Strat and employed the same process as above. He's by no means a guitar obsessive but once he got to trying out custom shop guitars, he knew that's what he wanted and we drove for miles trying out every one we could!

When I bought my Custom Shop Strat (my first custom shop instrument) I wasn't even looking to buy one. It just happened to be in the local guitar shop and I tried it out just to see what it was like. There was something about it which drew me to return a week or so later to buy it!

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Yes, they're relics and I haven't earned the wear blah blah... I didn't buy any of them based on the finish as that's near the very bottom of my list of things I want in a guitar. They just inspire me to play!
 

JJLC

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 20, 2014
Posts
685
Location
Twin Cities
Clearly there are very good instruments available at a lower cost, and also (obviously) people are free to spend their money in any fashion they choose.

What are the reasons that you choose a Custom Shop instrument?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Thanks!


paint missing in few spots, numerous dings, and a few extra thou$and dollar$ on the price tag :D
 

funkyguitarman

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Posts
77
Location
Boston
I will only speak to personal experience as its what I know and something that might mirror other players here.

I am a lifelong Gibson player and not afraid to say it. With that said, I absolutely love what a Telecaster is and what it can do. I've struggled over the years to bond with most Fender guitars with the exceptions being a 62 RI Strat and a 64 AVRI Tele. With those two guitars being the exception, every other Fender I owned seemed like a compromise in what I was ultimately after. Back in 2016 I ordered an American Special Tele in fiesta red that became my main axe for a number of years. Stock the AMS Tele checked a lot of boxes but still was a compromise to the point where I finally decided to swap out some parts a few years ago. The mods helped but I was still yearning somehow for something else. The only non Custom Shop Tele I was considering was an American Original, but was still unsatisfied with the finish options. Last year I was on a hunt for my forever Fender and pretty quickly came to the conclusion that Custom Shop was the only way I would get the guitar I really wanted. Earlier this year I spotted a Wildwood 10 NOS Custom Tele 1960 in black and didn't even have to think about it. I had never even played a FCS Tele before buying it and after playing it at home was more than happy.

Granted I only own one and have limited experience with CS guitars, I would definitely go the CS route first if I ever needed another Fender in the stable. My tele had the finish, specs, and tone I was looking for right out of the box. Those Abigail Ybarra pickups are insane. The fit and finish was flawless, as was the playability. Was it an expensive guitar? Yes, although in the larger picture it wasn't crazy expensive like some Fender and Gibson Customs can get. I enjoy my Tele so much that it inspired me to go and try and eventually buy two Custom Gibsons. I don't believe there is a best guitar, just the best for you.
 

bradavic

TDPRI Member
Silver Supporter
Joined
May 21, 2021
Posts
31
Location
Bellingham, Washington
I ordered one almost two months ago, so I'm still waiting, but I decided to take the plunge because I wanted MY guitar in the configuration I chose. For me, I have always wanted a 1960 Tele in Sherwood Green Metallic. I know I could NEVER afford a real vintage example (let alone find one in Sherwood Green, which WAS offered at the time, but very rare), so I started looking at the Custom Shop. None of the used ones I found online matched the specs I wanted, so I ordered one up!
 

VillainSean

Tele-Holic
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
Posts
638
Location
Seattle, WA
I ordered one almost two months ago, so I'm still waiting, but I decided to take the plunge because I wanted MY guitar in the configuration I chose. For me, I have always wanted a 1960 Tele in Sherwood Green Metallic. I know I could NEVER afford a real vintage example (let alone find one in Sherwood Green, which WAS offered at the time, but very rare), so I started looking at the Custom Shop. None of the used ones I found online matched the specs I wanted, so I ordered one up!

I think this is the case for a lot of people.
And welcome, fellow Washingtonian!
 

BradL

Friend of Leo's
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Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Posts
2,090
Location
Sussex, UK
They look nice, sound nice and play nice. Perhaps I shouldn't have bought some of them and I definitely shouldn't have sold some of them.

But they make me happy, so this being TDPRI here are some of mine:

Post Modern NOS, Hot Rod 52 (not CS) and Cabronita-esqe custom order
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Thinline 50s Tele and Black over Pink Paisley 57 Strat
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CS 52 Tele and 58 JM
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60s Relic Strat (my fave) and a 56 that I picked up for £1400 s/h
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Probably I ought to have kept the Oly white Strat (signed Abbys and Braz board) but the guy who owns it loves it so wth :)
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