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Telecaster is a good example of a one-and-done guitar

Guitar minimalism has its benefits.

When I was going through my Jazzmaster phase, I embraced the guitar with all its complications. Two circuits with two sets of volume and tone controls, an always-floating vibrato system, and ridiculously high-treble pickups (with traditional 1meg volume pot, thank you very much). But then I switched over to Telecaster which is the polar opposite.

Single circuit, two knobs, no vibrato (meaning no floating anything), and a sound that I describe as much more civilized.

Is the Telecaster the ultimate minimalist guitar? No. The ultimate minimalist electric guitar is a build so simple that most won't dare to make one.

Imagine an Esquire (basically a Telecaster without the neck pickup) with no controls whatsoever, meaning the pickup is wired straight to the output jack. That's as minimalist as it gets.

But as I said, most guys who build guitars won't dare to put a guitar together like that. They will at least put in one toggle switch as an on/off for the pickup to cut the signal. I'm in agreement with that, because otherwise I'd have to use a footswitch to cut the signal, adding in needless bulk just for basic volume control.

As my guitar journey continues, I now gravitate towards guitars with two pickups and a minimal complement of controls.

My next guitar as I talked about in my last article might have 5 controls on it, meaning 4 knobs and one pickup selector. Said honestly, I'm not really a fan of that and prefer the 3-control system of one volume, one tone, one pickup selector. But if it happens to be that the next guitar is a 5-control thing, it's not unusable. I can work with it, albeit it's slightly annoying to deal with.

While true the Telecaster isn't the ultimate minimalist guitar, it does totally qualify as a one-and-done instrument.

Someone asked me on YouTube recently that if I had to pick just one electric guitar, which would I choose? Easy answer. Telecaster. That guitar allows me to get the most usable sounds with the least complications.

This doesn't mean I'm a Tele player for life, but I've done the complicated guitar thing and concentrate more on playing now. Better to do that rather than trying to muck about with a guitar that has needless stuff that just gets in the way.


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