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Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by dhodgeh, Jan 20, 2020.
+1 Excactly. Go play a bunch and get the one that sings to you. More fun too.
While there are going to be many excellent recommendations for particular models, these are a few features you should look for or consider modding into whatever you buy:
- 4-way switch. This gives you both pickups in series. A stealth Les Paul humbucker.
- Reverse the control plate for V-T-Switch to the rear, the Kirchen Mod.
- Figure out if you like 50s-spec chunky necks or skinny 60s-spec. I can't go back to skinny after finding chunky neck Teles.
- If you play country you may want to find lower kohm and weaker magnet pickups. If more rock to metal you'll want higher kohm windings and ceramic magnets. Don't be a wimp about ceramic, they are just permanent and higher output than Alnico which you can play country later by lowering them closer to the body than the published setup specs (which were based on alnico).
- Electrosocket -- and tune the jack in it so that the output cable plug just slides right in without even looking.
- Shielded cable to the jack rather than Fender's two wire scheme. No, just twisting the pair of stock wires won't protect you from modern noise sources like cell phones and computers.
As for models ... be sure to at least try out the Vintera replacement for the Baja and the Player Series. They are overall pretty good to try out. You might save the rest of your tinder for another fantastic model.
If you want built-to-order...
+1 for the 70th anniversary broadcaster! Or just go 2nd hand CS with that budget
For $2500 I could get two outstanding, or 4 really good Teles.
Cruise used sites, see what looks good.
I love this approach - it's been terrific for my needs. I use the internet to narrow down my choices, but then hit the local guitar emporiums with an open mind and a healthy skepticism. I try all of the ones that meet the broad criteria, and play as many as I can. My personal preference is to make a couple of choices, and go to lunch and think it over. I'll go back after lunch and re-visit the finalists.
Even if nothing calls to me, I know that I've learned more about what I am looking for, and spent a day doing something that I love.
Good luck searching!!
Most everyone in the "hive" will recommend what he likes best. Folks with guitars under 1K may say you're a fool to spend more. Folks with expensive guitars will be even more convinced they've got the right choice for you because of how much they spent.
My avatar tele is a MIM that I bought used and modified into a great one for me. In total, it came to well under $1000. I have a CS Stratocaster that's just about perfect... for me. It goes for a little more than 1 1/2 times your budget. Something like it may be worth it if you can spend that much.
What I like shouldn't count for much to you. In your shoes, carrying around a full wallet like yours, I'd play as many guitars as I could, Elites, Ultras, and all the other Telecasters mentioned so far. I'd do my search in the best shops I could get to. Find a CS dealer. A used CS Tele is probably just north of what you have in mind to spend but it may very well be worth it if it sings your song. You may find a vintage guitar in that price range too. I'll suggest not confining your search to just Telecasters. I split playing time pretty evenly among my electrics until I got my latest Strat. I could be happy if it was my only guitar.
Shop with an open mind. Carry a few hundred with you when you shop, no more. If you think you've found the one, use the few hundred to place it on hold. Come back and play it again a day or two later to make sure it's REALLY the one before you buy.
Sometimes we only get to find that guitar of a lifetime once. I read a post today from Torren61 who found his, an early '60s ES-335. You never know. I'd never have believed that my guitar of a lifetime would be a Strat. Keep an open mind and have fun. All the best to you.
I had an American Standard for a long time, and last year got a Fender Custom Shop Deluxe Telecaster. The guy I bought it from had 3 other CS Teles and was downsizing. He ordered this one custom from Sweetwater with the "65 Strat" neck shape, which is a more "full" C than the "Modern C", but not a baseball bat, and I love it. I prefer the 6 saddle bridge the Custom Shop Deluxe comes with vs. the vintage-correct barrel saddles, because I'm OCD about intonation.
The guy was asking $2,500 but took $2,100. It came with Twisted Tele pickups, which are fun, but I want more traditional Tele pickups, so I ordered Don Mare Hayrides for $350. So $2,450 for a sick Fender CS Tele with Don Mare pickups... done Tele shopping for life
Here are some examples... these have 4-way switches and U necks, but gives you an idea of the value here...
I also didn't find any downside from going to a satin neck to the gloss nitro neck with these guitars, even though before I didn't like a 335 because of how glossy the neck was. The overall quality is just so high on Fender CS that neck gloss seems to not bother me at all, and now I think I kind of prefer it.
Wow, I have a custom made Tele with big ol' fat rosewood neck. Cost less than that 2500 for sure. It's a dream guitar.
If I had that budget I'd buy two: a GE Smith signature and a Baja. I think I'd have enough left over for an AC15.
While it may or may not be the one for you, please try a 52 Reissue if you come across one. The necks are chunky and great and they sound unbelievable with a Fender, and honestly pretty much any other, amp.
It doesn't sound like much unplugged, but it is very natural sounding when you pair it with a good amp; I pluck with my fingers and it is like an acoustic in that it sounds like what you're doing with your hands.
For me it was a gateway drug to Teles, and subsequently 5 or 6 others have come and gone,
but I still pick it up first when I bring home a new amp. Also, if you can play it well, you can pretty much pick up any other electric with confidence because it doesn't hide mistakes.
Another nice thing is with a used instrument purchased from a good store, you know that someone has at least tried to set it up properly and if there are any glaring faults they won't be able to hide them behind fresh paint and finish.
+1. $2500?! I'd load up on Grey Poupon and have my chauffeur take me to a whole bunch of music stores.
I paid $999 for my 2012 American Standard Telecaster, including case and shipping. I don't think another $1.5K would buy a better one, except for fluff. I hope you get a good one.
Contact Tony Mellechampe on facebook. Runs Desperadoville guitars. A man of craft and master of teles. Used to be a member on here. Mellecaster if I recall.
Thank for all the comments and suggestions.
I know playing and checking out as many guitars as possible is the right way to go about a search. Problem is we only have a couple of shops in town, one be a satellite Guitar Center, and the other catering to the school band crowd.
Fortunately the Orlando Guitar Expo is happening in a couple of weeks and I am planning on spending the day there on my quest.
All these comments have given me good ideas and what to be on the lookout for.
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If i have the kind of money, id instantly think of the icons, CS Nocaster, Broadcaster, Esquire, and 60’s style (slim neck though), but rosewood board. I’ check the used market.
one and done.
Do you prefer bound 60s style bodies? What about fretboard material? Maple or rosewood? I envy you. Play as many telecasters as you can get your hands on. As others have said, don't look down on cheaper models or be afraid to go used. I tried a player series in a shop about 8 months ago that sounded so sweet and sent me on a quest. I had a fixation on butterscotch blonde and that one was a sunburst so i had to pass. The neck profile and fretboard radius is hugely important. Do you like a fast flat neck or prefer a nice C shape? The finish on the neck also have a significant effect on the overall feel. There's a lot to be said for a well used guitar that has a nice smooth finish on the back of the neck. Good luck in your quest!
Personally, i would build one exactly like you want it.
I recommend using warmoth.
I built two warmoth teles in 2018 and the one in the pic has become my #1.
If I had that budget .... I would call Ron Kirn first ... or another great custom builder ... They will meet your exact need
You might find a used Fender Custom Shop model at that price point or certainly a used American vintage reissue.
Here is a 1978 Telecaster well within your price range: