My Baja versus.....? (Is the grass really greener?)

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by filtersweep, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. filtersweep

    filtersweep Tele-Meister

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    I had four or five other Teles at the same time— all were lighter. Two out my three Les Pauls are lighter. But as I wrote— it is more than just the weight.
     
  2. filtersweep

    filtersweep Tele-Meister

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    That is the polar opposite of what I seek in a Tele. I want a huge neck— maple board- two single coil pickups.

    Skinny necks? Not for me. Three pickups? Not my idea of a Tele. And I have never kept a Fender with a rosewood board.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
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  3. kohoutec

    kohoutec Tele-Meister

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    Tbh I doubt the 'step up' will be as noticeable as you might hope.
    I've not played a Broadcaster specifically, but I used to own a 50s Classic Lacquer which had
    a) a Nitro finish
    b) a 7.25 Radius

    The nitro, whilst it did begin to age a little in the time I had it, didn't feel *that* different to poly (and of course still had a poly undercoat - I don't know if that's true of the Broadcaster or not). The neck was nitro as well, from what I remember it still felt quite thick. And the 7.25 radius, whilst it suited the guitar itself fine, I much prefer 9.5, and ultimately was the reason I let it go. If you haven't spent some time (days preferably) with a board like that I would seriously suggest you try to before committing. It's kinda moot as we all know todays 'nitro' is nothing like the old stuff though.

    The Baja's really are hard to beat if you have a good one. I prefer lighter guitars as well, I've settled on an 8lb Baja but as per a reply in another post it took 4 to find the one I wanted. It has the perfect Tele neck for me. I know lighter ones are out there, but it's a happy compromise.
    My other favourite neck profile is the Gibson 50s rounded (or whatever they call it). The one on the newish Les Paul Specials Original Series amongst others. It's heavenly, but would feel weird on a Tele to me, hence the Baja...

    I don't know how it compares to the neck on the Broadcaster, but I bought one of the Fender 'Fat 51 U necks' to put on a partscaster I built back last year. It's huge. Not uncomfortable but it's very very large and completely different to the Baja. I enjoy playing it, but the Baja profile definitely wins out....
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Find a body made of Paulownia or Agathis and swap that in there. Then you'll have a super light weight guitar. Measure all pickup heights and other setup features before swapping and match after to ensure you get the same tones as well as use the same strings. Players don't when they do big component swaps and then complain their guitar sounds different ... different like putting brand new strings on which they did but the fault gets laid on whatever part was changed.

    Look for Squier, Harley Benton, or Glarry t-style models as possible options. Or go on Stratosphere and search for Tele bodies there, avoiding ash and sticking to alder instead. Weigh your guitar body and find out the replacement body weights.

    You can also decontent your existing guitar: Go esquire, delete the pickguard, use a plastic control plate, delete the neck plate (use trim washers), install a half-bridge and mount the bridge pickup to the body, get an aluminum Electrosocket for the jack, and so on.

    .
     
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  5. filtersweep

    filtersweep Tele-Meister

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    The weird thing about this boat anchor body: I swear it is one piece.

    The internet says it is impossible, but I cannot find a seam anywhere.

    It might have been ‘rejected’ for use in another model on the basis of its weight. Or I might need my eyes checked.
     
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  6. Fuggle

    Fuggle Tele-Meister

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    Come on man, boat anchors start at 9 lbs!
     
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  7. OmegaWoods

    OmegaWoods Tele-Meister

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    I have a Baja that I never play. I have a 50s Vintera which I always play. The gloss finish on the Baja neck is a deal-breaker for me. I shopped for a Baja before I got my Vintera but I didn't find one. Once I got the V, I found a Baja that I just had to have (on Reverb, of course).

    I really wanted to love it but I just don't. The pickups are good but not lots better than my Vintera. The neck finish really puts me off. I have thought about swapping the necks but I'm not going to do that at this point. I'm just going to sell my Baja.

    Bottom line, my advice to you would be to sell the Baja and buy a 50s Vintera. The neck profiles are (nearly?) identical.
     
  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    You can try finding something "better" and lighter, but don't sell that Baja until you do. I wish I had one. My FSR with the Baja pick-ups that I put in is 8.5 lbs, but it is my lightest electric and pales in comparison to my true heavy steel body reso, so everything is relative.

    So, it may seem that it can be greener on the other side, but typically only on the internet. Use your hands, fingers and ears and perhaps less brain.
     
  9. filtersweep

    filtersweep Tele-Meister

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    I don't understand. Both the Baja and the Vintera have glass urethane finishes on their necks. And the Vintera has that 7.2" radius.
     
  10. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Well there you go..to each his own. I have 4 Fenders...3 with r/w boards. Just what I grew up on. I never use the middle pickup, that's just how the guitar came to me. I could get by with 2-way switching on it. For $500 with the pickups it has, I couldn't complain. You wouldn't like the pickups either, I'm sure......Fralin SP43's...look them up.
     
  11. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Holic

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    Seems like you are at the crossroads many of us reach. So...do you pay a builder $3k to build you a custom guitar... A guitar so simple you could probably pull off a home build on the first try with mail-order parts for less than half?

    Do you buy an off the shelf guitar that is still going to need parts changed?
     
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  12. hdvades

    hdvades Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I say go find yourself an AO 50's Telecaster and be very happy. I had a Baja years ago and hated it for the same reasons you do. Almost nine pounds and it felt like it had an eighth of an inch thick poly finish. Really wanted to like it but couldn't. Some people like the 4 way and the push push pickup but not me. I ended up with an AV '52 and love it. I would also probably like the AO 50's 9.5 radius better but not enough to unload the one I have. I would have the AO if i didn't have the AV. Sell/trade the Baja to offset the new purchase. I know it's not much but I didn't like the 41.5 mm nut that the Broadcaster is spec'ed with. Good luck!
     
  13. filtersweep

    filtersweep Tele-Meister

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    I have paid $3K for a used R8. It was a bargain at that price, and I seriously love that guitar.

    I would never go full custom for a bolt together Tele. The thing is, a Tele is my go-to single coil guitar. I have a Gretsch with TV Jones. A Les Paul with P90s. A couple of other Les Pauls with PAFs. Some other stuff I don't know what to do with.... but my Baja is the only thing I've kept with single coils. And it really sounds great. That has never been the issue. And I see I will never have a really light guitar with an ash body. And a pinecaster doesn't really interest me.... or does it?

    I bought a few partscasters used-- over the years. They sucked for one reason or another, and I unloaded them. I have never built a guitar, but I have certainly rebuilt several. And I have owned enough Telecasters to know there is something special about getting everything to work together. I have owned a few horrible Fender guitars over the years-- half of them made in the US, half were Mexican. I don't know if I should attribute that to Fender QC or what. Three of them were rather hopeless. So I am skeptical that if the factory cannot make them right, why should I expect to have better results?

    I have just been playing the hell out of the Baja today--- it was the only guitar I took with me to the cabin. Everything actually really works together on this one. And it is no accident that it is the only Fender I've kept over the years.

    Maybe I will leave well enough alone.
     
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  14. OmegaWoods

    OmegaWoods Tele-Meister

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    Mind is road worn if that matters, it does not have a gloss neck at all.
     
  15. kohoutec

    kohoutec Tele-Meister

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    You answered your own question. Keep it some more. I suspect you'll regret it if you don't
     
  16. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    OP, I had a couple of Bajas and the Broadcaster. I felt that the Broadcaster was a step up in most respects (better looking, better finish, sounded better). A lot of that is subjective. They also felt different, mostly due to the different neck specs. I've been through a half a dozen USA Telecasters over the past year and it was probably my favorite of them.

    The Broadcaster neck had a thick finish, which you don't like, and weights varied among them, too. I know I saw a few that were pushing 9 lbs. or more. It also had very rolled edges, which is a dealbreaker for some. I didn't consider the neck on mine "huge" at all, either. It was deep but kinda square. In short, it might not be the cure for what ails you.
     
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  17. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    I was wondering about ways to lighten my avatar guitar as I bought the body already finished/aged, but it was around 5 lbs on it's own. The finished guitar ended up quite heavy (plus I added a mid boost pcb and it's 9v battery too, which didn't help with the weight).

    I recently bought a really nice padded 3" wide strap. Happens to be made by a guy in the UK, but I'm sure you could get something similar in Norway. It's made a big difference as I always play standing up.

    I also own a Classic 50s lacquer Tele: I chose this specifically because it is a 7.25" radius as I've owned a similar spec Strat since 1982. I've owned it for about 5 years now, before I built the Esquire last year and it's a really nice looking and lighter than the avatar guitar.

    Funny thing is that now I don't like playing the C50s: The neck feels too thin and I don't like playing high up the neck, which a lot of our set list requires. I put a neck pickup in my avatar Esquire, so I decided to sell the C50s after lock down. However, when I play my Strat, the neck feels perfect to me, 7.25" radius or not. Maybe I'm just weird or contrary. :D

    In other words; don't get stuck on specs as you might find you are fine with a 7.25" radius Tele, depending on how the rest of the guitar feels.


    I agree, that same avatar guitar (now a Tele) was built using a 'Fat '51 U MIM neck and I have compared it to a friend's Baja. The '51 had quite thick poly on it too though, so I striped mine to bare wood (and sanded the poly on the fingerboard as much as I could), then refinished it in a thin coat of tinted nitro...much better now.

    I'm now building a second Strat, using an Allparts neck which is even fatter (and 9.5" radius), so I hope I don't 'go off' my 1982 Strat once I get used to the new one. I'm only building it because my first Strat has been refretted once already and the frets are starting to wear again, so this is meant as a back up, but with some differences so they aren't identical. :oops:
     
  18. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    Just use ScotchBrite green on the back of the neck until it's a satin finish you like. It's non-destructive, costs about $3.00, and solves the neck finish issue. It's a common fix for this.
     
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  19. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    You have mentioned two things that bother you, the weight and the finish thickness. So yes there are real benefits to be had.

    As an option you could buy a new lighter body and refinish the neck.
     
  20. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I think this is a wise decision.

    I sold my Baja for a Fender Limited Edition '72 Tele Custom with Bigsby.

    I do like the new guitar but I liked the Baja better in hindsight. I should have just added the Bigsby to that but was reluctant to modify it.
     
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