First time Tele buyer..



  • Hi everybody,

    I've been playing guitar for a few years now, but almost exclusively acoustic. I've recently been looking into getting a telecaster because I love me some country twang and it lines up well with my wants and needs for an electric guitar. As I've been looking I've seen and liked the new American professional series a lot but I don't have much experience with older generations (50's-80's) so this is where my questions begin to arise. What tone differences are most recognizable between say, a '54 tele and a '78 tele? Or what years did they make make significant changes to hardware that really changes the tone?

    I definitely have more questions on the topic , but I thought I'd start there to get some gear talk going!


  • Luthier

    Hello Al and welcome to ProGuitar!

    Im afraid I am not the person to help you. However, I got a recommendation through facebook on the book Six Decades of the Fender Telecaster: The Story of the World's First Solidbody Electric Guitar by Tony Bacon.

    I hope someone else on this forum could give you a better and more fun answer! :smile:



  • @al_tennant Hi man! I asked a really good friend of mine who knows a LOT about this.. Here's his response.

    Lots of changes.. before I tell you all the changes ,, I will say .this..is 90 percent in your hands.. but some things hold true about the construction
    54 were usually one piece ash.. good tone wood.. and then sprayed or painted with a natural lacquer.. by late 60s they would chop down young "green" still moisture in it.. trees glue then to get her and spray polyurethane on them.. (plastic"
    The pickups changed dramatically using inferior white and parts...any little difference to save money... shape of the neck.. even some of teh routes were different...

    Through the 60s they basically left the design alone.. into the 70s ..just like cars here in the usa.. they started trying for a higher profit margin.. one way by making with cheaper components.. the general result was a heavy, non resonant shiney guitar....but having said that. Jimi Hendrix made so early 70 s guitars sound pretty good........



  • @emilernebro
    Thanks Emil!

    Well after my quest I pulled the trigger on the Wildwood '52 American vintage "thin skin" tele and it's awesome! I live about 20 mins from the wildwood shop in Colorado and took a few trips in there picking their brains and playing many guitars, not all just teles. Great place and great bunch of guys work their to answer any questiome if you ever get the chance to stop in. Thanks for the advice!



  • @al_tennant Wow that's great!! Happy that you found the guitar you wanted! Sounds like a great guitarshop.. if I'm ever in Colorado I will make sure to stop by! :)



  • Congrats! That's a nice guitar. In the future, just go out and play them. If you want to know the difference between two of these track them down at a guitar shop and play them. Nothing is better than your own hear. :)


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