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Craka

Stratocaster and Tele difference

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What is the difference between stratocaster and telecaster. From what I've read it is to do with the pickup being a humbucker, whatever that is ?

Is there a difference in the quality of sound between the two and is a huge difference?

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There's no difference in the quality of sound. There is a huge difference in the type of sound. Want a well known example of telecaster sound? Listen to "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash. Want an example of a Stratocaster? Listen to Eric Clapton or Bonnie Raitt.

And no, a Stratocaster does not necessarily come with a humbucker, that's not the difference at all. A Strat can come with one humbucker in addition to two single coil pickups, but is most commonly three single coil pickups. A telecaster usually has two single coil pickups but can also have one single coil and one humbucker, and for that reason plus body shape sounds different from a Stratocaster with 3 single coil pickups, also I believe a Telecaster's pickups are made to sound a little brighter than the single-coils used on a Strat (not all single-coil pickups sound alike, and not all humbuckers sound alike). A Tele with one humbucker and one single coil sounds different from a Tele with two single coils. A Strat with 3 single coil pickups sounds different from a Strat with a humbucker and two single coils. A Tele of any kind sounds different from a Strat of any kind, but neither of these is "better".

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Neither the standard Strat or Tele comes with a humbucker pickup. But either can be bought in a model configuration that has a humbucker.

- A standard Strat comes with 3 single coil pups, and a Tele comes with 2 single coil pups. The Strat has a 5 position switch for selecting the 3 pups alone or neck/middle and bridge middle combination. The Tele comes with a 3 position switch for neck, bridge, or neck and bridge.

- The Strat has 3 controls knobs for volume, bass, and treble. The Tele has 2 for volume and tone.

- The Strat has a double cutaway body and the Tele has a single cutaway body.

- The Strat has a whammy bar and the Tele doesn't.

- The Tele has a more twangy tone characteristic of country, and the Strat has more tonal options due to the 5 way pup configuration.

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Both are very versatile guitars and have been used in just about any genre of guitar music you can think of, but have differences as Fly and Sentry outlined above. The Telecaster is primarily thought of as a "country" guitar, but it is used quite extensively in rock also - Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders); Tom Petty & Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers); Keith Richards (Rolling Stones); John 5 (Marilyn Manson); Joe Strummer (Clash); Sheryl Crow; Jeff Beck; Bruce Springsteen, etc. Jimmy Page played a Tele while in the Yardbirds, as well as on most of Led Zeppelin I and II - in fact, the solo in "Stairway to Heaven" was played on a Tele!

Of course, the Strat is very popular and versatile also. To name all of the guitarists who have played Stratocasters would take up pages! A few famous ones are David Gilmour (Pink Floyd); Jimi Hendrix; Eric Clapton; Eddie Van Halen; Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits); Dick Dale; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Rory Gallagher, etc.

You can buy both Strat and Tele models with either single-coil or humbucker (dual-coil) pickups, or a combination of both. As Sentry said, there is no difference in the "quality" of sound, but they do sound different from each other. A Strat with humbuckers won't sound like a Strat with single-coils, a Tele with single-coils won't sound like a Strat with single coils, etc.

The truly distinctive sound of a Strat that sets it apart from other guitars is the "quack" tone in positions 2 and 4 on the pickup switch. The truly distinctive sound of the Tele that sets it apart from other guitars is the "twang" and/or "bite" you can get on the bridge pickup. While you can get a wide range of sounds from either guitar, those are the unique tones from each that are difficult to reproduce on other guitars.

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Of course there's a trap listening to music and trying to buy a guitar to get the same sound. There's always the amps and pedals which alter the sound from the way the guitar sounds initially.

Craka needs a guitar to learn on, and I hope he doesn't mortgage the house to get an expensive one. Since he's a beginner it might be appropriate for him to look at and listen to a selection of guitars and get an attractive one to learn on. There's no particular type or style which is better than the rest, and the sound should be what pleases him now. We all know he'll buy a few more as time goes on.

I notice some schools use the Yamaha Pacifica for their students. Seems fairly well put together for the money. Maybe forum members know of others which he could buy confidently to get him started on his music journey.

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Of course there's a trap listening to music and trying to buy a guitar to get the same sound. There's always the amps and pedals which alter the sound from the way the guitar sounds initially...

Not to mention each individual player's technique. The old "tone is in the fingers" thing. For example, if you played Dire Straits' music on Knopfler's Strat through his amp and pedals, but used a pick instead of your fingers, you wouldn't sound like him because he uses his fingers to pick, strum, mute, snap and pop his strings. Flatpicking won't yield those same sounds no matter what rig you're playing.

...I notice some schools use the Yamaha Pacifica for their students. Seems fairly well put together for the money. Maybe forum members know of others which he could buy confidently to get him started on his music journey.

The Yamaha Pacifica seems to be a very decent guitar. In addition to the other usual "budget guitar" recommendations of Squier and/or Fender MIM (Made in Mexico), I'd also strongly suggest looking at Rondo's SX Series guitars....these are very inexpensive, but have been getting very favorable reviews. They definitely seem to be a huge step up from comparably-priced "department store" starter guitars, which are often cheesy plywood junk.

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What difference does the wood of the body make to the sound. I read that the top of the tree (ha ha) is alder, then ash then others, but that by some ash is preferred? How does the body material make a difference to an electrically generated sound.

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How does the body material make a difference to an electrically generated sound.

There are some musicians whose ears are so sensitive that they can tell what timber is used for an electric guitar body. Probably also tell you the brand of the paint and the colour as well just by listening. Could possibly also tell you the brand of strings. I can't so I'm very envious.

The most important consideration about timber for most mortals is the weight, and knowing that quality timber won't change shape.

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What difference does the wood of the body make to the sound. I read that the top of the tree (ha ha) is alder, then ash then others, but that by some ash is preferred? How does the body material make a difference to an electrically generated sound.

As I've written in other threads, I'll offer my humble opinion that for most people, the body wood on an electric guitar will make very little, if any noticeable difference - especially to a beginner (as long as we're staying within the boundaries of traditional guitar "tone woods" such as alder, ash, poplar, basswood, etc.)

There was a very interesting thread on another board a while back where a member built a guitar, recorded a sound clip of it being played, then asked other members to guess what kind of wood it was made of. There were a lot of guesses made, some guessing that it was oak, teak or other exotic tonewoods. Several commented on its lovely tone and never-ending sustain.

It turned out that he had built the guitar body from MDF (medium density fibreboard, better known as "particle board")! He also violated nearly every other rule of "traditional" Telecaster wisdom - rectangular body, modern six-saddle top-loader bridge, single hot rails pickup, no volume/tone controls, etc.), yet it *still* sounded like a Tele!

The sound clip is here for reference, and here's a picture of his "masterpiece":

7579.attach

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Stratrat and Karcey, that is a lot of info. I have checked it all out and have to say that I would DEFINATELY have got MDF and single pick up, but nope, the no volume etc got away from me. The sight re timbers is wonderful. No, I dont need to know this, but I really love to know stuff like this. Thank you for your input. It was a serious question and I think the answer for me is to imagine that the guitar body is hollow steel, how will that affect the sound? Resonance. So all else is a matter of degree. Thanks again for taking it seriously. I will be back. Rgds Mike

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...It was a serious question and I think the answer for me is to imagine that the guitar body is hollow steel, how will that affect the sound?...

Funny you should ask - behold the Trussart "Steelcaster" - a Telecaster-style guitar with the body made entirely of steel! If you click on the other "Steel" links near the top of the page, you'll see several other steel-bodied varieties. YouTube appears to be down right now, but you can find several videos of people playing the "Steelcasters" to get an idea of what they sound like.

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I've got a Yamaha Pacifica, but it's not a standard one. I think it's a Mike Stern model. It's great. very versatile, reliable. Just perfect. Probably won't be able to find one of those though...

Also really great and really cheap was my Affinity Squier Tele I just bought. Awesome. I honestly find it easier to play than some American Teles. Another safe bet. If I had to only have one guitar, I'd be happy with it. :winkthumb::yes:

I also have a guitar made of plywood or MDF (not sure which, don't care) , and I have loved that thing for 16 years! It sounds like a real Strat, looks like a Strat. Still great.

Safest tonewood = Alder for bodies. Too many pitfalls with Ash, Agathis, etc.

Out of interest, some of the first Teles were made of pine, so heavy Ash isn't a must for Tele tone. In fact my Squier (Agathis/Alder) sounds more Tele-like than my Ash one.

I'd go into town, into a music shop, and try out a Vintage Vibe Squier Tele and a Vintage Vibe Squier Strat and go from there. You'll find a guitar you just gel with and that's what's important. I would not trade my old Strat copy for a 2008 Made in America Strat. Try em out and one will speak to you.

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Hello Stratrat. That is a coincidence. I see they only cost about 4 or 5k so its really just what colour to get. Would love to hear one and will check out you tube later. I agree too with noodler, though I have less authority, my Squier Strat is a really great guitar which cost me about 150 dollars new. More accomplished guitarists have tried it and been surprised too by its tone and action. (Their words, not mine).My real Strat is lovely too, I built it myself, but it cost a good deal more than that. Just need to learn to play better. My teacher has a specially wounding disdain for people who have all the toys but are short on ability.

Cheers, Mike

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I know - the Trussarts are way out of my price range too....just wanted to show you that it had been done. :D

I also have a Squier (actually, a couple of them - an Affinity Tele and a '51) and a Tele that I built myself. They're fine guitars, and there's nothing about them that interferes with my ability to play (that's all my own problem!). With any of them, the limitation is certainly the player (me), not the guitar!

I don't have a "wounding disdain" for anybody about their gear or ability. If you play $79 guitars through a solid-state kit amp and enjoy it, good for you. If you can afford vintage, collectible instruments and amps but can only play three chords, good for you....as long as you're having fun. Playing guitar and making music should be fun and enjoyable, not a competition.

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I don't have a "wounding disdain" for anybody about their gear or ability. If you play $79 guitars through a solid-state kit amp and enjoy it, good for you. If you can afford vintage, collectible instruments and amps but can only play three chords, good for you....as long as you're having fun. Playing guitar and making music should be fun and enjoyable, not a competition.

+1

Well said, thank you.

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Hey fellas, you guys just gave me a great idea. Maybe I should machine up a metal body. I can't imagine it to be solid. What about weight ?

Oh I just noticed that it was a hollow steel, super, stainless it is for back and sides, steel for top so it can rust.

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Hello again Stratrat and Karcy, the bloke who teaches me has a point. I dont mind having my feet nailed to the ground. Its healthy. I can talk all I want, but the music is the thing. I cannot buy that (I aint a millionaire by the way I am just older and less debt ridden than I was) and though I agree, enjoyment is the key, how much more enjoyable is music if you can actually make it, instead of just listening to it, mastering in air guitar and dreaming of being Eric. All points of view are valid, keep talking, I agree with everyone including, surprisingly, myself. Love to hear your points of view.

Best wishes all

Mike

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Mike, here's another angle which might bring a smile to the faces of those who get all crossed up about owning the best gear.

Imagine you hear someone play an instrument you don't know much about, say a trumpet for example. And imagine for a minute that the performance is impressive. If some other listener begins talking about the price of the trumpet you'll probably do what I'd do and say "The trumpet doesn't matter, it's what the musician can do with it that counts."

Our guitars are the same. Too many learners are pre-occupied with finding the best sounding guitar in the world without realising that ultimately it's their skill which will give them satisfaction or otherwise.

Don't discount the collectors. My friend collects stamps, but he doesn't do anything with them. I collect guitars, and only play some of them. Each to his own.

Thankfully on this forum we don't see much criticism, but we see a lot of members who try to give others the benefit of their own experience. Which is why we keep coming back. I daresay no-one ever has the only right answer, but the discussions around the questions are priceless.

Keep in touch

Karcey

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Hey fellas, you guys just gave me a great idea. Maybe I should machine up a metal body. I can't imagine it to be solid. What about weight ?

Oh I just noticed that it was a hollow steel, super, stainless it is for back and sides, steel for top so it can rust.

If you actually do that, man, you've got to share some pics!:yes:

My teacher has a specially wounding disdain for people who have all the toys but are short on ability.
My brother has the same opinion. "All the gear and no idea" he says. But he's usually talking about parents who buy their kids the most expensive of everything, motorbike-wise, if they are superbly untalented at racing. But you earned your money, right? I'd only cop that if it is actually honestly OK for your teacher to treat you with disdain. Nothing wrong with learning on a good guitar. Nothing wrong at all with that!
Too many learners are pre-occupied with finding the best sounding guitar in the world without realising that ultimately it's their skill which will give them satisfaction or otherwise.

Honestly, I bought my first acoustic 3rd hand from a Pawn Shop (a Korean Fender). I had no idea of what was available, since it was pre-internet, and I think that's why I was so happy with that one guitar. It had a matchstick at the nut to stop the strings buzzing, but I loved it.

Now there's so much choice, there is that feeling of , "There's got to be something just a little bit better out there..."

enjoyment is the key, how much more enjoyable is music if you can actually make it, instead of just listening to it, mastering in air guitar and dreaming of being Eric.

KISS said it perfectly, "You can work real hard or just fantasize, but you don't start living to you realise, God gave Rock and Roll to you." The fantasy is part of the fun. Even got to turn some of it into reality here and there. But yeah, if you want to play like Eric Clapton or Johnson, you proably have to lock yourself away in a room with records and listen over and over, be really anti-social, and practice heaps.

Last night I asked my teacher how long it should take me to get his (Clapton's) vibrato. He said, "depends how much you want it. I wanted it to happen really bad so I practiced day and night, non-stop." Guitar's like body-building in that way. ie If you want to show off (nothing wrong with that either, IMO), you've got to be prepared to sweat.

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Hi again. My birthday in a couple of hours and am a bit shabby. But, here is one I wanted to ask. Back to the topic. If you have a Strat and a Tele and you swap the pick ups from one to the other, do you still have a Strat and a Tele as far as the sound is concerned? I dont think its a daft question, but right now it might be.

All the best

Mike

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That's an interesting question and I hope it causes some friendly debate because I am interested in what others think on this.

I have a Nashville Tele that has a Strat pickup in the middle. I'll tell you some things for sure. Positions 2 and 4 (normally only availbale on a strat) are pretty strat-like. The middle position is strat-like too. But truth is, depending on the type of single coil pickup used, the neck pickup of a Tele can sound very strat-like anyway.

I'll make another point. A Tele is not a Tele. Let me explain. I went and bought my Nahville Tele thinking it would produce sounds like country, Albert King, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer, etc. But it doesn't work that way. I've just been researching Tele pickups and the variety is huuuuge in tone price, specs, etc. That's just in Tele pickups.

What makes a Tele sound like a Tele is the ashtray bridge, IMO. The metal in the bridge affects the magnetic field around the bridge pickup magnet. Also, it might involve the large area tranfering the energy of the string to the guitar. I have a Yamaha Pacifica with a bridge like that, and it is more "Tele" than my Fender Tele!

So I'm thinking you could put Tele pickups in a strat and visa versa, and you'd get a hybrid sort of tone. ie you'd get the characteristics of the pickup and the characteristics of the guitar, same as swapping out pickups like I'm doing now.

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Hi Noodler. You obviously know this area a hundred times better than I do, so no comment to make on your observations. Just to say that when I built my strat I found so much choice and so varied descriptions in pick ups that in the end I chose Lace chrome dome purely because they come with gold finish. I fully expect to have to change them when I get better and realise what it is that I do want but I cant see any way around that. Also, just with a tiny Roland cube amp, I can make my guitar sound a dozen different ways. Did you see the post about the MDF guitar? If you can do that , you can do anything. All the best.

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theres still lots i dont know. i was just researching because my bridge pup is so bad. most you can get used to, but not this one.

someone will post sooner or later what makes a tele bridge sc pup different to s strat one.

i hope you just like the lace ones and don't have to change.

for strat pups, if you're wealthy have a look at kinman woodstocks. sweet.

Baby down now! I don't even know for sure if I'll like the one's I've ordered. I hope so! I spent a lot of time listening to samples and reading numbers, etc. But the Tonequest article by Jason Lollar made sense to me. It didn't mean I went with Lollars, but it helped me choose what I liked. What I liked also happened to be the cheapest!

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