It's Telecaster time, what makes a classic telecaster to you?

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by patdavidmusic, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. patdavidmusic

    patdavidmusic SS.org Regular

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    Hey everyone!

    Happy holidays and new year to you all,

    [FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, lucida grande, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]For 2020 I have decided to finally pick up a telecaster, I've predominately been a strat man but it's time to finally take the plunge. I would adore a vintage 53 custom shop telecaster but financially I'm going to work with a luthier to build the telecaster of my dreams. I would love to make the radius more modern and change to stainless steel frets but I would love to hear your thoughts first.[/FONT]

    So my question to you champions is,



    1. What things do you think give telecasters their classic tone / what things must my telecaster have. I know there is absolute masters of telecaster knowledge here, so I would love your opinion.

    2. What are some of your all time favourite songs that feature that classic telecaster tone?


    Thank you so much for even just taking the time to read,

    Pat

     
  2. nyxzz

    nyxzz SS.org Regular

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    the pickups give it the tone. for me, a tele isnt a true tele unless it has the uncontoured body. my first guitar was a tele (G&L ASAT actually) but I just love that shape for whatever reason.
    G&L, Suhr, Nash make the best telecasters imo.
    A bunch of songs by The Smiths made me fall in love with teles. A huge chunk of their catalogue was recorded with one.
     
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  3. patdavidmusic

    patdavidmusic SS.org Regular

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    big smiths fan, thank you for the reminder, I definitely get what you are saying about the contour, I prefer the slabs as well
     
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  4. Crash Dandicoot

    Crash Dandicoot » Supra-ise!

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    I'm of the persuasion that a bolt-on neck & Telecaster style bridge / bridge pickup are a non-negotiable aspect for a Tele to be a Telecaster. Now, you can certainly have all your Tele or T-type shapes all you want without those provisions, but in my mind to be a "Telecaster", those are required. You could take it further into the 21 vs 22 fret thing, personally its never bothered me either way.

    Regarding tone, I cut my teeth on an 80s ESP Ron Wood type Tele and it made me fall in love with the middle position of a single coil bridge and humbucker neck Telecaster. It's just not quite the same sound you get from a Strat or other style configuration. All the coil splits and taps in the world I tried just weren't *quite* the same. I can't pick any published music off the top of my head but as far as personal playing goes, Tele clean tone is cat's meow, man.
     
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  5. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    If you want to be a purist then only the vintage specs will do.

    SS frets will allegedly change the sound. So will changing the radius.

    It's gotta be 21 or 22 frets. Pickguard mounted neck pickup. Ashtray mounted bridge with 3 vintage saddles.
    No contours thick slab body only.
     
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  6. patdavidmusic

    patdavidmusic SS.org Regular

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    Completely agree it's gotta be bolt on, ash, maple, 21 frets and brass bridge and saddles, thank you for sharing your story,

    It's time for me to listen to different pickup wirings now haha
     
  7. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    how does neck radius alter tone?

    Keep in mind, guitarists like Hendrix, Beck, and Page that were known for using other guitars recorded some of their most iconic songs with Telecasters.

    Teles actually come in a lot of flavors. You can go traditional tele pickups, SSS, or traditional with alternate wirings like the Nashville and 5-way strat. You can go solid body or Thinline 72 with an F-hole (more midrange). You can even go modern Tele with a HB, TV Jones, or P90 in the neck, but keep the tele bridge pickup. 3 saddle or 5 saddle vintage ashtray is the preferred bridge to keep the tele tone, otherwise you really will start sounding non-Tele like (do you want tele looks or tele tone). I have Teles ranging from 9.5 vintage, to compound, or 15” radius. Depends on what you’re looking for. Radius is often misunderstood. You can shred like crazy on 9.5”. Chording will be a lot easier on rounder radiuses too. The best thing to do is to buy what feels right to you. If you’re having one built I recommend 10-14 or 10-16 compound, but that’s just me. I have everything from wenge necks to maple and it all sounds good. Harrison’s all rosewood tele is a beast. Ymmv

    My two fav Telemasters, and arguably the best:


    ^Tele use starts at song 2, but 1st song has outrageous sax solo!


    Also, some of my other favs:




     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  8. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    Some more because can only link 5 vids per post lol. Greg Koch is the king of gristle tone Tele and follows in the lineage from Danny and Roy:




    RK is just stupidly good at everything... more “modern” Tele tone and playing here:


    And for some “modern” tele playing on a modern Tele guitar (HB, trem, etc), for the SSO audience lol...
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
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  9. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    To all others have said -> bolt on maple neck, no contoured body, Tele bridge and pickup

    I just add "check carefully the body thickness". If you ever play a Tele that looks and feels like a Tele but doesn't sound like a Tele just check the thickness of the body and then you will find what's wrong... Body thickness is crucial.

    Also, some say "it must be ash body" others will argue it has to be alder... Well, originals were made out of pine and I would say it is very personal, I prefer the tone of pine or alder for a Tele, ash bodied teles don't do it for me as much as pine or alder so...

    On the other hand, I wouldn't hesitate to use a 24 fret neck only if you are going to use a vintage Tele neck pickup because those pickups can use a bit more brightness of being a bit closer to the bridge but nowadays I don't find the need of 24 frets so that's up to you...

    Don't worry about the fretboard radius: it doesn't change the tone so go for the one that is more comfortable to you and the SS might change the tone for you, for me it does and for others, but there are tons out there that don't hear any difference so... If the feel and longer lasting is more important then choose SS frets without any problem.

    But post pics or... I'll kill you!

    Cheers and happy new year!
     
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  10. Protestheriphery

    Protestheriphery SS.org Regular

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    I'll just assume vintage specs give a tele a classic tone. If thats what you're aiming for, opt for as many vintage designed parts as possible. In regards to the neck, I'd say go ahead and follow through with your plan of the modern radius and ss frets. Sounds like an interesting hybrid. Mix it up. One of the most inspiring things about picking up a guitar is how you bond with the neck. If you're gonna go custom, might as well make it your own by putting that spin on it.
     
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  11. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    Don't ask me. I'm not a crazy person.
     
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  12. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Skip the ss frets, skip the custom build and buy a used AVRI '52 tele. It's everything you could need.

    Signed,

    Guy with a custom tele.
     
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  13. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    What price range are we talking?

    MIM and MIJ Teles are the shiznit.
     
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  14. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire L'enfant sausage

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    bolt on neck and single coil of sorts in the bridge, though some humbuckers can do the twang really well.
    past that it's personal preference.
    I like ss frets, 24 frets, forearm contours, belly cuts, all that jazz.
     
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  15. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    this guy gets it.
     
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  16. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    Don’t forget to get a B-bender! :)

    Some more great Tele legends to inspire you:





     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
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  17. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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  18. Spicypickles

    Spicypickles Sweeps & Mops

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    What does the b-bender actually do? Also, paisley is a beast for sure.
     
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  19. Seabeast2000

    Seabeast2000 Tropospheric Holocenian Contributor

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    somehow I knew USMArine was going to be chiming in here. :lol:
     
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  20. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Contributor

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    Hahahaha! Sorry I tried to resist....

    I really should be automatically locked out of any Peavey or Tele threads in the future lol.

    Did someone say Peavey Teles?

    upload_2019-12-28_19-24-4.jpeg

    I umm... have... a few. Lol
     

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