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When does a Tele stop being a Fender?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Fenderdad1950, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    I am asking this question on reference to a 'Fender' decal being placed on the headstock. There are some incredible builds I see by excellent craftsman, where both the neck & body are beautiful, but are not Fender, and they have a Fender logo on the headstock. The reason I ask is because I bought this wonderful single bound, chambered bodied Tele with a flame maple neck that are probably from Warmoth. It has Fender Texas Specials in it. It had a Fender Telecaster logo on the headstock, which just didn't sit well with me. So I sanded it off because to me the guitar had somewhere encroached in a 'off limits' area. I am waiting for Warmoth to send me one of their decal so it can be official. :rolleyes: 20210120_075323.jpg 20210116_124846~3.jpg How far can a guitar go before it's not really a Fender.o_O
     
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  2. Suproman

    Suproman Tele-Meister

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    If it wasn't made by Fender, then it's not a Fender.
     
  3. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    Well, that's no fender but it's a Tele.
     
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  4. QuantumSchema

    QuantumSchema TDPRI Member

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    My thoughts are all over the place on this one. LoL

    If it makes the owner happy, more power to them. Maybe it's the Fender they never made and wish they had. Maybe it's just the thought that its your own Custom Shop guitar. Especially if they're licensed Fender parts, it's not too much further from being a Fender.

    If it rubs the owner the wrong way, that's cool too. I totally get the "If it's not made by Fender, it's not a Fender".

    I balance my feelings with this off a few things. If they're Fender Licensed parts and of good quality AND the headstock is accurate, I'm cool with it BUT do not dare try to sell it as a Fender. That's shady.

    If it's in your personal collection, do what makes you happy!
     
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  5. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    I feel if you own it you can do what you want with it. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable when I see non fenders with the logo as its the potential for deception when being sold. My feeling is, if I had a parts caster I wouldn't put a Fender logo on it.
    However if I replaced a neck on a Fender (wanting different profile, etc) then I'd like a logo on the headstock but likely wouldn't go out of my way to put one there.
     
  6. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Virtually every single violin produced in the last 100 years, is either a Stradivarius, or a Guarnieri. With or without a label. Both designs date 300+ years back, so in about 250 years, you can label yours without guilt ;)
     
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  7. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    Agree with others- it's yours, suit yourself. I think that changes when you sell it. I don't think I'd put a fender decal on, but it doesn't bother me.

    My tele began life in 1995 as a MIM James Burton tele- not the fancy one. I think the only remaining Fender part is the Neck, along with it's screws and neckplate. Is it a Fender? I'd say no. But I dig it.
    IMG_4418.jpg

    Man, that fretboard is GRUNGY
     
  8. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    Is the Stradivarius company still around to sue people?
     
  9. Mhat

    Mhat Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    In my view if you have a Fender Neck and Fender Body that were matched at the factory, it's still a Fender. All the pickups, hardware swaps changes the guitar, but it's still a Fender at heart. Once the body or neck leaves, it's a partscaster.
     
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  10. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    What about buying a Fender replacement neck and putting it on a Warmoth body with Lollar pickups, Wilkinson bridge and saddles and Gotoh vintage tuners?

    1. Should you sand the logo off the neck?

    2. What if everything was Fender EXCEPT the neck?

    So if the logo is ok in #1 and not ok in #2, then a guitar is absolutely defined by its neck whether the logo is ok?

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender/1951-Telecaster-Neck.gc
     
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  11. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    That neck is gorgeous
     
  12. TeleUpNorth

    TeleUpNorth Tele-Meister

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    I totally agree and disagree. I would still want the logo too if I replaced a neck, but wouldn’t it have to be a Fender neck to not be a partscaster?
     
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  13. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    If I ever replaced a neck on a Fender Telecaster it would be because I wasn't satisfied with the neck profile. Likely my best option is a replacement neck from Warmouth or Musikraft. Because I have it on a fender body and electronics I'd like to have Fender on the headstock but its not so important to me that I'd be likely to do it. If I did have the Fender logo on an aftermarket neck it would be just for me as I'd never sell the original neck. I'd keep it to go back on the guitar if I were to ever sell.
     
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  14. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    Whether or not it's a fender and whether you should sand off the logo are two different questions. The "when is it not a fender" question came up not too long ago and I think the consensus (as much as a consensus can ever be reached on a topic like this) was that if it's not a Fender neck AND body, it's not a Fender, it's a partscaster. That's my opinion too, but if someone called their guitar a Fender with a replacement neck, I probably wouldn't argue too strenuously.

    As to the label, frankly, I don't care what people want to put on their guitars. If you like the logo, put it on, if you don't, sand it off. Just be honest when you sell it.
     
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  15. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Actually not really true. Fender could contract with anyone they want to build "Fender" guitars. Fender owns intellectual property in the form of their trademarks, which among other things, are the Fender name and their headstock shapes. Their body shapes are not protected under trademark any longer.

    So, if Fender puts their name on a guitar, it could be a Fender guitar made in a plant in Japan, or Indonesia, etc. etc.

    I always find these threads interesting, because some people really get butt hurt over people using the Fender name, but they have absolutely no problem with people copying the Tele or Strat headstock. Both actions are equally encroachments upon Fender's trademarks.

    That said, personally I don't put Fender labels on the guitars I build, but I don't judge others who do. To each his own.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
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  16. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    What I object to about labeling a "non-Fender" with a Fender decal, is the potential for fraud. We all say we would never try to pass off our partscasters as the real deal (and I believe you) but what about the next owner? You can make it very clear to him/her that it's not legitimate, but he/she may not be as honest, and you become unwittingly complicit in a fraud. There's also the possibility that you die, and your family innocently passes it on "inaccurately".
    I once talked to Zac Childs (Ask Zac) about this. He has a Bill Crook Tele-style, with a Fender label. Zac says he has placed a number of "indicators" on his Crook, to tip off a potential buyer.....and I accept his assertion, but who knows?.
    Years ago, when I put a Warmoth Fender-licensed neck on a Fender body, I used a Fender decal. The only parts on that guitar now are the body, the control plate, and the strap buttons.....so it's definitely NOT a Fender....yet it has a Fender decal.
    On my current #1, which I also put a Fender-licensed Warmoth neck, the ONLY Fender part is the pickup selector switch. I don't believe anyone with just a smidgeon of guitar knowledge would ever think it was legit, but I decided to not take the chance.....and I used a different headstock name. It's just me, but I just don't want even the perception of possible fraudulent intent.
    Your results may vary, ;););)
     
  17. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Are Ron Kirn's guitars parts casters? I know that for a long time he got his necks from USACG. I would not call his guitars partscasters at all.

    I have read in a number of different places that many, if not most, guitar manufacturers who build bolt on neck style guitars actually contract out the construction of their necks and sometimes even their bodies. The manufacturer simply assembles the parts, finishes the frets and finishes the guitar. It is the modern manufacturing paradigm in many industries.

    Who did the shaping and who did the finishing, and who did the assembling are all completely irrelevant to the issue of who owns the name and the head stock shape however. If Fender did not give you permission to use their name then you can't legally use it. Whether Fender comes after you for a one off Tele you built, is another question, and though not likely, they could. Licensed by Fender necks are more expensive than other bolt on necks because they are charging for use of their headstock shape.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
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  18. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    ;)
     
  19. arlum

    arlum Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    A Telecaster can never not be a Fender. It's Pure Leo. That body shape that couldn't have been more plain yet iconic. It's Leo's base plate to all the future dreamers and builders. Go ahead. Add that. Delete this. A simple flat top single cut with no bells and whistles. A platform for future designers to feel free to apply their palettes and ideas to and take the electric guitar from one level to the next. Electric guitars are simple things that can be shaped into art by what builders apply to the basic mold. No basic mold has ever been utilized more than Leo's basic Telecaster.
     
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  20. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Wait a minute here...

    this thread's subject and content and pictures don't seem to all align.

    Do you mean 'do (the royal) we think it is it ok to put a fender decal on a guitar that fender didn't make? '

    Or do you mean 'do we think it's ok to put a fender neck on a body that isn't a fender?'

    Or do you really mean, when can you say a guitar is a fender or not?

    Or do you mean, is it alright to rip some innocent off by selling them a guitar as a Fender that isn't really a Fender?

    Or are you just showing off your new parts guitar?

    Or are you just trolling?

    Sweet warmoth btw! What did you pay for it?
     
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