Strat vs Tele style guitars and their uses?

JohnW63

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I'm trying to get good jazz tones and still like a nice blues tone. I have a G&L ( off shore version ) Strat, but I rarely play anything but the neck pickup. Sometimes the middle, but the "tween" settings and the bridge pickup are just to sharp sounding for me. I hear some very good blues stuff with Tele style guitars and some pretty good jazz tones on the "lipstick" pickup. However, there are lots of pickup types put on Teles. Standard single coil, humbucker, the afore mentioned lipstick. Probably p-90s and other stuff I don't know about. Is the Tele more suited to what I am shooting for than the Strat? Or, is it the good sounding ones are the vintage stuff and the players of those are just good at what they play?
 

GAD

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I'm not a Strat or Tele guy, but I guess the question for me is why do you seem to want a Strat or Tele but don't want the archetypal Strat or Tele tones?

For me the Tele is about the least ergonomic guitar ever made, but it's worth it if you're looking for that spanky twangy tone that a Tele does so well.

I have a nice '08 America Strat that I completely gutted the electronics on so it sounds great, but the only time I use it is for those position 2/4 tones. Some of my favorite guitars are super-Strats, though, but that's in part because of the vastly superior build quality I get from a Jackson over a Fender.
 

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If you like the guitar, except for the pickups, identify the tone you like on a particular recording, then find out what the artist used, including effects. G&L pickups have their own thing going, and generally, that is pretty crisp and clear, so that might not be your bag.
That being said, a lot of the tone is in the player.
Every guitar I pick up sounds like a backup guitar.
 

mavuser

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ergonomically, i am the opposite of GAD. Strats have that upper horn that jabs my body, and every neck i've played on a strat was too wide for me. teles, I love to play. not so much the newer ones with the body contours, but a traditional tele that has a flat back and flat top. most teles, or "tele pickups" at least, that is the chrome single coil neck and slanted single coil bridge- sound exactly the same, or very, very close. of course in todays world there are more pickup options and pedals and such, and some teles come with humbuckers or strat like wiring and 3 single coils- those teles are aimed at people like myself that do not bond with a strat at all whatsoever.

a traditional tele tone can get very twangy or spanky or overdriven or really whatever you are going for within its limits. again these days, it seems anything is possible with any guitar/amp/pedal/settings/pots/caps/mods etc.
however, I usually tell people if u want to clearly hear what a traditional clean tele tone sounds like, listen to the studio version of Rolling Stones Beast of a Burden, the *rhythm guitar sounds like the quintessential tele tone, to me. I could think of countless other examples of screaming tele twang guitar solos, but on Beast of a Burden u can really hear it very clearly, in its most basic simplicity. and u could play those same chords on a different guitar that you already own, and compare them.
im not sure if he is actually using a tele but that is what i hear. in the video it is a gibson.
 
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Oddly enough, my favorite Telecasters are my T-250s, which aren't traditional in any sense of the word. I like the G&L Will Ray too, but I m waiting for a pickup before I decide whether it's a keeper.
 

mavuser

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u could try the Guild Crossroads tele which was a hollow or semi hollow arch top tele with a neck humbucker. that would give u some serious jazz tones.
 

krysh

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u could try the Guild Crossroads tele which was a hollow or semi hollow arch top tele with a neck humbucker. that would give u some serious jazz tones.
I don‘t think so. Warm and mellow maybe but not a „serious jazz tone“

And love my T-250 too, because with the emgs she is not a typical tele.
 

Coop47

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Is the Tele more suited to what I am shooting for than the Strat? Or, is it the good sounding ones are the vintage stuff and the players of those are just good at what they play?
A great player can get a great tone out of either a Strat or a Tele, but of the two I think the Tele is best suited to jazz. I don't think those tones are limited to vintage stuff. Some pickups sounds a little better than others (I love Don Mare's stuff), but any decent Telecaster should get you where you want to go.
 

Guildedagain

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The circuit that Leo designed around 1952 or so has the tones you're looking for. There's a million variables out there, I like to stick with basics.

Basics like actual Telecaster pickups. Endless tone searching with pickups I'm glad I never got into. Play what's in the guitar and make it work by adjusting the knobs and the amp, like Roy Buchanan, Albert Collins, Danny Gatton, Mike Bloomfield and countless other who played these guitars as is, before a multi million dollar aftermarket pickup industry was invented. The only real departure from the norm were a couple players, Collins, Richards, who put a PAF in the neck position. Fender was paying attention and got Seth Lover to design a "full range humbucker" for the Tele, unveiled in 1972.

The original 1952 Tele circuit goes like this.

Position 1) Bridge pickup only; Bright, cutting, steely. This is largely thanks to a massive ferrous bridge plate with brass saddles, beefy angled pickup. The tone pot works as normal in this position with a very effective 0.047uF tone cap.

Position 2) Neck pickup only; Sounds like pure blues, round, full. The tone pot works the same is in position #1.

Position 3) Neck pickup through a very wooly sounding - 0.1uF - tone cap. Instant Jazz tones, you can even play a little bass on the low strings. The tone knob does nothing in this position.

You can get the switch to hang between position 1-2 giving you an out of phase mix of the the two pickups. Something they later incorporated into the Strat, but not until 1977!


Already by 1954, the basics were too basic and they unveiled the Strat. The Strat doesn't have the same tones at all.

Not as bright and steely on the bridge, the middle makes a good rhythm tone, the neck gets a good blues tone.

The out of phase positions are "quacky", and with a reverse wound middle pickup the two positions become hum canceling, this is a big deal for recording, needing to be quiet between songs, etc.


A great player can get a great tone out of either a Strat or a Tele, but of the two I think the Tele is best suited to jazz.
Not only this is true, but there's anecdotal evidence that "great players" can get "their tone" out of any guitar/amp. I remember reading an article about Clapton where he plugs in to some crappy guitar and amp at a house party or something like that, he "twiddled a couple knobs" and voila, Eric Clapton.

When Jazz went wild...



In this video he channels 70's Jeff Beck Blow by Blow tones, before morphing into George Benson, and back to Jeff on an ancient Telecaster that in his words; "I got from Danny Gatton. Before that it was Roy Buchanan’s. It was a great guitar that was stolen when somebody pulled a gun on me in Boston."
 
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GGJaguar

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If your Tribute Legacy was from Guitar Center (or affiliate like Musicians Friend), the pickups are generic Asian-made units. Only Tribute guitars from G&L dealers get the US-made alnico pickups. So, you could always do a pickup swap. I'm an ASAT fan so I'm in that camp. :) That said, jazzbo Bill Frisell (pic below) has made an entire career playing jazz on Tele-style guitars. If you like G&Ls you can always look at the ASAT Classic Bluesboy (neck humbucker) or ASAT Classic BB 90 (P-90 neck pickup). They come in both solid body and semi-hollow body versions and they might be the ticket for switching between blues and jazz, but still have Tele-type twang if you need it. Good luck!!

BF.jpg
 
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walrus

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If your Tribute Legacy was from Guitar Center (or affiliate like Musicians Friend), the pickups are generic Asian-made units. Only Tribute guitars from G&L dealers get the US-made alnico pickups. So, you could always do a pickup swap. I'm an ASAT fan so I'm in that camp. :) That said, jazzbo Bill Frisell (pic below) has made an entire career playing jazz on Tele-style guitars. If you like G&Ls you can always look at the ASAT Classic Bluesboy (neck humbucker) or ASAT Classic BB 90 (P-90 neck pickup). They come in both solid body and semi-hollow body versions and they might be the ticket for switching between blues and jazz, but still have Tele-type twang if you need it. Good luck!!

View attachment 18965
You beat me to it! Bill Frisell!

walrus
 

JohnW63

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" Only Tribute guitars from G&L dealers get the US-made alnico pickups. So, you could always do a pickup swap. "

Does G&L sell those or do I need to go on a pickup quest on the interwebs?
 

JohnW63

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GAD,

"I'm not a Strat or Tele guy, but I guess the question for me is why do you seem to want a Strat or Tele but don't want the archetypal Strat or Tele tones? "

I picked up this G&L Tribute "Strat" as my first real electric guitar. It was $399 I think at Buffalo Bros down by San Diego. A friend recommended the guitar. I played the 4 they had and picked the one I liked best. That was when I really had no electric chops. My friend made it sound like it would do anything I wanted. Good players do that. Now, I'm hoping for tones are not just blues and pop song stuff. Then, the other night, I realised, if all I ever do is play at the neck, why do I have a strat style guitar? I just bounced around the YouTubes and found that many players used different guitars for the range of stuff that floats my boat. Often with a Tele or some other guitar I hadn't thought of. I watched a video on G&Ls Doheny guitar which is there take on the JazzMaster. That sounded cool as heck too.

I think this is an " Am I using the right tool for the job? " type of thread. It may be the tool can do the job, but I need to learn how to use it for the job better.
 

GAD

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Oddly enough, my favorite Telecasters are my T-250s, which aren't traditional in any sense of the word. I like the G&L Will Ray too, but I m waiting for a pickup before I decide whether it's a keeper.
How many T250s do you have?
 

GAD

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GAD,

"I'm not a Strat or Tele guy, but I guess the question for me is why do you seem to want a Strat or Tele but don't want the archetypal Strat or Tele tones? "

I picked up this G&L Tribute "Strat" as my first real electric guitar. It was $399 I think at Buffalo Bros down by San Diego. A friend recommended the guitar. I played the 4 they had and picked the one I liked best. That was when I really had no electric chops. My friend made it sound like it would do anything I wanted. Good players do that. Now, I'm hoping for tones are not just blues and pop song stuff. Then, the other night, I realised, if all I ever do is play at the neck, why do I have a strat style guitar? I just bounced around the YouTubes and found that many players used different guitars for the range of stuff that floats my boat. Often with a Tele or some other guitar I hadn't thought of. I watched a video on G&Ls Doheny guitar which is there take on the JazzMaster. That sounded cool as heck too.

I think this is an " Am I using the right tool for the job? " type of thread. It may be the tool can do the job, but I need to learn how to use it for the job better.
Gotcha. The dangers of watching an experienced player coax tones out of a guitar are real. :) One of my favorite quotes on the subject:

"I remember the first time I played Eddie [Van Halen]'s guitar, it was just
like someone had built it in his backyard, and he was the only guy who could
make it sing. Since then, I've played through his entire rig, and it just
sounded like me playing through someone else's rig. I didn't sound anything
like Eddie. It's not the gear, its the cat. It's the soul. It's the energy."

~ George Lynch - Guitar Edge Magazine
 

walrus

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I think this is an " Am I using the right tool for the job? " type of thread. It may be the tool can do the job, but I need to learn how to use it for the job better.
Excellent point! "Versatility" of the tool (guitar) and versatility of the user (player) combined. I've had a few really good players play my guitar(s) over the years, and I often say "how do they get it to sound like that"? Same tool, different user.

My classic memory is a guy who was already good in high school. He comes over to my house and picks up and old Sears electric I had. Awful guitar. And he plays it like it's a Les Paul! I was torn between practicing 24/7 to try to do that, or just quitting the guitar!

walrus
 

Walter Broes

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Define "blues" or "jazz". Both genres have an almost endless array of very different guitar tones. If by Jazz and blues you mean fat/smoky/darker/thicker tones, I'd try out some Les Pauls or similar. It'll be easier than getting those darker fatter tones out of typical Fenders
 
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