By Jotham Loyd and Jessica McMahon
If you’re an electric guitar player or aspiring to be one, we’re sure you’ve considered purchasing, or maybe even own already, the classic Fender. Although there are so many great options out there, Fender has really become a staple since their rise in the mid-1900s.
So, are you curious about the difference between Fender’s two most popular models, the Telecaster vs. Stratocaster? Don’t fret. Just continue reading.
For starters, both the Telecaster and Stratocaster are typically made from the same wood—alder, a type of wood that gives a snappy sound and warm-balanced tone. Alder is one of the most common-used wood in all guitars, mostly because it is known for being inexpensive and fast-growing.
At first glance, the most noticeable difference between the two is the headstock. Compared to Telecasters, Stratocasters have larger headstock. Stratocasters have a more contour body, a cutout (upper horn), and a smoother edge, while telecasters have the opposite. This cutout was made for guitarists to play higher notes.
The bridges of these guitars are also different (responsible for supporting the strings of the pickups in electric guitars). The telecaster has a hardtail design, which means the strings pass through the wood and through the back of the guitar. The strings are securely fastened, making the guitar more stable and long-lasting. The tremolo system on the Stratocaster, on the other hand, allows the strings to vibrate.
The difference in the design of these two Fender electric guitar models makes the difference in the tones and sound they produce. Stratocasters are more commonly associated with blues and rock music, whilst Telecasters are more commonly associated with country music. However, both of these instruments have been adopted in a wide range of different musical genres with great success.
The Fender Stratocaster has a five-way pickup switch, but the Fender Telecaster only has a three-way switch. This simply implies that when it comes to switching between pickups or engaging alternative pickup configuration choices, the Stratocaster has more possibilities and tones accessible.
The Stratocaster’s bridge is coupled to springs that connect to the body of the guitar, allowing the artist to adjust the amount of string tension on the strings. This results in a vibrato effect.
Fender built these pickups specifically for the Stratocaster and Telecaster, thus there is a notable tone difference between the two instruments.
Which One is For You?
We hope that you now understand the fundamental distinctions between the two and you should be able to recognize the difference between the two. If you’re undecided, try them both out and see which one suits you best.