Let’s go round again... what is a telecaster?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by dlew919, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. 50hz

    50hz Tele-Meister

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    Whatever FMIC decides to call a Telecaster.
     
  2. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm assuming the last word of your original post is a typo, and you meant "out."

    But there's nothing to work out. There are absolutes in life, factual things that are true whether everybody believes them or not. But specific design features that qualify a guitar to be called a telecaster is not one of those absolute things.

    When I first joined TDPRI, I remember reading comments/threads in which it was settled by the listowner (or mods or whoever) that, for the purposes of this forum's discussion, the term telecaster was not brand specific. In more than a dozen years since, I've never read anything official from the listowner/mods/whoever that rescinded that inclusiveness of definition. So, here on TDPRI, at least...
    • Do you have a partscaster? It's a tele.
    • Danocaster? Godin? Schecter? Suhr? Xaviere? Tele.
    • Boutique (Coleman Custom, Logan Custom, Crook, et al.)? Tele.
    It makes some people feel better to spell the name sans the capital T (i.e., "telecaster" ), thus making it a generic as opposed to a proper noun. Others choose to follow the term telecaster (or tele, or simply T) with the word style as a way of differentiating between FMIC brand and others. I typically use both of these conventions, as I have in this post. The only time I ever capitalize the noun is when I am referring to the FMIC branded guitar Telecaster.

    And through the years, even FMIC has shown great fluidity in what features/parts constitute their Telecaster models. From top to bottom, they considered nothing about the original Telecaster design sacrosanct.
    • Snakehead or traditional Tele or Strat headstock? Tele.
    • Bound necks? Dot, lap steel or block position markers? Rosewood fretboards, even all rosewood neck? Tele.
    • Skunk stripe? No skunk stripe? Tele.
    • Different fretboard radii? Size of fret wire? Number of frets? Tele.
    • Single cutaway? Double cut? Offset? Tele.
    • Hard edges or body contours? Tele.
    • Different pickguard shapes and sizes? Tele.
    • One pickup? Two? Three? Tele.
    • Single coils? Humbuckers? Any combination thereof? Tele.
    • 3-way, 4-way, 5-way switch? Tele.
    • "Tremolo" tailpiece? Hardtail? Tele.
    The company holding the trademarked name has been making it up as they go along and changing features at will, thus not identifying one single aspect they're willing to commit to as uniquely or distinctively Telecaster. So certainly here in our discussions and in the hearts and minds of guitarists the world over, the same fluidity applies.

    And therefore I say again that there is nothing to work out. A tele to you is what you say it is. I am not a purist, but my tastes lean more toward the traditional. There are certain features that would be deal breakers for me, but that's me. Your parameters may be/probably are different. I may not agree with what you call a telecaster, but I'll defend your right to call it what you want. And I expect the same courtesy in return.
     
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  3. Vermoulian

    Vermoulian Tele-Meister

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    As long as this is being rehashed yet again, here are my thoughts.

    A Telecaster is a trademarked Fender product, so it's what Fender declares to be a Telecaster. But, that's a very self-evident statement and I strongly doubt that's really what the discussion is about.

    If it's about what makes a guitar a "Tele" in the generic sense, I think that if you think about it a bit, it's clearly the body shape. Consider this:

    You're playing at a friend's house, or in a studio, and the friend says, "Hey, go in the other room and grab me that Tele off the wall." You go into the room, and hanging there are two guitars: One has an ash body, ashtray bridge with three brass saddles, maple bolt neck, 25 1/2" scale, standard Tele pickups and Tele controls, but an offset body. The other one is a set-neck maple-capped mahogany guitar with humbuckers, a 24 3/4" scale, and Les Paul wiring, but a Tele body shape. Maybe it has a Floyd Rose. Which one do you grab?

    Be honest: You grab the mahogany one, because you know that when your friend asked for the Tele, he or she did not mean that Jazzcaster, even though it has all the characteristics of a classic Telecaster except the body shape, while the other has none of them except the body shape.

    Hence, that's what makes a Tele a Tele. By the way, Fender has made a mahogany set neck Telecaster with humbuckers. So if you dispute my definition, ask yourselves this: can a Telecaster not be a Tele?
     
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  4. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Afflicted

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    I would say that the bridge is an essential component of the 'telecaster sound'

    I make no comment about the rest. ;)
     
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  5. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Holic

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    Kinda weird, but I think a Strat competently made by whoever is still a Strat, whereas a Tele has to be made by Fender. Maybe there's a reason for this, or maybe it's hopelessly irrational. Making a Strat copy feels like a reasonable thing to to. Making a Tele copy feels like some kind of transgression. Well.....maybe it's appropriaitely irrastional, if that's possible.
     
  6. TeleRooo

    TeleRooo Tele-Meister

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    Jeff Beck played one in the Yardbirds, Roy Buchanan played one, Roy Nichols, Don Rich, James Burton, Danny Gatton, Jimmy Bryant, Jimmy Page when I first saw him with the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin's first tour in the USA. A used white Tele was my first electric guitar back in the mid 60's. They were all somewhat stock with single coils. That's a Telecaster to me, IMHO. When I wanted a Humbucker sound. I got a Gibson. again just my humble opinion.
     
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  7. TeleTown

    TeleTown Friend of Leo's

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    At every bar, nite club, etc, that i gig at they call it a telecaster. "Oh man that telecaster sounds so damn killer." Who am i to sit an argue. So i call it a telecaster as well. 20160521_135956_zps2a2csh4d.jpg
     
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  8. Clickfiend

    Clickfiend TDPRI Member

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    I like a lot of guitars, but when I see a Telecaster I like it better. I have no idea, nor do I care, how it works for anyone else.
     
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  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    If the body shape is your primary criterion for defining what is a tele, then well and good...for you.

    But I find your fictitious scenario unrealistic. No self-respecting friend of mine would ever own either of the guitars you mentioned, let alone call either one of them a "Tele." :p:twisted:

    Seriously, in your highly unlikely proposed scenario, my honest answer would be to go back into the other room and ask the guy to clarify. I'd say, "Which guitar are you talking about? I see two guitars that FMIC has variously called 'Telecaster,' but neither one of them is what I would consider a tele."

    Respectfully, I submit that your logic doesn't follow. As I stated above, FMIC has released both double cutaway and offset body shapes that they still called "Telecaster." You even mentioned the second one yourself. So traditional body shape alone, even by the standards of those who hold the registered trademark, does not exclusively define what gets to be called a Tele.
     
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  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A Telecaster is pure, clear water from a mountain stream. Unadulterated, no flavor of it's own, but is the stuff of life itself.
     
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  11. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    We had a 1976. So, to be fair, it did have some merits, just not as a "mustang". The top loader 4 speed was pretty special. I could shift at will without the clutch smoothly. It got an honest 32 mpg, and got 35 mpg if the air was damp or raining. It got great mileage on the tires, theyd last forever, and it did in fact have a factory holley carb on the counterbalanced 2.3 litre engine. Never had issues with the engine or rear. But, it had rust issues from poor drain design around the hatch, hinges too small for the door size, and handled like it was overwieght. And, even with a a sticker package, looked homely, even with charlies angels endorsing.
     
  12. Gabeezlebub

    Gabeezlebub Tele-Meister

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    Now that has to be the strangest, and most inaccurate, post that I have ever read on TDPRI. Pure bunk. Someone needs to get off the “noble weed.” You sir are making a total mockery of this post, and of TDPRI as well. Courtesy has nothing to do with it.
     
  13. TeleTown

    TeleTown Friend of Leo's

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    Damn moosie, your getting kinda deep in your ol age.
     
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  14. azureglo

    azureglo TDPRI Member

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  15. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Your knee-jerk irrational reaction proves nothing. I stand by everything I said as factual and accurate. Lose the ad hominem attacks and address the facts.
     
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  16. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    At the risk of offending the purists among us for my part the most important thing I have to say concerning the criteria needed for a guitar to be designated as a "Telecaster" is that I couldn't give a flying burrito one way or the other. If it looks like a Tele, plays like a Tele and sounds like a Tele then it is one. As far as to whether it's made by Fender or not? Well all I can do is refer you to the aforementioned flying burrito.
     
  17. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    Please don't go away, mate.
    Stay.

    PM the Mods and the Admins, and ask them to Ban me forever for my indelicate application of Neanderthal humor.

    Once I'm gone, this can be a squeaky-clean, awesome web forum, one fit for family members of all ages.

    Everybody wins that way.

    (Except for me. But that's okay. I'm a Neanderthal, and one with barely functional opposable thumbs at that.)

    For the record, I admire Orianthi, Susan, and Bonnie, and I am a father of daughters and one granddaughter.
    And they think I'm just the most ultra-sweety guy.

    :)
     
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  18. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    Does that mean that a Broadcaster is not a Telecaster? Even though it is literally the same guitar, I mean it matches your description perfectly. To me the wiring is not really that big of a deal, apparently many were changed later to one of the two "modern Telecaster Wiring" systems anyways. To me its the pancake/Flapjack/slapjack question as far as T-Styles are concerned.

    Of course it should have the classic looks; but for me its about the sound and the playability for me. Nothing sounds quite like a T-Style with the flat-pole bridge and the distinctive neck pickup sound. I would consider Johnny Hiland's signature model a Telecaster-style guitar even though it is really all of the best parts of a Strat and a tele combined. A "telecaster" has to play really easily, a good sized radius (somewhere between 7.25" and 12.0") preferably with a chunky neck, the strings need to be low to the neck but not buzz, and have a relatively narrow nut. The bridge pickup needs to be both thick sounding and twangy, i.e. traditional Esquire/Broadcaster/Telecaster type tones. The Neck pickup needs to go from raunchy rock to Jazzy smooth with the cover intact. However, if you remove it and still get those tones that is fine too.

    I would rather have a Crook T-Style that plays great and sounds like a really good traditional Tele than one of the rather horrible examples of Fender craftsmanship that I have the had the displeasure of experiencing. I mean if I am going to plunk down $1000+ on a new Electric guitar based on an 80-year old design it had better not cut my fingers on the frets when I pick it up. Stickers and manufacturers mean nothing next to playability and tone. Not that I am opposed to true Fenders, I own two, but I am not tied to a brand, rather a specific set of tones and a specific set of conceptual ideas.
     
  19. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

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    Couldn't we all agree to leave that question back in 2020?
     
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  20. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    It's the sun, it's the moon.. It's that feeling you get when you're flying in your dreams, over the ocean. It's blood, sweat, tears.. It's might, power, contentedness, smiling at you in the face.

    It's that happy feeling you get when you were dancing with your girlfriend after work. Or when a dog jumps on your lap wanting a hug.

    It's everything, it's nothing... It's a shattered, splintered piece of wood drifting out to sea... It's your last chance to be somebody. It's your golden ticket. Take it.
     
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