Strat vs Tele

Strat vs Tele

It does seem that you are either a Strat man or a Tele man! Both made by the same legendary company and heard on millions or records and stages the world over the debate over which is best will go on forever!

So you’re looking to buy an electric guitar, you’ve narrowed it down to a Fender-style model, the big question you find yourself asking is ‘Should I buy a Strat or a Tele?

Strat vs of the great guitar debates over the years. Each guitar has it’s diehard fans, each arguing that their choice is the best. So which is it to be? Which one of these iconic guitar designs is the greatest?

Unfortunately, it would seem there’s no straight answer to this as each guitar is great in its own right. What we can do, however, is look at the differences and similarities between the two and try to guide you towards making your own decision.

So how do they differ?

Launched as the Broadcaster in 1950, the Tele was one of the very first commercially available solid-body electric guitars. Featuring a body made from a slab of Ash bolted to a Maple neck and fitted with a pair of single coil pickups, it was a simple, no frills design that delivered a great sound. This combo of great tone, simplicity and a relatively low price, made it such a popular guitar with a wide range of players- a fact that is still true today. 

The Strat was introduced by Fender in 1954, four years after the Tele. Originally touted as an upgrade from the Telecaster, it has gone on to even bigger iconic status than its stablemate.

Featuring a sleeker, curvier body than the Tele, with ‘comfort contours’ for the forearm and stomach, it was a comfier guitar to play. The extra cutaway on the bass side allowed even greater access to the upper frets whilst giving the Strat a whole new ‘space age’ look.

Sonically, the Strat, with its extra pickup, was able to offer a wider range of tones. Coupled to a 5 way selector switch (over the Tele’s 3 way), it was able to deliver more subtle ‘in between’ tones using different combinations of pickups. One major difference was the inclusion of a tremolo bridge on the Strat. This allowed the player to add anything from mild vibrato to full-on ‘dive-bombing’ depending on playing styles. 

So, if the Strat was so good, why would anyone still want a Tele?

Since their introduction over 60 years ago, both guitars have remained firm favourites in the Fender catalogue - unusual considering one model, on paper at least, offers so much more.

The key to their longevity is due to the fact that whilst there are many similarities, each model still delivers things that the other cannot. 

The Tele, with its ‘string through body’ design delivers a tight, punchy tone making it ideal for country players seeking a bright guitar with loads of ‘twang’. Conversely, the Telecaster also appeals to punk rockers who love it for its powerful, biting tone and simple, no frills aesthetic.

The Strat, on the other hand, with its more refined, smoother tone, makes for a great blues guitar - its neck pickup in particular being a firm favourite of a certain Mr Clapton. Alternatively, with a humbucking pickup in the bridge position, it becomes a hugely versatile rock guitar capable of covering pretty much any musical genre.

These days, there is a bigger range of Strats and Teles available than ever before with models and specifications to suit every budget and playing style. The line between Strat and Tele has never been more blurred and therefore deciding which is greatest is almost irrelevant. What needs to be decided, however, if which is the best choice for you, as a player, that meets your needs for the music you want to play.

If you’re undecided, try both Strats and Teles- you may surprise yourself!

We always have a wide selection of Stratocasters and Telecasters in stock ranging from the Squier Affinity series right through to USA made instruments. Please call us on 01279 432900 or pay a visit to our Harlow Store to try some out for yourself!


15th January 2014
Fender Shop Fender


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