Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fender Telecaster Custom

As you can tell by many of the other posts, I like Telecasters. They are my favorite electric guitar of all time. But when it comes right down to it, Telecasters can sometimes sound a little on the thin side. Of course it can all depend on the rest of your rig. I had a late '60s Inca Silver Telecaster that I really liked that sounded less than beefy and I always used a Boss EQ pedal with it and it really sounded sweet. But there always seems to be this desire to kick it up a notch and the notch isn't there. That's when I bought a Telecaster Custom.

The first one I bought was about 12 years ago and it was when they first reissued them from Japan. I got one and it was fantastic. Nice beefy sound with the neck humbucker and still able to capture that signature Tele sound in the bridge. In fact, when my band at the time was lucky enough to open up for Cheap Trick, it was the guitar that made it on stage with me. But finances dictated that it be sold, and I've always wanted another one.

A couple of years ago a guy I play music with regularly bought one of the newer Tele Customs that are now being made in Mexico. I've never been too keen on the Mexico models to be honest, but when I played his it made me think that maybe I was just being silly about where it was made and I should worry more about how it feels and sounds. I got some money together and started watching eBay and Craig's List. A couple of weeks later a black Custom popped up on eBay at a really reasonable price and I put it on my watch list. My watch list is usually filled with things I will never own...never even consider bidding on. But things I think are cool or items that are similar to something I own and I want to monitor the value. When there was only one day left on the auction I was surprised to see it was still only at about $205. I kept waiting for it to go up. When it didn't I thought maybe I had better read the listing again.

Maybe I missed the part where it said the truss rod was broken or the pickups were backwards or the neck had been broken and repaired with glitter glue.

Nope. It all looked straight forward. I decided to do a little test bid with about 5 hours to go and entered $235. Surprisingly I had the high bid at only $227.50. And guess what? No one ever outbid me. Shock and awe.

I kept waiting for the guitar to show up and have some sort of major problem. This was a little confusing. What was wrong with it? It finally arrived and it was in great shape. It had a few scratches and nicks, just as described, but nothing else. It was sweet. Sounded good...not great...but definitely good. Really good for less than $230. Unfortunately I had no opportunities to play it on stage or even in a rehearsal room with the volume up. The entire time I owned it, which was a little more than a year, I only got to play it at low volumes or for recording. I had picked up an Epiphone Crestwood along the way and, when I needed to buy some drum gear for my acoustic group I had to decide...which electric to keep. The Telecaster was going to bring me more money and the Crestwood is definitely a good sounding guitar. So, the Telecaster went back on eBay and sold for nearly double what I paid for it.

So, as fake Senatorial candidate Tim Calhoun would say, "In conclusion and in summary..." this was a great guitar and I would (and probably will) own another one some day. Maybe, if finances allow, I'll get a nice vintage version instead of a MIM model. I'd be more than happy with a Japanese model though.


Mick said...

Glad to hear you comments on Tele's. I've always loved them but think of them for more country type of stuff with that famous twang. Great looking guitars and I know the US and Japanese models are very well made.. good to know the Mexi's are better too!

Jaimie Muehlhausen said...

Mexi's are definitely better than they used to be. I've played a few really nice ones in fact. But I'm a sucker for the Japanese models. Something about the way they feel right. The Tele I'm really interested in right now is a '52 Hot Rod Telecaster...comes with a Seymour Duncan mini humbucker in the neck and I'm thinking it what I've always wanted. Of course, that's the problem...and the reason I have so many of these stories.

Thanks for the comment!

tom.stephenson said...

Hi Jaime,

As a Tele Custom enthusiast I wondered if you could help me - I purchased a second hand Custom Shop Fender Telecaster Custom, the guitar has serial number of jd266 and Jason Davis signature - it has a very highly figured bird's eye neck and a dummy 3 bolt neck with 4 bolts behind it - have you ever heard of Custom Shop reissues or is this a master built guitar some tele fan once? commissioned - I can email you pics if you wish?
Kind regards

Tom -UK

Jaimie Muehlhausen said...

I don't know much about the Custom Shop, so I asked Adrian Demain, who runs the electric guitar department at Buffalo Brothers in Carlsbad, CA and sells a LOT of Custom Shop guitars. He says:

"Hhhhmmmm....never seen anything lilke that. To me it sounds like a one-off masterbuilt custom order, especially with the 3-bolt facade thing. There's a slight chance that they offered a limited run, but it sounds too specific to me. Whatever the case it was probably expensive!"

tomajoha said...

This guitar is now for sale if you know anyone how is interested?
Kind Regards

bluesman said...

Check out this special 1975 Tele Custom with everything original but the finish and Bigsby. you can also listen to it !