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Need Fender Telecaster® Guitar Buying Advice

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  • Need Fender Telecaster® Guitar Buying Advice

    This one goes out to TF's resident guitar players.

    My 16 year old daughter has been taking guitar lessons for a few years and has become quite good.

    She says the only thing she wants for Christmas is a Fender Telecaster.

    She plays left-handed, so that limits availability somewhat.

    Here are my thoughts so far:

    I was considering the American model, but it is rather expensive and it only comes in two colors. I don't think that she would like the black or sunburst.

    American Telecaster® Left Handed

    The Mexican-made Standard model is cheaper and comes in more colors, but I'm not sure about the quality.

    Standard Telecaster® Left Handed

    So I'm thinking about going with the Japanese-made '70s Telecaster. It is priced between the American and the Standard and I know she would like the white blonde maple color. I'm guessing that the Japanese quality should be pretty good. The ash body is probably heavier than the other two, though, and she's rather petite.

    ‘70s Telecaster® Left Handed

    And advice? Are there any other major differences in these models that I am missing? Any thoughts on where to purchase?

    Thanks for any help!

  • #2
    Paging KO.
    "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
    ~~Groucho Marx
    I have the hots for Khaleesi...

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    • #3
      I'm no expert on the situation but with two boys playing who have inherited my obsesive/compulsive nature, I talk about and hear an awful lot about guitars at home and at the guitar shop.

      The actual mid-seventies Japanese Fender's are considered to be very high quality and just a step below the American Standard. From what my older son's teacher (owner of a half dozen Strats & Teles) says, if you are buying new do what you have to to buy an American Standard. If you are buying used, go for an early Japanese model or any American Standard. If you are really not looking to spend that kind of money, the older Mexican models aren't bad. He really does not have many nice things to say about the Squires or the real inexpensive newer models. If nothing else though, any American Standard is like a solid investment as well as a fine piece of equipment.

      Maybe the most fun investment you could make.
      Dan Schlosser
      Go fast, turn left !
      www.tracksideonline.com

      "Count all your blessings, just don't keep score...."
      Mark "Hoot" Marchetti

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      • #4
        Originally posted by gofastturnleft
        Maybe the most fun investment you could make.
        Thanks for your helpful comments, Dan.

        Obviously I share your obsessive/compulsive traits. Why else would I be posting a guitar question on a racing message board!

        Sounds like the American Standard might be the way to go.

        My daughter is a pretty sensible kid. Perhaps she could overlook the color of the guitar if it means a better quality instrument.

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        • #5
          American is the way to go, I currently own 2 and wouldn't trade them. I've had friends and fellow band mates who have had both Japanese and Mexican made ones, and I didn't think the playability and sound was very good at all. Plus, they couldn't stay in tune which is my biggest pet-peeve.
          www.dulcetroad.com

          My Band's website!!!!

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          • #6
            I have the sunburst American Tele and really like it. It's a solid guitar and plays really well. However, I played a Jap-Strat for years and never had a problem with it.

            My advise - find a guitar that plays well first. If she's just playing around the house and with friends, that's a lot of jack to spend for the American. Shop your local used stores. Heck, even Sam Ash and Guitar Center carry used equipment these days.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by badart
              American is the way to go, I currently own 2 and wouldn't trade them. I've had friends and fellow band mates who have had both Japanese and Mexican made ones, and I didn't think the playability and sound was very good at all. Plus, they couldn't stay in tune which is my biggest pet-peeve.
              Thanks very much for your comments, badart.

              Nobody likes a guitar that won't stay in tune.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jimmy_22
                If she's just playing around the house and with friends, that's a lot of jack to spend for the American. Shop your local used stores. Heck, even Sam Ash and Guitar Center carry used equipment these days.
                Thanks for your advice, Jimmy.

                You accurately describe my daughter's current situation, so that is why I'm a bit reluctant to spend the money for the more expensive model.

                I must admit, however, that I am someone persuaded that the American would be the easiest to resell if her interest wanes.

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                • #9
                  I'd highly recommend the American versions of any Fender instrument. They are more expensive, but definitely for a reason. The pickups seem to produce a more "true" sound and the instrument, as stated above, does stay in tune remarkably well. I have an American Strat and wouldn't trade it for anything.

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                  • #10
                    This may or may not be of much help to you - but - unless she's REALLY dead set on the Telecaster ...

                    Have you heard of the Line 6 "Variax"? This is a line of "modeling" guitars that are incredibly cool. The Variax guitars model the characteristics of dozens of other instruments. With the flip of a switch, you go from a Gibson hollow-body to a Strat to a Tele to a sitar and on and on and on.

                    And it's not just a gimmick. My brother has two of them, and I have the Variax bass. These things sound great and play very nicely. Plus, the creativity they inspire is wonderful.

                    Looking at the web site (www.line6.com), I see that they make the "500" series guitar in a lefty. With a street price of around $600 - $700, it's worth a look. If you get her one, I guarantee that she'll have a ball playing it.
                    I ain't quiet, everybody else is too loud.

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                    • #11
                      We just looked at amps tonight as the little Johnsons the guys have aren't loud enough to play over the drummer when their band gets together. One was a sweet little Marshall 30W but I think that Marshall name plate contibuted as much to the price tag as anything. The guy at the store led us to a 30W Vox he really liked that was a modeling amp. First we had really seen of them really. I figured they were just some kind of quirky fad when I first read about them. I was shocked and impressed as heck at what that modeling amp could do - switched between a dozen different amp tones and a bunch of other options such as reverb, delay, etc and all of the combinations of each.

                      So to make a long story short, I bet those modeling guitars are pretty cool too.
                      Dan Schlosser
                      Go fast, turn left !
                      www.tracksideonline.com

                      "Count all your blessings, just don't keep score...."
                      Mark "Hoot" Marchetti

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I can't speak for the American Fenders, I never owned one and only played them occassionally at Guitar Center. I do, however, own a Mexican Tele, and absolutely love it. I have never experienced a big difference in playing an American vs. a Mexican Tele. I own the Sunburst (all my guitars are sunburst), and I guess I'm biased, but it's such a gorgeous color on the Tele I can't imagine any guitarist not liking it. I have never had a problem with it staying in tune, but I understand there are bad apples in every bunch, some just slip past quality control.
                        Depending on what your daughter currently plays, any Fender Tele will be a fairly heavy guitar, but not overwhelming. The thickness and density that makes the guitar heavy is also what gives it it's sweet, warm tone. I also recently bought an Epiphone Les Paul guitar, now that's heavy! But, oh, so nice.
                        Stay away from Squiers (the guitars and amps). They are nicely packaged garbage.
                        Your daughter should be congratulated for her excellent taste in instruments. The Telecaster is a gorgeous guitar, and one that takes the right kind of person to fully appreciate.
                        jc
                        Livin' the good life as poorly as possible.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gofastturnleft
                          So to make a long story short, I bet those modeling guitars are pretty cool too.
                          I have a bass "Pod" from Line 6 that is a front-end effects box. It has two dozen different amp models, plus stomp boxes, reverb, EQ, etc. etc. They haven't made a bass modeling amp yet, but they do have several guitar amps.

                          When you combine the Variax guitar with a Line 6 modeling amp and foot switch, it's pretty cool. Hit a button on the foot controller, and you can switch to any guitar/amp/effects combination you can imagine.

                          Plus, they now make software called "Workbench" that allows you to create custom guitar models by changing the body/neck/pickup configuration.

                          Workbench also lets you create alternate tunings, all in software. Flip the toggle switch, and you've re-tuned the guitar.

                          It's hard to appreciate until you see it in action. Check out the various movies on this page.

                          This is VERY COOL stuff.
                          I ain't quiet, everybody else is too loud.

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                          • #14
                            While the American Tele's are better, the Mexican Tele's are not bad--and certainly won't seem bad to someone who has not played a really high end guitar before. If she is at the point that she can hear and feel the difference, get the US made guitar. If not, I'm willing to bet she'll love the Mexican made one. Whatever you do, though, follow the advice in one of the earlier posts and don't but a Squire Tele--they are made by Fender, but there's a reason they don't say "Fender" on the headstock.

                            One couple of points on price--(1) there is an American-made "Highway 1" line of Teles and Strats that are a little less than an "American Standard Telecaster"; (2)the American Fenders usually come with a hard shell case, the cheaper one's don't--factor that into the price if you are going to want a case.

                            As far as an amp set up goes, a small amp with a Line 6 Pod gives you a lot of sounds for relatively small money.

                            As far as a place to get it--if lefties are hard to find in your area, try musiciansfriend.com. It is the online end of Guitar Center. They should have whatever Fender you are looking for at a reasonable price.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks very much to everyone for their advice. I knew there had to be some musical talent on this board!

                              That Line 6 Variax looks really cool. Perhaps I'll ask my daughter if she's ever heard of it and see what her reaction is.

                              I'll probably still go with a Telecaster since that seems to be what she has her heart set on.

                              Can you say "spoiled only child"?

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