The first Tele was available to the public in 1950, and this electric guitar model has been in continuous production ever since. That means finding a used Fender Telecaster online or off is easy. But is it a good idea to go used?
The Pros of Used Fender Teles
Teles are simple instruments, but the most elaborate models can cost well over a thousand dollars new -- and some cost more than two thousand. One of the best reasons to Fender Telecaster is price.
Depending on the model, you can find used Teles online for a few hundred dollars or less, sometimes 70 percent less than the new price of a similar model.
And since Teles are simply constructed, most models have very few parts that can fail. The ones that do can be easily fixed or replaced in most cases, so no matter who you purchase your used Telecaster from or how wrong the deal might go, there’s no such thing as a dud Tele. You can probably fix whatever is wrong with it.
Sometimes, previous owners make modifications to instruments that make them better than they were when they were new.
If you know what you’re doing and choose carefully, you could get a better-than-new sound because of improved pickups, a replacement bridge or electronic changes.
The Cons of Used Fender Telecasters
Of course, not all modifications improve an instrument.
If you don’t choose well, your so-called good deal could get you an instrument that doesn’t play well or doesn’t sound good -- and that you’ll have to spend more on it to put everything right.
Worse yet, an instrument could have been altered or damaged in ways that the seller didn’t reveal to you.
New Telecasters come with a Fender warranty, and in most cases, satisfaction guarantees and other assurances from the dealer who sells it to you.
Choosing a new Tele from a reputable dealer makes sure you’ll have a good buying experience even if you can’t get along with the instrument and must return it.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, of course, you have to decide for yourself whether a used Fender Tele is right for you.
Buying used means getting both the benefits and the hassles of someone else’s history with the instrument. Buying new means starting with a clean -- but some might say sterile -- slate.
Whether you decide to go new or used, it’s hard to go wrong with a Tele -- the simple, elegant and twangy electric guitar model that has satisfied and glorified thousands of players over the last six decades.
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