Fender Strat And Telecaster
I got myself a new guitar, a Strat, Purple, like Eric Clapton's Strat. However, my Strat is not an Eric Clapton Model, but it's still a great guitar. I love it so much. After I bought a Strat, this article Emerged. I think it would be of interest to guitar players. The Article is longer than I would have liked, but it kind of wrote itself...
The Fender Strat and Telecaster
The Fender Guitar has been a big seller for over 50 years. The Telecaster was the first big seller, then Fender Brought out a more deluxe model Guitar, the Stratocaster. The Stratocaster is now the largest selling Fender.
Does everyone prefer the Stratocaster over the Telecaster? No, many people still prefer the Fender Telecaster. The two Guitars definitely have a different feel and sound and there are those who would not give up their Telecaster for the most expensive Stratocaster.
There is as much difference as daylight and darkness when it comes to both the feel and sound of the Telecaster and Stratocaster. I never new this was so until I purchased a Strat, took it home and started playing my music. You cannot tell that much difference in the two guitars when you are just trying them out in the Music Store. You must get into your own music in a big way before the difference is brought home to you.
The Strat has a five way tone switch which gives you a big variety of tonal qualities. The standard Telecaster has a three way tone switch. The Strat and Tele both have their own distinct personality when it comes to the tonal qualities. And the necks of both the Tele and Strat have their own distinct feel. You tend to play a different music on each Guitar. The personality of each Guitar inspires the guitarists to play an almost entirely different kind of music. This came as an incredible surprise to me when I started playing my new Fender Stratocaster.
The Fender Tele was, and still is, preferred by many Country Guitarists. Jimmie Bryant used the Tele back in the early to mid 50s to record some great Western Swing Guitar with Steel Guitarist Speedy West. Jimmie Bryant did not use the Tele Twang Sound. He used a sound that was closer to what the Jazz Guitarist were getting on most recordings, yet the sound of Jimmie Bryant was still quite different to the Jazz Sound that was achieved by most Jazz Guitarist using their Gibson Hollow Body Guitars. Needless to say, Jimmie Bryant got excellent tone quality because he is a Master of the Guitar.
Buck Owens Lead Guitar Player Don Rich, got the Twang that the Tele is so well known for. No doubt Don Rich use the rear pickup to get the Buck Owens sound. Buck Owens used a Telecaster to play backup for the Popular Tommy Collins Recordings in the 50s. The sound that Buck Owens achieved as a backup guitarist for Tommy Collins was really unique and many Guitar players went out and bought a Tele after listening to the Guitar of Buck Owens on the Tommy Collins Recordings.
I would think that the Telecaster was used on more Country Music Recordings in the 60s than any other Guitar. The tone of the Telecaster is a full sound that can be adjusted to get a sweet tone, or a very twangy tone. The Telecaster Sound is very Unique and preferred by many Country, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock Musicians.
The Stratocaster, as well as the Telecaster has been used by many Country Music Backup Guitarist. The Strat is now famous because it is used by Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn Played a Strat, Bonnie Raitt, Jimi Hendrix, and many more great guitarist prefer the Fender Strat over any other Electric Guitar. The list of Sratocaster Players is very impressive. And Fender produces Signature Stratocasters bearing these famous names.
Stevie Ray Vaughn
So there can be little wonder why the Stratocaster is a big selling Guitar. It's like the Who's Who of Guitar Players play the Fender Stratocaster.
When I got home with my new Strat and started playing, I discovered how different the sound and feel of the Strat is, when compared to the Tele. I love the sounds you can get from a Strat, but I miss the Telecaster Sound. I owned a Telecaster for many years and I suppose I just came to love the sound and feel of the Guitar. I bought a Strat because I thought it would sound and play much like the Telecaster, only better. That is not true at all. Both Guitars have their own distinct personality. The Tele and Strat are so different in both sound and feel that one would think they were made by two different Guitar Companies.
I think there are those who prefer the Tele over the Strat and others who prefer the Strat over the Tele. It's a matter of personal preference. The two Guitars are as different as night and day.
It is actually very difficult to put into words the difference in both sound and feel of the Tele and Strat. One must experience both guitars to actually know the difference.
Muddy Waters plays a Tele, as do many other of the great rhythm and blues players. In the Country Music Genre the list of famous Singers and Guitar players who play Fender Telecasters is like the "Who's Who" of Country Music. Buck Owens, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard all play Fender Telecasters and Guitar Genius Jerry Reed Played a Fender Telecaster in the first 15 years of his Nashville Music Career; I'm sure Jerry Reed Still has his Original Telecaster that was used on many Nashville Studio Sessions. I was actually shocked to see many country Singers using a Telecaster, rather than the traditional Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar. However, when recording with a Telecaster I found that one could get a wonderful Rhythm Guitar sound from the Telecaster, a sound that I have not been able to achieve with the new Strat I just purchased.
I tend to think of the Tele Sound as being more Traditional, and yet when the Tele came on the Scene near 50 years ago, it's sound was anything but Traditional. The Strat did take the Electric Guitar to new ground. The sound of the Strat definitely allows you to get some really unique, and great sounds.
I would actually like to own both a Strat and a Tele. On some of the music I play I would use the Strat, on other music I would use the Tele. I love the sound of both guitars.
The Fender Guitar Company offers a huge variety in their Guitar Models. Both the Telecaster and the Stratocaster offers many different series, and many models within each series.
There are many models of both Telecaster and Stratocaster. And each Guitar feels and sounds a little different. Fender offers many combinations of pickups on both models of Guitars. And in both Telecaster and Stratocaster, there are many different Necks and Finger Boards. One has to do a lot of playing of many different Fender guitars to find the sound, the neck and finger board of the Guitar they like best. In the first days of Fender, there was one neck for the Tele, and one neck for the Strat; that is no longer true.
Fender Guitar offers a custom Guitar building service where you can order a Guitar with exactly the kind of neck, body, and pickups that you want. The Guitar Company even offers to let you have your new Fender be a hand built Guitar.
A Guitar player must try out many Fender Guitars to discover which one they prefer, for there are so many different Necks, finger boards, and pickup configurations. It's not as simple as trying out a Telecaster or a Stratocaster since there are so many models. However, you might go into a store, try a certain model and say this one is for me. Or you might want to play many of the models to see which one you really like the best. I would advise you to go to a Musical Instruments Shop that stocks a great number of Fender Guitars so you can try out the many different models.
I found that Fender put what seemed to be a solid maple neck on certain models of both the Telecaster and the Strat. When I played a Fender with this type of neck, on both the Tele and the Strat, I got a very pure sound with good sustain, and I liked this sound best in both models of Fender. The shape of the neck was definitely different to the other Fender Guitar Necks.
There are so many choices in necks, finger boards, and pickup configurations on the Fender Guitars of today, that it takes much time to decide on what is best for you. I would recommend that you purchase your Fender Guitar from a music store that allows you to bring the Guitar back if you don't like it once you get the Guitar home and play it under your normal playing conditions.
I have discovered that I like both sound of the Tele and the Strat. Wouldn't it be nice to get both sounds from one Guitar? Well you can get a Tele with the regular Tele Pickups and one Strat pickup. The Nashville Tele has a Tex Mex Strat Pickup sandwiched between the two Tele Pickups. And you can get A Fender/Fishman Power Bridge for that Electric Acoustic Sound; how about that for bells and whistles, you would effectively have three types of guitars in one the same body.
The choices are great. We are all individuals and have our own preferences in guitars. The Fender Guitar Company is trying to cater to everyone's individual needs in a Guitar. The Fender Guitar Company now owns Guild Guitar and the DeArmond Guitar Company, along with the Sun Guitar Amplifier Company. They offer about anything one could want in Guitars. Fender Guitar even offers Classical Guitars for those who want this type of instrument.
As far as the prices of the Telecaster and Stratocaster go, the prices range from $139.95 for a Squier Tele and $200 for a Squier to near $2000 for the most deluxe models of Fenders. The low cost Fender play and sound great. The expensive Fender play and sound even greater, and the woods and hardware are near unbelievable. The expensive and inexpensive Fenders are all beautiful.
Check out the Fender Web Site:
You can spend days on this Web Site. Or you might find what you want the first time you visit the site. It is a well laid out Web Site with the information you would want on Fender Guitars and Amps.
So whether you prefer the Fender Strat or Tele, you have a wide variety of choices from Fender. Get the Guitar you want and play your great music.
By The Guitar Man (Robert Lee Johnson)
Reposted from Guitar News Weekly Edition #83, March 27, 2000
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