What's a good first Telecaster that's Fender and single coils only? Is it worth dishing out for something from the American Vintage or American Deluxe series or would there be no point at my level? Might the vintage series be a bit too old sounding?

My current guitar is an Ibanez RGR321EX I bought for £270. I've only had it for about 6 months but I want to buy into the characteristic Tele sound. I'd say my playing level is between beginner and intermediate.

Any advice or suggestions greatly appreciated!
Last edited by BadBanshee at Sep 24, 2011,
I love the Squier Classic Vibe Tele. I just scored one, pretty minty with a generic Tweed case (probably from MF), for less than $200. Fortunately, they're more widely available now.

A Squier Affinity or Standard Tele would be a bit cheaper. Some MIM Teles can be had for around $200. These lower-end Teles usually need a minor set-up and will be pretty decent.

A "starter guitar" is something marketed to mom and dad. After Chauncey tries to play for a week and then leaves it in the closet collecting dust while he plays X-box all afternoon, a cheap "starter guitar" is easier for mom and dad to deal with.

If you're buying it yourself, then forget about the concept of a starter guitar.

Here's why "starter" equipment isn't for you: you buy a starter guitar. You play it for a while with your MG10 amp. Then you change the pick-ups. Then you get a Cube. Then you want to upgrade your guitar. Then after a while you want to get a small tube amp. Meanwhile you've spent enough money to outfit an entire band with quality equipment.

Forget the idea of a starter Tele. you've already got a practice guitar. Think about what you want in a Tele right now. Save. Then try out some guitars. Talk to people. Save some more. Then get it.
Used MIM tele if you can find one. If not then definitely the CV teles.

Surprised no one has asked this yet but what amp are you using, that makes most of the difference. Of course changing your amp won't make it sound like your playing a tele but can improve your overall sound.
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I like the classic vibe tele. probably the only squier product i would own. if you are going used, and are patient, you can easily find a fender mexican tele for $300.

one thing always to check with fenders (a lot of other budget bolt on guitars) that the neck pocket is tight. there shouldn't be a gap between the neck and body although it is fixable, its just easier to find another guitar.
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I havent played the guitar but i have heard good thinks about the Squier Tele Custom II
I'll look into those suggestions in more detail later today.

I'll look at some reviews for the Squiers even if just to test my prejudice against anything less than Fender. Tbh the kind of attitude I've developed is, if I can afford a Fender, so I should go for Fender. But maybe there are some upsides to Squier?

I went into a shop with the intention of trying strats. I took a friend who is a massive Tele fan so we tried the Baja Tele. I took an instant liking to Teles from that point on. The unique attack-y twang was more versatile than I assumed. My friend enjoyed the Baja too but said it didn't feel as good to him as other Teles. I'm going to try other Teles but anything above the Baja series and the price seems to soar.

@ JKHC I'm using a Roland Micro Cube 2 watt amp :P
Squier Classic Vibe Tele is better built and uses better electronics, hardware and wood than the regular MIM Fenders. I know it doesn't make any sense but that's the way it is.

If you're set on an actual Fender then look at the MIM Classic, Deluxe and Classic Player line. Basically the same as American Specials and Highway One Teles only they have better pickups and sometimes other more modern features like locking tuners or 4-way switching, that sort of thing. Seem to have slightly better quality control ont hem than other MIMs but that could just be that I've lucked out with the ones I've had and tried.

If you're comfortable blowing the money on an American Standard then obviously that is the way to go for a straight, regular Tele. Just remember that some of what you're paying for is just the words "made in the USA" which translates as "made less than 50 miles away from the MIM guitars". American Standard is great but it does not represent the best value for money.