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Old 03-04-2021, 11:30 PM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
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Default A tale of 3 Teles

I brought home 3 teles, all rentals this week, all set up well, to compare as I shop for a good country rig.

1. Squier Bullet Tele: I had to try this cheap little beast just to see what entry level was like. It had a very thin tone, almost brittle and try as I may, I could not coax the sound I wanted out of it. Would it work if I played well, yes of course, but the mid range scoop was so strong that it really only had one viable bridge position. The neck was fast and smooth. I decided it was too scooped to play much.

2. Squier Affinity Tele: Okay, since they say in some forums that this and the Bullet are the same, well, they are wrong. The Affinity has a strong mid range, so much so that the middle and neck pickups are muddy unless you play on top of the bridge! But the bridge pickup was hot! It gave a powerful twang that just let the high notes sing on a good country chug. So for less than $100 more, you get a respectable, butterscotch, maple neck tele that rocks. But that midrange is just mud. Read on to see the next bit...

3. Fender Player Tele: Okay, this one is $1000 bucks CDN so of course, I had to compare. So, first of all, the neck on the Afffinity and Bullet, were the same, and were faster and easier to play on than the Fender. The pickups on the Fender; neck, fantastic, sounds like a good acoustic and you could sing over it, the mid position, clear, nice, very balanced. The bridge, now, this is funny, it certainly had twang, but nothing near the twang of the Affinity. It was almost muted. Yeh, you can get a nice country hot lick out of it, but when you compare it to the Affinity side by side, which I did for days, sorry the Affinity wins. But when you leave the bridge, you still get a whole pallette of tones the Squiers could not match. But on the bridge pickup, sweet pedal steel bends just cut through the drum and base mix and really sent me. I could not get the Player to sound this way, nor could I easily bend the parallel 3rds that characterize a solid country steel lick. Word!

I did not try the Classic Vibe, the entire country is sold out, the production lapsed and the new ones will come in May 2021. That is still a gold standard for sub $2,000 Teles and I would love to review it as well.

Anyhow, I have no idea what to do other then keep side by siding them for the month and then make a judgement call.

Is clear mid and neck worth $700 more? Hmmm, I guess I will find out.

Feel free to chime in on your own search for that hot country Tele twang!



3.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2021, 05:56 AM
Brooklyn Bob Brooklyn Bob is offline
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Do you have an immediate need for a Tele or can you wait for the one that rings your bell?
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Old 03-05-2021, 06:40 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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have you thought of looking for one of the G&L ASATs?

The tend to show up on ebay and reverb quite a bit.

I've played a few and I've been impressed but what comes out of them.
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Old 03-05-2021, 06:48 AM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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Buy a Mexican Tele and then have some pickups wound to suit you.
I put an overwound bridge in mine with the 5/16 magnets instead of the standard 1/4”. It sounds like the modern country bridge used today, plenty of twang but powerful like a P-90.
In the neck, I went with a Strat sound-alike. I can hardly tell the difference between it and the one in my Strat. It has longer pole pieces and no cover.

Anyway, you can get anything wound you want and for under a grand, you got yourself a heck of a guitar.

Klein does a great job on a variety of pickups.
I like these a lot.

https://www.kleinpickups.com/p-138-b...es-pickup.aspx

Mine sounds like this:

https://www.kleinpickups.com/p-38-fa...e-pickups.aspx
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Last edited by rokdog49; 03-05-2021 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 03-05-2021, 07:04 AM
GCWaters GCWaters is offline
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I bought a classic vibe tele custom and put a Duncan 59 in the neck and a lil 59 in the bridge...absolutely love it!!
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:00 AM
bls82261 bls82261 is offline
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This might be worth a try. I have no idea about getting it into Canada. 7 day return policy with buyer paying return shipping. Just an option. I'm not vouching for or connected to seller in any way. I really love my CV 50's.



https://reverb.com/item/39157355-squ...0-s-telecaster

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Old 03-05-2021, 08:04 AM
RoyBoy RoyBoy is offline
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I think the Player Series guitars (I have a strat) are great: Alnico 5 pickups, satin finish neck, all the electronics (switch, pots) are reported to be the same as what goes into the American made ones. Less need for repairs/upgrades down the road.

I suspect the difference you're hearing from the bridge PU is the bridge. For the country you play you're likely to be happier with the traditional 3 barrel bridge, a lot of tele players swear by them and swap out different material barrels (steel, brass, etc.)

It sounds like your best bet is to go with whichever cheaper tele you like the best and put a better neck pickup in it. There are lots of reasonable options out there like Cavalier and Bootstrap as well as the usual boutique ($$$) choices.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:08 AM
Hurricane Bob Hurricane Bob is offline
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I found the Classic Vibe way too heavy for me, and too bright over all. So I built my own and it sounds fantastic. Tone Bomb body with a Parklane neck and Tex Mex pups.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:08 AM
RoyBoy RoyBoy is offline
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I think the Player Series guitars (I have a strat) are great: Alnico 5 pickups, satin finish neck, all the electronics (switch, pots) are reported to be the same as what goes into the American made ones. Less need for repairs/upgrades down the road.

I suspect the difference you're hearing from the bridge PU is the bridge. For the country you play you're likely to be happier with the traditional 3 barrel bridge, a lot of tele players swear by them and swap out different material barrels (steel, brass, etc.)

It sounds like your best bet is to go with whichever cheaper tele you like the best and put a better neck pickup in it. There are lots of reasonable options out there like Cavalier and Bootstrap as well as the usual boutique ($$$) choices.

PS you need to clear out your mailbox, no one can message you presently
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:27 AM
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Might need to up your search to find true tone snd playability. I had gone pretty cold on Fender until I played their new pro II model. Its everything a tele should be!
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:07 AM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
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This is fantastic. You are so right.

So I could just stay with the Affinity and upgrade pickups.

Total cost here in the land of the North...

400 for guitar
250 for pickups
150 for install

Thats almost the price of a player....

Hmmmm...
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:13 AM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bls82261 View Post
This might be worth a try. I have no idea about getting it into Canada. 7 day return policy with buyer paying return shipping. Just an option. I'm not vouching for or connected to seller in any way. I really love my CV 50's.



https://reverb.com/item/39157355-squ...0-s-telecaster

That looks really good!"
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:54 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Well you seem to have a very focused wish list/ear for sound. It's of course difficult to talk about timbre, because even though you seem very articulate about what you're hearing, words are still an inexact medium. You may well already know everything I'll post here, but I'll throw it out in case you don't or some other reader of this thread doesn't.

No mention of amps or an effects chain. A person with another amp might have a completely different description of the timbre coming from each of those Teles.

First off, have you played with pickup heights? Measure distances so you can reverse course if you go beyond a sweet spot as you try things, but I'd be tempted for example to try moving that Player Tele bridge PU closer to the strings.

I too think the early 50s style three brass barrel saddle bridge can add some subtle but nice things to the sound when played clean. Tends to temper the Tele high end. Also even with an pedalboard with perhaps an EQ pedal or amp tweak,, the Tele tone control is often a useful tone shaper. Similarly I like pure nickel wrap strings (not nickel plated) on some Telecasters, adds some warmth to the wrapped strings.

Tele pickup swaps are not too tough to do if it comes to that. I happen to think the the Fender Original Vintage Telecaster set is a remarkable bargain. The set of two costs about half what a boutique single pickup might cost, and I think they sound great in many Teles. I think they are good for a traditional to neo-traditional country sound, and add some drive with an amp or dirt pedal and they can rock with the best of them.

In sub $1000 (US $) new, I've gotten a lot of use out of my Fender Nashville Tele. Mine's a 90's model. I swapped in a Original Vintage bridge PU and a traditional three brass barrel ashtray bridge on mine years ago. In Fiesta Red the current Nashville is in stock at Sweetwater this morning, and you'd think used ones would be around too. I have no experience with the Fender Noiseless pickups in the current model however. You can get some Strat quack with them and the middle pickup is another sound option.

Hope any of this helps you (or someone).
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:51 PM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
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Thanks Frank!
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Old 03-11-2021, 08:23 PM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
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Affinity in butterscotch blonde. Done.

Fantastic...

The winner!
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