38 Telecaster Style Copy Guitars – Plus 3 Best Ones

You are currently viewing 38 Telecaster Style Copy Guitars – Plus 3 Best Ones

Almost everyone loves Telecasters. And it’s no wonder, because they possess amazing vintage looks and are fun to play. But not everyone wants a Fender or Squier Telecaster tho…

If you are after a non Fender or Squier Telecaster, you are in luck! I happen to love Telecasters, Fender and non-Fender ones. And this is why I was happy to put together this article listing the cream of the crop Telecaster style copy guitar. I also reveal the 3 best ones. If you have any questions, just check the FAQ section or leave a comment.

Let’s get started!

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…).


38 Telecaster Style Copy Guitars

Godin Stadium HT has great sounding Godin single-coils, D-shaped neck, vintage-styled ashtray bridge, GraphTech nut, and smooth hard rock maple neck. Godin guitars are one of the brands that have been a really positive surprise to me during the time I’ve been writing about guitars. They create high-quality and high-value guitars that are a pleasure to play.

Price Range Icon Meanings:

$= $80-250

$$= $251-399

$$$= $400-850

$$$$= $851-1599

$$$$$= $1600-

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ModelPickup ConfigurationPickupsPrice RangeCheck Current Price (affiliate links)
Harley Benton TE-20MN BM Standard SeriesSS2 x TE-style single coil pickups$Thomann*
Harley Benton TE-62CCSS2 x Roswell AlNiCo 5 TEA-F-CR/TEA-B Single coils$Thomann
Donner DTC-100 – Best Cheap & BeginnerSS2 x Donner Single coils$Donnerdeal
Harley Benton TE-90FLT VW Deluxe SeriesHH2 x Roswell FLT-NI AlNiCo humbuckers$Thomann
Harley Benton TE-90QMP90P902 x 2 Roswell P90 S AlNiCo-5 vintage-style single coils$Thomann
Harley Benton Fusion-T HH RoastedHHRoswell HAF-B AlNiCo-5 (bridge) and HAF-N AlNiCo-5 (neck) humbuckers$$Thomann
ESP LTD TE-200 – Best Tight BudgetHHESP Designed LH-150N (neck) and ESP Designed LH-150B (bridge) humbuckers$$$SweetwaterThomann
Harley Benton Fusion-T EMG HT RoastedHH2 x EMG Retro Active Hot 70 Humbuckers$$$Thomann
Chapman Guitars ML3HH2 x upgraded Chapman humbuckers$$$Guitar CenterThomann
Larry Carlton T7SS2 x T7 single coils$$$SweetwaterThomann
G&L Tribute Asat ClassicSS2 Leo Fender-designed G&L MFD single coils made in Fullerton (CA, USA)$$$SweetwaterThomann
FGN Boundary Iliad MNSH1 FGN single coil (bridge) and 1 FGN humbucker (neck)$$$Thomann
Schecter PT Special – Best BudgetSP901 Schecter Diamond VT-1 Single Coil (bridge) and 1 Schecter Diamond V-90 (neck)$$$SweetwaterThomann
Godin Stadium HT – Matte Black MN – Excellent Godin QualitySS1 Godin GS-3 single coil (neck) and 1 Custom Cajun single coil (bridge)$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter PT Fastback II BHH2 x Schecter Diamond SuperRock Custom Alnico Humbuckers$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD TE-401HHActive EMG 60 & EMG 81 humbuckers$$$Thomann
Charvel Pro-Mod Joe Duplantier San Dimas Style 2HH1 Joe Duplantier Signature DiMarzio Fortitude (bridge) and 1 DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary (neck) humbuckers$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder PT FR with Sustainiac – Great Metal TeleHSustainiac1 EMG Retro Active Hot 70 humbucker (bridge) and 1 Sustainiac (neck)$$$SweetwaterThomann
Chapman ML3 Pro Traditional Semi-HollowP90P902 x Seymour Duncan AlNiCo 5 P-90 single coils$$$Guitar CenterThomann
Chapman Guitars ML3 Pro ModernHH1 Seymour Duncan Pegasus (bridge) and 1 Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) humbucker$$$$Guitar CenterThomann
ESP LTD TE-1000 Black BlastHHSeymour Duncan Pegasus (bridge) and Seymour Duncan Sentient (neck) humbuckers$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Chapman Guitars ML3 Pro Traditional – Comfortable ContoursSS2 x Seymour Duncan Hot Tele single coils$$$$Guitar CenterThomann
FGN J-Standard IliadSSSeymour Duncan STR-1 (bridge) and Seymour Duncan STL-1 (neck) single coils$$$$Thomann
Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 2PT HH HH2 x Fishman Fluence Open Core PRF-COC humbuckers$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Schecter PT Van Nuys HH2 x Schecter USA SuperRock Vintage Humbuckers$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD Eclipse ’87 NTHH1 Seymour Duncan JB humbucker (bridge) and 1 Seymour Duncan ’59 humbucker (neck)$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD SCT-607B Stephen Carpenter Signature 7-String BaritoneHH2 x Fishman Fluence SRC Signature$$$$SweetwaterThomann
ESP LTD TE-1000 Evertune Koa – Best OverallHHEMG 57 (bridge) and EMG 66TW (neck) humbuckers$$$$SweetwaterThomann
G&L Fullerton Deluxe ASAT Classic SS2 x Leo Fender-designed G&L MFD single-coils made in Fullerton CA, USA$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Maybach Teleman T54 ButterscotchSS2 x Amber single coils$$$$$Thomann
Yamaha Pac 1611 MS Mike SternSHSeymour Duncan pickups neck position 59′ humbucker and Hot Rail humbucker in single coil$$$$$Thomann
Ibanez AZS2200-BK Prestige – Best PremiumSHSeymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Custom Single-Coil (bridge), Seymour Duncan Magic Touch-Mini Humbucker ( Neck)$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez Josh Smith Signature FLATV1SSSeymour Duncan FLATV1 Custom (bridge), Seymour Duncan FLATV1 Custom (neck)$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Friedman Vintage-T with Classic 90sP90P902 x Classic P-90 Single-coil$$$$$SweetwaterThomann
Suhr Classic T – Great Vintage Style Premium TeleSS2 x Suhr Classic T single coils$$$$$Thomann
Xotic Guitars XTC-1SS2 x  Raw Vintage RV-TE set single coil pickups$$$$$Thomann
LSL Instruments T Bone OneHH2 x Proprietary Humbucker$$$$$Guitar Center
LSL T Bone Rosewood TopSS2 x LSL standard pickup$$$$$Thomann

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3 Best Telecaster Style Copy Guitars – My Favorites

Best Budget – Schecter PT Special

What I like

  • Graph Tech Tusq XL nut improves sustain
  • Schecter Diamond single-coils offer versatile tones
  • A thin neck (1.653″ nut) paired with a C neck shape makes this guitar easy to play
  • Grover Vintage tuners hold the tune well
  • Overall great quality hardware

What I don’t like

  • In some cases, small quality control issues

Who is it for?

If you are after a budget to mid-priced T-style guitar with versatile tones and easy playability, keep Schecter PT Special on your radar. It’s a true high-value instrument with great quality hardware and nice sound.

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Best Overall – ESP LTD TE-1000 Evertune Koa

What I like

  • Evertune bridge and LTD locking tuners will keep the guitar in tune
  • A thin U neck with a 1.653″ nut width makes this axe smooth to shred
  • Comfortable to play
  • Stays in tune well
  • Premium quality
  • Not that expensive
  • Absolutely stunning

What I don’t like

  • The use of plastic nut feels a bit cheap for this price

Who is it for?

If you are looking for a premium-level guitar with EMG pickups and smooth playability that doesn’t require you to apply for a second mortgage, ESP LTD TE-1000ET Koa is a great option. It does have a plastic nut, which is a bummer (doesn’t ruin the guitar tho), but if you replace that, this guitar is a true pro-premium-level beast with a reasonable price.

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Best Premium – Ibanez AZS2200-BK Prestige

What I like

  • Extremely smooth and comfortable playability
  • Spot-on sound
  • Surprisingly versatile
  • Alter switch enables connecting single-coil pickup and another coil of the humbucker in series to create different humbucker like tones
  • Great hardware (Gotoh Locking tuners, Gotoh tremolo bridge, and bone nut)
  • Could cost a lot more

What I don’t like

  • Premium quality means a premium price

Who is it for?

I don’t like to call myself a fanboy. But if I had to choose just 1 brand to be a fanboy of, it would be Ibanez. And this AZ Prestige is a great one. It features

  • Seymour Duncan Magic Touch-mini Humbucker
  • Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Custom Single-coil
  • Gotoh F1802 Tremolo Bridge
  • 2-way mini alter switch & 5-way blade pickup switch
  • Gotoh Magnum Locking tuners
  • Stunning looks
  • Smooth playability

And still, it costs under 2k. The money you have to throw in order to get this Ibanez is still a big chunk, I know, but still, the value for the money is outstanding. The best premium and pro-level Telecaster copy guitar to me.

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FAQ

How to Choose The Right Telecaster Copy for You? – Buyer’s Guide

Let’s look closer at the 2 most important things, and then I’ll lay out some other stuff to think about for you.

Playability

Pay attention to the neck shape, nut width, and fretboard radius.

First, most Teles have either C or Modern C neck shape, but there are Telecasters with V, U, D, and other shapes out there too. Just get clear on what you want in terms of neck shape, and everything is easier. And by the way, none of the neck shapes I just mentioned are impossible to play.

To learn more about neck shapes, this is the best neck shape guide you can find.

Secondly, decide whether you are after a Tele with a narrow, medium, or wide neck. Usually, Telecasters have either narrow or medium neck and nut width.

  • Narrow = 1.614″-1.65″ nut width
  • Medium =1.651″-1.685″ nut width
  • Wide = 1.686″- nut width

I have to note that it’s rare to find a Telecaster with a really wide neck.

Lastly, decide whether you want a curved or flat fretboard. There are some old-school Tele’s with curved 7.25″ radius out there, but most of the time you will find Telecaster with medium fretboard radius, which is around 9.5″-11″. Also, 12″ is a pretty popular too, it’s starting to be on the flatter side and everything above that can definitely be called a flat fretboard radius.

image explains what Guitar fretboard radius means
This is what fretboard radius means.

Also, keep your favorite fret size in mind. Usually Tele’s come with medium, narrow-tall, or medium jumbo-sized frets. Some ESP Tele’s have extra jumbo frets, this can be a great option for fast playing.

PS. Carvings and contours on the body can make playing more comfortable.

Sound

Don’t pay attention to woods with solid body electric guitars when thinking about the sound. The only thing really matters are the pickups.

Image reveals how guitar pickups pick up the vibration of the strings

So, here are a couple of cool pickups combos for you:

  • SS = Classic Tele pickups configuration, great with rock, blues, and funk.
  • SH = Single-coil on the bridge and humbucker on the neck. Really versatile and can handle almost everything(maybe still not the best metal-only guitar).
  • HH = Can usually handle metal well too. Really versatile. Choose one with coil-split to get some of the single-coil magic too.

Again, get clear on what you want & need and choose accordingly. For example, if you are after a Telecaster that will obey you in your next bone-crushing metal session, go with double humbuckers.

Other Factors

  • Tuners, maybe you want just regular tuners, or even locking ones…
  • Bridge type: normal, ashtray, Evertune, or even Floyd Rose?
  • Is a real bone nut must out of the box, or can you stand a plastic one and maybe change it to bone or Tusq one later?
  • Color. This is important. Of course, you want something stunning.

Are Telecaster Style Copy Guitars Worth it?

Most of the time yes. And based on my own experiences, T-style axes have always been great. I have played Telecaster copies from Donner to Tokai and from Schecter to ESP. They all have been great. Even the cheap $140 Donner Tele I’m currently testing.

If you do a proper research, check some reviews online and watch a couple of Youtube videos, etc. you have a pretty good picture of the Tele that’s on your radar. And most of the time, T-style guitars are great, no matter if it’s from Fender, Donner, or Tokai.

What Style/Genre is Telecaster Good For?

It depends on the pickups. Normal Telecaster with 2 single-coil is a great rock guitar, but it can handle everything from blues to hard rock and from jazz to softer metal.

But if your Tele is equipped with 2 humbuckers, it can usually handle heavier stuff well too. For example, ESP LTD TE-1000 Evertune Koa is a true metal guitar.

Why Do Many People Prefer Telecasters?

Here are some obvious reasons:

  • Telecasters look stunning.
  • They have a long history.
  • Telecasters are usually easy and at least really fun to play.
  • Some people do prefer the Telecaster body over Stratocaster and Les Pauls.
  • Many brands create T-style guitars
  • Tons of Telecasters with different pickup combinations are available.

Conclusion

Pretty freaking amazing Teles I must say. You clearly don’t need to get a Fender or Squier Telecaster to have an amazing Tele. There’s an abundance of great T-Style guitars to choose from.

I hope this article helped you out, and maybe you even decided to get one of the guitars featured. If you have any questions, leave a comment, I and the GND team are here for you.

Now go, my son, and Rock!

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