NGD. First Tele in a while.

BobWithOneO

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It’s been a minute since I owned a Fender Tele. I almost always have some kind of T style laying around, but this is the first actual Fender since maybe 2016?

I had an American Special Strat that I really didn’t play and didn’t like all that much up for sale on CL. I was mainly looking to cash it in, but stated in the ad that I’d entertain trades for an MIA Tele. After running the ad for about a week and a half with zero results, I got offered this little dude. Met up with the guy, played the guitar, and did the deal. It was sorely neglected and in terrible need of a setup, but I figured if I didn’t end up liking it, I could just flip it and not be out anything.

Here she is:

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2013 US Professional HS. These were exclusive to GC, and I think only made that one year. It cleaned up and set up very nicely.

I hate sunburst, hate black pickguards, and I’m not a huge fan of rosewood on teles. All that said, it’s a pretty great guitar. I used it at rehearsals the last two nights and it was fantastic. I suspect at some point it had some work done, even though the seller claimed to have bought it new and never used it or did anything with it. If the fret and nut work on this guitar is factory, it would make it the first Fender I’ve seen since about 2004 that didn’t need a fret level and nut work out of the box. The frets are absolute perfection. As good as my PRS. The nut is not at that level, but it’s much better than I’ve seen from fender production in the last 18 or so years. It’s very good.

The frets were corroded, the board was dry, it was very dirty. Jack is making a little noise but I’m going to handle that this evening. Everything else works as it should.

The humbucker isn’t super hot. Very vintage voiced. Sounds pretty good. It does lack a little cut in a mix. I’m gonna play around some with height adjustment, but if I can’t get the honk out of it that I want I have a DiMarzio in my parts box that’ll go in there.

It also has the S1 switch to split the humbucker, and that sounds horrible. Just flat out bad. I’m going to see if I can wire it to do series/parallel instead of a split. That always sounds much better, and remains hum-free.

Neck pickup is bright. Very stratty. I dig it. Middle position is very useable as well. Just don’t touch the coil tap, it ruins everything.

Overall it’s a really great playing and sounding guitar. And it stays in tune extremely well. I wish it was a different color, but it’s a definitely keeper.
Nice Tele. I'd drop a Phat Cat P90 in the bridge and a no-load tone pot. I have that setup in a Squier '51 and it sounds incredible. Like a Tele but thicker.
 

Jakedog

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Nice Tele. I'd drop a Phat Cat P90 in the bridge and a no-load tone pot. I have that setup in a Squier '51 and it sounds incredible. Like a Tele but thicker.
It came from the factory with a no load tone. I was actually thinking of removing the tone altogether. I do that a lot. I’ll be keeping the humbucker, though.
 

Jakedog

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Don't take the bridge assembly off, it you don't have to. Or be careful if you do. The finish on these isn't that well adhered to the wood below, and it can come off in huge chunk. I had an '06 Sunburst American (60th Anniversary "Cubic Zirc") do me that.

The rosewood is nicer than a lot of what we see these days, but what I really like is the graining on the back of the body. Very nice indeed!
It does have a really sweet grain on the back. One of the most interesting alder bodies I’ve ever seen. They’re usually super plain.
 

FortyEight

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Thats a beauty.

Im curious what size volume pot. might be why the neck "sounds bright". Im guessing its a 500k but most people are in the "fender single coil needs a 250k" camp.... I thought.

i had a g&l fallout for a bit that was neck p90 and bridge humbucker coil tapped. All sound were VERY good EXCEPT the tapped bridge. blaaaaa

i couldnt live with the small body but i loved the sounds.

in the early 90s my main guitar was a mexican Tele burst. it had a white pickguard and i thought it looked "solid" if not a little boring. white doesnt show the pick and finger dust under the strings as much. (i almost always used the neck on that one, lol).

rosewood everything. 😁🤩

but i mean, it looks pretty great as is. might grow on you. i find that if i like the way a guitar plays, the looks are nearly immaterial.
 
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Cosmic Cowboy

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I bet that would be a pretty good guitar with the right pickups and wiring. But don't write off the stock setup. Sometimes they have found a formula that works...just needs to be given a shot. It's an art form to finding a good-sounding HB that splits well....further complicated by finding one that balances well with the neck and pots etc.

Good looking guitar.
 

archetype

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Nice Tele. I'd drop a Phat Cat P90 in the bridge and a no-load tone pot. I have that setup in a Squier '51 and it sounds incredible. Like a Tele but thicker.

Yes. Consider a P-94-style pickup at the bridge. Big singlecoily tone with midrange bite.
 

Telekarster

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Mint green would be very cool, I think. The only issue is having to have it made custom, because of the way it has to go around the pickup ring on the humbucker. I’ll probably be far too lazy to ever pursue that.

Hey JD! Sorry I missed your original posting. Nice guitar man. FWIW I see guitars all the time in color schemes I don't like, but the guitar would be killer otherwise. I'd have no problems stripping em and repainting em and replacing the pickguard, etc. etc. but yeah... I hear you... it might not be worth the time and trouble. After all, it's only cosmetics ;) Rock on man!
 

Jakedog

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Update-

I’ve had the Tele about three weeks now. I’ve used it on a couple rehearsals and two gigs. Here’s what I think.

I still don’t like sunburst. Hahaha. I don’t think I ever will. I’m gonna deal with it though. Cause the guitar is great. But seriously, except for BSB it’s gotta be the worst guitar color in history.

Definitely keeping the stock bridge pickup. It just sounds great. It’s not too hot, it’s just right. Works great for me. As bridge humbuckers go, it’s a really good one. Lots of clarity.

I’ll probably eventually replace the S1 with a regular volume pot. For one thing, I don’t care for the taper. For another, I just have no use for this coil tap at all. It sounds like complete garbage. But that might just be me. I have thought the same thing about every split humbucker I’ve ever heard. It’s just a horrible idea. It never sounds even passably good. People should just stop doing it.

The jury is out on the neck pickup. On the one hand, it’s super unique. I don’t have anything else that sounds like it. It’s very bright and stratty for a Tele neck pickup. Which I kinda like. Loads of chime and crispy clean goodness. It can get a little thin and stringy with overdrive, though. The guitar has a humbucker route, and I have kicked around the idea of just making it an HH setup. I have pickups laying around. On the other hand I’m kind of over modding stuff, and the thought of taking it apart and putting it back together just bores me. I’m going to leave it as is for the time being and see where it takes me.

The thing that really makes it a hands down keeper is the playability. It’s just nuts. The fretwork on this guitar is STELLAR. It’s a fluke. One in a million. I’ve owned literally hundreds of Fender guitars. I’ve never seen one that even came close to this one. For giggles, I decided to see how low I could get the action. The answer is, it doesn’t start buzzing until the strings are actually touching the frets. It gets far too low to play comfortably before it starts giving me any problems with buzz or fretting out on bends. I raised it back up to where it felt perfect, and then measured it because I was curious. I’m sitting right at 1.5mm at all six strings at the 12th fret. This puppy screams. It’s so fast and smooth, snappy and quick. The 10’s on it almost feel like 9’s. I didn’t think I would own another guitar that plays as well as my PRS. But this one does.

I still prefer the neck shape of the PRS, and it retains the edge for sonics. But I now have two guitars I actually want to take to gigs. Which is cool, because since I got the PRS ten months ago my other electric guitars have done nothing but collect dust. The Tele and PRS are different for sure, and make me play differently. But they’re both exceptionally fine instruments that make me want to play them at every opportunity.

Tele stays.
 

northernguitar

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Jeepers! Ya are a picky bugger! ;)

I love that finish!! It would look purty next to my LP Junior Special.

How nasty could that humbucker be driven? I have my Tele up for a trade and wonder about their humbuckers for RAWK.

One suggestion: I think the neatest trick with a humbucker is to wire in a bass cut switch. These came standard on the first round of Yamaha Revstar guitars. Mine has a hot 498T that sounds superb in this mode. If yer handy, Premier Guitar reverse engineered it here.

 

Jakedog

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Jeepers! Ya are a picky bugger! ;)

I love that finish!! It would look purty next to my LP Junior Special.

How nasty could that humbucker be driven? I have my Tele up for a trade and wonder about their humbuckers for RAWK.

One suggestion: I think the neatest trick with a humbucker is to wire in a bass cut switch. These came standard on the first round of Yamaha Revstar guitars. Mine has a hot 498T that sounds superb in this mode. If yer handy, Premier Guitar reverse engineered it here.

I don’t know how raunchy it would get. The most gain I ever use is a TS808 with the drive at noon, into an amp that’s just barely breaking up at all. It’s got plenty of drive like that, for me.

The only humbucker attachment I’ve ever liked is a series/parallel switch. Jackson/Charvel figured out way back in the 80’s that it sounds far better than a tap or split, and it stays hum-free. Why nobody else has ever figured it out is a mystery to me.
 

northernguitar

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I don’t know how raunchy it would get. The most gain I ever use is a TS808 with the drive at noon, into an amp that’s just barely breaking up at all. It’s got plenty of drive like that, for me.

The only humbucker attachment I’ve ever liked is a series/parallel switch. Jackson/Charvel figured out way back in the 80’s that it sounds far better than a tap or split, and it stays hum-free. Why nobody else has ever figured it out is a mystery to me.
I don’t care much for high-output humbuckers and prefer to use my amps or pedals for distortion. But I do need something that can go from the Black Keys to Black Sabbath. I find my T-Top clone is perfect for all my needs.

Congrats on the new axe!
 

Bruxist

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Congrats! Love the grain on it!

I know Warmoth makes pickguards with space for a bridge humbucker. I expect some others do as well.
 

Sax-son

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Looks like a nice guitar that will cover a lot of bases. I am more of a traditional Tele guy, but I am tempted to build one with a humbucker in the bridge. I have a nice Seymour Duncan JB humbucker that is looking for a nice home. I also like that modern steel Strat bridge as well. The neck pickup is a little more of a challenge to mate as I would have to switch to 500K pots, but that's a conversation for a different day.
 




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