Please Educate Me: Why Tele Is The Most Versatile

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by omlove, May 7, 2019.

  1. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    In a world of a Million different types of guitars, perhaps. But I really think the scene is plagued by one heck of a lot of 1-2 trick pony type guitars. Gifted, and extremely well practiced guitar players can make do with a lot of these designs.

    The other afternoon at Jazz Fest I saw an old time blues guy singing and playing a Parker Fly. It didn't sound right at all, and he really wasn't "making it his own" but he's set and listens to nobody and nobody is going to stop him from doing this. Btw while he's been around forever on the circuit, I think he is actually right at my age. :^
     
  2. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Have they?

    I still see FMIC as totally devoted to their Flagship design, the Strat. There's simply no doubt about it, the Strat paid the bills when things were going wrong and corporate management was dismal. Without the Strat, Fender probably would have died out or would've been absorbed by another company and wouldn't resemble what we see today.

    They know what side of the bread the butter is on. I have no preconceived notions that the Esquire and Telecaster were a consistent Piggy Bank that FEIC and then FMIC could always rely on. It is not as commercially successful and I would not be shocked at all if the Board at FMIC is totally sick of trying to say nice things they don't actually believe to make Telecaster buyers feel welcome.

    The Stratocaster is the child of the family who went to Medical School. When FMIC talks, they wanna talk about the Strat. If they issue a compliment to the Telecaster, it is somewhat of an accident.
     
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  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's funny, I like the 2&4 on recordings but don't like it from my own guitars, and even swap out Strat five ways to get rid of those options!
    Further, I cannot nail those tones on an Esquire...
     
  4. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    The tele is versatile enough to be a bludgeon weapon.
     
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  5. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

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    Understood, just remember this - none of the guitars you mentioned, ever sound quite like each other. They will all twang and grind, but sound different, just because their construction, and components (used to make them) are different. All you have to do is look a the two ideas that were hyped up to the max some years back:

    1. Put a humbucker in your Strat, and you'll get Les Paul tones.

    2. Coil split your humbucker, and you can sound like a Strat or Tele.

    Neither of those two ideas turned out to be completely true.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  6. jim777

    jim777 Tele-Meister

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    The beginning of that Asia song "Heat Of the Moment" is 5 completely different guitars. Give it a listen; pick out Steve's Tele from his 175 and others :)

    Are you saying we could get by with one electric? That's like saying you could live with only one dog! NEVER! lol
     
  7. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    This really isn’t, nor does it need to be, a ‘competition’ between various guitars. We each have different interests, needs, personal tastes. Any one guitar can certainly serve nearly any guitarist’s needs. But variety is the spice of life and if you’re fortunate enough to be able to have a variety of guitars... they’re each versatile and very pleasing in a number of ways. Neither a Strat, nor a Tele, will ever be a perfect replacement for each other, nor for a Les Paul, ES-xxx, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  8. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe you're right... And yet the Telecaster would have to be their #2 guitar even if you're right, and that's a LOT of guitars. Both the Strat and Tele are always mentioned in any list of the top 5 most important/best selling/whatever guitars, it seems like usually they are in the top 3 with the Les Paul... you don't go treating a guitar that famous/successful like a red headed step child just cause you also have the #1 guitar.
     
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  9. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    They can. Not as well as a tele IMHO. I tried playing jazz on all of the guitars you mention, and the only one that was really good was a 335 with vintage-style humbuckers. I am sure Les Pauls and 335s can roar even more than a tele. A Gretsch? I’ve yet to see that. Strats and Gretsches are pretty frequent in country. I don’t have the impression the Les Paul is known for its twang… I’ve seen teles at all sort of gigs, and on all sort of records, except heavy metal (I’m talking the stock single coil tele). None of the others compare – although I’d say that 335s and strats come close.
     
  10. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    Don't include me in that group. I still think strats are more versatile but i love both about equally.
     
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  11. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I'd like to see you on the FMIC Board, because you appreciate the model. I'm not sure they do, because I suspect the Strat outsold the T style for decades by a ratio of at least 10 to 1.

    I think the amps, and especially the P and J basses yielded a lot of revenue over the life of the company. I would not be at all surprised if somehow we got to see the records - and combined P and J sales revenue were double of what Tele sales got, some years.

    Were it not IMO for how much cheaper a T style is to manufacture than an S style, there's no way it would have survived. I remember the "wilderness" years when I'd go into a shop and there were no T styles at all. There were times when we weren't sure it hadn't been discontinued. FMIC shouldn't have done these things; certain dealers in parts of the country did not help, but don't forget, Gibson killed the traditional shape Les Paul for a spell. Companies do insane things.
     
  12. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Wow... I never realized that the Tele was such a poor seller. All those decades I didn't even want to look at a Tele anyway, as I was pretty much a confirmed Strat guy. I not only never looked twice at Teles, I didn't even look once, really. Just off of my radar.

    Now today - totally different story. I still love my Strats as much as I ever did. But the funny thing is, I now love the Teles EVEN MORE! :eek: (And my Teles outnumber my Strats by 3 to 1 - total of sixteen, all together.). I am surprised to hear that Fender has been treating the Tele like a red-headed step-child all these decades - I didn't realize that.
     
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  13. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    You beat me to it. I'd just add check out the you tube for Keith cracking a stage rusher during the 81 tour.
     
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  14. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

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    VERY true! I've been playing for the past 40 years, and I remember not being able to buy a Tele in the 80s to save my life (and I really wanted to buy one of the 1984 MIJ Squier Teles - had to settle for a Squier Strat that was OK, but not really what I wanted). I really didn't start to see Teles showing up in my neck of the woods (Wisconsin) in any quantities (with the exception of the MIJ Rosewood Tele I chickened out of buying in 1986, when I was on college) until at least 1990 or 1991. As a result, almost all the guitars I bought were Gibsons, with the exception of a Charvel Surfcaster (that was my backup onstage).

    Strats? There were tons of them. Teles? Good luck, and even when you found them, there weren't many to try out, and (at least for me) the ones I did try out were clunkers sound-wise, that made me put them down, shortly after starting to play them. I don't think I encountered what was for me, a decent sounding Tele until at least 2007. The funny thing is, that during all of that time (!984- 2007), I had no desire to get another Strat, after I got rid of my 1984 Squier Strat. Strats just don't do anything for me.
     
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  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The only thing I can think of is, when someone in Country Music Land wanted a Tele, they ordered one from their local dealer and it went straight to them and it never hung on a hook in a store. And so, what volume was sold was below the radar of someone outside of Country Music Land in such a place like New Orleans. Fender didn't exactly want to offend Tele customers but neither were they seeking sales growth because conventional wisdom when I was young was, the Telecaster made FMIC look like they were behind the times. But this would IMO close the ratio of S to T only to 9 to 1, maybe.

    [​IMG]

    Do ya'll remember when Ford Motor Company kept making Ford Crown Victorias and Mercury Grand Marquis models, but some dealers complained because they thought the customers then saw the whole Corporation as a bunch of old tyme Grandpaws? The same people that thought that the car we know as the Ford Probe should have been the Ford Mustang for that production run? I had friends who played Telecasters who were fine players but got no respect in certain audition situations because it was assumed they'd show up for the gig with Overalls, a Flat Top Haircut and some Skoal under their lip. Yeah, the model we love now was seen 30-35 years ago in a very different light.
     
  16. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    I was referring to the G.E. Smith guitar promo video where he talks about how versatile the Tele is. That's actually the only place I've heard anyone say it's versatile.

    I think any 2-pickup guitar is as versatile as any other, but I don't think the Tele is especially versatile. Yes, you can play jazz on the neck pickup, and if you're a good jazz player it will no doubt sound great, but it's not a definitive jazz guitar sound.
     
  17. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    If they're so versatile, why do some of you guys need to own 14 of them and a bunch of other guitars?

    I acknowledge that I could just have one guitar to produce the sounds I want, my Tele with P90 in the neck does the best job overall. So it's the most versatile for me. But it can't sound like my hollowbody and it doesn't have a tremolo, and truth be told I could play any gig I would get with my HH PRS and as long as the playing was solid, nobody would think twice about the tones.
    Not a lot of audience members sitting around worrying about the quality of my tones, which are mostly amp anyhow.
     
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  18. jackal

    jackal Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    It's not the guitar------it's the players.
     
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  19. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    I think you are right here. The neck pickup can sound fat and jazzy or bright and bell-like while the bridge pickup provides lots of sting and twang which can be tamed with the tone pot for a more midrangey, yet cutting tone for everything from country to rock'n'roll. And the middle position provides cool tones from chunky funky muted single notes to jingly jangly cowboy chords. Add a tube amp or drive pedal and the options are legion.

    This makes the tele a very versatile machine for lots of musical genres. And it is solid and responsive to the player's will. You got to love it.

    OTOH it doesn't make other guitars obsolete. It can play jazz but does not sound the same as an archtop (as some claim). It can sound fat, but not like a les paul. It can play punchy rhythms, but not like a 335. It can shred, but not like an Ibanez.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  20. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    What is a “definitive” jazz sound anyway? Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Jimmy Raney, Tal Farlow, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern……?
     
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