Help me choose my first Tele

ferrocile01

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Jun 3, 2022
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Hi all,

First post here -- always been a strat guy (still am), but I think I'm finally ready to grab my first tele and I could use some help in making my big decision.

Budget - I'm looking to spend ~1-1500 (CAD) ish give or take.
This rules out a lot of the higher end American models and the Squier line (I'm not opposed to getting a CV or something of the like. My strat is a CV 60th anniversary and it's my daily driver).

Neck - I have pretty normal hands and fairly stubby thumbs (broke them both at the same time when I was a kid -- you'll never guess how many Fonzie jokes I had to endure) so:
-No thick U necks for me I think
-pretty much everything else is game
-very used to C shape 9.5" radius, but willing to branch out
-intrigued by the soft V
-prefer rosewood top, but all maple is fine too
-usually prefer larger frets

Pickups - I'm not 100% sure what I really want out of the pickups because I don't know teles extremely well. I like a bridge that bites and a nice funky middle position. I can share some things I have liked and did not like when I heard them.
-I really like the sound of the J Masics signature tele pickups (except the out of phase middle, not a fan)
-Like the TL 62 MIJ pickups
-Like the Tokai 98B pickups
-Like the new JV 50s modified pickups
-Not a fan of G&L pickups (they're clear, but sound a big hi-fi? for my taste)
-Not a fan of Godin's tele line pickups
-Not a fan of N3 noiseless pickups (they're okay, but I don't want a guitar I'm just okay with)

Bridge - No major preference on topload vs string thru. Fixed though, no trem system - I have a strat for that

Body - Thinline vs solid -- I lean toward solid, but thinlines are also pretty sexy. The only problem I have is that the controls are farther away and will make swells harder (I think?-- again not a lot of experience here)

Color - because I'm shallow and apparently it matters?
-Honestly most colors work, but I'm not a classic butterscotch fan
-Prefer blues, but again not suuuper picky here

Features - Classic 3-way switching is about all I need. The S1 switching is neat, but not necessary. I don't need out of phase sounds or on board boosts, etc


I would prefer to buy the guitar I want without having to modify after buying, but I have modified before, so going with a CV and upgrading some stuff is not out of the question -- it's exactly what I did with the strat. Again, would rather just buy and play though.

So far, I am seriously considering
-the J Masics signature -- a little out of budget though. Not sure I can justify the extra $$ and then have to fix the wiring after I get it to sort out the middle position
-The Vintera 50s modified -- I actually like the blue in the 60s modified series better and would consider it, but I'm not sure I like the pickups as much as the 50s modified. I'm also intrigued by the thick soft v, though the neck on the 60s is totally fine. If I could get the modified 50s pickups on the 60s modified, it would be a win, but as it is, I lean 50s modified
-MIJ TL62 if I can find one and in budget
-Tokai 98B or 106B
-JV 50s modified from the 2022 lineup -- but like the J Masics, it's starting to get up there in price. Beautiful, but also seems to almost be a vintera 50s modified with a different colorway essentially.

Anything I'm really missing here? Anything on my list you would recommend I steer clear of?
I'm not opposed to going outside the big F brand for a quality guitar. One of my main barriers is that it needs to be in Canada or I pay some hefty import fees and I want to avoid that.

If you made it this far, I really appreciate you taking the time to read through. Cheers!
 

mimmo

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It seems to me that you already did your home work. You seem to know what you want: a 'modern' feeling telecaster.

I'd like to help you telling you which one to get, but honestly I can't see why you should go wrong with the Mascis or the JV 50s or the Tokai or whatever else is on your list. To me, they are all good solid choices, all I can add is go out and try them. If you can't find any, just buy from a shop with a good no-question-asked return and you'll be fine.

Enjoy every single moment of the research, get a good tele and play the hell out of it. You will be rewarded and she will give you joy all your life.
Hope this helps...somehow.
 

bobbythegoose

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Not sure how much more you'd be willing to spend, but I absolutely love my American Pro II Telecaster. I suggest you try one out. Quite possibly the best neck I've ever played.
 

ferrocile01

TDPRI Member
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Jun 3, 2022
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Location
Stoney Creek, ON
Not sure how much more you'd be willing to spend, but I absolutely love my American Pro II Telecaster. I suggest you try one out. Quite possibly the best neck I've ever played.
Yeah, Pro II would probably be my pick, but they're just a little out of reach.

I will actually have ~2.3k to spend, but I was really really hoping I could pick up a good, solid tele and then have some leftover to buy a 68 reissue vibro champ reverb. I think that is going out the window for now, but I'm still not sure I want to pony up the whole 2.3. I may end up extending myself a little to get the J Masics or JV modified and then save up a while longer for the amp. I mean.. I can afford it, but I'm trying to keep myself in check a little. I'm funding my purchase with another sale and trying not to dip into my accounts.

edit: I did actually find a nice Thinline with the neck and appointments from a 50s modified vintera that I'm eyeing. It's ~1k and would leave me with a good chunk leftover. I'm trying to decide if I would be happy in the long run or if I will want something else in another few years and I should just shell out the extra for what I really want now, etc..
 

Slim Chance

Tele-Afflicted
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You should at least test drive the Player and Player Plus models. Prices have soared for all models so they are still one of the best price for quality/features models out there.

Have you considered used? Might still be able to swing the VC, says the man with and original 68 Vibro Champ.
 

Linkslover

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
Posts
322
Location
Naples, FL
Go to a guitar store with a good variety of models and the model amp you own.

Start playing guitars. If you find several that you like, start doing A vs. B tests to eliminate guitars until you have one left. Buy that one.

LL
 

ferrocile01

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Stoney Creek, ON
Just found a local guy selling his MIJ 62 RI for considerably cheaper than what I have seen elsewhere, so I'm going to try to snag that. It looks extremely mint from the pictures. I'll get a good look at it tomorrow before I decide to pull the trigger on it, but if it looks to be in good working order, the price is too good to pass up. Had a few on my list on Reverb and they were all going for ~1700 CAD -- this guy has his going for 1100, which totally leaves enough room for a Vibro champ reverb.
 

Bongoslade

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it's nice to have these problem - yes no...???
good luck man - i buy used mostly and have had great luck on line - lucky i guess
same to you brother
 

pbenn

Tele-Afflicted
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Apr 6, 2007
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Just found a local guy selling his MIJ 62 RI for considerably cheaper than what I have seen elsewhere,

Carefully examine the MIJ 62 RI, maybe overnight, for quality control. Yes they have a great reputation, but I can easily remember dogs, which sometimes ended up as rentals from Ontario music stores, that I have played. (You get my drift).

The used guitar world has changed a lot... a used MIJ 62 used to be a $700 guitar.

Double binding? Do you like the way the body feels -- apart from its appearance? Being double bound, those edges are not modifiable.

At a C$1500 budget level, I would build a partscaster, spending a little time perfecting it. They season within a year of playing.

Or... check out a used American Std, maybe 2012 to 2018 with the Broadcaster pickup. Neck might be perfect for you (standards are 1-11/16 nuts, vintage are 1-5/8").
 

Singin' Dave

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Only beef with the MIJs are usually pickups and electronics - hopefully you can play before you buy but sounds like a great option leaving you room for a sweet amp!
 

xtrajerry

Doctor of Teleocity
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Jan 3, 2012
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Lehigh Valley, PA
-MIJ TL62 if I can find one and in budget
-Tokai 98B or 106B
-JV 50s modified from the 2022 lineup -- but like the J Masics, it's starting to get up there in price. Beautiful, but also seems to almost be a vintera 50s modified with a different colorway essentially.
Out of the guitars listed sounds like you really want the TL62, I have one in Ice Blue Metalic. It really is better made than other production F guitars. I bought mine directly from Ishibashi Music. It’s the last guitar I’ve purchased.. about 7-8 years ago.

When you’re not sure what you want nothing beats hanging out in a music shop trying out different guitars. that’s how I ended up with my first Tele. I had been in this shop several times trying on Strats looking for one that spoke to me.
 

Fgnvirginia

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I sold my fender’s and gibbys and went all Fgn after playing one. I honestly rarely play my other body styles because the tele plays everything from country to blues to metal with ease. You can get a great one for $900, and the $600 tele plays great.
 

Chipss36

Tele-Holic
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The “best” is subjective, this is my number one guitar, pretty much the opposite of what you like, a AO 50s tele, it was selected out of a stack of about 10, it’s was the lightest of the lot, and had something tonality the others did not, the guitar itself sounded excellent, I knew it had more, and after about 20 sets of pickups, a set of don mare, hot bakelights pushed the guitar to the potential I knew it had,ohh man that neck pickup, just wow.

I would say after deciding on tele make x,y, or z, wait until you can play many examples of the same guitar, and pick the best, for you, your ears, your Amps, your fingers, rather than others rejected, used and on sale, or rather based only on tele make “whatever,” base this on tone of the same make of tele.
I would also play a real and “good“ vintage fender tele, and use that as a baseline of tone. In a nutshell that’s how I would look for a keeper. Is it easy? Nope , will it lead to a keeper? Possibly.
this will take possibly a wait for stock, road trip or flight, and uhh may be some monetary encouragement to sales staff. But in the end, you can be confident you have the “best” for you.
 

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Alex_C

Tele-Afflicted
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I'm a huge Kiesel fan. The quality is excellent. They have a Tele called the Retro Solo.If I were in the market, that is 100% the way I'd go.

Be careful with options, it can get expensive. Stock is $1650.
 
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Maguchi

Friend of Leo's
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Jun 16, 2019
Posts
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Lalaland
Hi all,

First post here -- always been a strat guy (still am), but I think I'm finally ready to grab my first tele and I could use some help in making my big decision.

Budget - I'm looking to spend ~1-1500 (CAD) ish give or take.
In that price range I'd go for a Fender American Performer Tele. Had mine since 2018 and it's one amy favorite guitars. Really nice medium neck. Not too fat, not too thin, just right. The satin finished neck is smooth and fast and the rolled fretboard edges feel really good. Also comes in a real rosewood fretboard version. I got the HB neck pickup but they come with an SC pickup in the neck position too. I liked the "Yosemite" pickups so I din't change 'em out. $1399 new, $1450 with a humbucker. Even cheaper used.

20210630_124950.jpg
 




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