Can a Telecaster Play Metal?

Drew

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Almost never...
I love Strats for their neck single coil sound... but yeah, with the right pickup (some sound a lot thinner and more icepicky than others, the two that really sold me were the Suhr ML Standard bridge and the Fender Eric Johnson bridge) a Strat bridge pickup can sound great. I think SRV really worked his pickup selector a lot more than he's given credit for - if you listen closely to some of the solos on Texas Flood, there do seem to be a lot of points in the solos there where the tone shifts a little bit, here and there, and it's something I'd love to sit down some night and really dig into, but it's awfully tough to follow. :lol:
 

USMarine75

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I love Strats for their neck single coil sound... but yeah, with the right pickup (some sound a lot thinner and more icepicky than others, the two that really sold me were the Suhr ML Standard bridge and the Fender Eric Johnson bridge) a Strat bridge pickup can sound great. I think SRV really worked his pickup selector a lot more than he's given credit for - if you listen closely to some of the solos on Texas Flood, there do seem to be a lot of points in the solos there where the tone shifts a little bit, here and there, and it's something I'd love to sit down some night and really dig into, but it's awfully tough to follow. :lol:

Meanwhile I've been trying to keep up with players like Nick Johnston that seamlessly and frequently switch throughout lead lines.
 

littlebadboy

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Drew

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Meanwhile I've been trying to keep up with players like Nick Johnston that seamlessly and frequently switch throughout lead lines.
Yeah, that dude is nuts. :lol: Favorite new player I've discovered in the last few years.
 

mmr007

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It's time for this argument to go away. If it has pickups and a distortion pedal in it's signal path it can play metal. It is purely an aesthetic thing. If Nergal showed up on stage with this guitar you would swear his luggage got lost en route to the gig because so much of metal has an "evil" imagery attached. But if the musician starts with a strat or tele and their image is not dependant on all things black and pointy then there is no argument. It can metal.
 

littlebadboy

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It's time for this argument to go away. If it has pickups and a distortion pedal in it's signal path it can play metal. It is purely an aesthetic thing. If Nergal showed up on stage with this guitar you would swear his luggage got lost en route to the gig because so much of metal has an "evil" imagery attached. But if the musician starts with a strat or tele and their image is not dependant on all things black and pointy then there is no argument. It can metal.
That was what I was trying to achieve! Play the heaviest metal on a classic looking tele, butterscotch and maple fingerboard and all! I just changed the single bridge to a coil sized rail bucker though coz I couldn't make it roar the way I want. I showed it to some kids and they weren't interested in it. That guitar really rocked! But, the classic tele didn't have belly and arm cuts, I didn't like it digging into my ribs and rubbing on my forearm. I'll probably get a Kotzen tele someday.
 

Marked Man

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To me, a Tele has a traditional bridge and bridge single for the unmistakable Frosty sound. I don't worry as much about the neck pickup. I've seen set neck creations with ~Tele body shapes and hi-gain HH pickups, but......those are not Teles in my view.

I'm not a blues traditionalist by any means. I use my Teles in the spirit of MC5 (in terms of loud, twangy rock, I know they used several guitar types), Tom Morello, Jimmy Page, Jeff Buckley, and Syd Barrett. The Tele is basically a crude instrument compared to a Strat and certainly a Les Paul. The Tele simply can't help being rude and twangy, which is my favorite part....

Truth be told, Mr. Yngwie J. is the first one who convinced me that single coils could be used for metal, and the Tele came much later. I really love the sound of twangy singles being pushed very hard....

Modern metal on a Tele (meaning HBs) is of no interest to me, but to each his own.
 

Concerto412

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… ok now I’m genuinely curious, DID Hendrix have his switches flipped to reverse-orientation, so a downward flick was still bridge setting? I’ve never considered that. Interesting.

OT - There is absolutely something unique about tele pickups, the bridge has more guts and lower-midrange “punch” than a Strat. Both good, both have their place, but for aggression I would take the tele.
And no, humbuckers don’t count.
 

USMarine75

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… ok now I’m genuinely curious, DID Hendrix have his switches flipped to reverse-orientation, so a downward flick was still bridge setting? I’ve never considered that. Interesting.

OT - There is absolutely something unique about tele pickups, the bridge has more guts and lower-midrange “punch” than a Strat. Both good, both have their place, but for aggression I would take the tele.
And no, humbuckers don’t count.

The Tele neck is similar in tone to a Strat neck and the bridge when distorted somehow sounds similar to an LP HB but more raunchy, wider tonally, and less compressed. The 25.5 vs 24.75 scale also makes the notes (supposedly) more crisp and less dark. Combined they get that Tele magic. That’s why many consider the Tele the perfect guitar.
 

Concerto412

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I’ve always found tele necks a little more hollow sounding than strats, ‘more presence, less treble and midrange’ but that could be down to the cover.
No argument on the versatility, there’s not much that can’t be played on an ash&maple tele.
 

Spaced Out Ace

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Guitar: Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster Butterscotch Blonde

I had to do some mods. The original pickups were fine but I was not convinced with how they drive as they were not meant to play the metal I wanted.
Modifications:
Artec Giovanni custom single coil sized rail humbuckers with full 64mm rails, Alnico 5
GFS Overwound Repro Vintage Alnico Tele Neck Pickup
Fender 500k vol pot,
Fender 250k tone pot but has no-load option - goes straight to output
OG 4-way for:
1st - neck
2nd - neck+bridge south
3rd - bridge south
4th - full bridge humbucker

Effects and Interface: Boss GT-100

Thanks!

Cool video and tune!

Unfortunately, I think I’d have to change too much about a Tele to use one. For one, I don’t care for the ashtray bridge and three saddles. I’d have to get a more Strat like bridge. Then, I’d have to have a Nashville Tele (middle single coil) with a bridge humbucker (EMG 60A / SA / neck pickup from the T set). If not that, then the EMG T set + SA in the middle. Lastly, I’d want a reverse headstock, either Strat or Tele.
 

magicpad

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Ready, Set, Fall is a defunct metal band that had some of my favorite heavy tones.... they used Tele's with single coils
 

bostjan

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Just witnessed this argument two days ago, so it's funny that someone bumped this.

Everyone has their own idea of what defines "metal," what defines "telecaster" and what defines "can play." One person might be "Hey, Rage's 'Killing in the Name' was recorded using a telecaster with stock pickups," and the rebuttal is "that's not metal!" "What about Norma Jean?" "No, that's -core music, not metal!" "What about Richie Kotzen?" "No, he uses noiseless single coils, and that's cheating!" "What about this video of so-and-so playing a cover of Crystal Mountain on a '52 tele?" "It doesn't sound good enough, so it doesn't count!"

Maybe we just define a telecaster as any guitar that cannot play metal- that way, we don't end up having to bother with trying to logically defend our ideas, which is such a nuisance.
 


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