Strat vs Tele: A Bedlam of Fender Guitars

By Monica | Guitar

Jan 06
strat vs tele

If we want to be specific at things, we could say that the Telecaster and Stratocaster are close kins. They are both electric guitars that have been manufactured by Fender. Their individual production period is not that distant, too. Telecaster was released on the market around 1951 while the Stratocaster was on 1954.

These two have been among the opuses that Fender can take pride. They carried the brand flawlessly throughout the decades. But of course, these two electric guitars have their respective nuances, too. This is the reason why we can see a lot of people asking which would win in the Strat vs Tele battle.

I can always consider the collision of these two units as intimate rivalries. You will never grow tired dealing with them because each of these Fender guitars has their own loyal fellowships. They seemingly run the gamut when it comes to reputations and endorsements.

If you are planning to get either of these Fender guitars, I am pretty sure that right now, you are torn already. But don't worry. I made this guide just for you. I hope that after reading this primer, you will be enlightened to which of these two gears you should get.

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Strat vs Tele: Highlighting their Differences

Before we can tackle the idiosyncrasies of the Stratocaster and Telecaster, it is crucial that we understand their similarities first. Since they are from Fender, we can expect that these two rigs are finely and articulately made. Both of them feature a single-coil design that can produce vibrant pops and impressive articulation. Sound versatility and frequency dynamics are among of their selling points, too.

Now that you have already their common grounds, it is the proper time to elaborate their distinctions. At this point, I will try to be as specific as possible so that you can see their underlying complexities.

Hardware

The bridge is definitely the gulf that separates the Stratocaster from the Telecaster. The bridge of these electric guitars has six saddles, which are all adjustable. However, take note that the bridge of the Telecaster is a single-piece unit that stretches below the pickup. For Stratocaster, its bridge is a modified two-point tremolo.

Specifically, the Strat bridge is connected to the springs that are directly affixed to the guitar's body. This kind of setup enables you to adjust the tension of the guitar strings. It would allow you recreate vibratos and other resonating tones. Although this is a cool stuff, it makes the Stratocaster hard to tune. But if you have no problems dealing with the tuning stability of the guitar, this should not be a problem for you.

In fact, if you are a fan of heavy genres like metal and rock, you would go the Stratocaster route. If the Strat guitar that you can get has a Floyd Rose tremolo, it has the power to shatter your ears altogether!

Body Build

strat vs tele body

Source: Fender.com

It is notable that both the main bodies of Telecaster and Stratocaster are usually made from alder. Although we want to argue that Fender should have chosen mahogany, alder has its fair share of strengths, too.

For their intended application, alder is probably the best choice. If you have tried a guitar with an alder body in the past, you might be already aware of its snappy and responsive sound. It is typically crunchy and can provide a presence to the instrument.

But of course, you can get a Telecaster or a Stratocaster that has been made from other tonewoods. You can see that there are units that feature ash bodies. This particular tonewood provides extra resonance and depth to the intonation of the guitar. It is somehow similar to mahogany.On the other hand, the shape of these guitars is slightly distinct. Stratocaster has a different build on its upper horn, which allows you better access to its high registers. But overall, this variation doesn't have a chief effect on the playability of both of these instruments.

Neck

star vs tele neck

Source: Fender.com

Again, the Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars feature C-shape necks. Well, it is something that I have expected already, as the modern guitar industry made this setup as a default design. Typically, the necks are crafted from maple. Some models come with a rosewood fingerboard, while some are just pure maple.

Also, the dimensions of their fretboards and nuts are pretty similar. They are using the 25.5-inch scale, too. And as some of you have guessed, both the Strat and Tele have 22 medium-jumbo frets.

On the flipside, it is noticeable that the Stratocaster has a bigger headstock compared to the Telecaster. Some players think that for a guitar to have long sustains, it should have a large and heavy headstock. Well, this is something that you should test by yourself. After all, many are quite divided when it comes to this matter.

Pickups

I have already mentioned that both the Stratocaster and Telecaster feature a single-cock pickup. Specifically, the Start flaunts the ever-iconic Fender Fat 50's pickups (the guitar possesses three of these monsters). Meanwhile, the Telecaster has the Fender Broadcaster and Twisted Tele pickups. The former is situated at the bridge while the latter is at the neck.

When it comes to switches, the Telecaster sports a 3-way selector switch while the Stratocaster has a 5-way. Obviously, this differentiation tells you that the Strat provides better tone selection versatility compared to the Telecaster. You can have access to various pickup settings, which allows you get unique tonal variations.

Do not get surprised if you can see Strat and Tele guitars that are using humbuckers. They are the latest variants of these two electric guitars. You might want to try them, too!

Electronics

Electronic strat vs tele

Source: Fender.com

Another factor that draws the line between the Strat and Tele is their electronics. If you are going to scrutinize their blueprints, you can realize that the design of these guitars is downright basic. But then again, it is just an understatement to the true prowess of these instruments.

However, the electronic configuration of the Strat is slightly better than Tele. Stratocaster guitars provide better tonal flexibility compared to the Telecaster. While it is true that both of them have volume controls, it is notable that Telecaster only comes with a single tone control. On the other hand, the Stratocaster has separate knobs for the bridge pickup and tone pickups.

Strat vs Tele: Which is Better

Even if you have read all the similarities and differences of these guitars, deciding is still not easy. Both of these electric guitars from Fender have their respective strengths and capabilities. Honestly, none of them sucks. All of them are worth your hard-earned money.

But of course, never discard your preferences. It is definitely important since your playing style matters here. The appearance of the Stratocaster and Telecaster are almost similar. But their sounds are nowhere on the same page. If you are into rock, blues, or metal, you might want to opt for a Stratocaster. Telecasters are good for country songs. However, their flexibility is never limited to these genres.

I can say that both of these Fender gears are excellent in their own right. But as a player, it is inevitable that you will grow a bias towards the other unit. It is completely normal and will eventually lead you to your comfort zone.

How was this article? Which of these two electric guitars fits your playing style and preferences? Tell your answers in the comment section below!

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About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!