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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Telecasters / Considering an American Special Telecaster


United States

Nov 14th, 2018 10:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

Looking to play jazz on a Tele and am considering the American Special (price) but am not sure about the Texas Special single coil pups and greasebucket circuit. Thoughts?

American Special Telecaster

(This message was last edited by Dale6122jr at 12:51 AM, Nov 15th, 2018)

Contributing Member

Four feets

By eight feets
Nov 15th, 2018 08:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Sure, that will work great for any style of music.

For jazz, the amp you use is probably more important than the guitar--especially if you're going for a trad guitar tone.


United States

Nov 16th, 2018 06:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks, Peegoo. That said, I do have an American Special Strat. Both have Texas Special single coils. I'll still get a better jazz tone from the Tele, correct? I'm currently using a Blues Junior and a G-Dec 3 30.

Contributing Member

Four feets

By eight feets
Nov 16th, 2018 08:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'll qualify all of the below info by stating I'm not a jazz player. Heck, I'm barely a rock and roll player. But I'm a huge jazz fan and have been for a long time. I've also been a guitar tech for many years, and a huge part of that job is paying close attention to what players like and how they address their instruments.

"I'll still get a better jazz tone from the Tele, correct?"

Not necessarily. Jazz is more about technique than the instrument used to produce it. But why are Telecasters the choice of most jazz cats that play solid-body guitars?

Guys like Ted Green, Mike Stern, Ed Bickert, Jack Wilkins, Jim Campilongo and others chose Teles over Strats. Herb Ellis and Joe Pass used Teles in the studio quite a bit.

I think it has more to do with practicality and utility than it does jazz tone. Strats certainly can produce traditional jazzy tones all night long. But they have features that are not part of the jazz milieu, including a vibrato bridge, three pickups, and four controls.

A Tele is a more stripped-down and simple guitar.

I think it better relates to the organic nature of jazz. From compositional and execution perspectives the music might be complicated, but the equipment is traditionally quite basic. You rarely see a jazz guitarist tap dancing on a pedalboard and shaking a wigglestick doing dive bombs.

A Tele gets you more quickly to the music, with less gear tweakery. I think that's the big reason for choosing a Tele over a Strat when taking the A Train.


United States

Nov 16th, 2018 11:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks, Peegoo! The Tele seems to be the most popular for solid body jazz guitarists. Your comment about "Strats certainly can produce traditional jazzy tones all night long" makes me think I should stick to the strat and forego the tele. (Perhaps I'm just looking for an excuse to by a tele??)



Dec 10th, 2018 06:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

I got the Custom Shop Texas Specials in my 60th Anniversary Tele. Oh yeah lots of jazzy tones. Also have the 4 way switch mod.


Hamilton, Canada

Music is your only friend....
Jan 2nd, 2019 12:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think that the Tele neck pickup simply has a sound which lends itself to jass better than a Strat pickup/s.
It has its own round kind of sound. Then again, some folks play the bridge pickup and turn the tone down to zero or thereabouts, which gives another flavor. I'm highly partial to that neck pickup.



Jan 2nd, 2019 07:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, my AS Tele of late did the neck-pu jazz thing alright.

.02 with all due respect to and not to spoil the OT, por favor.

The actual Classic 50s Tele w/VN pus/flatwounds/sans tone pot has got a jazzy neck tone to die for, then.
Punchy rich, clear and vibrant, that outfit had me drop my jaw.
The (flatwound) Strat is holding up pretty well too, but, in short, just as Peegoo said. ;-)

Contributing Member

Head fulla lightning

and a hat fulla rain
Jan 2nd, 2019 08:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a CS '63 Tele that has lower-power but still girthy sounding pickups; the neck pickup gets real jazzy with the volume rolled back to about 8 and the tone around 5.


Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jan 2nd, 2019 10:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've referred to this vid before, but what the heck, I'll do it...



Hamilton, Canada

Music is your only friend....
Jan 2nd, 2019 10:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

Nice. That rosewood board probably lends a little to the right sound.

(I mean Mr. Peegoo's bluebox.)

(This message was last edited by mr.gibson at 03:06 PM, Jan 2nd, 2019)

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Telecasters / Considering an American Special Telecaster

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