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What Makes a Tele a Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by horax, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. horax

    horax Tele-Afflicted

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    This is a tougher question than it sounds. There are many qualities that define what a Telecaster should be, but what makes it that way?

    mid it the single cutaway dragon? The two pickups? The twang factor? Barrel saddles?

    what exactly defines what a tele is (to you)?

    there are many companies that make the single cutaway slab body t style. There are tons of different pickup options that are very similar.
    So what IS it?
     

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  2. demon

    demon Tele-Meister

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    The boring answer is that Fender owns the trademark; whatever they slap the Telecaster name on is, by their definition, a Telecaster. Could be a guitar or a waffle iron; still a Telecaster™.
     
  3. TelenTubes

    TelenTubes Tele-Holic

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    To me, no contours, single cutaway, the headstock, control plate, and pick guard.

    That's my personal opinion, even though teles have been coming out with contours....

    To me, a tele with a humbucker isn't my style, but that's just me and they've been putting those in teles for a long time.
     
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  4. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You do... they don't twang by themselves...:lol:
     
  5. ieatlions

    ieatlions Tele-Holic

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    It’s the body shape for me. I’ve played many different incarnations, with vastly different combinations. The neck isn’t a as defining as that slab, single cut body shape IMO.

    For me it’s about that robust simplicity. It’s understated. No bells and whistles. But I don’t mean it to be derogatory. A Tele will keep you honest. Makes you work a little bit, and that suits me.
     
  6. idjster

    idjster VERY grateful member Silver Supporter

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    Like ieatlions, I really like the robust simplicity. It really just lets you play and work to do it a bit. It just seems...right.
     
  7. TelenTubes

    TelenTubes Tele-Holic

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    It is the simplicity in a sense, too. When I first started playing, I wanted a Les Paul, because that's what Slash played. But before that I bought a strat, which I still have, because I liked SRV, too. Then I got into the Black Crowes and they play tons of different guitars and have had several different lead guitarists. Found I can get some great Black Crowes tones with the tele. I bought my first tele 10 years ago.

    It is understated. A fancy guitar with a lot of gold and binding doesn't make me play any better, and I always feel like a fancy Les Paul looks better than I can play it. There's something about a tele that is indeed understated.
     
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  8. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    Are we gonna beat this dead horse again?
    Fender makes it a Tele when they sell it as a Tele and put Telecaster on the headstock.
    It does not matter what pickups they use or anything else.
     
  9. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

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    Pop Quiz

    How many time has this question been posed on this site?
     
  10. DLReed

    DLReed Tele-Meister

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    Wow, so jaded. The more times it gets asked the better. I was gathering sap tonight and watching the tractor work reminded me of a telecaster. An old design that works so well there isn't a need to change it. And, they look better all beat up.
     
  11. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's what Fender decides they can sell at any particular moment .... no holds barred ... they own the name ... they can issue a Strat and slap a Telecaster decal on it, if they want to ....
     
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  12. RyCo1983

    RyCo1983 Tele-Afflicted

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    For me it's the pickup within the metal bridge that really does it.
     
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  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The pickups. Build a Tele. Build a (hardtail) Strat. So similar as not to matter. But the sound is completely different. The bridge, too, but I say pickups because I play neck a lot of the time, and even that sounds so un-Stratty.

    If the question is really what makes a Fender Tele any better than a different maker's T-type, the answer is: depends on the builder, but likely nothing. Just nice having the label, though.
     
  14. IronSchef

    IronSchef Tele-Afflicted

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    for me, while there is a case to be made for headstock shape -- its a body shape ... if it looks like this, its a Tele

    Image 3-19-20 at 8.25 PM.jpg
     
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  15. Diytelecaster

    Diytelecaster Tele-Meister

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    The player.
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It's all about the Deja Vu.
     
  17. Tele Jr

    Tele Jr Tele-Holic

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    To me it comes down to the bones, the body and the neck.

    I have believed for a long time that alternative Tele's like the Tele Jr and Tele Plus are just as Tele as any other.

    I don't think James Burton would say that his lace equipped signature Tele was not a Tele. Or that it needed a three barrel bridge to be one.

    Ole Fuzzy would start counting the number of flat head screws...
     
  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    It's the ergonomics of the guitar.
    Check out where the thigh cut is for sitting down
    Check out where the strap pins are for standing
    See where the bridge is located relative to those conditions.
    Without looking, see where your picking hand rests, even without thinking. Most players it's on the bridge or behind the bridge putting your pick between the saddles and the bridge pickup. That's where Twang! happens.

    Now try a Strat, it will feel like playing to your right side. Plus that volume knob makes you pick out between the middle and neck pickup.

    Try a LP and it's a little to the left. And you palm mute on the bridge saddles.

    Try a Jazzmaster it's a little more to the left. Your arm lays on the body and you pick between the pickups.

    Try an SG and it's a lot more to the left. Way left. And they were trying to build a 'Strat beater'... design by committee in so many ways, that guitar.

    .
     
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  19. skydog6653

    skydog6653 Tele-Meister

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    Simplicity
     
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