The Telecaster: From maligned to much loved

SomeAverageGuy

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Jun 6, 2022
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I was about 16 years old when I first played a Tele (I'm 42 now, fwiw). It was a family reunion and there are many musicians in the family. A cousin brought a whole setup (P.A., multiple guitars, bass, drums) but I was the only one who played "lead" guitar. The cousin who brought the equipment had a Tele but he basically played it like an acoustic guitar. People took turns going up on stage and playing songs (mostly country and Bob Dylan/Bob Seger classics), but I was asked to stay on the Tele as I could play some lead lines and various chord inversions. Up until that point, I fantasized about upgrading my Vantage cheapo electric to a Les Paul, but the Tele shocked me in a very good way and it has been in my mind ever since. I still don't own one yet, but I'm hoping to remedy that in the next 6 months.
 

Jazzman1955

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May 27, 2009
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USA
Perhaps you've simply aged into a demographic that is more Tele friendly.

Lots of scenes out there with kids that still wouldn't take the stage with a Tele.

Sometimes it even feels any sort of recent increase in Tele visibility is now waning as some of the roots and Americana that brought them back out of the country world are fading again. They are always going to be popular where they are popular, but where they are popular may no longer be popular. Popular.
We humans are imitative- Delusions and madness of crowds…as Charles Mackay put it. But if I must be an imitative ape, I’m gonna imitate with a Tele and blue jeans - not with a pointy headed Floyd Rose/ Scalloped D Neck HSS axe wearing Spandex tights!
 

Blues Twanger

Tele-Afflicted
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Dec 4, 2007
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SoVT
We humans are imitative- Delusions and madness of crowds…as Charles Mackay put it. But if I must be an imitative ape, I’m gonna imitate with a Tele and blue jeans - not with a pointy headed Floyd Rose/ Scalloped D Neck HSS axe wearing Spandex tights!
Well you certainly didn't imitate a rational, unbiased comparison.
 

Telekarster

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I've told this story before but here it goes - About 5 years ago I was at a buddies beach party, at his house which is on the water. He was going to have a band there so my plan was just to sit back, have cocktails and stogies, and watch the show. Well... about 2 cocktails into it and he asks the band if I could get up and play (yes... he put me on the spot). I didn't have a guitar with me of course, but the guitarist that was there said I could use his backup guitar, if I wanted to, which was a Tele. Prior to this event, I'd never given Tele's a thought or even a look. After that day, I was hooked. I found this site and became a lurker, which spawned the 51 Nocaster I built for myself LOL!!! I'm a big Tele fan today of course ;) Just saying that it took over 30 years before I found the Tele, and it was by shear chance... no fad thing with me.
 

Jakeboy

Tele-Afflicted
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Jul 26, 2008
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Sedalia, MO
I find that whammied Strats fight MUCH more than any Tele does….but I gotta have both. Nothing else sounds like either and I need those two sounds. All that said, I could play any and every gig with just a Telecaster. Still the most versatile guitar ever made.
 

Frisco 57

Tele-Holic
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Jan 8, 2012
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774
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Arlington WA
It's 1973 and I'd been playing acoustic for a number of years but never really played an electric guitar. At a rural Nevada desert, drunken jam session, I was first handed a modified Gibson SG that I didn't bond with at all, too many knobs and coil tap switches. The SG owner noticed my discomfort and hands me his slab maple fingerboard 1965-66 (?) Telecaster instead, it was honestly love at first sight (and feel!)
I've been hooked to this "Senior Solidbody" ever since!
 

mad dog

Friend of Leo's
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Jun 27, 2005
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Montclair, NJ
In high school, I never even saw a telecaster that wasn't on TV or album covers. Yes, they were deep in country. Elsewhere, not nearly so much. Strats were a relative rarity too. Late 60s, in college, pretty much the same deal. Everybody played Gibsons or wanted to, with a minority appreciating strats and a very few teles. Thanks to Jimi and others, strat love came on suddenly, and strongly.

What set the hook for me with teles was pics of Albert Collins and Jesse Ed Davis with Taj Mahal. And hearing their music. I didn't act on that until much later. Once I did, it was a slow, steady slide into complete reliance on teles.
 

mad dog

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Jun 27, 2005
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Montclair, NJ
Weird thing is that the main reason I love teles has nothing to do with the sound of the bridge pickup. It’s the body feel and balance first and foremost for me, then the neck pickup lead sound.
Exactly as it is for me. Nothing else feels like a tele.
 

FSRCustomTeleHHGT

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Posts
155
Age
62
Location
Republic of Squierland
I grew up watching Prince play (mostly) his HS Anderson Japanese Tele clone.
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My first guitar? A Strat. I don't choose instruments based on what my heroes played, and I don't care whether or not something is in fashion at Glastonbury or Woodstock or anywhere else. And if you have friends that sneer at your instrument, whether it's a Tele or a Squier or anything else, you desperately need new friends.

That said, I'm about to buy a red Fedora.
 

zippofan

Tele-Afflicted
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Mar 16, 2014
Posts
1,923
Location
Pennsylvania
When I got my first guitar it was in the middle of the "lawsuit" era, and all my friends were getting Aria Strats and Les Pauls. I wanted something different, and in this little hole in the wall music store they had my Ampeg "Heavy Stud" Telecaster copy and I had to have it. Luckily it was cheaper than the Aria's and much much cheaper than the Gibson and Fender instruments of the time (mid-70's). I had picked up a LP Deluxe in the music store downtown and it weighed a ton. The store had a Melody Maker I lusted over but again over the budget of a 15 year old who was too impatient to save up the $$ for a guitar and a drum set/cymbals (I'm primarily a drummer). I had enough left over to get an original St. Louis Music Crate to make noise and annoy the neighborhood!

The Telecaster stuck with me, the bright bridge pickup, the intonation issues and all though I do use compensated saddles now :) I still have the "Stud", it/s my avatar, and the Crate too though it's now a cab for my Zeppelin Percolator.
 

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