Contact: Kelsey Austin


Location: New York, U.S.

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Best "Fender" Telecaster Alternatives 2020

A while back I was looking for a "Fender Telecaster Style Guitar". I was interested in non-Fender Telecasters. Nothing against Fender, I happen to love the brand. But there are lots of guitar makers out there and I wanted to see what was available. A quick google search didn't yield too many helpful results. I found a few brands but not as much as I had hoped. Therefore, I put together this quick post on Non Fender Telecaster Style Guitars that don't suck.

First Up is the Schecter PT Fastback II B.



I first came across this gem of a guitar while researching my article on "Best Praise & Worship Guitars Under $1000". Schecter really did a nice job on their interpretation of what a Telecaster should be. Its beautiful and has everything you could want in a humbucking tele.

Next up is another Schecter....

The Schecter Pete Dee Artist Model

Schecter also makes an artist model Telecaster. I just recently came across this unique take on the tele. It has 22 frets and the pickups are a bit different than the other PTs.


-Roller TOM Bridge w/Bigsby B-50 Vibrato

-Schecter SuperRock Custom Alnico/Duncan Designed FG-101 0

-22 Jumbo Frets

-Schecter Locking Tuners

-Chrome Hardware



Next up is the G&L ASAT Series




G&L is likely the first "Brand" that comes to mind when you mention Non-Fender Telecasters or Telecaster Style Guitars. G&L was actually founded by Leo Fender himself and the company is still cranking out telecaster type guitars today. Many guitarists that I look up to swear by G&L and rarely play anything else.


Thats what convinced me to by a G&L ASAT, and it was a great decision. G&L offers multiple Telecaster Type Alternatives. The have everything from single coil Teles to carved top humbucking Teles, and at an affordable price.


Next up in "Fender" Telecaster Alternatives Roundup is the Veritas Guitars Portlander.


I had to include a video for this one. Its hard to find a free use image for this guitar because its still considered a "boutique" guitar. And technically it is. Not long ago you couldn't find a Veritas Portlander for less than $2500. But, according to this video from Veritas Guitars themself...they just came out with a Proline of Portlanders starting at $900!!!! Thats a ridiculously good deal for that guitar.

Next up is the Esp Ltd TE-401








This is ESP-LTD's great rendition of the telecaster. I really like the simplistic style and the especially the 24 frets. I can't tell you how many times I've wished my ASAT had 24 frets. This is a solid option for a humbucking tele.

  • The ESP LTD TE-401 BLKS has a Mahogany Body with a 3 piece Maple Neck

  • This guitar comes equipped with an LTD Fixed Bridge w/String Through Body

  • Rosewood Fingerboard with a Set-Thru Neck and a 25.5" Scale, with 24 Extra Jumbo Frets a Thin-U Neck Shape

  • The pickups are EMG 81/60


Last is the Charvel Joe Duplantier San Dimas




Charvel has turned out a signature series telecaster style guitar of their own. And its not too hard on the eyes either. The stark white of the body against that black fretboard and hardware makes for an appealing fender telecaster alternative.

  • Nato Body w/Satin White Finish and Black Binding

  • Graphite-Reinforced 1pc. Nato Neck w/Oiled Finish

  • Neck Compound-Radius (12"-16")

  • Ebony Fingerboard

  • 22 Jumbo Frets

  • Duncan Designed HB-103B (Bridge)

  • HB-103N (Neck) Humbucking Pickups

  • Master Vol Control and 3-Position Toggle

  • Charvel Branded Die-Cast Locking Tuners

  • Charvel-Jackson Compound Radius

  • Compensated Bridge with Anchored Tail Piece




The Axe Dr.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the best Telecaster for the money?


In my opinion, the best "telecaster" for the money is a G&L ASAT Tribute Series. They can be found brand new for $250 to $300. The guitars are built at the same factories as Cort Guitars. The hardware is usually real G&L (Made In USA). Brass saddles also come standard.  


What is the best cheap telecaster copy?


In my opinion, the best  cheap "telecaster" copy is a G&L ASAT Tribute Series. (G&L was founded by Leo Fender, and its where he said he did his best work.)


They can be found brand new for $250 to $300. The guitars are built at the same factories as Cort Guitars. The hardware is usually real G&L (Made In USA). Brass saddles also come standard.  


What telecaster style guitars have humbucker pickups?


There are a lot of Telecaster variants with humbucker pickups. The main one that comes to mind is the '72 Deluxe Tele. They can be found in solid or thinline bodies. There is also the Fender Player Series HH telecaster.


Which Telecaster is best?


That is a complex question that depends on your own preferences. I can tell you what I consider to be the best, most versatile telecasters.

1. Fender '72 Deluxe Tele

2. G&L ASAT Deluxe HH

3. Veritas Guitars Portlander HH

4. Fender Player Series HH Tele

5. Schecter PT Fastback II