Please Educate Me: Why Tele Is The Most Versatile

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

  1. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,060
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    1. Because while it’s über versatile, a tele does not cover everything (acoustic archtop with a floater is very different, no matter what you do …)

    2. Because while I could play the blues all day on a tele, I love the strat on the neck pickup

    3. Because we’re a bunch of GAS sufferers.

    True, dat ;)
     
    teletimetx likes this.
  2. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,501
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    If they're so versatile, why do some of you guys need to own 14 of them and a bunch of other guitars?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    While I think the Tele is very versatile, I don't think it is the most versatile.

    But it is the BEST LOOKING guitar on the planet ! :):cool:

    Thats why we own multiple Tele's, they LOOK different ! We want ONE in each color, pickup arrangement, neck profile, Maple and Rosewood, various woods , all that stuff.


    You know I'm right ! :lol::rolleyes:
     
    RadioFM74 and dougstrum like this.
  3. basher

    basher Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,626
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I think I'm the part of the system that has to be versatile, not my guitar.
     
    Skydog1010 and DHart like this.
  4. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    2,548
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Can anyone actually confirm with some real sales numbers and not anecdotal evidence of what you saw in your local music shop during a particular decade?

    I am unable to really find anything one way or the other.

    It is kind of hard for me to believe the Telecaster has not been a fantastically successful instrument for Fender over it's lifetime, regardless of whether the Strat was even more successful.

    I think we can all think of some Fender guitars which were not successful, and they are not made today.
     
    hellopike likes this.
  5. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    35
    Posts:
    522
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2018
    Location:
    Denver
    While I love me some Teles, I don’t even consider them that comfortable. After sitting down playing mine for a few hours my ribs start to get sore from the lack of a tummy cut. The round over isn’t as bubbly as a Stratocaster and Teles are usually a bit heavier than Strats. My Telecaster weight 9lbs, not a comfortable weight to sling for 3-5 hours standing up.

    My Ernie Ball Sillhouette Special is the most comfortable guitar I’ve owned.

    As others have said, for me the allure of the Telecaster is in its simplicity and durability. The versatility of a guitar is mostly supplied by whoever is playing it. Other guitars have more knobs and switches (looking at you Jazzmaster!) which I guess mathematically speaking gives you more options. My goal while playing music is to spend less time tinkering with gear that makes barely a gnats arse of tonal difference to anyone in the room and spend more time engaged in music making.
     
  6. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,000
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    That tummy cut (I call it a rib-cut, as that's the part of my body it touches while I'm playing sitting) is a really nice thing.

    Leo was on to something when he followed the Tele design with the contoured Strat. Some may think he went a tad too far with contouring the Strat, but it is a very comfortably designed body, for sure.

    I'm ok without the rib-cut on a number of my Teles, but five of my dozen Teles HAVE the rib-cut and I love it.

    Fender did the rib-cut on the American Standard Teles for some years (2012-2013, at least) of which I have two. Then around 2014-2015 or so, they decided to do it on the Elite Tele and no longer on the American Standard. They also put it on the HH models. So, the rib cut can be found if you want it.

    Vintage purists seem to be bothered by the rib-cut, but a lot of players do appreciate that bit of contouring.
     
    Bergy likes this.
  7. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

    Age:
    35
    Posts:
    522
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2018
    Location:
    Denver
    Great call. I’m cool with tummy cuts, less cool with arm contours on a Tele. They don’t seem to add all that much, comfort-wise. I am hoping to get a Kirn with a tummy cut and weight reducing cavities in the next year or so. I’d rather have binding on the front than the arm contour. Haven’t been this excited to buy a guitar in probably 20 years.
     
    guitartwonk and DHart like this.
  8. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,000
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    A weight-relieved, rib-cut Tele with binding on the top would be really cool! Looking forward to your NGD post! :)
     
  9. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    651
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    Kind of agree.
     
    Skydog1010 and NewKid like this.
  10. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,000
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I agree with those who say that versatility is found in the fingers of the player - not the instrument.
     
    CHarg likes this.
  11. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,593
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Here are some just straight numbers from searching both Reverb and EBay. You can reach whatever conclusion you like.

    Reverb
    Number of current listings found by searching "Stratocaster": 12,005
    Number of current listing found by searching "Telecaster": 6,163

    Ebay
    Number of current listings found by searching "Stratocaster": 20,800
    Number of current listing found by searching "Telecaster": 10,283

    These numbers could mean just about whatever you want them to mean, but IMO, it is more than a casual coincidence that the ratio at both sites is close to 2:1.

    As far as versatility, my 2 cents - starts with the player. I love the simplicity of the telecaster and my brain likes the way they look.

    I like guitars. I like beer.
     
    Skydog1010 and RadioFM74 like this.
  12. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    2,548
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    This data is fine but above we were talking about 10:1 or more in favor of the Strat.

    2:1 is really different than 10:1.
     
  13. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,593
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Like I said, you can reach whatever conclusion you like. The numbers I found are only listing totals on secondary markets.

    Certainly 2:1 is quite a bit different than 10:1. I don't have a dog in that hunt.
     
  14. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    442
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    Canada
    What I’ve gleaned on the Tele vs Strat issue of sales and popularity:

    By 1968, the Stratocaster suffered from a decline in quality and sales and there was even talk at Fender about discontinuing it. Back in the late 1960s most rock musicians were interested in reviving old Gibsons, the humbucker, and the “new” fat distortion. Jimi Hendrix almost single handedly saved the Strat from surf music oblivion and brought it back to popular distinction; in the following decades it enjoyed booming sales and birthed the superstrat.

    When I purchased my first electric guitar in 1992, a MIK Squier Telecaster, it was definitely an old fashioned guitar model at that time. I thought for sure by the year 2000 it would fall out of general production.

    Searching online a few years ago I discovered this forum as well as Strat-Talk and it seems the tables have turned once again. The Telecaster’s relatively recent revival is in my opinion closely related to the emancipation of its neck pickup from its dark past function of ‘rhythm only’. The Squier Classic Vibe models have solidified the current popularity of the Telecaster showcasing a bright and dynamic neck pup.

    Is the Telecaster more versatile than the Strat? Not in my opinion. The Tele has one unique strength though: the bridge pickup “bites”, it’s easy to operate and easy to manage without being too expensive for the beginner.
     
  15. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    2,548
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    The sales history would be a super interesting article for someone from Reverb or such to write... it seems like you'd have to work there or somewhere similar to get Fender or whoever else to cooperate.

    They are all great guitars. I like my Tele better, but I can't say I've ever gotten to play a great Strat.. just some run of the mill ones. And obviously I'm incredibly biased by the time I've spent playing my Tele.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  16. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    636
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    That early MusicMan strikes me as a Super Tele. It's pretty much a slab, two pickups, and a bunch of electronics not around for guitars in 1950.
     
    2 Headed Goat likes this.
  17. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,030
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Yes. I *guess* the numbers probably reflect something like there are roughly twice as many Strats sold new. That would seem reasonable. No doubt someone will say Tele owners tend to keep their Teles, what with them being so versatile and all :)

    A break down into price ranges might be interesting too. Again as a guess, of Fender sales, I'd venture a lot more entry level or beginner guitars are Strats. Fender is really good at providing a multitude of carefully tiered price points for entry. I wonder if the higher price brackets might not be more evenly divided? Apart from country maybe, my gut feeling is that these days, Teles are something you arrive at, rather than start from.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
    RadioFM74 and teletimetx like this.
  18. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,501
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    I'm of the opinion that this is now a massive repeat thread .

    Strats are more versatile because they have more sounds, repeated more than many times.
    Now we are into Fender sales #'s.

    Versatility is not just how many sounds a guitar has or SALES #'s.

    Neither a Strat or a Tele can sound like a LP thru a Stack.

    And we all know the Hot Rod Deluxe is not the most versatile amp in the world but it has one of , if not the largest sales # of all Fender amps.

    I suspect a majority of Tele pickers who have been playing them for decades, don't much care about a 5 way switch , 3 pups or a contoured body. They care about right hand execution and where it sits with regard to the controls and ash tray / saddles. Its the consistent comfort zone. No different than long time Strat players who can't adjust to a Tele.

    versatility ='s personal preference.

    I prefer to say that I play a Tele because it's the most versatile for me ! I can play Rock, Roll, Country and Western !

    And now 3 of my Teles have Benders installed.

    Now what ? Such a dilemma:eek:
     
    NewKid likes this.
  19. TwangToInfinity

    TwangToInfinity Tele-Holic

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    927
    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Location:
    Twangville
    -does both country and western
    -tough like a son-of-a-gun does not need a case or special care treatment
     
    Telecaster88 likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.