Telecasters are great for beginners and experienced players and are very versatile so suit a wide range of music styles, making them a popular choice for players in the market for a new guitar. However, there are so many different versions that it can be hard to decide which to buy and how much you need to spend to get a suitable Tele.
In this article, I’ll take you through the different models and their prices so you can decide which Telecaster is right for you based on your budget and requirements.
The Quick Answer
Telecaster electric guitars cost between $200 and $2500. Fender Telecasters are the most expensive, ranging from $850-$2500, with the most popular Fender American Professional II Telecaster costing around $1700. Squier Telecaster are more affordable versions which range from roughly $180-$500.
Cost of the Main Telecaster Models
Let’s first start with an overview of all the main models in the Fender and Squier range of Telecaster’s so you can see what’s available in your budget. The following prices are taken as an average from three major stores in the UK and USA, respectively and although they are correct at the time of writing, they are still subject to change.
|Telecaster Model||Price (USA)||Price (UK)||Origin||Pickups|
|Squier Affinity||$230||£220||Indonesia/China||S-S or H-H|
|Squier Contemporary||$460||£325||Indonesia||H-H or S-H|
|Squier Classic Vibe||$480||£360||China/ Indonesia||S-S, H-S or H-H|
|Fender Player||$850||£570||Mexico||S-S or H-H|
|Fender Vintera||$1000||£750||Mexico||S-S or H-H|
|Fender Player Plus||$1100||£830||Mexico||S-S or S-S-S|
|Fender American Performer||$1400||£1250||America||S-S|
|Fender American Professional II||$1700||£1550||America||S-S or H-H|
|Fender American Showcase||$1850||N/A||America||S-S|
|Fender American Original||$2100||£1750||America||S-S or S-H|
|Fender American Ultra||$2100||£1800||America||S-S|
|Fender American Ultra Luxe||$2500||£2000||America||S-S or H-H|
There are 10 main models of Fender Telecaster in the range which cost between $850 and $2500. The cheapest model is the Fender Player Telecaster and the most expensive model is the Fender American Ultra Luxe Telecaster. The prices vary primarily due to the country of manufacture, and the quality of the materials used.
What Changes as the Price Increases?
- Quality of the materials e.g. wood, pickups and hardware
- Country of manufacture (the most expensive models are made in the USA)
- Better craftsmanship, attention to detail and quality control
There are a few other factors which also vary depending on the model, but do not directly correlate with an increase in the guitar’s price. These include colour options, the controls, neck finish, pickup configurations and neck shapes.
Different models have different specifications to cater to different players, so it’s important to look at this as well as the price when deciding which to get. You may actually find that the neck shape, colour and pickups on a cheaper model actually suit you more than the more expensive variant.
What Stays the Same as the Price Increases?
- The type of wood used (alder bodies and maple necks are found on most models except the Boxer)
- Bolt-on neck construction
- Body shape
- Fret number
- Headstock design
- Scale length
Fender Player Telecaster
This is the entry-level Telecaster in the Fender range and starts at around $850. It comes with either two single coil or two humbucker pickups and has a modern C-shape neck which most players will find comfortable. It is made in Mexico and has all the classic colour options making it a good choice for players who want the iconic look and Fender headstock, but without paying extra for an American-made guitar.
Fender Vintera Telecaster
There are multiple types of Fender Vintera Telecaster and they vary in terms of the pickups, neck shape and colour options primarily. They are all made in Mexico and start at roughly $1000 in the USA. These guitars are slightly more premium than the Player series and have more variants to cater for different music styles.
Check out my comparison between the Fender Player and Vintera series for all the differences.
Fender Player Plus Telecaster
The Fender Player Plus Tele is made in Mexico starts at around $1100, making it over $250 more than the standard Player series model. The main differences are that the Player Plus Telecaster has noiseless pickups, more premium colour and finish options, locking tuners, a wider nut, rolled fingerboard edges and a gig bag included.
Check out my comparison of the Fender Player and Player Plus models to learn about all the differences.
Fender Boxer Telecaster
The Fender Boxer Telecaster starts are roughly $1200 and is a more modern take on the classic shape and includes humbucker instead of single coil pickups. It is made in Japan and has a basswood body, different hardware and more alternative colours to give it a modern appearance. This is the least “classic” model available and suits players who are looking for something a bit different.
Fender American Performer Telecaster
The Fender American Performer Telecaster is the cheapest American-made Tele in the range starting at approximately $1400. It has the classic single coil pickup configuration and has a comfortable satin-finished modern C neck, classic alnico pickups and vintage-style bridge.
Check out my comparison between American Performer and Player series for a full list of differences.
Fender American Professional II Telecaster
The Fender American Professional II Telecaster starts at approximately $1700. It has a deep-C satin-finished neck, a sculpted neck heel to aid upper fret access and a push-pull volume pot to activate the series mode. It also comes with a hard-shell case. This Tele model is very popular and offers a modern take on the design by adding useful improvements, but without altering the classic look of the guitar.
Check out my in-depth comparison between the Fender American Performer and Professional II series.
Here is a link between my article comparing the Fender Player and American Professional II Series.
Fender American Showcase Telecaster
The Fender American Showcase Telecaster is only available at Guitar Centre in the USA and starts at $1850. It comes with a matching painted headstock, modern C-D neck and a treble bleed circuit which adds some unique functionality. The guitar has the classic tone but the pickups are voiced to give them more power.
Fender American Original Telecaster
The Fender American Original Telecaster is a very premium guitar which has vintage pickups and hardware, a mid-60s C neck profile on the ’60s version and a chunky U-shape neck on the ’50s version. This model starts at approximately $2100 in the USA and is built with exceptional attention to detail to make it sound and feel very high-end.
Fender American Ultra Telecaster
The Fender American Ultra Telecaster starts at $2100 and offers a modern take on the guitar with some unique colour options. It has a modern D satin-finished neck, enhanced body contours, noiseless pickups, locking tuners and a series-parallel switch built into the volume control.
Fender American Ultra Luxe Telecaster
The Fender American Ultra Luxe Telecaster is the most expensive non-custom shop model available and starts at $2500. It comes in single coil and humbucker pickup variants with some models featuring a Floyd Rose locking tremolo.
There are 4 main models in the Squier Telecaster line-up and they range between $200 and $500.
- Bullet Telecaster
- Affinity Telecaster
- Contemporary Telecaster
- Classic Vibe Telecaster
Squier Bullet Telecaster
The Squier Bullet Telecaster is the cheapest Tele model available and comes in several basic colour options with smaller tone and volume controls. It starts at $200 and has a thin C-shape neck profile making it a very suitable option for beginners.
Squier Affinity Telecaster
The Squier Affinity Telecaster is the next step up and starts at around $230. The pickups have a higher output with more mid-range to give it a fuller sound compared to the entry-level model. It also has a thicker body and full size tone and volume pots. Again the Affinity Tele comes in several basic colours.
Squier Contemporary Telecaster
The Squier Contemporary Telecaster starts at $460 and offers a modern take on the guitar. It comes with either a dual-humbucker or single coil and humbucker pickup configuration to make it more suitable for higher gain and also has more alternative colour options.
Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster
The Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster starts at $480 and is the best option for players who want something as close as possible to a Fender but don’t want to pay extra for the name on the headstock. There are several variants with slightly different necks and pickups and they come in several classic colours.
Check out my comparison of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s Classic Vibe models to learn about the differences.
I’ve written a complete buyer’s guide for electric guitars which takes you through all the things you need to consider and a step-by-step method to narrowing down your selection and choosing the best option. Here is a link to the article.
Here are some more articles you might find useful:
- Squier Classic Vibe vs Fender Player Series
- How Much Does a Stratocaster Cost?
- How Much Does a Les Paul Cost?