Difference between a strat and Tele sound?

richardhbrichardhb Posts: 42Member
edited March 2017 in Guitar Chat
Can anyone tell me the main difference between a Fender strat and a Fender Tele in sound?

I see the Strat has 3 pick ups and the tele two.

The Tele looks a little less flash, and more solid but I've never touched one before?

Just interested, thanks.


  • Mark 123Mark 123 Posts: 121Member
    Hi Richard,

    Best way of checking the difference is to go play one! I suppose the easiest way of defining the difference is that a tele has a 'brighter' tone (particularly the bridge pickup) than the strat.

    Some would say that a tele is more diverse; despite having fewer switching options, it can be used in pretty much any type of music, whereas a strat is more yer rock, blues style guitar.

    Having said that, it's all subjective, there are no rules, it boils down to what you prefer. I do believe that every guitarist should own a telecaster (picking mine up on Friday, thanks!).

  • atomheartatomheart Posts: 39Member
    "I see the Strat has 3 pick ups and the tele two."

    That was the original spec in the fifties, but since then Fender has come out with many variations on both, e.g. telecaster with two humbuckers, strat with humbucker in the bridge and two SCs, strat with three stacked humbuckers, strat without middle pickup, etc. And we're talking about stock models, if we take into account all the possible aftermarket mods with all kinds of booster circuits, active electronics, you can shape the tone of both to your liking...
  • atomheartatomheart Posts: 39Member
    And the same goes for the other components, i.e. there are strats with fixed bridges and you can install tremolos on telecasters...
  • BuzzwagonBuzzwagon Posts: 143Member
     Originally Posted By: richardhb
    Can anyone tell me the main difference between a Fender strat and a Fender Tele in sound?

    I see the Strat has 3 pick ups and the tele two.

    The Tele looks a little less flash, and more solid but I've never touched one before?

    Just interested, thanks.

    What a can of worms you've opened with this Richard!
    Both are brilliant guitars, I've got 2 Tele's and a Strat.

    The Telecaster was Leo Fenders first guitar, (the Broadcaster, which was the forerunner of the Tele is pretty much the same guitar, I believe Gretsch had copyrighted the name Broadcaster and Fender changed the name to Telecaster).
    Leo was an engineer and felt he could improve and came up with the Strat. He talked to and listened to musicians to finalise his designs, (smart man was Leo).

    I would guess that the "classic" Strat sounds that most people would be able to identify would be stuff like Mark Knopfler from his Dire Straits days, or Pink Floyds Dave Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan. As another poster has said, the Strat is really known as a rock / blues guitar but in truth is equally capable in pretty much any genre.

    The "classic" Tele sound would be a country sound, people talk about the Tele twang. Listen to early Albert Lee, James Burton, Danny Gatton, Ray Flacke, Ricky Skaggs. But saying that the Tele is a great blues guitar too, listen to Roy Buchanan or Albert Collins.

    As I said earlier both are superb guitars and I wouldn't be without mine. Try then both and see what you think.

    It's also worth bearing mind that Fender don't only made the Strat and Tele, as well as decent bass's and acoustics they also make the Mustang, Jazzmaster, Jaguar and Jagmaster electric guitars.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Tele neck pickup is better for jazz lol - for me it does win the versatility contest. I have one of each - both classic designs, wouldn't want to be without either. There is something very charming about the tele, but IMO the strat is still the most beautiful looking guitar design ever.
  • voxrolandvoxroland Posts: 189Member
    i have a few of each but my 2 favourite are my telecaster+ with a lace sensor humbucker in the neck the thing contradicts what most teles are about as it growls like hell. and my fave strat is my (not the collectors favourite but certainly mine)'76 hardtail strat which again has the low end punch that i look for.

    the neck is smoother on the tele but its easier to reach the ''dusty end'' on the strat, but the tele oozes charm, but the strat is battle ready, and il always love.... THEM BOTH !! and thats what you have started with this thread !

    best thing to do would be to try them out for your self and see which fits the bill. bear in mind these days you can pretty much alter a guitars tone to wherever you want to be any way. its not something i would personally do but i know a few of the lads here use modelling gear and the likes.

    another thing to consider when weighing up a fender purchase is they come in different nationalities !! literally ! most likely you will pay most for an american, less for a japanese and least for a mexican. theres a reason for this of course. i would only ever buy american because i am sad like that. but the others tend to still be good guitars just made with different grade woods, not as nicely finished and poorer quality components. having said that to a novice i dont think they could tell without checking the headstock. or if you just like the shape of these two beautiful guitars you could buy a non-fender one. or sample the budget line SQUIRE which is licenced by fender and considerably easier on the wallet, but again, if you look you can get an absolute cracker ! the squires come in all models and specs as per their big brothers.

    hope this helps
  • atomheartatomheart Posts: 39Member
     Originally Posted By: voxroland
    and least for a mexican.

    How about chinese: http://www.fender.com/en-HU/products/modernplayer/search.php
  • voxrolandvoxroland Posts: 189Member
    didnt know they did a chinese !! my nephew wants strat hmmmm.... !!
    thanks for that !
  • richardhbrichardhb Posts: 42Member
    By pure luck it was the Strat my wife brought for me. I say that because blues/rock is my prefered music. Thanks for the help very interesting.
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