18 best Fender Telecasters in 2019

Here's a guide to ensure you get more twang for your buck.

best telecaster 2019

Maybe it’s the elegant simplicity of Leo Fender’s first electric-guitar design, but in the seven decades since the Telecaster arrived on the scene, it’s proved to be a remarkably versatile and varied beast. Here’s a rundown of some of the various Telecaster models you’ll find in the current Fender range:

1Deluxe Tele Thinline

Fender Deluxe Thinline Telecaster

Arguably the only semi-hollow Fender model to really catch on, the Thinline has become a cult classic in its own right. With its f-hole and extended pickguard, this is every bit the classic Thinline, with the addition of a pair of Vintage Noiseless pickups and a four-way switching setup (including series operation).

Lists for $924.99.

2American Professional Telecaster Deluxe Shawbucker

The Deluxe is another iconic twist on the classic Tele recipe, its twin humbuckers being a favourite of players wanting some extra grunt since the late 1960s. This latest version from the American Professional range swaps the traditional Wide Range humbuckers for Tim Shaw’s ShawBucker design. Check out our review of its cousin in the Americna Professional series here.

Lists for $1,549.99.

3Player Telecaster

The MIM Player range is the most affordable Fender series, and the Telecaster is one of the best models in the line-up. Its appearance is another pragmatic mixture of eras, while the six bent-steel bridge saddles mean the overall look is reminiscent of the recently superseded American Standard Telecaster. Tone-wise, its vocal and expressive neck pickup instantly impresses, and the other two pickup selector positions elicit the same response. It’s clear but not brittle and delivers a range of classic Telecaster tones with pleasing jangle, snap and snarl. Check out our full, in-depth review.

Lists for $674.99.

4American Original ’60s Telecaster

fender american original 60s telecaster

Think of Fender’s top-of-the-line production series as the distillation of the ‘greatest hits’ from the brand’s golden era, but with a few modern playability updates. For roots rock, 60s pop and R&B-inspired players who know how to use a low-to-medium-powered tweed amp, this Telecaster’s combination of cut and punch is manna from heaven. Dave Davies, early Page, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Petty, the Stones – it’s all here and it doesn’t take much effort to find it. Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Lists for under $2,000.

5Classic Series ’72 Telecaster Custom

Fender Classic Series 72 Telecaster Custom

The Custom might not have caught on with many players when it was released in 1972, but Keith Richards liked it enough to make it his main guitar until 1983, and that’s earned its status as a classic. This Mexican-made version sports a Wide Range ’bucker in the neck and the polarising three-bolt neck join.

Lists for $824.99.

6Classic Player Baja Telecaster

Fender Baja Telecaster

The Baja Tele has become something of a modern classic. Designed by Custom Shop Master Builder Chris Fleming, the Baja’s traditional Tele looks belie its extra versatility under the hood. With four-way switching (including series) and an S-1 switch, it offers a huge amount of tonal options from the classic Tele pickup layout.

Lists for $824.99.

7American Elite Telecaster

Fender American Elite Telecaster

The American Elite is the crème de la crème of USA production Telecasters, featuring a variety of innovations. With a pair of Fender’s fourth-generation Noiseless pickups, S-1 switching, a compound radius ebony ’board and locking tuners, it won’t let you down on stage or in the studio. Check out our full review here.

Lists for $1,899.99.

8Classic Series ’72 Telecaster Thinline 

Fender Classic Series 72 Telecaster Thinline

What happens if you cross a Thinline and a Deluxe? Well, the result is the effortlessly cool ’72 Thinline. With a semi-hollow body and classic Tele control layout of the Thinline and the two Wide Range humbuckers from the Deluxe, this is a feisty, lively take on the Tele concept.

Lists for $924.99.

9American Performer Telecaster

Superseding the American Special range, the American Performer Series is built in Fender’s Corona facility and offers durability, playability and versatility for those who simply need to get the job done. The new Yosemite pickups are voiced bright and clear, for sure, but there’s enough power down at this Telecaster’s bridge to satisfy snarling Jack White impersonators and enough clarity at the neck for ghostly Radiohead arpeggios. Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Lists for $1,099.99.

10Deluxe Nashville Tele

Fender Nashville Telecaster

Straight from the home of country music, the Nashville Telecaster is a Music Row sessioneer’s dream. Thanks to its combination of Vintage Noiseless Tele bridge and neck pickups flanking a Strat middle pickup, the Nashville Tele offers a mix of Strat and Tele voices and a five-way switching system.

Lists for $824.99.

11American Acoustasonic Telecaster

Is it an acoustic? Is it a Telecaster? In truth, the all-new Acoustasonic is a bit of both. With hugely impressive modelled acoustic sounds onboard and a full-throated Tele bridge pickup in the mix, the ability to blend acoustic and electric sounds to create something genuinely new and interesting is a revelation. Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Lists for $1,999.99.

12James Burton Telecaster

Fender James Burton Telecaster

A signature model for one of the greatest Telecaster players of all time (read our interview on p66), the James Burton Telecaster is just as versatile as you’d expect for a session legend, with three custom James Burton pickups and S-1 switching. And the Paisley Flames finish is very fitting for a man who invented chicken pickin’

Lists for $1,749.99.

13Fender ’72 Telecaster Custom w/ Bigsby

Fender Custom Bigsby Telecaster

How do you make your Custom even more fun than its four-control, humbucker/single-coil configuration is already? Well, you bolt on a Bigsby vibrato, of course. The Bigsby is a quirky adornment to the Tele recipe, and this model, with its natural finish, is pure 70s class.

Lists for $1,024.99.

14Jim Root Telecaster

Fender Jim Root Telecaster

One of the wonderful things about the Telecaster is how its beautifully simple design can be adapted to suit seemingly any genre and style of playing. One example of this is this signature model for Slipknot man Jim Root. With EMG 60 and 81 pickups, a mahogany body and no tone control, this Tele is ready to rock.

Lists for $1,199.99.

15FSR Jazz-Tele

Fender Jazz Telecaster Parallel Universe

Do you want a bit of offset in your Tele gumbo? Well this special-run design might be everything you ever wanted. Taking the familiar Tele single-cut outline, the engine of this curious mash-up is pure Jazzmaster, with a floating vibrato and Jazzmaster single coils. Mercifully, however, the switching is kept nice and simple – as a Tele should be.

Lists for $1,999.99.

16Richie Kotzen Telecaster

Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster

Hard-rocking virtuoso Richie Kotzen has long used a Telecaster in the service of his musical endeavours, and his signature-model is perfect for those who want a Tele with a bit of a plush vibe. With bound flamed-maple top, DiMarzio pickups and gold hardware, this is certainly one for the well-heeled rocker.

Lists for $1,499.99.

17Rarities Red Mahogany Top Telecaster

Fender Rarities Red Mahogany Top Telecaster

From Fender’s Rarities series, this luxury take on the Tele concept combines exotic tonewoods and premium hardware and pickups to create something instantly striking. The eye-catching top is a wonderfully figured piece of red mahogany, and it’s paired with similarly sumptuous gold hardware and Custom Shop pickups.

Lists for $2,499.99.

18Jim Adkins JA-90 Telecaster Thinline

Fender Jim Adkins Telecaster

The signature model for the Jimmy Eat World guitarist has won itself a platoon of fans thanks to its keen pricing and unique collection of features. So we get a Thinline Tele body and Custom-style control layout, but instead of humbuckers, it’s equipped with a pair of Seymour Duncan SP90s and an Adjusto-Matic bridge and tailpiece. Quite the package.

Lists for $824.99.

Learn more about the history of the Telecaster here.