The Fender Telecaster is without a doubt one of the most iconic guitars in music history. The guitar has two signature tones, the “twang” tone and the jazzy, warm tone. When combined with the right amp, a Telecaster sounds truly brilliant.
There is no denying the comfort of playing a Telecaster. Its versatility is unrivaled when it comes to crossing over different musical genres. This article aims to guide you towards the best suited amp for your Telecaster so you can produce your desired sound.
Best Amps for Telecaster – Helping You Get that Fender Tone
The Fender ’65 Princeton pays homage to the legendary original model. A telecaster played through this amp will give you that signature clean tone that Fender has perfected over the years. This amp has ample power for its size, with a 15 watt, all-tube combo construction.
One of my favorite things about Fender amplifiers is the awesome built-in reverb and vibrato effects. Playing high end chords and triads on a Telecaster with the added decoration of the Fender vibrato produces a smooth, light tone.
Although this amp is not powerful enough for a large arena, it certainly packs a punch for its size. Dialing up the gain will create a gritty sound perfect for the warm hums of a Telecaster solo.
The Roland JC-40 amp provides some exceptional clean tones. If you switch to the neck pickup with a gentle amount of the amps built-in reverb, it will produce a light, dreamy tone for sparse chord playing.
This amp features a stereo signal chain, allowing you to run your effects straight into the input. There are four built-in effects - reverb, vibrato, chorus and distortion. The distortion setting allows you to crank the amp and play those fuzzy blues riffs in the style Telecaster ambassador Keith Richards.
The JC-40 is based on the JC-120, a legendary amp which was used by many guitarists as their clean option in combination with a valve amp for the grittier tones. With the new addition of a stereo input, you can now get the best of both. This makes it a great match with the Telecaster which is equally suited to the light jangly rhythm playing as it is to an energetic lead line.
Something which I noticed when playing Roland amplifiers in the past is that they allow the instrument to produce its true sound without being colored by the amp. Telecasters have a rich natural sound which this amp would showcase very well.
3. Vox AC10C
Vox amps are renowned for their 60’s British sound. The AC10C provides the classic Vox crunchy tone which highlights the warmth of a Telecaster. For catchy riffs played in the lower register, this amp will produce great results.
The Telecaster is one of those rare, multi-faceted guitars which are equally suited for ringing out chords as it is for playing face-melting solos. The Vox AC10C matches the Telecaster’s versatility. The built-in EQ allows you to manually construct your sound and experiment with it.
In my opinion, you can’t beat the sound of a Fender Telecaster through a tube amp. There’s something magical about the tone which just sounds amazing. This amp features two preamp tubes and two power tubes to give you ample power.
The custom reverb ranges from tight and close to large and spacious. A touch of this effect will sound great with a finger picked style on the Telecaster, giving a dreamy, Jeff Buckley like sound.
The Peavey Classic 30 II Tube Combo is a 2-channel amp which sounds great with the twangy sound of a Telecaster. This amp is ideal for rock, blues and country – genres which Telecasters are commonly used for.
A standout feature of this amp is the tonal range it provides. The three preamp tubes combined with four power tubes give you the option of a clean or dirty sound.
This amp also comes with a footswitch which can be used to control the built-in spring reverb. The spring reverb sounds great when playing lead lines on your Tele, especially if you take some of the tone out of the guitar.
At 30 watts this amp will easily power a small to medium sized venue. Using an SM57 or another dynamic microphone will allow it to be amplified even further without roughing up the sound of your Telecaster.
This Boss amplifier is a very affordable option with some great features. Boss is best known for their extensive range of effects pedals. This knowledge of effects is reflected in the Katana 50 MK II amp.
The five individual amp characters allow you to experiment with the sound of a Telecaster and produce a wide sonic range. This is great for beginner players as it encourages them to find the custom sounds they enjoy.
The signature warm, bluesy tone of a Telecaster sounds great when played on the clean setting of this amp with the gain turned slightly up. You can also switch to dramatic metal style lead sounds if you feel like shredding on your Tele.
Another great feature of the Katana 50 MK II is its compatibility with Boss Tone Studio. This is an included piece of software which allows you to completely sculpt your sound and program it into the amp. This allows you to learn more about the construction of sounds in an accessible way.
The Many Sounds of a Telecaster
If you can name a genre of music, a Fender Telecaster has probably been used to create it. One of the things that sets a Tele apart from other solid-body guitars is its exceptional versatility. The two single-coil pickups create a warm, jazzy tone which sounds great in all styles of music.
When the time is right, the Telecaster can turn up the heat, so to speak. Moving to the bridge pickup creates a harsher tone, which when combined with distortion or overdrive cuts through for the screaming solos heard in blues music.
Choose Your Effects Wisely
The great thing about a Telecaster is you don’t need a huge pedal board to get a great sound. The variation that the different pickups provide gives you a built-in range of sounds to work with. A slight reverb and tremolo effect sounds awesome when playing riffs in the lower register.
One of my favorite effects pedal to use with a Tele is a wah pedal. The bite of the neck pickup really highlights the filters of the pedal. This combination is perfect for funky rhythm parts.
Going Deep Into the Sounds
The Telecaster has a rich history of great guitarists and their individual sounds. Researching what amplifiers and effects these players used to achieve their style is a great way to learn about building tone.
It is often the case that you can follow an artist’s influences right back to their original roots. The further back you go, the more you learn about guitar playing and sound in general.
I find that listening carefully to my favorite records and then trying to build a sound which resembles theirs is very beneficial. You might find yourself guessing at first, but soon the patterns will start to make sense and you will understand how certain sounds are produced.
With the amps listed in this article, most of them have an output which can be recorded into a DAW like Logic or Ableton Live. I would highly recommend recording some of your guitar playing and then manipulating the sounds in the digital workspace, as this taught me a great deal about the functions of effects.
If you’re lucky enough to have a Telecaster, you will know how difficult they are to put down. It’s rumored that Jimi Hendrix could never be found without his guitar strapped around his shoulder.
The best thing about being a guitarist is that you have embarked on a lifelong journey of discovering and improving. What is difficult now will be easy in a year or so. The key is to stay curious and constantly try new approaches. After all, there is no right or wrong!