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It's 2020. How much should a "good" tele cost

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by MAXXFIELD, Nov 16, 2020.

How much should a "good' tele be

  1. $0-300

    11 vote(s)
    3.9%
  2. $300-500

    51 vote(s)
    18.1%
  3. $500-700

    79 vote(s)
    28.0%
  4. $700-1000

    74 vote(s)
    26.2%
  5. $1000-1500

    41 vote(s)
    14.5%
  6. More than $1500

    26 vote(s)
    9.2%
  1. GearGeek01

    GearGeek01 Tele-Meister

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    The picture in my avatar here is a 2018 - Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster (MIM). I found it at a pawn shop in mint condition for $300 in January 2019. The pickups are USA custom shop pups, has a 4-way blade switch and an S1 switch. Lot's of tonal options... Also has a sweet soft-vee neck profile I love... I thought this would be my last Tele ever until...

    I was browsing at the local Sam Ash store and they had a 2019 - Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster (MIM) in white blonde with a black PG. It is a 3-pickup Tele with a 5-way blade switch (like a Strat). Vintage Noiseless Single-Coil Telecaster (Bridge and neck), Vintage Noiseless Single-Coil Strat (middle). I just had to have it and paid full price new, I think it was $825.

    I like guitars with extra switching options. Both of these have a little something extra under the hood.

    From these 2 purchases, I suppose $300-$825. IMHO, I have all the "Tele" I want in these 2, and I'm not really interested in having to have a USA-made version. I tend to spread my electric guitar love across many different brands, country of origin, and models... to name a few I have:

    - 1970-something - Hohner HG-400SG (lawsuit SG) (outfitted with Dimarzio dual-sound pickups complete w/ mini switches for coil split
    - 1980 - Gibson Les Paul Artisan (original owner)
    - 1993 - Fender (MIJ) '57 Re-Issue Foto Flame
    - 1995 - G&L USA George Fullerton Fullerton, Clear Natural
    - 1996 - G&L USA George Fullerton Signature, electric blue metallic
    - 1998 - Jackson RR5 Randy Rhoads (eerie dess swirl)
    - 2006 - Reverend Warhawk II 390 (3xP-90s + 5-way blade)
    - 2008 - Fender Eric Johnson Strat
    - 2010 - Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro (marked "Epiphone Limited Edition Custom Shop" on the back of the headstock, has Seymour Duncan pups, I bought it use, not sure if the pups were stock or not... probably not)
    - 2011 - Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro
    - 2011 - Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue
    - 2012 - Epiphone ES-335 Dot
    - 2013 - Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro II
    - 2014 - Ibanez SR300M Bass (in soda blue)
    - 2016 - Epiphone SG Special
    - 2016 - Gibson Flying V Pro T (wine red) has push/pull volumes for coil split
    - 2017 - Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Johnny A. Custom Outfit
    - 2018 - Fender American Elite HSS Stratocaster
    - 2018 - Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster
    - 2019 - Fender Deluxe Nashville Telecaster
    - 2020 - Epiphone Firebird (awesome guitar)
    - 2020 - Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor-II Pro Archtop (on hold at Sam Ash)

    So, having 2 x Teles in the mix, I'm good on Teles for now...

    $300-$825 does everything I need a Tele to do (for now, LOL)
     
    mojek likes this.
  2. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have always been and will always be on a 'poor man's budget' so any guitar for me would be under $500, more like $350.
    I've had a very good track record with good 'players' in this range.

    Teles included- though it's been a while.
    May seek a Squier '69 Thinline RI next year!
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
    Mike Eskimo and bgmacaw like this.
  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Wow. Non-sequitur much?
     
  4. teeny

    teeny TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Llike this comment - always a guitar you like/love, never 'just because....' it's a brand, got sexy pick-ups on it, exotic wood neck etc....I have 2 teles; 1 a lovely vintage Fender "Blondie", the other a FENIX by Young Chang (whoever he is) modded with Fender p/ups. Actually prefer that. Finish good, great neck/action and lighter (my age!) plus if it's stolen I don't lose a classic worth ?xxxx$. Mind you when I started playing (60's) the number of guitars I gave away, swopped or sold for peanuts makes me wince - if i had them back today i would be a happy man indeed !! Teeny
     
  5. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    $600 give or take $100 should get you a high quality Tele of some stripe. For that price you should be able to get a higher MIM such as a used Classic series or classic player or maybe a used American Tele. I know Fender has renamed some of these (e.g. Vintera) but they have also raised prices. So for your money you can get a pretty high quality Tele with alnico pups. Not sure I would qualify anything below the Classic series as high quality. Personally I would be concerned about needing to replace pickups, weight of the guitar, neck profile, etc. so I wouldn’t go below the classic series of MIM Teles. And it would say Fender on the headstock which increase its trade or resale value.
     
  6. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

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    Haha. Exactly.

    Squiers are good beginner guitars. They aren't good guitars. They're heavy, for one, so even after upgrading everything you're still stuck with the weight.

    I'd say $1,500 for a lightweight instrument that needs no mods, but you could go into the 2ks for the really nice ones. This makes sense as it tracks the 50s inflation.
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I still prefer those numbers you posted, but they applied better 15 years ago than today.

    Because I lost all my guitar gear (to addiction) and had to start over in 1998, I hit the used guitar market much like a beginner in the beginning of the 21st Century, which was when I had gotten the rest of my life back on track and could really focus on better music gear.

    Between 2000 and 2005 I was buying parts Fenders with better than average USA and MIJ parts for $300- $350.
    I did pay $500 for a mint '85 MIJ PP Tele, $700 for a '50s Esquire body with a '73 Tele neck, and $800 for an ESP CS body with a '64 Tele neck.

    But shops had lots of great to me top tier quality Fenders at cheap prices.
    Today? Online we read raves about the quality of Squiers but they just never impress me with bang for the buck, because I compare the quality and price to before the internet sort of fluffed up the reps of mediocre guitars to Holy Grail like status.

    I guess I expect a guitar to be great if it's going to take up space in my house.
    Sure there are plenty of good $350 guitars, but it's been a long long time since I saw a great $350 guitar.

    If I want a great guitar I'm in the $700- $1000 group, but I have to temper that price range with the caveat that it takes months of hunting to get a great guitar that cheap.
    If I need a great Fender style right now today?
    It would take a pretty big stroke of luck to find that for under $1000 in one day, pretty much impossible IME.

    Last Oct/ Nov I shopped with $600 cash and could not find a great guitar, but I got really close with a used Gibson LP Jr that was light weight and played great, way better guitar than a bunch of other examples of the same model I played in both new and used condition.
    It was "great enough" that I offered $600 out the door and left with my cash over the $48 sales tax I asked them to cover, and they said no.
    At $648 it was not great to me.
    I played tons of Gretsch, Fender, Squier, Gibson, Epi, D'Angelico, and a few brands I forgot.
    Used to love Squier but more recent production is only good, never picked up a great one since the MIJ Squiers went collectible.

    So all the happy shoppers who rave about the great cheap guitars of today?
    You all are lucky, I'm not able to see all that greatness.
    I like the idea of the MIM Fenders and have two necks, one is great and the other falls short. Most MIM guitars are good but just don't impress me, and I try to love them since they mostly don't have serious flaws.

    Seems like discussions of good vs not good guitars focuses on flaws.
    Flaws have little or nothing to do with good vs great guitars.
    The Squier line seems to be tailored around price increases decreasing the flaws, but they don't really increase in anything that makes a good guitar great. Meanwhile buyers pick nits as if tiny flaws were the crux of what they purchased, and better/ more expensive guitars get hated on for tiny finish flaws, while CV Squiers are slathered in poly that levels like melted butter, a thick coat of buyer satisfaction.

    Sure, a good Squier works fine.
    Where though are the great guitars in this guitar renaissance?
     
  8. driver8

    driver8 Tele-Meister

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    $500 +/- sounds about right to me. You can definitely get "good" teles for 300-500, but it's easier to get something *really* good where you notice the jump up in quality in that 500-700 range. Diminishing returns after 750-1k imo!
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
    Rocky058 likes this.
  9. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    Interestingly, that is almost exactly what a Ron Kirn Signature T-type (essentially built to the standards of an early-50s telecaster) will cost you today! Oh - and that includes a case... ;)

    https://www.ronkirn.com/shop-2/rk-tele
     
  10. Finsnake

    Finsnake TDPRI Member

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    I own an American Tele I inherited from a band mate. That said, I am lusting after a Classic Vibe Squire. Everything I hear about them is amazing. I was looking for a used Chinese one, and never got a price low enough to not buy new on Amazon. Now that the new ones are made in Indonesia, the jury is still out on them, and my search is on hold.
     
  11. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Friend of Leo's

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    For me, I was the best quality used guitar I can buy for the least amount of money.

    If I can score a high end quality Tele that normally goes for red $2k+ on the used market, and I can score it for 1/2 of thst or less, that's the route I'm going.
     
  12. sonicdogg

    sonicdogg TDPRI Member

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    My builds all come in @ $350-$550 and they play like I want them too. I have a Roadworn I've had for 10 years I got in trade with a friend. He wanted a backup Strat and liked those in the Roadworn series so I bought a 50's Roadworn Strat for $400 and traded for the Tele. It has since gotten CS Nocaster in the bridge, Vintage 64 in the neck and a Barden compensated bridge. It's been a joy and is way more roadworn now! One of my primary tracking guitars.
     
  13. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Meister

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    Having tech'd on a number of examples of both I would say it's a good list. A lot of the hardware is nice but doesn't hold up as well when adjusted. Screws especially seem to strip and then you are into replacing non-standard bits and pieces and it's a headache.

    Of course the biggest difference is often unseen. There are a lot of 4-6 piece Squier bodies out there, even in the better lines. That's a lot of soundglue.

    Squiers can be excellent bedroom guitars or suitable as stepping-stone or occasional performing. Eventually they will need more work than their value to keep running.

    An MIM, especially recently, is a guitar I could keep up and running professionally for a very long time. The $500-600 asking price for an instrument of that level is good value.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2020
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  14. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I post this without reading any of the replies
    You can get a used Squier CV50s for under 300 all day long.
    if that's not a "good tele" to you...then i don't know what to tell you
     
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  15. dajmacd

    dajmacd TDPRI Member

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    I built a partscaster from a MIM blem alder body, complete Baja neck, Wilde L298TL, SD SH-2n, Bill Lawrence 5-way wiring and a Wilkinson compensated bridge. All for ~$500.
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Right, that's a pretty standard yardstick and in terms of what "a good Tele should cost" that's a $450 guitar plus tax for around $490.
    The most votes went to the $500- $700 category, and with the usual pickup swapping and new color guard etc you're right in the average response group.

    What the hell is wrong with you today!
    You're acting all normal 'n' ****!
     
  17. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    uh oh, that can't be good

    but teles oughta be something we can most of us agree on, in that, it's like a hammer.

    you don't need anything fancy
     
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  18. funkysoul

    funkysoul Tele-Meister

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    A thousand would be enough for a better line production guitar I think
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've got some birthday guitar cash burning a hole in my pocket and saw a really really pretty flame capped thinline Tele body for $150 shipped. I really really wanted it but didn't bite because: A Tele is like a hammer, not made for dressup.
     
    blowtorch likes this.
  20. William Pugh

    William Pugh Tele-Meister

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    I was about to google that to find the shop and see if by some miracle it was still available, when, suddenly, I had this doubt...

    Thanks. You gave me a laugh on a hard day.
     
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