So where’s the go to place to purchase a new tele these days.

Fretting out

Doctor of Teleocity
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Posts
10,800
Age
30
Location
Land of Mary
I’m currently in the market for an American Original 50’s Telecaster. Back in the day, Music One Workshop was the place to go to get a hand picked, perfectly setup guitar from a vendor that would look for your specific wants and needs.

I’ve purchased a few guitars from sweetwater and they have been mediocre and all required fretwork, setups etc., to make them playable.

Any suggestions on who to go with on a purchase like this or is going used a better solution? Music One Workshop’s online presence seems to have disappeared.

We don't have any guitar stores in my area, so I have to buy everything online.

Sweetwater and Musician's Friend are equally terrible. If they are indeed inspected before shipping, they are doing a terrible job.

However, Musician's Friend has a better return policy and will give you a discount if you ask.

Glad I’m not the only one! I bought a vintage modified jaguar from sweetwater and yes it’s a cheap guitar but! The electronics section on the checklist was checked off, obviously it wasn’t checked because the tone pot is very fuzzy/barely functional

I like that you get to choose your exact guitar and the weight but I have no faith in the checking system

As mentioned I’d probably try Dave’s, Chicago music exchange or wildwood
 

moskasound

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2012
Posts
16
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Couple things. If the guitar is in bad shape, it is because of the manufacturer. No one at Sweetwater or Musician's Friend are doing any fret work or actual setups. They are just making sure that the guitar is in one piece. Also, Sweetwater also gives discounts if you ask.

If you want a nicely setup instrument, learn to do it. Or have a local luthier/tech work on your instrument with your personal instructions in mind.
 

moskasound

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2012
Posts
16
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
I done business with both Sweetwater and MF and have had much better experiences with Sweetwater…by far!

The only reason I buy from MF is for a “Deal of the Day”… and even then I immediately get on my knees and pray it arrives in one piece! They have the most shoddy packaging practices in the business…and the worst customer service too!
 

Mike SS

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 9, 2012
Posts
9,171
Age
66
Location
Nebraska
I have one local dealer, Deitze Music, who is an authorized Fender dealer. They do tech work, but I am not certain if every location has an on duty man. I am competent to do basic truss rod adjustments, bridge adjustments, and intonation. I have no experience with fret work, or filing nuts, but did have a friend who was skilled at such things. He has since married, and due to the Covid thing, has become a bit of a hermit.
I ordered my last Telecaster, a MIM 75th Anniversary Special edition, from Musician's Friend. It arrived with a good basic set up. After restringing with 10's I need to adjust a couple of saddles for intonation, but other than that it is good to go.
 

EsquireOK

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Posts
5,913
Location
U.S.A.
There is no one go-to place for everyone.

It's not a question that can be answered well, without knowing your location.

And keep in mind that your idea of a guitar that needs a setup could be another person's idea of a guitar that plays perfectly.

I've never received a poorly set up, or even blemished, guitar from Sweetwater. They aren't ever set up the way I like them, because I use heavy strings and high action. However, they aren't poorly set up. I know people who have built for multiple different large California based guitar makers (Fender, G&L, ESP/Takamine), and they have told me that Sweetwater is, hands down, without contest, the most picky retailer when it comes to sending back rejects that aren't up to their standards – and that these factories put extra care into the guitars that they know are headed there.
 
Last edited:

smoothrecluse

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 2, 2020
Posts
1,088
Location
Panther City, TX
OP, I know you’re a pretty good distance from Dallas, but Tone Shop Guitars looks like they have pretty good stuff, and they have the only Plek machine in the metroplex, as far as I’m aware. I hope to drive over and check them out sometime this weekend.
 

Maguchi

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Posts
1,714
Location
Lalaland
I’m currently in the market for an American Original 50’s Telecaster.

I’ve purchased a few guitars from sweetwater and they have been mediocre and all required fretwork, setups etc., to make them playable.

Any suggestions on who to go with on a purchase like this or is going used a better solution?

I would always suggest brick and mortar first,

Chicago Music Exchange. I have great faith in... Every guitar I’ve received has been setup perfectly upon arrival.

And Sweetwater posts photos and weight of each guitar they have in stock, so you can choose which one you want if they have more than one in stock of the selected model.

I’ve never had an issue with Sweetwater. But I take all of my guitars to a local guy to do the initial setup because I’m lazy.

Not trying to argue or anything, but I’m not sure what issues people have with Sweetwater. They don’t say they’ll set the guitar up for you.
I also like to buy guitars in person. However in your situation a good brick and mortar selection of guitars is too far away. I echo the sentiments of "naveed211" about Chicago Music Exchange. I've bought at least 3 guitars online from them in the last 5 years and have been nothing but satisfied. I also bought a dozen guitars from Sweetawater during the year and 3 months of lockdown. They do list the weights and I ask them to double check because the listed weights, at least on the lighter ones I've asked about, were only about 70% accurate. After buying and keeping a dozen guitars and returning two in a year, they will reluctantly weigh them again for me with some prodding. I guess after a dozen guitars my sales rep knows they are going to make money off me if they keep me happy. A couple guitars from Sweetwater have needed fretwork, but so have a couple of the ones I bought from brick and mortar stores, but they were good resonant guitars, so I bought them anyway, knowing I would have to get the fretwork done. If a guitar is a keeper, I don't mind paying for fretwork and setups. Like "swervinbob" writes, Sweetwater doesn't set the guitars up for you unless you request and pay for that service. And I also often take new guitars to a local guy to have them set up. The climate and humidity in Los Angeles and Indiana (Sweetwater) are different, so I expect to have to set up guitars from out of state.
 

PlainAllman

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 12, 2019
Posts
1,444
Age
46
Location
Van Zandt Co, Texas
I don’t know if the guy is a luthier or just a setup tech but every time I go into Mundt there in Tyler they are working on some guitar behind the counter. Their selection won’t blow your mind or anything but they did have a few Teles in there the last time I went in which was last weekend. I believe they have another location in Longview which is supposed to be the main store which I assume has a better selection maybe? I haven’t been in the GC in over a year. My most recent acquisition a 21 LP Special tribute came from SW and the only adjustment needed was pickup height and poles. It is my new number 1.
 

Otisblove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Posts
133
Age
47
Location
Greenfield, Indiana
I drove 2 hours to Fort Wayne to check out a 12 string acoustic at Sweetwater and those guys bent over backwards to help me out. I even asked a guy if my rep I always deal with on the phone and over email was in the (massive) building. They found him and he came down to say hello.

I like GC because I can actually play guitars there and if I order a new or used one online and don’t like it or, say the headstock snaps off as I’m tuning it up for the first time, I can return it no questions asked.
 

moosie

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Posts
18,750
Age
65
Location
Western Connecticut
A world class setup will vary by local humidity, and personal playing style. Online sellers can't do that, even if they were top notch luthiers, which they aren't.

Figure that an AO is gonna be pretty good, just picking one off the rack. If weight is a concern, either shop at a place with published weights, or call and have them weigh a few for you.

Beyond that, all the 'magic' is in a good setup. Either take it to a trusted local tech, or learn to do it yourself.
 

ratdoc

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2017
Posts
48
Location
USA
I had a really nice experience buying a P bass from Willcutt last fall. Good price, super fast shipping, and set-up really nicely when it arrived. If not them, I've never had a problem with Sweetwater.
 

Sparky2

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Posts
4,786
Age
62
Location
Harvest, Alabama
sweetwater.JPG
 

highgreenchilly

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 1, 2011
Posts
113
Location
GA
OP, I know you’re a pretty good distance from Dallas, but Tone Shop Guitars looks like they have pretty good stuff, and they have the only Plek machine in the metroplex, as far as I’m aware. I hope to drive over and check them out sometime this weekend.
I bought my Nocaster Lush Classic from them. I had a ton of questions and they answered them all and sent spec sheets before I purchased. Overall, a positive experience. Great guitar but as has been said, anything shipped should probably be set up when it arrives.
 

highgreenchilly

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 1, 2011
Posts
113
Location
GA
I will add that Wildwood spent a lot of time on the phone with me and we’re very helpful but they only had relics. Both shops gave weights as I wanted a sub 7 lb guitar.
 




Top