Help me choose my first Tele


Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
May 3, 2016
Northern Alabama
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.

Do this, yes, the guitar will tell you it’s the right one.

Burlington Dave

Friend of Leo's
Jan 24, 2010
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
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!
Shop the FB Marketplace and Kijiji, many great guitars well under your price limit.
I see you’re close by, come see my band sometime, we’ll talk Teles. 🙂 - Dave