Types Of Guitars: Telecaster

An article about the Telecaster type guitar.

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Have you ever wondered which is the difference between all those types of guitars??, I mean, you have several different models to choose from, (Stratocaster, Les Paul, Telecaster, etc). In this series of articles, I'll be writing about the best known ones, including some interesting info about them, please if I am forgetting about anyone, just remind me of it. (have in count that I'll be developing them in more than one article, so wait until the last one or just say which one you would like to read about next, I wont be covering special designed ones that work in just a few bands, like the fender mustang or the ones that are just a bit different than the others like the Jackson sharktail).

So, lets get started, this articles model is the well-known Telecaster

The Telecasters genesis started in 1950, when Leo Fender launched the Esquire electric spanish guitar, a Telecaster with only one pick-up. In 1951, a second pick-up was added to the model in the neck, and, to avoid confusions, it was named Broadcaster. Unfortunately for Mr Fender, the gretsch company had already registered that name for its drums, so Fender decided to sell his guitars without writing the model on the head. These guitars are now known as the No.Caster, But the year after, the guitar had its own name, the Telecaster. So, that's enough of history for now, lets get into it.

Keith Richards, Danny Gatton, Albert Collins, Jerry Donahue, Bruce Springsteen, Muddy Waters, Sheryl Crow and many, many more have used this good-looking guitar for a long time now, why is it that they have chosen them? Lets see:

First of all, as I can't post pictures I'll have to give a little description.

The best Telecaster manufacturer is Fender, so it is very similar to the Stratocaster design, it has two single coils pick-ups, one in the bridge, and one in the neck, this one is a bit weird, 'cause it's covered with a steel cover that gives more bright to its sound, but believe me, it's a single coil! The bridge is solid, so there's no whammy bar here, and the strings go from the back of it, to the tuning machines, not trough the body as in the Stratocaster model. It's got a 3-Position Blade (01. Bridge Pickup, 02. Neck Pickup with Tone Control and 03: Neck Pickup with No Tone Control) a master volumen and a master tone.

What really characterizes this model is its bright sound, the Telecaster was designed to imitate the bright sound of the banjos, mainly in country music, where it was firstly successfully-introduced, but was also used in rock music a couple of years later.

If you know anything about types of pickups, you'll probably think that this guitar wouldn't suit anyone who uses distortion often, well that's not precisely right, Kurt Cobain, used this guitar occasionally, and he is not a country guy at all is he?, the thing about this guitar, is that its sound is not the most versatile of all, in fact it woks better with clean, bright sounds or with a little amount of overdrive/distortion, I'm not saying you can not put distortion to it, as I said before, it has been done before, but if you're a Metallica, AC/DC, Stratovarius or any other noise-loving guitar player you'll probably get rid of this guitar easily.

The genres that have welcome this guitar with arms wide-open are, ska, pop, soft rock, country and of course, Rock N' Roll!

It's not difficult to use at all, it's mainly a guitar of plug-n-see, strings are replaced easily and in a few seconds, and if you have bought a good one, you wont have any problems with tuning, its not too heavy and it will keep you company for many years, well, at least if you behave properly and take care of it, I mean, it will put up with many bumps, but don't try to drop it from the top of a building or anything like that.

What more can I say about it?, there are several models in the market, not only the ones built by fender, though some companies make really awful copies, but hey! That happens to any model. I've seen people all around the world playing them, and creating very different sounds, I've seen Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden play with a Telecaster in an instructional video, and Shakira pretending she was playing it in a live concert. It is no excuse if you don't sound good with it, because you can, just don't be lazy and practice a bit.

If you think you can not sound properly with it, just listen to the solo in stairway to heaven, although Jimmy Page used his own signature Les Paul almost always, I heard he recorded that solo with a Telecaster, strange isn't it?

The B Bender

The telecaster has a very strange gear which, if installed on it (its commonly bought apart from the guitar) provides an interesting bend to the B string, it works like this: the pins where you tight the strap are connected to the B string through the body of the guitar, so that when it is hanging from your body, you pull down the guitar and generates a lap steel effect to the note, like a hawaian guitar. Guitar players such as Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Ron Wood (Rolling Stones) and many more have used this in a couple of their solos. It is highly recommended that you have this system put into your guitar by a professional, because if not an excellent guitar may be wasted.

Well, to finish this article, I must strongly recommend this guitar for the ones who like to play and watch people dancing in the other side of the room, or just to keep a warm tone in their bedrooms, if you have the chance, try it and see what happens, it's one of the cheapest professional guitar in the market, and you won't get disappointed easily with one of these in your hands.

Links?? Ok. Hope that works

84 comments sorted by best / new / date

    diego224
    THANK YOU! holy crap, i was going crazy trying to find out how good a fender telecaster was, cuz my parents ( im 14 ) said they will buy it for me if i get strait A's in school... and they think they know me too well, so they almsot know for a fact i aint gonna even make honors. but ive actually been doing splended and terrefic at school. ive been looking forward to buying a fender, but i realized their is also other types of tele's, like the american telecaster. the AFFINITY TELECASTER , the John 5tele, the Aerodyne Telecaster. so i dont know if the type of telecaster matters. but i am really getting interested in a 69' Thinline telecaster. please make this clear ..otherwise, GREAT article
    brer rabbit
    reel good artical. i'd point out to that PRINCE likes using Telecasters and he's not country in the least. PRINCE RULES. the Telecaster is a badass guitar.
    socialtool
    I'm gonna have to vote against this, to counteract some of the stupid people who gave it a five... You have the blade selection incorrect. The 3 way is (Bridge, Bridge and NEck, NEck) all have the tone control. You can play lots of distortion on a tele as long as you work on it and like the neck feel. The Strings on many Telecasters are not top-loaders but string-thru (Which means that the strings do go through the body....) The telecaster and strat are not that similar in reality. Umm Your grammar is strange and diction is hard to follow at parts but I hope that you work on more and get better
    talman71
    Voodoo8868: telecasters are ugly, fenders are over rated, and they are old men guitars, BC Rich, and Ibenaz All the way.... obviously a fan of metal, well i own 2 ibanez's and they are awesome...im not a huge fan of fenders..BUT..dont forget that James Root of SlipKnot plays a flat head tele and it is pretty sweet...James Root is a legend!!
    IAMTHEEGGMAN...
    I like the Gretsch Duo Jet. I have one, they're a lovely instrument, like all Gretsch guitars. Wish i had the money to but a White Falcon, but they are like, heaps...
    Molotov_51
    telecasters are ugly, fenders are over rated, and they are old men guitars, BC Rich, and Ibenaz All the way
    i agree with you and don't forget ESP they make some good instruments
    Bassplayer17
    Emenius Sleepus: Some other players you might want to mention are John 5 and Tom Morello. John Frusciante also used a Tele sometimes. [POSTED: 12 March 2005 - 02:49]|
    JF has started using his Tele frequently.
    thedankle
    i still dont understand. whats the major differnce between a strat and tele?
    5150man
    stupi ******* you say the grammar is wrong and u cant even spell the word Rodders: Good article but grammer was sometimes wrong.....odd writing style. Good information..... [POSTED: 13 March 2005 - 13:16]| (still dunno how to quote lol)
    Brendy_03
    been readin about teles lately and have thought about buyin one but i really want a '65 strat for my next guitar
    jay15944
    James Hetfield used a Tele on the recordings of the Black Album, Load, and Reload.
    bassist.dude
    john 5 uses his signature telecaster and i like it. He customized his guitar with a darker look. yeah its black and sounds really nice. Teles are ugly but they rock!!! Michelle Branch and Brad Fernquist play teles too
    5150man
    comet...well done... for those of you out there who read the "101 rules to extreme metal" article... Voodoo8868: telecasters are ugly, fenders are over rated, and they are old men guitars, BC Rich, and Ibenaz All the way [POSTED: 14 March 2005 - 15:10]| this guy is eXXXtreme!!!!(sorry.didn't know how to quote)
    marianoarnaiz
    tele.. guitar suck, i prefer the strat, STRAT ROCKS, better looking, better sound, tremolo, 5 positions, way better then the tele
    dreid_77447
    voodoo, to appreciate today's guitars u must pay homage to the ORIGINALS that they're based on. teles will always be good, fender will always dominate and there's not a damn thing u can do about it nice article though
    Overrated
    i loves me some telecaster action, but I'm a huge fan of the strat. Tis the king in my opinion (not that anyone cares, i just like to stick my 2 cents in)
    fender rocker16
    that bender sounds awesome... one thing... i have a fender tele and it strings up through the body like a strat.
    anthrax1214
    i am not really a basher but when it somes to guitars that are ugly, i will tell you, the tele is the ugliest guitar ever invented and only country and blues players should use them. if you play a tele for metal, you are not only stupid, but you also have an ugly ass guitar. i have no problem with them if they are used in country or blues, but when used in metal, complete shit. ps: metal players, get a bc rich or jackson, a real metal guitar. In the words of Eric Cartman, "Screw you guys, I'm goin home."
    mondaymonkey
    fender rocker16 wrote: that bender sounds awesome... one thing... i have a fender tele and it strings up through the body like a strat.
    THe point the author is trying to make is that for a Strat with its tremelo you have to snake the string through the little window in the plastic covering A tele you just shove through the holes in the wood. If you have a Tremelo on the Tele then yea, its got the backing and shit. And you must be a freaking amazing wood cutter or have good money to have someone custom make you a Tele with a tremelo.
    mondaymonkey
    My opinion: Teles are ugly as ****. However, they have a sweet kick ass tone List of Guitars you should review next: SG Flying V/ Explorer (To me at least they sounds similar and were both conceved at the same time) JazzMaster (Fender) Showmaster (Also Fender) The two last ones I hear NOTHING about! Yet I've played them and they sound SICK and they are beautiful, WHY haven't they caught on??
    Doubleday
    I saw John Frusciante playing a Tele all throughout the Slane castle concert, and I gotta say, the tone on that guitar was absolutely amazing. Is that what all Teles sound like or is his modified?
    lxtkn1989
    You should do one of these on the Gibson Explorer, or the Flying V, those are like two of the coolest guitars ever
    Chris inman
    the Telecaster was designed to imitate the bright sound of the banjos, mainly in country music ewww..... gross sound
    iwannabeanarchy
    tele's can do metal. put it on the lace sensor, turn your mids down to 2 or 3 and gain to max and boom, cannibal corpse time.
    Weybl Himself
    if you want to hear the b-bender in action check out the verse riff from Unforgiven II from metallica, can do some very cool stuff that b bender.
    karjalainen
    Strat has (usually) three single-coil pickups, tele has a bridge pickup, and a neck pickup. Different controls on the two guitars.
    talman71
    to explain it plain and simple, which is obviously what this guy needs, a tele is a single cutaway coun try sort of a guitar. a strat is a double cutaway, thinner body more rock guitar. although...teles are known to knock out some pretty good rock tunes or even metal tunes-james root!!...so yeah..the country guitar thing is kind of a stereotype.
    EbolaMonkeh
    Not a bad article and I love Teles. I must say you need to work on your grammar a bit.
    It's not difficult to use at all, it's mainly a guitar of ?plug-n-see?, strings are replaced easily and in a few seconds, and if you have bought a good one, you wont have any problems with tuning, its not too heavy and it will keep you company for many years, well, at least if you behave properly and take care of it, I mean, it will put up with many bumps, but don?t try to drop it from the top of a building or anything like that.
    That has to be the longest run-on sentance I've ever seen.
    AlreadyTooLate
    Stirway to heaven is actually done on the doubleneck 12 string 6string Gibson SG I think I have a tele very good guitar.
    Voodoo8868
    telecasters are ugly, fenders are over rated, and they are old men guitars, BC Rich, and Ibenaz All the way
    spuddy104
    why but a fender when you can buy a les paul?? theres no need for any other guitar....
    proguit933
    wow, i wanna get a tele just for the b bender, great article i think you should do les paul or stratocaster next cuz people mainly use those two models and people might not know alot about them, but i have an sg and itd be col if you did sg next
    SamiGirl
    Great article. Waiting eagerly for the next ones. Everyone is asking for the next article to be on SGs (which are my favorites, too ), but I think you should go in the order they were released. It might be interesting to put something like a V (I don't like them, but they are important) in, since when they first were introduced, they bombed. Some other suggestions for following articles would be the Gibson/Epiphone semi-hollow electric guitars like the Dot and Casinos, and Rickenbackers. To own a Ric is my dream.
    Maet
    Now this is one of the few fabulous articles on UG over the past little while. 5 stars. I myself intend to buy a '52 tele soon, so i must say i find this artilce to be especially good for buyers, or those who need background information on products. I look forward to more in this series.
    diego224
    but i am really getting interested in a 69' Thinline telecaster. please make this clear ..otherwise, GREAT article somthing happend, i was about to say, that im really intersted in this 69'thinline telecaster. great article