Searching for the the best Telecaster style guitars can be a confusing process. In any event, you probably have a lot of questions.
What’s the best Telecaster style guitar? What are the best telecaster style guitars with humbuckers? Can’t I just get a cheap Telecaster style guitar?
On the one hand, you’re looking for those traditional sounds, and playing experiences that make Telecasters phenomenally popular.
On the other hand, you probably want to skip some of the negatives about Telecasters, and include some of the improvements that have developed over the decades since its introduction.
So, here are the best Telecaster style guitars available today:
Best Telecaster Style Guitars: Best Overall
If you’re interested in the best Telecaster style electric guitar, the Suhr Classic T is it.
It’s got a swamp ash body that’s shaped to the specs of a digitized vintage tele, with modern improvements.
Additionally, the tinted maple neck has a compound radius of 9″-12″ and is in Suhr’s 60’s “C” Vintage Standard profile. This will give you a great playing experience all the way up the neck.
The fretboard is also tinted maple, giving you a traditional feel, and has medium stainless steel frets that will last a lifetime.
Two Suhr Classic T single coil pickups with Alnico 5 “Special” magnets will give you all the classic tones you desire. Meanwhile Suhr’s Silent Single Coil System II will eliminate the single-coil 60 cycle hum, keeping your sound clear.
The Suhr locking tuners will give you enhanced tuning stability, and the improved tuning of modern day guitars.
Finally, the Wilkinson 3-saddle bridge will give you superior intonation and a classic tone.
- Tusq Nut
- Available in 4 Finishes
- Stainless Steel Frets
- Includes Deluxe Gig Bag
The Suhr Classic T is a much improved version of the vintage Telecaster.
It’s perfect for anyone looking for a high quality Telecaster style guitar. Get yours here.
Best Telecaster Style Guitars: Best Budget
If you’re looking for a very affordable Telecaster style guitar, the Glarry GTL Semi-Hollow is an excellent choice.
It’s got a semi-hollow basswood body with f-hole, in classic Tele shape, so it’s very lightweight warm, and resonant.
The maple neck is a bit flat, and very playable with an actual rosewood fretboard.
Next, you’ll get 22 frets and dot inlays, adding to the classic looks of this guitar.
The neck pickup is a humbucker, with a single-coil pickup at the bridge. This will give you a warm, full tone, as well as the classic spanky sounds of the bridge pickup.
Master volume, master tone, and a 3-way switch keep it simple, and let you focus on your playing.
Finally, you’ve got the classic boxed-steel string through body bridge with individual solid brass saddles. This will give you an easier time intonating your guitar, and give you better tone.
- Available in 4 Finishes
- Available in SS Configuration
- Plastic Nut
- Rough Fret Ends
The Glarry GTL Semi-Hollow is a great value for the budget minded guitarist who’s looking for an upgraded Tele-style guitar.
With a humbucker, and a semi-hollow body, it’s definitely worth checking out here.
Best Telecaster Style Guitars: Best Runner-Up
As part of Charvel’s flagship series of guitars, the Charvel USA Select San Dimas Style 2 HH FR is a Telecaster style guitar that’s crafted for speed, comfort and amazing sound.
The alder body will give you a balanced sound, as well as be comfortable to hold, thanks to a large comfort cut.
In the same way, the bolt-on neck is quartersawn maple in a Speed Neck shape with rolled fretboard edges. This makes it really stable, and comfortable to play.
A maple fretboard with 22 jumbo frets and a compound radius of 12″-16″ means you’ll effortlessly be able to play up the fretboard.
A DiMarzio PAF Pro DP151 in the neck position, and a DiMarzio Super Distortion DP100 at the bridge will give you a very wide range of tones perfect for a wide range of playing styles. The 5-way switch wired for split coil sounds, for even more variety.
Finally, the non-recessec Floyd Rose Original Double-Locking 2-Point tremolo will keep you in tune, and add style to your sound.
Comes in 4 Finishes
Includes Hardshell Case
- Not Wired for Both Humbuckers to be on at Same Time
Best Telecaster Style Guitars: Best Under $1,000
Are you looking for a vintage inspired Telecaster style guitar that’s versatile enough for the modern player? Then check out the Schecter PT Special.
It’s got a very traditional looking body made of swamp ash, with comfort cuts to give you an improved and more comfortable playing experience, as well as a maple neck in a “C” shape with a 12″ radius to give you a modern, yet classic feel.
Equally important is the maple fretboard with 22 extra jumbo frets and a Graph Tech XL Ivory Tusq nut guaranteeing tuning stability, and a classic tone.
The Schecter Diamond V-90 in the neck is a P-90 style pickup, while the Schecter Diamond VT-1 at the bridge is more vintage sounding.
You’ll get a wide range of tones, from clear and twangy, to snarly and growling.
The tone knob is push/pull letting you choose between series and parallel wiring, giving you even more tone choices.
Lastly, the vintage ashtray bridge with staggered brass saddles and Grover vintage tuners will give you classic sustain, and resonance with modern tuning convenience.
- Available in 3 Finishes
If you’re seeking a Telecaster style guitar that’s built to perform, and has a very versatile sound, try the Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 HH 2PT CM Ash.
The ash body has a scalloped lower back bout, and shredder’s 4-bolt sculpted heel making it comfortable, and easy to play.
A bolt-on caramelized maple neck with graphite reinforcement and a 12″-16″ compound radius will be a dream for you to play. Likewise, the speed neck shape and rolled fretboard edges will only add to your playing comfort.
Additionally, with a caramelized maple fretboard that has 24 jumbo frets and a Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut you’ll get an even richer, and more stable sound.
Also, expect to get some very versatile tones from the Fishman FLuence Open Core PRF_-COC pickups.
In addition to the 3-way pickup selector, a 2-way mini-toggle switch allows you to choose between modern PAF and vintage PAF tones. Additionally, you’ll be able to coil split your pickups using the push/pull tone knob.
Finally, a Gotoh Custom 510 tremolo and Charvel locking tuners will keep you in tune, and intonated, while adding vibrato to your playing.
- Heel Mounted Truss Rod Adjustment Wheel
- Available in 2 Finishes
The Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 HH 2PT CM Ash includes a reversed Telecaster headstock, and active pickups, while still giving you definitive Tele-style tones. Click here to get yours.
Best Telecaster Style Guitars: Best Under $200
With the Sawtooth ET Series, Sawtooth offers a great value guitar, perfect for beginners or anyone on a budget.
It’s got Telecaster style body made of sycamore body, so it’s lightweight, resonant, and looks great.
Of course, the bolt-on maple neck is comfortable to play and feels great in your hands. With 21 medium jumbo frets, the fretboard is available in maple, or rosewood.
The 2 single-coil pickups will give you classic Telecaster style tones. Likewise, you’ll be able to craft your sound using the master volume and master tone controls, and 3-way switch.
Finally, you’ll be able to precisely keep in tune with the barrel saddle bridge that’ll also give you a very classic sound.
- Available in Left-Handed Models
- Available in Multiple Finishes
- Plastic Nut
- May Have Sharp Fret Ends
The Sawtooth ET Series electric guitar is a versatile instrument with classic tones, and a classic design.
If you’re looking for an affordable Telecaster style guitar that’s got tried and true style, and features, check it out.
Best Telecaster Style Guitars: Best for Metal
With the Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid PT, Schecter has fused their Hellraiser and PT models, giving you a guitar with amazing looks, features and tones.
The mahogany body has an arched top made of quilted maple, giving you an amazing look and solid tone.
Additionally, the set-neck design includes Schecter’s Ultra Access heel joint. This will give you better sustain, and free access to the higher frets.
Next you have a 3-piece maple neck in an Ultra Thin “C” shape. With a 12″-16″ compound radius, you’ll have an easy time playing the fastest licks.
An ebony fretboard with 24 X-Jumbo frets and a Graph Tech XL Black Tusq nut will give you a growling, warm tone. Additionally, the mother-of-pearl inlays with reverse dots and a Gothic Cross at the 12th fret will give you a heavy metal look.
Further, you’ve got two active humbucker pickups, an EMG 57 in the bridge and an EMG 66 in the neck. This will let you powerfully cut through heavy distortion without sacrificing tone.
Last, you’ve got a Hipshot Hardtail bridge with string-thru-body design and Schecter locking tuners. These will help keep you in tune, and add stability.
- Comes in 2 Finishes
- Batteries Required
Best Telecaster Style Guitars: FAQ
- What are the best strings for my new guitar?
- See this post for that.
- How do I tune my guitar?
- See this post for that.
- Also, see this post with Squier Telecaster recommendations.
JT currently resides in Southern California and has been playing the guitar since he was 13. He enjoys baking French pastries, drinking loose-leaf tea, and running Slackware Linux.