Tele vs Strat! Leo got it right the first time

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by klobasa, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

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    I can get my Strat to sound more like a Telecaster. There are sounds my Strats make that my Tele's cannot.
    I can get my Strat to do things I'd do on a Gretsch(bigsby). Can't do that on my Tele.
    I can get my Strat to sound like a Les Paul R8 and R4. Which allowed me to offload my Custom Shop Les Pauls.

    Strat is the clear the winner.
    It's also a better looking guitar.
    They also make more sense from a players aspect.
    They fit your body better for seated and standing play.
    Also the weight is distributed better when standing and playing a live show.
     
  2. mistermikev

    mistermikev Tele-Holic

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    my kids don't even have life (I don't have kids). for what it's worth I like a lot more guitars than I own... but I do own quite a few. tele's are among my favs for sure... just not for everything. spice of life I guess.
     
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  3. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry, buster. She's busy tending to my soup scalds.
    Erika-and-Christine_ukulele_1-1038x576.jpg
    ;}
     
  4. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Meister

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    Surely you wouldn't consider that sustain sucking tremolo or the weird rhythm volume/tone second circuit as "perfect?"
     
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  5. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    IMHO the only serious Fender guitar models are the Tele, Strat, Preci and Jazz Bass. Nothing else they made was on par.
     
  6. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    It may not sustain ‘for days’ but a well-setup Jazzmaster gives quite enough sustain for my needs. And it is a very sweet trem IMHO - much nicer than a Strat’s, and far easier to restring than a Bigsby!
    And in what way is the rhythm circuit imperfect? If you don’t like it, don’t use it: the controls are all nice & low-profile so they don’t get in your way. But if you try it, you will find you’ve got a fourth and very usable pickup selection there: I use it sometimes as a standin for acoustic guitar parts, or it can give a good dark lead tone through a distortion pedal - it’s just another sound, and it doesn’t detract from the three great sounds you get in the Lead position.
    The oddest thing in the JM is the 1M pots — those can make everything sound piercingly bright. But the answer is to keep the tone control backed off - mine lives around 5-6 usually.
    Re the original question, I’d say Tele over Strat - but mainly because I don’t like 5-way switches (too fiddly) or having more than Master Volume and Master Tone to worry about. The Strat volume is too near the strings and I never got the hang of which Tone control was doing what... again, in Leo’s learning process, maybe he heard complaints back then because he went back to simple Volume/Tone for the JM and the Jag (and that’s all the Rhythm circuit has too). Now Jaguar switches... that’s another matter...
     
  7. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Why “surely?” I said it, didn’t I? Surely I must have meant what I said is more likely. Surely I know what my opinion is, and it’s probably based on a good deal of experience playing JMs.

    I use the rhythm circuit all the time. The Jazzmaster is so bright (due to 1M pots) that on the lead circuit, the neck pickup sounds a lot like the bridge pickup on other guitars. Therefore the rhythm circuit dimed simply provides a fairly typical neck pickup tone. The lead/rhythm switch on a Jazzmaster (which does nothing but switch you over to a 50 K tone pot, the equivalent of rolling your lead circuit’s tone pot down a bit) therefore behaves much like another guitar’s rhythm/treble pickup selector, or like switching from positions 1 to 2 on an Esquire (switching from no tone pot to preset tone rolloff). Dimed rhythm circuit on a JM just gives you a beauty, chewy, Gibson-esque neck pickup tone.

    I’ve never noticed a properly set up Jazzmaster or Jaguar lacking as much sustain as I’ll ever use...and if it did, it almost certainly wouldn’t have a thing to do with the vibrato. Sustain problems on any guitar are usually a setup issue, not due to components. I have never experienced a lack of sustain issue on any guitar, after setting it up properly myself.

    It’s a Strat vibrato that’s really weird...but they are so common now that they are not often recognized as being the odd man out in vibrato designs. The Jazzmaster vibrato is a lot closer in concept to more conservative vibrato units used in set neck guitars (e.g. Bigsby).

    I will grant you that usually JMs and Jags are set up poorly...because they’re set up differently than they were designed to be set up: with a neck shim, with high tension (originally flatwound) strings...i.e. a lot like a Gibson. Many people have pulled the shims out of vintage ones, and installed low tension strings, much to their detriment. A properly set up JM should have a Gibson-esque feel, with neck angle and a high bridge. This is how they were designed, even though most people (FMIC included) don’t know how to set them up these days. So, yes; Leo had them perfect from the start IMO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
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  8. Brad_1

    Brad_1 NEW MEMBER!

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    My first Strat was a 58. Sold it in 62. Big mistake! My second was a Squire Bullet last year. The volume knob kept getting in the way of my fat old fingers.Sold it to a friend, and bought a Squire Bullet Tele. I love both but the Tele is easier for me to play. Thinking about ordering a Harley Benton TE-52 NA. I'm seeing good reviews on them, and the price is right.

    Also thinking about another Bullet Strat and changing the control knobs to another configuration.
    I love the Strat sound, but if I could only have one, it would be the Tele. style.
     
  9. 61fury

    61fury Friend of Leo's

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    I agree. I have a list, so far it's short, of timeless designs. Maybe I'll start a thread, see what anyone else has got, I know there's lots more .
    1. Fender Stratocaster
    2. Douglas DC 3 series. Modern airliners still resemble it.

    Douglas-DC-3-introduction-airline-business-1935.jpg
     
  10. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Meister

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    Did you know that Leo's design, and all Strats till 1977, had 3-way switches?
     
  11. Frankentwang

    Frankentwang TDPRI Member

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    Teles easily take the win for me, strats dont agree with me, the sound, feel, weight, curves, it just seems off. I think the weight is a big problem for me because I need to be playing something with some mass, so teles and les Paul's feel just right. Call me crazy but grab the most expensive strat, and for some reason it just feels so cheap to me, maybe it's the size of the pickguard, or the easiness of the selector switch, or the plastic knobs, doesnt feel reliable like a tele does. The sound is an acquired taste I think, it doesnt have the warmth of a humbucker, but it also doesnt have that growl and twang of a tele, it's like the worst of both worlds to me, now that being said, I'm excluding the strats neck pickup, that's a truly beautiful sound and i think that's the best thing about the strat. I do think the strat has a good sound for certain genres such as soft rock, blues, surf, grunge, or funk, but I dont think it really belongs in any other genre. I can appreciate the 3 pickups as an idea for maximum versatility, but I'm the type of player to just use two positions, it's either gotta be the bridge or neck setting for me and nothing in between. The curves dont feel good to me either but I can understand their function, I'm a stand up player, rarely sitting down, but when I do the strat always slides out from under me, the body is so thin, the only way I can play it sitting down is in a hunched over position so it doesnt slip. So these are all my reasons, I think I make a fair argument against strats.
     
  12. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, I am well aware of that.
    So we could say there are two versions of the Strat to consider: the old 3-way, which has simple switching but no quack, or the newer 5-way which has a fiddlier switch to deal with but the gorgeous position 2 & 4 sounds.
    I definitely don’t think the 3-way version beats a Tele: and although the in-between positions give the Strat some extra magic it’s not cost-free.
    (And also I prefer the horizontal switch arrangement on a Tele to the Strat’s angled switch.)
     
  13. Trick1964

    Trick1964 TDPRI Member

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  14. Trick1964

    Trick1964 TDPRI Member

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    78 fender telecaster unmolested for 1900...... done deal
     
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  15. Trick1964

    Trick1964 TDPRI Member

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  16. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    The 3-way is exactly why I said Leo got the Strat right from the first production models, and it has not been improved upon since (once he very quickly – within a few months – abandoned 100K pots for 250Ks). I hate the anemic and "filtered" sounding notch tones, and they keep me from being able to quickly and positively tap the switch into and out of the middle position while playing (and the middle is my main position when playing a Strat, so I'm often needing to quickly return to it in the middle of songs).

    My dream Strat is a '54, and I'd play the sucker bone stock. I settle for the 2014 AV '54 60th Anniversary limited edition reissue...which I converted to original wiring (it came with modern wiring from the factory, and a conversion kit).
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
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  17. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Leo relied on feedback from working musicians to perfect his creations, so it could be said that the initial inspirations came from Leo, but the Tele and Strat had teams of "designers" that would test them in the real world, then provide feedback for things that needed tweaking.
     
  18. schmintan

    schmintan Tele-Meister

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    Ask 100 guys what's the perfect guitar and You'l get 300 answers!

    There is no perfect guitar, and both fender and gibbo created very efficient, functional and desirable designs first time. There are quite a few little modern improvements that help push the deaig a from 90% to 95%+

    But as we are tone suckers, many of us like to stick with the original designs, including minor flaws and older components that have long since had improvements.

    Forgetting nostalgia, things that improve on the old designs are:

    • Volute on Gibsons.
    • More efficient string retainers on fenders.
    • Compound radius necks.
    • Locking tuners. These are amazing.
    • Cavity shielding.
    • More durable finishes.
    • Dual truss rods.
    • More accessible truss nuts.
    • Taller harder frets.
    • 2 point bridge(strat)
    • Compensated bridges(Tele)
    • 6 saddle bridge (Tele)
    • Electrosocket (Tele)
    • Rounded contoured heel.
    I'm not saying the original designs were bad, they are fantastic, but being purely pragmatic and forgetting nostalgia, thinking about an efficient easy working tool then these things all improve on the original designs.

    That said, I still have a 50s les Paul standard with 50s wiring as the coil tapping and modern configuration just didn't do it for me.

    I'm also searching for a Tele and again, the modern incarnations don't float my boat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  19. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I did :) - As do both of my Strats :) I don't care much for the 2 and 4 positions. Strat "quack" is not my thing at all. I can still get those tones by moving the switch halfway between positions, which is easier than you might think and incredibly stable. However, in order to prevent from accidentally landing in the 2 or 4 position on a 5-way when I'm switching on the fly, I prefer the original 3-way switch configuration.
     
  20. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    For you guys that don’t like the 2 & 4 sounds, then a 3-way switch — as originally specified — does remove one of my objections to a Strat.

    I don’t have a Strat anymore but my Shergold Masquerader has a Strat-like setup with 3 pickups and a 5-way switch. My plan for that is to fit a 3-way switch that does Tele-switching (B, B&N, N) and add a push-pull or a mini switch to enable the middle pickup — possibly setting it up to give B&M, M, M&N when it’s in ‘Strat mode’. (BTW this guitar has switch horizontal and the other controls just a master volume and tone - which makes it a nicer guitar for me than a Strat. The body is contoured too. Only the trem is missing but I am OK with that especially since we get a Tele bridge and bridge pickup as part of the deal.)
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