Looking for some advice - reformed LP player looking for the perfect Tele...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Blind Luck Music, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Blind Luck Music

    Blind Luck Music TDPRI Member

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    So I'm dipping my toes into the water here, and trying to figure out where I want to be. I'm hoping that I can obtain guidance here, since the different models and lines over the years related to Telecasters is confusing as all get out.

    The preface - I come from a background of heavy music in my youth, and the only guitar to play was a Les Paul.

    These days, my back is sore from all that heavy mahogany, and I picked up a Vox AC15 HW that I can't get to break up at all with my existing pickups. I'm also trying to broaden my horizons as far as my playing, and I've been deep-diving on Dire Straits and Bruce Springsteen lately.

    So, that said, I'm in the market for a solid Tele that will be my #1. What I do know:

    -After years of fighting with that 12" radius, I tried a vintage reissue Strat with a soft V neck and loved the feel. Related, I seem to gravitate towards smaller-radius necks as well - I loved a 7.5" I tried out at GC.

    -I'm a brand snob, born mostly of trying to source solid components and also maintain some collectability. (Confession: I was a touring drummer for a long time, and my music room is all DW and Zildjian K.)

    What I know this means is that I'm looking for something American made, but from there, I have no idea what to look around for. I don't want to purchase new, and I don't want to throw down CS money - I'd rather slide into something with some mileage, the older and character-heavy, the better.

    What should I be on the lookout for?

    Thanks for all the help.

    -DJ
     
  2. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Keep playing a Les Paul and put a coil tap in. Sounds just like a Tele.

    ....You want a used AVRI ‘50s with Custom Shop 51 Nocaster pickups.
     
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  3. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    Lots of people love the Baja Tele.
     
  4. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    I come from 43 plus years of humbuckers (Carvin and 335), and bought an American Standard Telecaster in 2013. The Standard is discontinued. It sounds like a Telecaster to me! I think it is a fine Telecaster. I don't cork sniff.

    (By no means will the Telecaster replace my Carvin. It is a nice ad-on.) The Carvin weighs 8.5 lbs. No problem at a 4 hr gig. I don't know the weight of the Telecaster off hand.

    As far as Dire Straights goes, I've played Sultans of Swing since the 70s with humbuckers.
     
  5. 41144

    41144 Tele-Holic

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  6. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Find a nice AV64. Actually, they're all nice.

    That's American Vintage, '64 reissue. Produced between 2012-2018.

    American made, check.

    High quality, check.

    In demand, so perhaps some collectibility down the road, check.

    7.25" radius, check.


    The pickups are to die for. It's one of my very few guitars where I've changed nothing. No need, it's perfect.

    The AV series was extremely close in build quality and features, to Custom Shop. I have CS, too, and the only differences are few, and purely subjective. Like quartersawn vs flat sawn neck. Artificially aged finish. That's about it.

    You should be able to find one for mid-teens $$, so cheap compared to your Les Paul habit.
     
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  7. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Holic

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    You’ve made your decision easy. There is only a very limited selection of Telecasters that meet your criteria of Fender branded, 7.25” radius and used. Fortunately any model from the AVRI or AV line, now discontinued, will be an excellent choice. There may also be some special runs from shops like Wildwood or Dave’s that will fit the bill.

    Happy hunting and welcome aboard.
     
  8. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    Try the Baja, or the AVRI.
    Don’t buy the hype though that it HAS to be from before 1964 and under 6.475 lbs.
    Especially for a Les Paul guy, let your ears and your hands be the judge.

    My .02 is to try the purest Tele you can -3 way stamped bridge, true single coils.
     
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  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Make that $.04
     
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  10. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

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    Fender Road Worn 50s Tele has character, 7.25" radius fretboard, is light, plays and sounds great. Only its built in Mexico and that Fender factory has been cranking out quality guitars for years now. Check out all the glowing reviews of that model on this forum.

    I got mine used for $750.
     
  11. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    To be safe, and scientific, you'll need to buy an AVRI and an AV, or the same color (hope you like BsB...) and play them both for at least 3 months. The finishes are chemically different, but I cant remember how.

    Pick the same color to avoid bias for non-functionality reasons. You know, for science.
    I liked the AVRIs. But I mighta just been broke and drooling over them back then, so I still reccomend playing each.
    But honestly, try every American tele you can, you may be surprised by a neck with a different radius. Maybe...
     
  12. Kezzell

    Kezzell TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    I like the avri’s or If you like the 9.5 radius, the American originals. I switch back and fourth between my 5 Gibson’s and my 3 telecasters. Two are 7.25 radius and one is the 9.5. The hardest part is finding the lighter weight ones.
     
  13. Blind Luck Music

    Blind Luck Music TDPRI Member

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    This is all fantastic. I appreciate it.

    I’ve had my hands on a ton of American Standards around here - they seem pretty available in a recent vintage for about $800. Are there particularly decent/avoidable years?

    The Road Worns are non-existent - I’ve had my eyes open for one for a bit due to the neck profile specs, but they don’t pop up. I have seen a few AV52s and one AV64 that I didn’t get to play, but I think I’ll make a point to this weekend.

    It’s hard to follow all the line changes...what’s the difference between the AVs and the AVRIs?
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    First step is take a deep breath and repeat, "I will have no more headstock breakage anxiety" Teles are tough


    Second is either get a Baja or just get a plain jane base model. A used MIM Player Series should be around $400+/- for the best value. If you go the AVRI it's a bit more.

    Put in a 4-way switch, for LP tones ;) when you miss it

    Rotate the control plate for V-T-switch to the back.

    .
     
  15. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Maybe the later AVs got heavier, I dunno. And the pre-2012 tended that way, too, I believe. But the 2013-2015 or so guitars ran light. Everyone I've owned, held, talked to someone, etc, I don't think any were over 7.5 lbs, and most were between 7 and 7.25 lbs. My '13 AV58 is 6.75 lbs, and the '14 AV64 is 7.1.
     
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  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    AVRI was the long-running line from ... sometime in the early 90s? 80s, to 2012. Then Fender re-designed the line, with the goal of creating extremely accurate reissues. I won't say they were as gonzo accurate as Gibson Historics of certain years, but mebbe close. They dropped the 'RI', and just called these American Vintage, or AV. Very confusing, early on they marketed them as Pure Vintage. Not so much a model designation, but a trademarked state of mind :lol:. Even now, there's a line of Fender replacement parts that are called Pure Vintage. This is the hardware that was retooled and created for the AV series.

    People with AVRIs love 'em. People with AVs usually think they're better than the old AVRIs. In particular, the finish on the AV line was PERFECT.

    Oh, when they retooled the line, they changed the models. Teles used to be AVRI 52 and 62 double-bound (with a very skinny neck, dammit). The new ones were AV 52 (can't get rid of that, but they changed hardware, pickups, finish, etc), AV58, and AV64.

    The AV Strats and offsets are pretty impressive, too. All very near custom shop quality. Like very very near.


    Then Fender pooped in the pool, and ended the AV line. Apparently no one likes the 7.25 radius (except those of us who really do). Odd thing is that now it's hard to find a 7.25 on a new guitar anywhere. Very few. Road worns, and Classics.

    The AV line was replaced in '18/'19 with the Americal Original (AO) series. Supposed to be very similar to the AVs, but with non-vintage 9.5 radius, and fewer models. Instead of copying a particular year, they broadened it to decades. So, AO 50s is a blackguard, and AO 60s is a .... double bound custom. No more whiteguard (white blonde Tele with white guard, as seen in late 50s), and no more straight-up 60s Tele. Also, while the finish appears pretty good, I'm told it's not the same nitro process they were using on the amazing AVs. I haven't played these, so that's all I know.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
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  17. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    To me, a Tele is a Tele, so it's just a matter of deciding on the details/color etc like you've already done to an extent. They are simple things difficult to screw up haha. In my opinion, the pickups make the sound, and they are easy to change, so personally I wouldn't get caught up in whether ash or alder sounds better and that sort of thing. You're looking for something that you like the looks and feel of. Others will have other opinions on this...
    I group them into two basic categories. Modern style, and vintage style. Vintage style has an ashtray bridge, and smaller radius fretboard.
    If you're set on USA made then so be it, and above people have given you the basic rundown on those, but some of the Mexican made lines like the 50's Classic, 60's Classic, Baja, or even a Standard MIM are great too and worth at least trying if you see one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
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  18. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'd say look for one as close to Leo's original concept and as far from Les's as possible. I have a Les Paul: I don't use it much but do enjoy the difference. My favourite Tele (avatar) is MiM, with a MiJ as second favourite and if I were looking for another ("if"!) I'd be looking at Vintera or American Original.

    Enjoy looking and enjoy the difference.
     
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  19. Cerb

    Cerb Tele-Meister

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    I have two recommendstions, both Fender but neither American.

    The first is the Baja telecasyer, it was mentioned above. Made in Mexico and an excellent guitar. Second hand prices are fairly high though.

    The other is the Richie Kotzen Telecaster, which you should love coming from Les Pauls. It's made in Japan, also excellent with DiMarzio pickups (single coil sized humbucker in bridge position) series/parallell switch for the middle position and a fat chunky neck to die for. I think they are a bit cheaper if you can get them in the US but on our side of the pond the Richie Kotzen is a $2000 guitar when new. Near impossible to find used.

    Neither of the above are inferior to the U.S. made instruments.
     
  20. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Holic

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    My choice would be a 1962 AVRI Telecaster. About $1,200 - $1,500 used.
     
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