Telecaster. Telecaster? Telecaster!

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I don't know how it took me so long to figure this out, but the Telecaster turns out to be the exact guitar that makes my playing style sound best. I just hadn't picked one up in years, out of some misguided idea that I didn't like them! Maybe it's because I'm a sloppy player, or maybe it's because I taught myself how to play electric guitar without having an amp, but that pure, clear, distinct tone in the neck and middle positions ... I sound significantly better at playing guitar with one of these, and I'm not sure I'll ever want to palm-mute a power chord on anything but a Tele bridge pickup ever again. I don't know how I managed to ignore how many of my teenage guitar favorites were playing these (David Gavurin, Graham Coxon, Peter Buck on Murmur, Johnny Marr on occasion); I guess I got distracted by pretty Rickenbackers and semi-hollows and the whole indie/Jaguar/Jazzmaster thing. But I've never had as much of a That's Exactly the Tone I Wanted experience as I have with Telecasters this week!

So now, sitting next to me, I have a black-and-white made-in-Mexico Standard Telecaster I got this morning, which I am looking forward to getting home and playing. In this thread, you can contribute to my enthusiasm by talking about Teles, or musicians I might like who played Teles, or anything along those lines. (Also if there is anything horrible about recent Mexican Teles I can know, please post here about it during the next 30 days.)

nabisco, Monday, 15 June 2009 18:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

Actually, now that I'm looking into it, it's kinda funny: the two main guitar players I loved as a kid (Johnny Marr and Peter Buck) were both associated with their Rickenbackers, so I've wanted one of those since I was 14 or so ... but it turns out both bands' debuts were mostly recorded with Telecasters.

nabisco, Monday, 15 June 2009 20:58 (eight years ago) Permalink

did you get a pre-price increase or post-price increase tele?

ecstatic i poisoned u with nachos t(:Dt) (jjjusten), Monday, 15 June 2009 21:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

x-post: there is nothing whatsoever horrible about Mex Teles. I have a 2003 one and it's a tank - totally dependable and very, very playable. Bridge pickup clean with lots of reverb is vintage heaven and with any amount of overdrive has a lovely crunch. It's sort of become a backup guitar for me to my jag and jazzy and it deserves better really.

Dr.C, Monday, 15 June 2009 21:59 (eight years ago) Permalink

I guess post -- everywhere I looked they were right around $499.

(I also emailed you to see if you could ship one, actually! Seemed like if I was getting something that was available everywhere, might as well get it from someone I like. But then I got greedy/impatient.)

nabisco, Monday, 15 June 2009 22:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

Sorry, that should say ALMOST emailed you -- don't worry, you didn't miss anything.

nabisco, Monday, 15 June 2009 22:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

love the tele, find 'em really easy to play

four and twenty blackbirds too weak to work (G00blar), Monday, 15 June 2009 22:05 (eight years ago) Permalink

btw, the most insulted I've ever felt in a guitar store was while trying two of these in a local shop, and the one in the color I was leaning toward clearly had subpar wiring and was humming like nuts ... "I'm kinda worried about that hum," I said, and the guy shrugged and said that's just how single-coils worked, and I should try a humbucker

nabisco, Monday, 15 June 2009 22:15 (eight years ago) Permalink

heh well its too late now, but i do have a near mint used one in stock w/ a duncan humbucker in the bridge and a duncan coil stack in the neck (i have the original pickups too) in blk that i could have gotten to you for $350 + shipping, so if you change your mind about this one, let me know.

probably a decent time for me to mention that i dont advertise the fact that i sell stuff on here at all but i am more than glad to ship stuff to whoever and give the bro price if i can. i just feel weird and spammy about mentioning it because i dont want to be THAT DUDE.

ecstatic i poisoned u with nachos t(:Dt) (jjjusten), Monday, 15 June 2009 22:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh, wow -- I'll email you about that in a second! I don't think I'll feel bad at all about returning this one.

nabisco, Monday, 15 June 2009 22:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

cool - i'll get back to you as soon as i can (heading out from work here soon and won't be back until weds.)

ecstatic i poisoned u with nachos t(:Dt) (jjjusten), Monday, 15 June 2009 22:56 (eight years ago) Permalink

<a href=""; title="ExDetectives by Chris Barrus, on Flickr"><img src=""; width="375" height="500" alt="ExDetectives" /></a>

I've owned this mid-70s Telecaster for twenty-five years (it's the first guitar I ever bought) and it's completely indispensable. Sounds great with every amp I have and inevitably I end up using it as my main recording guitar. Even if it's not your main guitar, everyone should own one.

Carroll Shelby Downard (Elvis Telecom), Monday, 15 June 2009 23:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

this thread reminds me i really need to get my tele shielded asap. love these guitars, hate the noise

comedy cafe at the toxteth hotel (electricsound), Monday, 15 June 2009 23:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

(doh! forgot to convert to BBCode)

Fave Telecaster players: Syd Barrett, Jason Pierce, Jonny Greenwood, Yardbirds-era Jimmy Page, Steve Cropper

Carroll Shelby Downard (Elvis Telecom), Monday, 15 June 2009 23:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

^^I always forget how much lead playing Waylon actually covered

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 16 June 2009 03:26 (eight years ago) Permalink
Alan Sparhawk of Low tbh

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 16 June 2009 07:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

xxxpost Yeah Wilko Johnson is easily my favourite Tele player, and possibly my favourite guitarist full-stop. I was hacking through some of Down By The Jetty (She Does It Right, Roxette, I Don't Mind, Keep It Out Of Sight etc etc) the other day on my Jag and then switched to my Tele and you just HAVE to play his stuff on a Tele to get the right tone and feel.

I did think of one slightly crap feature of the Mex Tele - the jack socket WILL break and pull out of it's hole. I believe this is also the case with USA Teles too. To fix this you need an electrosocket with two screws to hold it in.

Dr.C, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 08:52 (eight years ago) Permalink

Friend's band came through town on tour and almost all of their equipment was busted somehow. My friend and I stayed up most of the night fixin their stuff for em, and that's exactly what was wrong with the tele.

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 16 June 2009 10:24 (eight years ago) Permalink

My nephew was selling his tele (American Deluxe) for $750 and I snagged it quick. Really great sound, no hum. It even sounds great unplugged.

loose lobsters (brownie), Tuesday, 16 June 2009 15:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

Also, a friend of mine has a Mexican tele. I like it alot but treat it with kid gloves.

loose lobsters (brownie), Tuesday, 16 June 2009 15:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

Ha, I can see now why Fender started contouring the tops of their guitars -- I'm developing a bruise on my right forearm from knocking against the edge. (I guess that's as good a way as any to remind yourself to hold your arm properly.)

I can see why so many people use Teles for recording and something else live; the sound's so clear and distinct, you can EQ it any way you like, and almost any amount of effects still sounds non-confused...

nabisco, Monday, 22 June 2009 18:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

i'm not even sure what the "right" arm angle is but i def don't use it because the tele forearm bruise is something i've known and loved (tho when i started playing a strat too i had to admit it is about 10000x more comfortable).

unlucky son (call all destroyer), Monday, 22 June 2009 18:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

see im a fan of the rib bruise from the slab back myself

BLEAT THE MEATLES. PARADE. (jjjusten), Monday, 22 June 2009 19:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yeah, now I can see why so many rock people with Teles either strap them way down low or way up high. (I'm a big fan of the dork/50s/country high-up version myself -- makes it a lot easier to play.)

nabisco, Monday, 22 June 2009 19:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

I dunno where to post this exactly but since I think the problem may or may not be tele-related I'll stick it here. I had the same thing with a different tele...It was a regular thing with the other one and only now happened with my current guitar after I switched strings gage cuz of the tuning I've been using.

The problem basically is this: I get the guitar in tune and intonate it. Strum it open, sounds fine. Single notes, fine. But as soon as I play open or barred chords it sounds way out of tune. Inverted 5ths in any lead stuff, same.

I did a crap job on the nut and never properly fixed it, could that be it? Do D'Addario strings just blow? Anybody else?

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Monday, 13 July 2009 09:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

jj what was that general-purpose nuts and bolts guitar care thread you posted? Should this post be moved there?

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Monday, 13 July 2009 09:57 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh and I'm usin .52-.10 strings cuz I'm in open G--a weird thing with string disparity maybe?

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Monday, 13 July 2009 10:01 (eight years ago) Permalink

^is this the one you meant?

phillippa minge (electricsound), Monday, 13 July 2009 10:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

It's the nut. Another brand of strings might help, but it sounds like the nut. I have had a similar problem on my Jag when I went up to 11'ws from 10's.

Dr.C, Monday, 13 July 2009 10:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

well it might not be the nut actually, unless it's really high. if you are barre chording, you are basically eliminating the nut for the most part (unless the string slots are so bad that you are getting different points of contact but that seems like it would be unlikely.)

do you have a capo? if so try this - capo at the first fret and tune the guitar to yer standard tuning while capoed. Now, play a couple of barre chords and see if they are still out of tune. If they are, the nut is def not the problem.

Another possibility - if your action is really high, a lot of times full chords will actually bend the notes out of tune because of the increased angle of the string, kind of like a sideways bend, but vertical.

let me know what happens w/the capo thing and we'll go from there.

It's got a whole identity in the dick (jjjusten), Monday, 13 July 2009 15:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

lol guitarspeak always is funny to me, like Esperanto

suddenly, everything was dark and smelly (HI DERE), Monday, 13 July 2009 15:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

I can't find my capo at the moment, but I think the problem is specifically the G string. (Well, the unwound G string in my case.) Which is where I fucked the nut up the worst. Other strings seem ok afaict. I did adjust the action a bit on the first (last?) four strings, but of those four the unwound G was hardly touched.

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 14 July 2009 01:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

Found the capo, double stops and shit are still way off.

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 14 July 2009 03:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

Problem dissipates the farther up the neck I go.

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 14 July 2009 03:14 (eight years ago) Permalink

how old are the strings?

It's got a whole identity in the dick (jjjusten), Tuesday, 14 July 2009 03:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

A few days.

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 14 July 2009 04:11 (eight years ago) Permalink

ah never mind then

It's got a whole identity in the dick (jjjusten), Tuesday, 14 July 2009 04:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

Well shit.

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Tuesday, 14 July 2009 10:18 (eight years ago) Permalink

oh wait ok another possibility - does the new string set have a wound g string by chance?

PLURrrrrrggghhhh (jjjusten), Wednesday, 15 July 2009 01:54 (eight years ago) Permalink

Nope, unwound. I checked and the g, b, and e are all the same gage, it's just the bottom three that are heavier.

I fixed the nut--or did as good a job as I am willing/able to do with the file on a fingernail clipper--so the g string was just a hair lower and no longer binding, and that seemed to fix it! I don't know why, seeing as the bum string was the same gage and also unwound, that it would do that now and not before I switched, or why taking the nut out of the equation with a capo produced the same problem (I've previously suspected that using a capo doesn't completely do so though I can't totally support that), but um, there ya go. Guitars are a weirdthing.

what u arrestin me for, innit (╓abies), Wednesday, 15 July 2009 03:53 (eight years ago) Permalink

Told you!

Dr.C, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 09:11 (eight years ago) Permalink

controversial opinion: G&L asats - better than most teles.

wax onleck, wax affleck (jjjusten), Monday, 20 July 2009 23:50 (eight years ago) Permalink

Was just lookin at those.

drunk shudder shades chick gets kicked out of mcdonalds totally (╓abies), Tuesday, 21 July 2009 13:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

a friend of mine has a G&L from the early/mid eighties, I love it

hobbes (brownie), Tuesday, 21 July 2009 17:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

so there's a guy in my neighborhood who makes custom aged-wood Telecasters; I checked out his store while looking for one, and he had me try a bunch of G&Ls (since most of the Fender ones he had in stock were old and $$$), but ... I felt like they sounded somehow "thicker," in a way that wasn't what I was looking for, maybe? I dunno. Seemed much better built and like they'd stay together better than a MiM, obviously, but missing something I was looking for in the sound (and I guess I didn't want to get into a bunch of pickup-swapping around that)

nabisco, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 19:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

huh that is odd, because to my ear most of them actually sound less bassy. did they look like std tele pickups, or were they the larger rectangular ones?

wax onleck, wax affleck (jjjusten), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 19:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

they weren't the standard tele ones, no; don't remember exactly but those "larger rectangular ones" sounds right. (I probably could have swapped them out and still paid less, but I don't know a ton about pickups, so ... easier to just go with what already sounds good to you.)

nabisco, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:35 (eight years ago) Permalink

NB this is the first guitar I've ever owned where I have seriously been torn between my love of both pickups' sounds

nabisco, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

King Sunny Ade: Telecaster guy! I didn't know that.

nabisco, Friday, 31 July 2009 22:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

In sympathizing with Dan re: guitar tech humbo jumbo, my gf just casually dropped this in an e-mail to me complaining abt being bored at work:

I also just got done vortexing endotoxin solutions for pyrogen testing and my hands are completely numb and red.




°⌉ 3⊥∀N (╓abies), Friday, 7 August 2009 14:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

That makes a little more sense now that I'm a great deal more sober. But back to business:

°⌉ 3⊥∀N (╓abies), Saturday, 8 August 2009 14:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

Good god do I love this thing. One of the new-ish Prototype reissues with the humbucker in the neck and the natural woodgrain. Like where you want to stare at pictures of it at work and curl up with it on the couch.

SongOfSam, Thursday, 11 April 2013 20:04 (four years ago) Permalink

another sleeper not tele tele is the Reverend Pete Anderson Eastsider stuff. chambered korina body, compound radius, etc.

O_o-O_O-o_O (jjjusten), Thursday, 11 April 2013 20:57 (four years ago) Permalink

I got a couple of Telecasters. One of them a buddy built from me that's got 2 humbuckers and the other one looks like this one.

I think this is a pretty cool color. I got it used.

earlnash, Friday, 12 April 2013 03:33 (four years ago) Permalink

I have a G&L ASAT Semihollow (Indonesian Tribute model). It's my favorite guitar I've ever owned, including another tele back in the 1990s.

That one, oh motherfucker. That one was a MIM James Burton signature model. I liked it a lot, but it was one of my backup guitars (lolling/crying at the good ol' days when I had more than one guitar). I had this friend who wanted to buy it and we were hanging out all the time and both poor teenagers, so I was just like yeah, it's yours then, just give me like $20 from your next ___ paychecks and that'll work. It's like dude picked that precise moment to turn into an absolute degenerate. It's not like I couldn't find him, but he had got kicked out of his parents' house where the guitar was and started couch-surfing and got hooked on Everquest at the same time. I eventually got tired of bugging him for it and never saw the guitar again. Now nobody knows where dude is. It's like he evaporated around the year 2000.

My only complaint with my ASAT is that the semihollow body is so light it tends toward neck-dive, but I've adjusted to it. Only bought the semihollow because, of all the ASAT Tributes that were on ebay on the day I had $500 burning a hole in my pocket, it was the least expensive for some reason. It wasn't really an aesthetic or tonal choice for me. Probably an unsound method of guitar buying, but whatever.

how's life, Friday, 12 April 2013 09:21 (four years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 26 July 2013 06:59 (four years ago) Permalink

this is the hotness, already on order. they do a double hum version 2 but w/e

O_o-O_O-o_O (jjjusten), Wednesday, 7 August 2013 21:53 (four years ago) Permalink

posting here due to lack of roy buchanan thread and too lazy to start one

...the man of the future, the Machine-Man~?! (arby's), Tuesday, 20 August 2013 20:36 (four years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 8 June 2014 21:25 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

bridge pieces. bridge pieces? bridge pieces!

i need new ones. i figure i ought to get fender ones, but does anyone have any recs?

a 6-saddle, btw.

goole, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 15:05 (three years ago) Permalink


goole, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:08 (three years ago) Permalink

I have a Fender 6-string saddle on my '75 Telecaster. Based on the filled in holes on the body, I think a previous owner had put a Bigsby on it and then later swapped that one out with a a "hammerhead" style Fender one from the 60s.

The hammerhead style bridge looks like this:

There's a ridiculous amount of chatter on the Telecaster discussion board (avoid if you're allergic to the word "mojo"), but some very good technical info buried in there. The Fender hammerhead style 6-string bridges aren't rated very well and if you're playing hard or twanging out and getting under the strings the saddles will rotate and fall over. Furthermore, string gauge can attenuate the problem and on and on into the black hole of trying to make everything perfect. I've had this happen on rare occasion - more so when I was a punker and playing as hard as I possibly could.

Despite having a six-saddle bridge, my Tele has a minor but pesky intonation problem. It's hard for me to spot it, but studio engineers zero right in on it. It's annoying - the guitar sounds fantastic and it's been my main recording guitar for eons (it's my first guitar - I've owned it for 31 years). I've been promising myself to get it overhauled once I finally get some positive cash flow but all I can do right now is compile notes and hope that whatever I eventually end up doing doesn't take away from That Sound.

#1 is dealing with the bridge. A lot of studio guys like the Gotoh bridge. I think they look gross. Callaham makes a 3 barrel replacement that a lot of folks recommend. FWIW, I have a Callaham bridge on my Strat and it's far better than anything Fender has made. More intriguing are the bridges made by Glendale Guitar - Glendale only makes Telecaster parts and lots of country studio guys use them. More to the point, one Billy F. Gibbons uses Glendale bridges.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 18 July 2014 02:19 (three years ago) Permalink

awes man, thank u! i'll check that stuff out.

it's a 90s mexican tele that i've never been in love w/, and it needs other work as well, so i prooobably won't spring for something too elaborate. idk anything about gotoh as a company but i don't mind those block-style bridge pieces at all!

goole, Friday, 18 July 2014 02:34 (three years ago) Permalink

i don't get how the opposite beveling on those callaham pieces get you the right intonation either. but that website copy sounds way serious...

goole, Friday, 18 July 2014 02:36 (three years ago) Permalink

I lose focus whenever the info gets into metallurgy ramifications, but I'm glad someone is doing it.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 18 July 2014 03:11 (three years ago) Permalink

I do think a bit of the twang comes from the barrel bridges.

Tuning is a bit voodoo and kind of knowing how you play, your instrument and type of strings you use. Like if you got a hard attack, tune it a few cents flat that way when you whack the thing it's a bit more in tune instead of going far sharp. Things like that you pickup over time. If you play a lot of cowboy chords with open strings, you got to keep it tighter to the open strings being dead on. If you got a heavy hand and play a shorter scale Gibson, go up to heavier 11s if playing standard tuning, it's more forgiving and stable. You play a Jazzmaster, play heavy strings and put some tension on that bad boy. Little things like that...

Guitars are a relative intonation instrument, I think for recording sometimes you kind of got to tune to where you are playing on the neck. I picked up this a few years ago when Richard Lloyd was doing articles in Guitar Player. This is a cool tuning technique especially say if you are recording something where you are playing chords in the middle strings more towards the middle of the neck. It's setting the 'in tune' more based on the middle of the fret board instead of the open strings and harmonics. It works pretty well and is a pretty good compromise. Sounds great if you are doing a bunch of 70s style dyad riffing in the middle of the neck, it makes those really pop or playing chords with extensions past the 5th fret.

Looking for a new perspective on learning the guitar? Richard Lloyd (of the 70′s punk band Television) has a great set of lessons and essays on his site, including a fascinating explanation of why the guitar is such a pain to tune. He suggests a tuning technique that I’ve started using with great success. If you’ve got a good ear for tuning, try this:
First tune the bottom E. string to a tuning fork or tuning machine. Next, fret the E. string at the tenth fret. This will give you a D. Tune the D. string to this note by ear. Next, fret the D. string at the fifth fret. Tune the G. string to the D. string at the fifth fret. Now fret the G. string at the second fret. This gives you an A. Tune the A. string from this note. Now fret the A. string at the second fret. Tune the B. string from this note. It will be an octave up. Next, fret the D. string at the second fret. This gives you E. Tune your high E from this. Again this will be an octave.
Voila! Strum the guitar. It should sound considerably more pleasing.
The site also features some guitar lessons designed to build motor skill (i.e. finger exercises) and, occasionally, make you feel like a spineless lemming (i.e. lots of ranting and raving about the evils of imitating other musicians). So what if I want to be able to play “Little Wing” note for note? Still, it’s a sweet site.

earlnash, Friday, 18 July 2014 03:28 (three years ago) Permalink

hmm. I will try that tuning technique. My ears have been complaining about the usual 5th, 5th, 5th, 4th, 5th fret arrangement. I've been tuning to open chords instead.

chikungunya manatee (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 18 July 2014 06:35 (three years ago) Permalink

Thought Richard ended up taking down the lessons from his own site. Wonder if they ever reappeared.

I Need Andmoreagain (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 18 July 2014 10:57 (three years ago) Permalink

Interesting tuning idea. Have to try it out... (and yeah - I've been keeping it in DADAAD lately)

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 18 July 2014 11:04 (three years ago) Permalink

David Crosby's Guinnevere tuning is nice : EBDGAE

calstars, Friday, 18 July 2014 13:12 (three years ago) Permalink

My two favorite Tele players not mentioned itt: D. Boon, Robyn Hitchcock

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Friday, 18 July 2014 14:40 (three years ago) Permalink

Totally gonna try that Lloyd tuning method since I spend shit tons of time around the middle of the neck

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Friday, 18 July 2014 14:40 (three years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure if Lloyd has the lessons still online. I came across it a few years ago in the magazine and found that online writing it out. I've been using at times for a while both on a guitar and bass.

Using the fifth fret 'power chord' harmonics I think are good to check your tuning on the fly too. It's faster to know if you really got something off than hitting on the tuner and going string by string on stage.

I got a buddy of mine from college that was a big jazz improv explorer and got me doing some weird ear training exercises. I don't do the singing ones that he got me doing, but from that I try to tune a guitar or bass to ear no reference when I first string them up, then pull out a tuner to check and tune it down. Nothing happens immediate like but you do start to hone in some stuff after a while doing that kind of thing. Doing that and singing along with about anything on the radio, just trying to match pitches are little things I do just to work out the ear. I think over time it adds up.

earlnash, Saturday, 19 July 2014 07:07 (three years ago) Permalink

Using the fifth fret 'power chord' harmonics

this is what i usually do

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Saturday, 19 July 2014 15:22 (three years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Full details on Prince's Hohner Madcat Telecaster copy from a guy who builds replicas:

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 25 April 2016 00:49 (one year ago) Permalink

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