Best Telecaster Alternatives Guide

The Fender Telecaster is one of the world’s most iconic guitar designs. Around since the early ‘50s, this distinctive model has been heard on countless recordings - and of course used by hundreds of renowned guitar players!

But sometimes, it can be nice to own something that has a slightly more unique character. In this guide, we’ve highlighted some of the best Telecaster alternatives available on the market today.

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Written by

Elliot Stent

Introduction

The typical Fender Telecaster is well-known for its vibrant and spanky sound. Its unmistakable tone can be attributed to two major aspects of its design; a bolt-on construction and bright-sounding single-coil pickups.

There are a few aesthetic elements that make the Tele recognisable too. Boasting a singlecut shape, an elegant headstock design and an ashtray-style bridge, the Telecaster is adored for its looks just as much as its tones.

Over the years, however, many other guitar brands have taken inspiration from the qualities of the Telecaster. Producing their own models that are stylistically similar, we’ve compiled a list that includes some of the best Telecaster alternatives that we could think of. Not only that, but we’ve also cherry-picked which particular guitars are best for certain genres. Let’s begin!

Many guitars are suitable for blues, and the Telecaster is definitely among them. For this genre, we believe that a Tele alternative that carries a little bit of old-school charm will dish out some truly nostalgic tones. Vintage-voiced pickups will help to keep it traditional from a tonal perspective, while a conventional bolt-on construction will ensure that signature snap.

The EastCoast GT100 is a fantastic option, capturing the spirit of the original Telecaster but at an incredibly affordable price-point. Featuring a curvier body shape, the GT100 has all of the essential features that scream ‘Tele’, including two single-coils and an ashtray bridge with 3 saddles. Instead of an Alder body like most Telecasters however, the GT100 features a Poplar body that is lightweight yet resonant, allowing you to get smooth creamy tones if you wish.

The G&L ASAT Bluesboy guitars are definitely made for this genre, as their names suggest! Featuring warm-sounding neck humbuckers, you can attain thick-sounding lead tones while still having the flexibility to switch to their bridge single-coils for that classic Tele twang.

EastCoast GT100 on Andertons T.V.

Much like in the previous section, for funk or country you'd want a Telecaster alternative that is more in-keeping with the standard design. This is so that you have a guitar that projects plenty of top-end bite, with pickups that have a slightly compressed quality; lending themselves well to these styles.

While the Eastcoast GT100 would be a great option once more, Chapman’s ML3 Traditional models are also solid choices. With all of the electronics and hardware in the right places, the Standard versions sport gorgeous Flamed Maple veneer tops while the Pro iterations feature carved tops for extra playing comfort.

Chapman ML3 Traditional on Andertons T.V.

Rock is a staple of the guitarist repertoire. Therefore, if you’re after an alt-Tele, it's important to own one that can handle some overdrive, while sounding chimey and articulate with clean amp settings.

Reverend’s "Buckshot models are highly-regarded for rock, featuring hotter pickups than you’d typically find in a Telecaster. With other noteworthy features, including a roasted neck for improved stability and a Korina body for deeper lows and enhanced harmonics, they’re worthy contenders!

The G&L ASAT range is also worth a shout. Their ASAT Classic models feature the company’s innovative MFD pickups, which feature ceramic magnets and adjustable pole pieces that deliver a warmer and more balanced sound respectively. The ASAT Special comes with a pair of punchy P90s instead, ideally voiced for some gnarly distortion!

G&L ASAT Guitars on Andertons T.V.

While the pokey tones of the classic Tele makes it a popular instrument for genres such as country and funk, the Telecaster has also been used in heavier styles too. With the likes of John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Solo) and Jim Root (Slipknot) relying on their signature Fender Teles for brutal tones, there are plenty of other options on offer from different manufacturers.

With most modern alternatives fitted with humbuckers, slim necks and jumbo frets, even shredders can feel comfortable playing a Tele! Brands such as Chapman, Ibanez, Charvel and Schecter produce a number of high-quality Tele derivatives, encompassing many of these contemporary features. Able to take copious amounts of high-gain, you should definitely consider one of these if you’re after a high-performance workhorse.

Chapman ML3 Modern Official Demo

Want to know more?

If you'd like to learn more about the guitars featured in this article, please don't hesitate to get in touch - we've got a full-time team of friendly, knowledgeable gear nerds who can answer any query you may have!

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