introduction to the Tele Guitar

cousinpaul

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Posts
4,259
Location
Nashville TN
A lot of the players I liked were into teles. In the mid 70's I'd been playing 335s. I picked up a battered tele at Leo's in Oakland and couldn't put it down. $300 later, I learned it was a '61 Esquire. Light ash, slab board, clay dots, etc. I played it for the next 20 years or so. Had to give it up sometime in the 90's when my kids needed something. I've owned a lot of teles since then. My current partscaster is a little heavy but doesn't hold me back.
 

Blues Power

Tele-Meister
Joined
Oct 13, 2022
Posts
117
Location
Rural Kentucky
didnt plan on one. about 15 years ago I walked into a music store was looking around and just happened to see one heavily discounted. reason being there was a small scratch above the bridge about a 1/2 inch long and it wasn't deep.
owner gave me $400 off on it. so i paid $1100 and was out the door faster than a jackrabbit in hunting season

I figured after 2 or 3 gigs id have the same scratch anyways. and i was right about that. Got a sister scratch a month later almost identical lol
 

boris bubbanov

Tele Axpert
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Feb 24, 2007
Posts
56,943
Location
New Orleans, LA + in the
As a singer who was expected to play some rhythm guitar or keyboards, I tended to see electric guitars on guys like me, as props. My goal was to have a cherry red ES-335 or Guild Starfire, and for a while had a cheap Harmony substitute for same. Guitar wasn't my first or even my fourth instrument, and there's so much more to writing and arranging songs and entertaining people, than the guitar. Or so I felt for the first several decades of my involvement in music. The guitars in the closet were in need of work, for the most part, and had a sort of accidental aspect to them. What got kept and what had been sold, you know. Guitars taken in as you would a lost and hungry kitten, this sort of thing.

Meanwhile I went to school and I got a real profession and had lots of other things to consume my time, and in the early 1990s some of my old friends and bandmates got into collecting and buying/selling amps and guitars. And I started to see that Goldtops and some ESs and so on, were Unobtainium. Every time I would go into a shop, the sales-suckers would try to get me to buy something shreddy, something pointy, and I came to realize, an Esquire or Telecaster with a big fat neck was a better fit and my hand hurt less after a half hour.

I kinda bought my first Telecaster as an act of defiance against these would be glam stars. The kinds of guys who thought Steve Stills was dumb and didn't know John Sebastian at all.
 

bertmanphx

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2022
Posts
34
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Ok,
In 1991 I visited a local music store to try out a '65 BF RI Twin.
I didn't bring my current guitar, which was a Peavy Falcon w/ EMG's! (I was a kid)
I grabbed a Thinline Tele from the rack and plugged into the Twin. It was the most pure and sweetest country tone ever!
I bought the '52 RI Tele that was next to it on the rack and the Twin.
The next week I sold the Peavy, and have had both the Twin and Tele since...
:)
 

sloppychops

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Posts
2,229
Location
wisconsin
When I was 16 I went looking for my first electric guitar. Found a beat up LPB Tele at a pawn shop, then an Ibanez Strat someone had listed in the paper. I bought the Strat because it looked newer and had a Fender case, but there was something about the Tele that haunted me. I wanted to go back and get it. No money, though. I felt like I made the wrong choice.

Decades later, I tried a couple Teles but nothing clicked. Eventually got a CV 50s, and that started my Telecaster addiction. I had it for a few years, then got a Baja, then a...

Well, you know how this story goes.
 

Fiesta Red

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
9,947
Location
Texas
Started playing in 1989.

Bought the first electric guitar I had available to me, which was not a Telecaster…a 1980 G&L F-100, which I got for a steal. It is a great guitar, and I’ve somehow held onto it all this time.

I wanted a Tele (because of Keef and Muddy), but the Texas Blues Scene of the time dictated a Stratocaster (thank you, the Brothers Vaughan), I went that direction. Bought a few different guitars, which came and went, but held onto the F-100 and ‘62RI Strat.

Over a decade later, I formed a band and borrowed the bassist’s 1974-ish Telecaster Custom for one of the recordings (sounded perfect, contrasting with the other guitarist’s SRV-signature Strat). Liked the feel and sound of his Tele as well as or better than my beautiful Fiesta Red Stratocaster.

Started The Search and ended up with a creme-colored MIM Telecaster. It had a few features I didn’t like, but it felt freaking awesome, so…

Kept on playing Brownie (the F-100) and Fiesta Red but noticed the Tele was edging them out more and more.

Modified out the things I didn’t like about the Tele (neck humbucking pickup, stock switching) and customized it to make it look less vanilla (pickguard, pinstripes, ashtray bridge cover). It was Christened “Big Tex” and became my #1 guitar about 15 years ago. Never say never, but I don’t see it getting overthrown anytime soon.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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Oct 11, 2017
Posts
4,887
Location
Goonieville, OR
I stumbled upon a bunch of acquaintances having a jam. They asked me to sit in and since I didn't have my guitar, they said grab that Telecaster, and the rest is history. It is the best random thing that ever happened to me.
 

Steve_U1S

Tele-Afflicted
Ad Free Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Posts
1,374
Location
Toronto, Canada
I grew up being influenced by my Dad's acoustic guitar playing, and his listening habits, long before I took up an instrument.
Once I did become interested in trying my hand at playing, I was hearing and ultimately seeing imagery of Waylon Jennings holding onto his various leather-jacketed Telecasters.
The geometry of the instrument burned itself onto my brain - even without knowing why, I seemed to be tipping toward its simplicity.
The 1st electric guitar I owned, which I received from my parents as a Christmas gift when I was about 12, was a Tele copy.
That was magical.
Very soon after I made a Tele style body in grade 9 wood shop; I used some donor parts from my original Tele copy, but also my Dad helped me acquire some genuine parts.
Ultimately, that evolved into a Waylon tribute, including faux leather which I primitively carved myself using a pocket type retractable knife.
Many years later I gifted that guitar to my Dad.
I moved on toward making and playing EVH type tribute instruments soon after that initial Tele tribute.
Skip ahead to about 9 years ago, and a reconnection with an old musical friend got me into the mindset that it was time to finally own a genuine Telecaster, so I set out to investigate what was out there and most suitable... and I've remained on that train since as well. I divide my time; sometimes I'm playing a '52 inspired Tele, other times I'm playing an Ibanez 7-string or something along those lines.

Dad had wanted me to gig his tribute guitar a few years back, so I got it gig-ready and brought it to the stage, much to his delight. He was at that particular performance to experience it as well. I'm grateful that worked out so well. The photo below was taken at that performance.

In bittersweet fashion, that homemade Waylon tribute guitar made its way back into my possession a couple of years ago...
I treasure it moreso now, because of its shared connection between us, and his immense love of everything for which it stands.

full
 

user name

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Posts
414
Location
USA
I don't remember a time when I didn't like Teles and vintage style guitars. Back in the 80s when I started playing, most people wanted super strats and pointy guitars and huge rack gear. I was drooling over beat up old Fenders, Gibsons, and Gretsches.
 

TokyoPortrait

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 10, 2017
Posts
4,613
Location
Tokyo, Japan
Hi.

Dunno really, it is a mix of things.

I always thought Telecasters were ‘old folk / country music’ guitars. Basically, two things I wasn’t interested in as a teenager/ younger adult.

The three saddle bridge section looked stupidly primitive and I hated the headstock shape, which I thought looked anaemic.

And then, one day that just sort of miraculously changed. All the ‘problems’ just went poof.

Possibly a combo of changing aesthetic tastes, finding out Led Zep 1 was mostly a Tele, and seeing videos online of early Zeppelin and Tele equipped Keith Richards.

But, I still didn’t really want one. Then I started listening to / watching early That Pedal Show videos, around the same time I suddenly, for no real reason, started to worry about my Les Paul’s headstock getting damaged when taking it out of the house.

So, that’s the rough history and probably a reasonable summary of the basic points in a rather complicated journey.

Two seems to be enough for me, so, two for show, cos I can.


3BB07264-187F-4C34-A3DE-C390C2008131.jpeg



BBE45767-6DFB-4C38-B8D3-34FAFD379E40.jpeg




Pax/
Dean
 

Boomhauer

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
Posts
3,063
Location
Michigan
I worked in a guitar store in 2012 and 2013. I had no idea about electric guitars or anything...basically everything I know about guitars, I learned in that shop. I immediately fell in love with a swamp ash Am Std Telecaster and would always pick that guitar to try out used gear that we were considering buying.
 

Electric Warrior

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Posts
980
Location
Midwest
When I was 13, my friend had a black MIM tele and a Fender Ultimate Chorus 100. I only remember I liked holding it and it seemed novel with its maple fingerboard. We sounded terrible. In retrospect, it was probably because we had everything but the amp's volume at 10. I can't fairly judge them based on a faint memory.

That amp was painfully loud, which could be cool, but it had terrible distortion. It was like someone scraping a pan with a fork, that's the feeling I associate with it. I dismissed the Telecaster because my friend told me it was a "country" guitar and I was like, man, that won't do. I probably didn't pick up a Telecaster for another 15 years.

I wised up and remembered I liked how they looked. I saw so much chatter about the Bajas that I traded a beat up G&L Legacy and cheapo Yamaha bass for one. I won that trade outright. That Baja was awesome and lived up to the hype. I eventually traded it for something wild. I've owned a lot of Teles since. I've had a couple more Bajas, but they couldn't match that one.
 

Fiesta Red

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Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
9,947
Location
Texas
Started with me around 1984. I was already in a gigging band in Tuscaloosa, AL. Frat parties, bar gigs, parties. Playing 80's music, 4 nights a week. Rolling in cash for a young guy. I had a Yamaha SBG that was great, never touched the one controls. I worked in a music store that had tons of new and vintage guitars coming thru ALL the time. Owner was into everything and had lots of parts as well. So I built a 24 fret Warmoth superstrat with Bill Lawrence pickups. That was my main gigging guitar. Still works great!



In spite of playing a lot, I was always going to clubs to see other local musicians. One night, I saw a guy KILLING it on a new/first year/1983 '52 reissue. Country rock band called Locust Fork. I had no idea a guitar could cover that much ground, clean to mean, and I loved the butterscotch/blackguard look. Had to get one. They were brand new, and expensive.

Lo and behold, one day a Nashville player comes thru the store and trades in his modded 1983 '52 reissue on a vintage guitar. Modded? By whom? Some Joe Glaser guy (ha!) Glaser had taken the finish off the neck, refretted it with jumbos and done an oil finish on it. OMG. I bought it on the spot and gigged that guitar for 18 years straight. That started my love affair with all flavors of T.



Still building a few as well.



The occasional custom guitar when I need a real luthier.

What is the color of that bottom one?
 

mountainhick

Tele-Holic
Joined
May 2, 2021
Posts
607
Location
Rocky Mountains
Playing 50 years, never played a tele, was curious. After picking up and returning what was sold as MIM that was just a MIM neck on Chinese loaded body, (i.e mostly fake) from a MGR, I found a nice MIM FSR ash. I like it. I'm just starting a scratch build on another that will be a little lighter weight. Dithering about pickups. That's my in depth history with the Telecaster. They are utilitarian guitars and good fun, and fit a niche that none of my other guitars quite fill.
 

Skeet-1969

TDPRI Member
Silver Supporter
Joined
Aug 20, 2022
Posts
60
Location
NE PA
Took my wife in 1999 (or early 00) to see her fave singer/songwriter, Fish from Marillion. (Not Phish). His guitarist that night was John Wesley, and when the guy strapped on a Tele, it was like the skies opened when he soloed. I hadn't heard a tone like that before. Having been playing since 1975/1976 as a kid on both guitar and drums, and at the time a professional touring drummer - I knew I had to replace my bad strat copy with SOMETHING, but that sealed the deal. We tuned a lot of drop D and CGD tunings at the time (I wrote some of the riffs for the band) and the strat was a PIA. I knew I wanted a Tele at that moment. Used to work in NYC all the time, so I played about 30 Teles and picked my black MIM and walked out happy. That guitar started a love affair, has been through a few pickup selections and now it is among 4 other Teles.
Mike B
 

Mikelowndes

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2022
Posts
12
Age
56
Location
UK
First guitar was a very crappy Marlin strat copy, just horrible, but when I started practicing seriously for my first band I needed a real guitar. Huge influnce from a 70s band very well known in the UK but much less so in the US - Status Quo, who used twin Teles. Also, Yardbirds era Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, plus Albert Collins. I lucked upon a used Tokai Tele for cheap. Absolutely loved that guitar and used it in the punk band (around 88-89). However, later on we started playing more 'sophisticated' music and I needed something more versatile so sold it, bought an Ibanez Studio. That was also a great guitar but I dearly missed the Tokai.
For many years played Ibanez and Strats, but recently fell in love with the G&L ASAT. Tested the US vs the Tribute and the price difference wasn't justified - so here we are. Modern points of reference are the female Tele blues-rockers Joanne Shaw Taylor and Sam Fish.

Lol I forgot Keef of course.
 

bluesfordan

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 1, 2006
Posts
3,073
Location
Nashua NH
back when I was young and dumb (I'm only one of those now), I got the notion that 6 saddles were inherently superior to 3. There was no way I was going to compromise my rise to stardom on an inferior design. Then they started making 6 saddle Telecasters and I thought "Praise the lawd, Fender has seen the light". I bought one or two of those, and they just didn't click. Granted, it was the '80s and '90s, I still didn't know that much about how to make a guitar sound and play well.

It was a GVCG that I played unknowingly, thinking it was a vintage Tele. Voice of the angels through a Vibrolux Reverb 2x10. Then I picked up a MIJ '80s Tele second hand. It was a fine sounding instrument, although somewhat of a boat anchor at 9+ pounds. It left in the Great Carload Sale of 2005. Some time after that, I picked up a Nash T-63, six pounds 5 ounces of joy. Traded it for an even lighter Strat. Should have kept it, now they're approaching CS Tele prices.

Then I found Squier. Today I have a CV50 Tele (avatar) and a CV50 Esquire. Depending on what I do with the MJT Tele body, something is going to go bye bye.
 

Fiesta Red

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
9,947
Location
Texas
I grew up being influenced by my Dad's acoustic guitar playing, and his listening habits, long before I took up an instrument.
Once I did become interested in trying my hand at playing, I was hearing and ultimately seeing imagery of Waylon Jennings holding onto his various leather-jacketed Telecasters.
The geometry of the instrument burned itself onto my brain - even without knowing why, I seemed to be tipping toward its simplicity.
The 1st electric guitar I owned, which I received from my parents as a Christmas gift when I was about 12, was a Tele copy.
That was magical.
Very soon after I made a Tele style body in grade 9 wood shop; I used some donor parts from my original Tele copy, but also my Dad helped me acquire some genuine parts.
Ultimately, that evolved into a Waylon tribute, including faux leather which I primitively carved myself using a pocket type retractable knife.
Many years later I gifted that guitar to my Dad.
I moved on toward making and playing EVH type tribute instruments soon after that initial Tele tribute.
Skip ahead to about 9 years ago, and a reconnection with an old musical friend got me into the mindset that it was time to finally own a genuine Telecaster, so I set out to investigate what was out there and most suitable... and I've remained on that train since as well. I divide my time; sometimes I'm playing a '52 inspired Tele, other times I'm playing an Ibanez 7-string or something along those lines.

Dad had wanted me to gig his tribute guitar a few years back, so I got it gig-ready and brought it to the stage, much to his delight. He was at that particular performance to experience it as well. I'm grateful that worked out so well. The photo below was taken at that performance.

In bittersweet fashion, that homemade Waylon tribute guitar made its way back into my possession a couple of years ago...
I treasure it moreso now, because of its shared connection between us, and his immense love of everything for which it stands.

full
That body is gorgeous (guitar, not yours, lol)…I admire anyone who has any woods carving/woodworking skills.
 




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