Compare Telecaster Guitars

Telecaster guitar

The Telecaster we know and love has been produced since the 1950's and today you can find many different variations on the classic spec, across a wide price range.

Simplistic and instantly recognisable, both in looks and sound, the Tele's lightweight, petite build yet boisterous twang has seen it closely rival another of Leo Fender's famous solid body creations - the Stratocaster.

Although not typically as versatile as the Strat, the Tele remains a firm favourite among many country, blues and rock players.

Here, we pit various Teles side by side to help you find the right one in your price range...

Compare higher-end Fender Telecasters...

See how the higher-end Teles compare to their budget counterparts...

If you're on a budget of $500 or less, see how the lower-end Teles compare...

Compare Teles with other styles, such as Stratocaster and Les Paul...

Top 5 Teles

The Big Boys

1. Fender American Deluxe

2. Fender American Vintage '52

3. Fender American Standard

4. Fender Nashville Deluxe

5.  Fender '72 Custom

Under $500

1. Squier Classic Vibe Custom

2. Squier Classic Vibe 50's

3. Fender Modern Player

4. Squier Standard

5. Squier Affinity

Telecaster guitar bodyClassic Tele body with 2 single coil pickups

What Makes a Telecaster Guitar?

The classic Telecaster has two single coil pickups with 3-way switching, volume and tone control, a slim, single-cutaway (typically alder) body, slim neck and a fixed bridge plate that engulfs the bridge pickup.

Teles are known for their distinctively bright and aggressive twang with sharp, percussive overtones. It cuts through the mix like no other and especially complements livelier picking and strumming techniques heard in country music (e.g. "chicken picking"), blues rock and edgier forms of rock (e.g. punk).

But to typecast the Telecaster would ignore its innovative use in many other styles, including jazz and even (albeit when heavily modified) heavy metal.

Rather than adapting naturally and seamlessly to different styles like the Strat or Les Paul, it has a striking ability to put a new twist on the music and instantly lift it to a whole new level. That's why people love the Tele!

The Standards and Premium Models

Many consider today's benchmark Tele to be the Fender Standard.

At the top end you have the American Standard, or MIA (made in America) Standard Telecaster, just over the $1k mark. But if that's too big a bite out of your hard earned, there's the Mexican (MIM) Standard at half the price of the USA model.

There are also premium models in the Deluxe, Custom and Vintage range that offer speciality pickups, premium materials such as ash and hardware and cosmetic upgrades to the Standard.

The American models are typically considered the highest quality, with more hands on craftsmanship and superior materials and quality control.

Squier Classic Vibe 50s TelecasterThe Squier Classic Vibe 50s Tele

Squier Teles

Squier, which is owned by Fender, offer budget versions of the Telecaster, including the highly acclaimed Classic Vibe series and their entry level Standard and Affinity models.

Thanks in part to Chinese and Indonesian manufacturing, most Squiers fall below the $500 mark, with many even considering the Classic Vibe as preferable to the Mexican Fender models.

The gap between Squier and Fender quality is narrower than you might think...

Modifications

Both Fender and Squier offer modified Telecaster models for more modern playing styles.

Examples include the Hot Rod and Nashville Tele with an extra middle pickup, SH and HH models which swap out the single coils for warmer sounding humbuckers and Thinline models that turn the Tele into a semi-hollow body with F-holes.

▲ Compare Telecaster Guitars