As my very small but hopefully loyal readership knows by now, I believe there are five essential types of guitar I ‘need’, The Guitarchetypes. Two of which I already own; an acoustic and a Strat. That leaves the Telecaster, Les Paul and ES335 as the potential candidates as The Next Thing.
I miss my Strat a lot and although I have a solid body electric travel guitar, when I am messing about with GarageBand, I really miss the strat. But I’ve already got one of those. So it has to be one of the other three.
I love Les Pauls, but rightly or wrongly, I see them as a lead instrument, or as a hard-rock riff machine. The domain of aspiring Pages or Bonamassas. I see myself more as a rhythm player, an accompanist.
So that leaves the Telecaster and the Gibson ES335 types. I think I can get a broader range of tones from a Tele than an ES335. Semi-hollow guitars also start at a higher price bracket than solid bodies, so I think I might also get better value out of a Tele. There’s also a lot more to go wrong on an ES335 compared to a Tele, so the risk of getting a lemon might be higher.
There may be Gibsons (or more likely Epiphones) in my future, but I think next it’s a Tele.
Of course that doesn’t narrow it down much. The range of possibilities within the overall Telecaster class of guitar are bewildering. So that’s the next step, to try and work out what kind of Tele I want to get. For one reason and another, our family’s finances are somewhat more restricted this year, so I have no idea even what the budget is going to be. But I know what I’d like, ideally
- Maple fretboard. For some reason– and this is something I have always felt really strongly about– Teles and Strats just look better with maple fret-boards. I broke this rule once, 18 years ago when I got my Strat with rosewood fretboard, just because I liked that particular guitar so much, but this time it has to be maple
- Traditional pick-up arrangement. The chrome covered single coil neck pick-up and the open single coil set at that rakish angle for the bridge. Although I am quite tempted by a humbucker neck pickup per Keith Richards. But maybe that’s a mod I could do myself down the line if I feel like it
- Butterscotch blonde and a black or tortoiseshell pickguard would be great, but I have also seen nice sunburst guitars, natural finish etc.
- Solid body. None of this thinline nonsense.
I am pretty open minded on what kind of wood for the body, although ash would be nice. Ideally I’d like it to be American made and have Fender on the headstock as opposed to Squier or some other brand, but that’s secondary to finding the guitar that feels right, sounds right and looks right. I also suspect that an Californian made Fender may be beyond my budget.
So there you go, the next step is to work out what kind of Tele might be right for me. That’s where it’s likely to get really geeky…