Posted by: worshipguitarguy | October 13, 2006

The Fender Telecaster

It’s the granddaddy of the electric guitar.

I know, I know, it may not be the coolest guitar to own… it’s funky looking, and horror of all horrors, every cowboy hat wearing, horse riding redneck musician on CMT has one slung over his shoulder.  (Not to mention every electric player on a Gaither Homecoming video.) 

It’s not sleek like a Strat, nor grungy like a Les Paul.  So if you’re not from Alabama or Kentucky, why own some twang? (no insult if you’re from Alabama or Kentucky, I love Alabama and Kentucky people… really… I do!) 

Ok… ok… I’ll say it, I’m a Tele player, and no, I’m not a country musician.  In fact, I’m about as Yankee of a guitar player as you’ll ever find.  So I have a selling job to do.  In the next few minutes, maybe I’ll convince you that these hillbilly git-fiddles are alright, and under the right circumstances, they’re cool. 

First, a history lesson though. 

The Fender Telecaster is the oldest mass produced solid body electric line.  It began life in 1950 as a single pickup guitar called the Esquire.  (Not to be confused with my beloved Fender “Squier” brand name.)  But later that year, the single pickup model was discontinued and replaced by a double pickup model called the Broadcaster… [broadWHAT???] …ok, there’s a reason you probably haven’t heard of the Broadcaster…  apparently Gretsch had a drum kit called the Broadkaster, and they sued Leo Fender over the name.  Ultimately he dropped it and replaced it with the name Telecaster… as a tribute to the early iterations of those 42 inch plasma thingys sitting in our living rooms.  (Note: for a limited time, some models were unnamed.  As a result, they picked up the nickname “Nocasters” by players and collectors.) 

 Most Tele’s have bodies made of Alder or Ash, while the neck is maple with either a rosewood or maple fretboard.  The pickups are a pair of single coils… the neck one’s called a “lipstick” pickup because of the cover on it.   One major difference between old Teles and modern ones is the vintage instruments have three saddles on a bridge, (two strings rest on each one…) while modern ones have six.  Vintage guitar players say that the old three saddle guitars have greater sustain, but adjusting their intonation is quite a trick.

 telebridge.jpg

Now that the history lesson’s done… what’s the deal with a Tele?  (Especially for worship guitarists.)

There’s much more to the Tele than twang.  The Telecaster design is in fact one of the most versatile guitars you can buy.  (Note: a it’s a super choice for a first electric.)  Of course, with a Fender twin amp you’ll find tones that are right at home in the Grand ‘Ol Opry.  But run through a clean Class A amp, the Tele will jangle much like a Strat…  the difference is the Tele has a little more full sound to it’s tone.  

Once you overdrive a Tele though, it will growl with a much thicker and fuller sustain than a Strat.  Tonally, the Tele’s a great compromise between the clean and trebley jangle of a Stratocaster and the thick low growl of a Les Paul.  (And best of all, it doesn’t weigh ten tons like an LP… 😉 )

You may know that the Standard Telecasters come in three separate lines.  The first Standard Tele is the one made in Southeast Asia.  This model is the cheapest, and the low price reflects the quality and craftsmanship of the components.  (I’m exempting Squier Tele’s from this list, which are marketed under Fender’s low cost brand name.)These guitars have more neck and intonation problems.  Also, the quality on hardware and electronics is minimal, so the pickups aren’t going to turn many heads. 

The second Tele line the MIM (Made in Mexico) Telecaster is a favorite of modders and guitar experimenters.  MIM’s are a super overall value, being a great balance between price with performance.  The Mexican Tele uses some cheaper hardware and electronics, but the wood construction is usually solid, (and if your a customizer, you really don’t care much about hardware and pickups.)  The quality control on MIM’s is usually pretty good, yet there are some very bad apples in the barrel.  So pay close attention. 

The third series, the American Standard Tele is the top of the heap of mass produced Teles.  The guitars are assembled in the US and use better bridges, hardware, and electronics.  The stock pickups on American Tele’s are pretty good, my guitar still has them.  Fender also has the Highway One line which is a mid line between the MIM and American Tele.  (Correct me if I’m wrong, but the big difference between the H1 and Am is the quality of the finish on the body…)  One thing is if shopping around, you can usually find a used American for the same price as a new MIM. 

 From there, you go into Fender’s upper range, like the Deluxe and Custom Shop guitars.  Also some modified Tele designs are very popular, like the 72 Thinline Reissue, (which replaces the single coils with Humbuckers.)  Last I knew, Jon Buckland from Coldplay played one.   

Whew… there it is, the full run down on the wonderful guitar named after the TV.  I’ve fired off my best evidence against it’s country music roots, but… I see your still skeptical of buying a twang factory.  It really isn’t that bad…seriously.  Don’t believe me? Well, maybe Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, Andy Summers, the Edge, or Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead can convince you instead.   

Well, I’m out… hmm… what did I… hey has anyone seen my snakeskin cowboy boots around here?

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Responses

  1. Just to pile on… G&L’s ASAT Teles are outstanding as well; especially the ones made before Master Leo’s passing. I tracked several tunes with an ASAT loaded w/ active EMGs… way cool!

  2. Not all teles are created equal. I own a Charvel TX Custom tele. (see http://www.christianguitar.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=67780 Its one of the most beautiful electric guitars I’ve ever seen…no matter what body style

  3. The other difference between the Highway 1 and American teles is that the H1s have the 3 sadde bridge, whereas Americans have the 6 saddle bridge.

  4. Thanks for sharing the info Nathaniel.

    I still haven’t played a G&L Tony, although I’ve been wanting to for quite some time. Maybe this will give me an incentive.

    Nice guitar Jeff. 😉 The pickups are strat style, as is the selector switch. Unique combination!

  5. Thanks for giving props to the Telecaster. I am a long-time Tele player and I have found the Nashville Power Telecaster with 3 tex-mex pu’s and a fishman powerbridge to be a more than excellent electric guitar for a worship band musician. Today’s telecasters are not your Grandfathers twang machine, they come in so many variations you are guaranteed to find one that will suit your style.

    Rock on worshipguitarguy

  6. thanks for the comment. My bro plays electric and acoustic..he has a blog on here but doesnt update much. I’ll give you his sn..if you want it..just ask.

    -Brian

  7. If you are looking to buy a high quality fender instrument, go for a Mexican or American made one. Believe it or not, the two are pretty much the same quality wise, however as Gerry pointed out, the pickups in the american series are better. Most of the time translating to more winds in the bobbins, thus creating a richer sound. As far as the bodies go, they are all computer cut weather they’re made in Cancun, or Corona, California. The American Fenders, however, come with a much higher price tag of about double the price. Personally, I cannot tell any differnce between my Mexican made J-bass and an American series one. A Fender is a Fender in my book. Leo Fender was a Genius, and his company is still producing a quality product that he would still be proud of.

    That’s my story and i’m stickin’ to it.

    Keep an eye open for some bass guitar posts that I may be writing…. 😉

  8. Hey! Great stuff. I was drawn to the telle when I played a friends Pink Paisley. Gots to be a pretty stable man to play a pink guitar live! I had read that the Made in Japan (MIJ) models were some of the best Telles out there. Any ideas on that?

    Scot
    http://www.worshippl.us

  9. Hi, I used to be Tony’s worship drummer, but anyway. Menutia Trivia….I like that you mentioned Gretsch drums…..the Gretsch Broadkaster was a line of drums originally put out during WW2. They used a finish on the lugs to hide defects because they couldn’t do all that chroming stuff they used before and after the war. They attmempted to re-introduce the Broadkaster using artists like Harvey Mason signature kits; however, Gretsch is already at top dollar, why add to it with someone like Harvey who is still living off Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters fame. Anyway, the Broadkaster has gone the way of the dinosaur in the past couple of years……sorry for the menutia….couldn’t resist….
    Prince plays a Tele….Georgia Satellites rocked the Tele…..Tele’s rock!

  10. Hey West, trivia’s cool around here… thanks for stopping by!

  11. Hi, I’m very close to buying a 60th Anniversary Tele with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, but I noticed there was a huge amount of hum/buzz when I switched to the overdriven channel in the amp. I’ve heard the HR Deluxe overdrive channel isn’t so great anyway, but it was doing this with some of the pedals too.

    Is this the single coil? The guy in the store said “everyone uses noise gates, the most popular pedal we sell” but I’ve heard they can suck out the tone? I’ve also heard about getting different pickups, but I think that defeats the purpose of getting the 60th Anniversary (it comes with vintage pickups). I’m brand new to electric guitars and really don’t know what to think.

    Has anyone else had this problem?

  12. Hey Lindsay, the first question I have is how much gain are you running on the channel when you get that buzz? (And have you tried a different guitar in your HR or the tele through a different amp?) Of course Fenders do tend to give off a buzz when you have a decent amount of OD running through a gain channel. But I’m wondering if yours is excessive…

    My Tele and Strat give me noise if their just sitting there when I have OD engaged. The funny thing is I’ve heard some of the biggest names in guitar music have the same issue when they play live. I tried a noise gate and was totally unhappy with it because it did sap my tone, so what I do is run my volume pedal down If my OD’s on and I’m not playing. For me it’s the best solution without sacrificing tone.

    Unless it’s a problem with that particular 60th Anniversary Tele, I wouldn’t let the buzz issue stop you from getting it if you want it…

  13. Telecasters forever! I have a Highway 1 model, and it is amazing. Compared to an MIA model, it has a “light satin” finish, as opposed to polyurathane. Some say the significantly lighter weight of the satin finish increases the sustain of the guitar, and (to my agreeance) just looks sweet. And yes there are three double-saddles… I say the minimalism makes me look cooler. 🙂

  14. Does anybody here remember Joe Strummer?! R.I.P Joe!

  15. Todd mentioned the Nashville Power Tele, which I agree is a way-cool concept. I have something similar, a Peavey Generation EXP Custom ACM (long name, huh?). Looks basically like a Tele, but has a quilted maple top and body bindings front and back. I kind of like the fact that it’s not a Strat or Les Paul, though I love both. For me, it’s cool to have something that’s a little different from what everyone else uses. This guitar has humbuckings in both the bridge and neck positions, with a single-coil in between. The #2 position actually splits the bridge humbucker, while engaging the middle p/u for a nice quacky sound. It also has a very nice GraphTech Ghost piezo bridge system that really sounds nice. Good enough that I have quit bringing my acoustic to church most weeks. It uses a stereo cable, so you can run the magnetic p/u’s into a guitar amp and the piezo (ACM) system into a PA or other clean, flat system. I actually just run the mags into a DigiTech RP200a modeling pedal and the piezos into a Zoom 504 acoustic pedal. Then both go to the PA. The cool part is switching from an acoustic sound to an electric sound in the same song. I’m digging it.

  16. hello tele lovers///

    well i am a beginning guitarists i’m going for lessons very soon and i was considering buying a fender tele MIM for 350 off a buddy of mine,,,

    he says he got it off a buddy of his who owns a guitar shop..(the guitar shop owner owed him money for sumthing) he had nothing else so he gave him the guitar as payback..

    the guitar is supposidly brand new… i don’t know much about guitars so i can’t tell.. maybe sumone could help me out with that.. the guitar is right handed and my bud plays with left so he has never used it…

    i’m thinking this is the best investment i ever will make…

    what you think?

  17. Daniele, The standard retail price for MIM teles right now is $350 so you are not getting a deal– he’s asking full price. Talk him down or buy from a retailer.

    I bought my MIM tele new at full retail some years ago, when full retail was $100 less than it is now. Fender had just changed the Mexico line to string through the body. I cut strat-style body contours into it, repainted it, and put a humbucker in the neck with a hotter tele pickup in the bridge. Fun project and still my favorite guitar.

    For a beginner, a MIM tele could be a great starter guitar played stock. Later, as you start to develop your style and sound, you can mod it out however you like and still enjoy it. (Heck, you might just decide to keep it stock.)

    Cheers.

  18. Correction: I just found out the price on these babies has risen since I last looked at them. MIM teles are now selling for $400 retail. Sorry for the mis-information. (So- how about that inflation? Sure is something.)

    Cheers.

  19. Wow I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing. I’d like to share my experience with Teles. I’ve been playing Strats since I started playing in 1997. Specifically a 40th Anniversary American Strat. I kind of am embarrassed to say that I had the same feelings about Tele’s being more for country. For some reason I ignored the fact that I had indeed seen Jonny Greenwood and Jon Buckland playing them. Anyway, when I went to make my record I had only my Strat and I knew that I would need much more tonal variety. A friend loaned me his 1998 American Tele and I went to work. I found that all through the recording I kept reaching for this Tele first instead of my Strat. I found that it was changing my playing a little and giving me ideas for parts because of it’s bright tone in the bridge position. I even found that I played with less effects with the tele than I did with the Strat. At the end of the project I bought this Tele from my friend. I continued to reach for it in practices. Finally, I sold my Strat (that I thought I’d never sell) and am now the proud owner of two Teles: an American 3 Tone Burst and an American Inca Silver Custom Shop Fat Tele. I love the tone and versatily of these guitars so much. The Fat Tele is especially versatile with it’s 5 way pickup selector. Thanks again for this post!

  20. I have the G&L Tribute with the Soapbar pickup. Acts as the humbuckers. I enjoy the sound and personally like the look of the telecaster over any other guitar, minus the might Rick.

  21. Dont forget to look at the Lite Ash Tele -ok made in Korea (if thats a problem?) its fitted with Seymour Duncan pick ups and sounds ace, complete with black guard and 3 brass saddles very well finished, around the price of a mexican- what are you waiting for— hold on forget that- I still want to be the only one in town to have one.

  22. Hi 🙂 Great story, only the bridge pickup on a tele isn’t a lipstick, it is a single coil with a chrome cover. Go and try a lipstick and notice the difference… Telecasters rock!!!!

  23. Just found your site – nice place. Thanks for your work on it!

    I have a ’52 re-issue blond tele. I found a used original ’52 that was beat up a bit, but I fell in love with it. Problem was, it was NOISY. One of the other guys messing around in the store like me pointed out the re-issue. It was MUCH quieter, AND about 2k less IIRC. I love it.

    I do have a strat (American Deluxe HSS) that i bought not long before it, but it doesn’t have near the character that the tele has (basically that’s a polite way of saying a tele is so ugly that it’s grown on me. lol)

  24. telecasters rock!!!!!!!!!!!! the world man

  25. love them

  26. I just played a brand new (L-handed)Mexican Tele a few days ago and it was very sweet and difficult to put down.I think that Tele’s are less forgiving than some other guitars(LesPaul’s come to mind-NOT the old LesPaul Jr’s or Melodymakers, though) but they might actually change your playing for the better They are just the cleanest, most “steel” or “meatallic” sounding plus being the cleanest looking.
    A few players of ’em I didn’t see mentioned:Roy Buchanan, Jeff Beck,Robbie Robertson, Jesse Edwin Davis, Pop(Roebuck) Staples, Cesar Rosas, and maybe the most underrated/appreciated-Steve Cropper (and one of his main inspirations-Loman Pauling of the Five Royales). I would like to check out both the Korean one(s) and maybe one of the Made in America-although several of y’all above say that the MIM and MIA are basically the same. Being a lefty is often a drawback, since there are of course fewer of them(guitars), but then again, only a lefty (now that Jimi’s gone) would buy one, so..
    I would appreciate any info I could use, as I have decided to get a Tele, and may even let my nice little L-hand Peavey go.
    Thanks

  27. Oops!! How could i forget Muddy; and the Icepicker, Albert Collins !!

  28. I saw a couple responses regaurding the noise (buzzing) sound that happens when od or distortion pedals are used. I have that problem and it’s killing me and it’s killing the overall sound of my band when we are plaing live. I thought maybe it was my amp(fender twin reverb) but I tried my other amp(fender reverb) and it does the same thing. If I play it clean it’s ok but as soon as i need that extra crunch and press my od pedal it sounds awfull. I thought it could be the pedal but after trying other pedals I found out it was not. My question is, is there anyone out there with some valuable advice that I’m missing? Is this a common problem and if so how do I go about fixing it? Or is this what I have to deal with? It sucks because I simply worship that tele and the amazing tone I can get from it. I really don’t want to have to look into a different model guitar. I can’t stand any other guitar!!!!!!! ANY ADVICE WOULD EASE MY PAIN!!!!!!! Thanks

    • Single-coil pickups are just NOISY, especially when you use an OD pedal. Live, they pick up hum and buzz from the faders on the lights (actually, they’ll do that at home if you’ve got dimmers on your lights or flouros). They pick up ANYTHING – even taxi radios in the area if they’re close enough.

      That’s why humbuckers were invented! They cancel out all that stuff. But humbuckers don’t have the treble and bite that single coils do. There are 2 solutions. Get a good quality noise gate (I got a Boss pedal) – but that only stops the noise when you’re not playing, and they can cut off echos or reverb, and sustained notes. Or replace the pickups with active ones, like EMGs. I did that with my Strat, and it was PERFECT. No noise whatsoever. Now that I’m not playing live any more (which I did for about 35 years) I’ve put the original pickups back, because I’d forgotten what they sounded like, and the EMGs were pretty much the same sound. Except for the noise, which has now returned.

  29. There is another camp with a high incidence of Teles – we jazzers. I have always played acoustic fingerstyle jazz, with an eye toward ‘electrifying’ at some point. I have an archtop, not exactly what I’m looking for. I have a bunch of acoustics, love playing them, but when I heard Ted Greene playing his Tele with that nice, bell – like tone, I knew I was home. Please visit http://www.TedGreene.com to hear the jazz Tele in the hands of a master. Don’t get me wrong, the guy could play any kind of music, but what a sweet tone he got on his Tele! Oh, one more thing – I am a worship guy, too. Blessings,

    Mark

  30. The difference between a highway one tele and a MIM tele:

    MIM: a Mexican tele made by Mexicans in Mexico

    Highway one: A Mexican tele made by Mexicans in California

    Ask your local fender dealer if this isn’t true. Actually, don’t ask the owner–ask the embittered employee who has been working retail guitar sales for 15 years. He/she will tell you this: a couple of years ago, FMIC came up with the highway one to add some snob appeal to the Mexican tele. I don’t really have a problem with this since the people who work in the fender factory in California are making more money than the people working in the factory in Mexico. I do get a laugh out of the players who act like their highway one is way better than the next guy’s Mexican tele. It just goes to show how much weight people give to a name compared to judging the actual quality of an instrument. Personally, I’d play a Hello Kitty Squire if it’s got good tone. . .

  31. Nobody’s mentioned rage against the machine. Huge sound, great tone, I was surprised to learn their guitar player uses tele’s.

  32. Also, that’s about as far away from country as you can get.

  33. Hi Worship guitar guy. Would you recommend an american standard tele for my style of music? I am in a band. You can listen to what I play at :

    http://www.myspace.com/brokenfor

    Thanks

  34. For all those with noise problems with a single-coil guitar, check out GuitarNuts.com. Most of that noise is caused by your pickups catching electrical noise from TVs, computer screens, and even the wiring from your house. On that site, there are tutorials for electrically shielding your single-coil guitar so that the noise has less effect on your tone.

  35. Keith Richards The Human Riff , nothing more needs to be said !

  36. I have been playing guitar since 1962 and in worship bands since the early ’70’s. It is amazing how far electric guitars in worship has come and how many great young Christian guitar players are out there.
    I use a G&L ASAT Classic with a Fishman Powerbridge, G&L S-500, Hamer Duotone, Cordoba classical and an Ibanez acoustic.
    For amps I use a Fender Prosonic, a ’69 Twin Reverb, Rivera Sedona, Trace Elliot Velocette and a Fender Champ II. In church it is always through a DI to the mixer.

    All for Jesus.
    Play skillfully to the Lord!

  37. I’m a little confused. I was on Musician’sFriend.com trying to decide which Telecaster to purchase. I was reading some reviews concerning the American-made Telecasters. One reviewer noted that the “American Standard Telecaster” was superior to the “American Series”–‘but these tele’s are much better than the american series’
    Ok, what is the difference (if any) between an American Series Telecaster and an American Standard Telecaster?

  38. Hmm, Xaviar hopefully someone else will chime in if I’m wrong here, but my understanding is this… The American Series line refers to any Telecaster made in the United States. It can mean the Tele Standard, Deluxe, Custom Shop Teles, or any Fender model that’s produced in the USA. The American Standard Tele is the base model for the American series, usually it’s the one with the lowest price. (I think they’re running in the neighborhood of 1K retail right now.) Now Fender does have the Highway One line, which I believe are technically American instruments, although the finish and hardware isn’t quite equivalent with the American Standard instrument.

    So my guess is that the reviewer was a little confused with correct terminology.

  39. thanks for your post on the telecaster. I play acoustic right now but I’m wanting to get into the electric sound. I’ve never been drawn to the telecaster strictly because of its boxy appearance, but I remember playing one and liking it better than a strat I tried at the same time. It’s key to get the guitar that feels (and sounds) right. Thanks for all the info you jammed in this post. I may take another look at the telecaster.

  40. You just cant beat the quality of a decent old strat, they just play like a glove.

  41. I’ve got the answer to your HUM/NOISE problems!!!! Get noiseless fender pickups… especially check out the cobalt samariums… they run about 135 bucks and they sound amazing, and no hum. I’m putting them in my new american standard after playing them on a deluxe

  42. Big Ups for the Teles! here’s a story on how i ended up with a beautiful custom tele for my first guitar..

    I went to the shops planning to get a SE PRS, I like the look and the nice phat sounds..BUT..

    In the corner of my eye i spotted this lovely sunburst, tortoise shell pickguard, maple neck, tele.. I couldn’t help but pick it up.. Plugged it in.. and wow!

    The 2 piece alder body, vintage bridge, ken armstrong pickups gave this guitar such a thick sound.. sweet.. rich.. both at the neck and the bridge.. the C-shaped neck gave it such a beautiful feel as well.

    I’m a worship guy too.. and I strongly believe that when God wants you to do something.. he’s going to give you the best tools to do it. (i got a custom ibanez soundgear bass for next to nothing when my first bass got stolen as well)

    And so.. hopes this inspires someone in their decision towards picking up a tele.. or finding that greater purpose in life.

    -iGgy

  43. Great to hear people putting their guitars and talent to the best possible use, worshipping the Creator!
    After 32 years of playing guitar (some years in Church) I have just purchased my first electric with the intention of playing in Church again, a Fender American Vintage 52 along with a Fender Superchamp XD amp. God bless you George/iGgy.

  44. For anyone looking for a good Tele. I bought my (MIM) Mexican made Tele in the late 90’s for 250.00 new. I play it through a Fender Princeton Chorus and I think it sounds great for the price.
    If you can get a used one for around that or less I’d get it. On the other hand….The best bang for the buck out there is to buy a used Squire Strat or Tele for 75.00-150.00. For about 200-250 more you can upgrade the tuners to good locking ones, put the great fender noiseless pickup set in and you’ve got a guitar that sounds as good if not better than a Fender of twice the price. The neck should be sweetened up a little from previous play. I’ve done a strat and it sounds awsome.
    It’s easier to customize yourself than you think Folks…..I had a friend that found a used Squire Tele for 60.00, WOW, upgraded the tuners for 40.00 and upgraded the pickups and pods for 100.00. It sounds awesome, all for about 200.00………Rock On…

  45. Finally someone who agrees with me that the telecaster is an amazing guitar. I actually choose the tele over my PRS and my Sg because it was so much more versatile.

  46. Let me tell you a story: A few days ago i visited the guitar store of Matthias Jabs in Munich, Lead Guitar player of the German band Scorpions.
    What a surprise, he was there personally that day. A real nice guy as i found out. Anyway, on the wall i saw a beautiful tele hanging, a 60th Anniversary, natural colour, i guess its body is made out of ash. It sounded great, and now i’m in a big conflict: Half a year ago i bought a Vintage Hot Rod Tele, ash-made with a Seymour Duncan Mini-Humbucker in neck position and an obviously hotter vintage pu in the bridge. The neck profile of both guitars seems nearly identical, thicker than standards what i personally prefer. Eventually i trade the Hot Rod against the Anniversary, we’ll see. I agree with everybody here, Teles are a must have, they’re pretty unique.

  47. Thanks for you rpost about the Tele. I am a worship leader/guitarist and hae been looking for the ideal guitar. Currently I am checking out a Michael Kelly Hybrid but have had some problems with the electrics (won’t bother you with the details). My tech guy has suggested, if the Hybrid doesn’t get sorted, a tele with a piezo bridge. Wondered what you thought about that. Previously I would never have considered a Tele as I always had it down as a Twang machine. What could you say that could convince me otherwise. Thanks again.

  48. I’m having a buzz problem with my Tele. However, I’m wondering if mine is a grounding problem. Whenever in OD, the buzz is prevalent. Then, whenever I touch any metal part of the guitar, it cuts it down quite a bit or almost fully. I’m using a Fender Ultimate Chorus DSP amp. I have a Ep. Les Paul, and it doesn’t buzz near as bad and my buddy’s Les Paul doesn’t buzz on it really at all. Any advice?

  49. Nice site….thanks
    Just picked up a 2006 Custom Shop Limited Relic Telecaster, made in 05, its a light relic,not heavy…three color sunburst,double binding,twisted p/u in the neck 63 tele p/u in the bridge, ash body maple neck, indian rosewood f/b only 100 team built ,orig tooling…no case….no pickguard….OMG I have died and gone to Heaven Gentlemen….almost seems like the precursor to the Andy Summers Sig that came out the next year….Strange…can’t find too much info on this Guitar…FENDER was very helpful, but all in all, no real “name” and not a lot out there about this axe….guess collectors just snapped them up! What do you guys think??
    Cheers!

  50. I am a worship Pastor and I can very seldom be seen without my Telecaster they are great for all sorts of stuff…but now gentlemen there is nothing wrong with a bit of twang every now and again 😉 I also sport a 50’s reissue Esquire and it is pretty rad as well…. keep on picking gentlemen

  51. Hey folks! I couldn’t help but notice that Jimmy Page was left off the list of Tele players. Despite his association with the Les Paul, he actually recorded the first 2 Led Zeppelin albums on a Telecaster given to him by Jeff Beck!

    To eliminate most of the “buzz” from your single coil pickups you need to shield the control & pickup cavities. Go to stewmac.com, purchase some copper shielding tape & shield ALL the cavities of your gitar. Be sure to shield the pickguard as well. Make sure you leave a couple tabs of shielding hang over the top of the cavities so they make contact with the shielded, underside of the pickguard. It helps to use a bit of solder on the joints of the shielding tape (just one little dab will do), to make sure they all make good connection. It also helps to move the groung wire from the back of the tone & volume pots to the inside of the shielded cavity. This will help to avoid any unwanted ground loops or noise being introduced directly into your signal path through the pots.

    I’ve done this to MANY Strats & Tele’s in my 40 year, semi pro career, including my G&L S-500, which is currently my main axe. I run it through a TS9, a Cusack Tap-a-Whirl tremolo pedal, a VOX wah pedal & into my amp.My amp is a Dumble HRM clone that I built myself. It is dead silent

  52. Great site, the three saddle tele’s can be greatly improved by switching the saddles to compensated ones from Stew mac…fixes much of the intonation issues…as to amp noise and getting ride of it, I have never been able to lose it whether playing a Gibson SG, American Tele, multiple Strat’s and other gats…1971 Univox head…1973 Fender bassman, Marshall solid states… all just make noise once overdrive hits the amp…pickup changes have had little effect. Not a problem for me as it is heard in every great classic rock album ever made and at times the compressed sound of all the digital equipment out there can take away from the sound in general. Very cool blog…thanks!

  53. I had been wanting to add a Tele’ to my collection for a long time – a nice one. I was eying the American Deluxe. The Guitar Center had a ’52 hanging next to the Deluxe, so I decided to do a side by side. I went back and forth, playing through a Fender ’65 Reissue Deluxe Reverb amp for over an hour. I can only differentiate by the raw feel, and for reference I found the Tele’ Deluxe to be a beautiful instrument. You know how sometimes when you sit down to play and you’ve got to think about what your playing – this riff, that song – guiding your playing, and then other times you sit down and hit a chord or a couple notes of a riff and suddenly you just start following a trail of music from the inside; creating on the spot; it just comes out of you? That was the difference. It was weird. Every time I picked up the Deluxe, I thought my way through what I was playing. Every time I picked up the ’52, music just flowed; my own unique, unplanned output, and I loved it. I lost all thought. There was a visceral resonance with the ’52, more so than with any other guitar I’ve ever played. Not only was the experience transcendent, it even smells good – old lacquer, found hiding at the back of some forgotten storeroom. I love this guitar; I think it’s got a living soul of it’s own

  54. Don’t turn away from the Squiers – those of recent manufacture are a lot better than you’d think. Some people (including myself) do not see a discernible difference between them and the MIM telecasters in terms of quality or sound. As for the cheesy “Squier” logo on the headstock, there’s always sandpaper….


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