Truth be told, both the Telecaster and Stratocaster are two amazing guitars with unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.
With the sound of a Telecaster being described by many as clean, punchy, and clear while that of the Strat leans more towards the twangy and warm end, the tonal characters of these two amazing guitars are quite distinct—with none being better than the other.
The idea of having a tele bridge on a Strat is not exactly out of place. As a matter of fact, it is something you can do with a little bit of tweaking.
However, it is not as straightforward as you might assume. But the good news is that it is possible and a lot more possible if you have basic mechanical and electrical knowledge.
Difference Between a Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster
Since electric guitars first appeared in the 1950s, the Telecaster and Stratocaster have been the de facto standard-bearers.
Both guitars have been used to create virtually every genre of music imaginable and are adored by amateur players and legendary musicians worldwide.
Although, you can easily tell which is a telecaster and which is a Stratocaster by merely looking at it, here are a few cues that will help you differentiate them.
- A Tele has a single-cutaway body while a Strat has a dual-cutaway body
- A Strat has a wider, heavier, headstock than the Tele
- A typical Telecaster has two single-coil pickups and three-way switching. On the other hand, a Stratocaster will have three single-coil pickups and five-way switching
- Both the Tele and Strat will have the same 22 frets and a 25.5” scale, with identical nut width and a 9.5” fretboard radius
- Typically, both Telecasters and Stratocasters are made from an alder body and maple bolt-on neck
- A Telecaster will typically have one tone knob. A Stratocaster has two tone knobs; one knob for the middle and one for the neck pickup
- The Tele’s bridge pickup is both wider and longer than that of a Strat. Also, the Tele bridge pickup is mounted on a metal bridge plate
- Both the Tele and Strat will have six adjustable saddles, except for some very old Tele models, which often have three saddles
- The Telecaster is known and loved for its unique “twang”, while the Strat is capable of producing a wide variety of tones, from bright to mellow
- The Telecaster is most commonly associated with genres like country, indie, and lighter rock styles, while the Strat is more commonly associated with electric blues, rock and metal music
Telecaster Vs. Stratocaster Necks
Modern Telecaster and Stratocaster bolt-on necks have 22 frets, a 25.5″ scale, a nut width of 1.25″, and a fretboard radius of 9.5″.
There has long been controversy over the assertion that the more oversized Strat headstock provides the instrument additional sustain and tone.
Telecaster Vs. Stratocaster Bodies
Alder, a lightweight, closed-pore wood with a resonant, balanced tone that produces outstanding sustain and quick attack, makes up most of the Telecaster and Stratocaster bodies.
Other tone woods like ash and mahogany have also been utilized. The Strat has a further cut out on the upper body for easier access to the higher notes, and its sleek contours make it invariably comfortable to play.
Telecaster Vs. Stratocaster Electronics
On the Tele, the bridge pickup is often bigger and longer than its Strat counterpart, which normally has two single-coil pickups. Additionally, it is fixed on the metal bridge plate of the Tele, which might result in a stronger tone.
Telecaster Vs. Stratocaster Hardware
The bridge is perhaps the most obvious difference in this instance. Both feature six adjustable saddles (the original Teles had three saddles); however, the Strat’s bridge has a two-point tremolo system, while the Telecaster’s housing the bridge pickup.
Difference Between a Tele and Strat Bridge
Although there are many other elements that affect a guitar’s tone, the bridge pickups in each model certainly have a significant impact, particularly when you consider how unique a Telecaster bridge pickup can be.
The physical dimensions of the two are one of the key basic distinctions. The classic Tele bridge pickup is bigger and extended than its Stat counterpart, giving more space to wound extra wire to the more squat bobbin, resulting in a greater output.
It was originally derived from a pickup Fender was already creating for lap-steel guitars. The physical dimensions of the two are one of the key basic distinctions.
The classic Tele bridge pickup is taller and longer than its Stat counterpart, giving more space to wound extra wire, thereby resulting in greater output. It was originally derived from a pickup Fender was already creating for lap-steel guitars.
Similar to the Tele bridge pickup, Strat’s pickup is angled toward the upper strings for a treblier sound.
However, it is typically placed next to a floating bridge and put on a plastic pickguard, which produces entirely distinct tones that can be quite clear and bell-like.
It should be noted that tone woods, hardware tweaks, and even the addition of backplates to Strat pickups may all muddy the distinctions between the Telecaster and Stratocaster sounds.
Tele Bridge on Strat; Why Do that?
It goes without saying that many Fender musicians adore the tone of a Stratocaster’s neck pickup, and installing a beloved Strat-style neck pickup into the Tele is a terrific way to bring
The Strat’s tonal qualities to a Tele. Depending on the player, there could be a hundred reasons to think of fixing a tele bridge on a strat. However, the most obvious reason would be the tone.
It would be amazing having some tonal characters of a tele on the body of the Strat. Also, aside from tone, the electric guitar bridge contributes a great deal to the overall feel and playability of the guitar.
As a matter of fact, different guitar ridges can make guitars feel different to play on. Even though the tension required to bring strings of the same gauge up to pitch will always be the same, those strung on a Strat-style vibrato or a Bigsby unit will have a slightly looser, spongier feel.
They are also a lot easier to bend than strings on a Tele bridge, wrap or similar designs. For some reason, some players would still prefer the feel of a tele bridge on the body of a strat.
Is it Possible to Fix a Tele Bridge on Strat?
Yes, it is definitely possible to fix a Tele Bridge onto a Strat. But it is not that straightforward. You will have to drill some holes and maybe even use some adhesives at some point.
But although it is very possible to fix a tele bridge on a strat, the truth is that you can’t simply put a Stratocaster bridge pickup into a standard Telecaster bridge because of the different mounting systems and sizes of these two guitars.
As we all know, a Tele bridge pickup will always have three mounting holes, while Stratocaster pickups will have only two—now that’s a problem—but it can be solved!
However, if you’re someone who always does it DIY and loves going DIY, it should never be a problem to convert any Strat pickup to Telecaster specs.
There is a nice, detailed, and easy essay that really demonstrates this operation. The good thing is that it is very simple and anyone (even novices) can understand it without much mental stress.
The technician calls it “single-bucking” because he wanted to fit a Strat humbucker into one of his Telecasters. The detailed procedure and pictorial analysis can be found here.
There are yet to be commercial solutions for fixing a tele bridge on a strat. However, any skilled electric guitar pickup maker should be able to fabricate a custom order for you.
Challenges to Expect while Fixing A Tele Bridge on Strat
It is important to widen the body’s wiring and pickguard hole in order to accommodate the Stratocaster neck pickup because it is a little bit larger than a conventional Telecaster neck pickup.
You must also choose between using the Stratocaster method, which entails drilling two screw threads in the pickguard, and the classic Telecaster installation technique, which consists of two screws that hide behind the pickguard and pierce the wood.
Due to the different attachment methods and dimensions, you can’t just swap a Stratocaster bridge pickup for a regular Telecaster bridge. While Strat pickups have 2 attachment slots, a Tele bridge pickup typically has three.
Ease of Doing it DIY
This is a very simple procedure that anyone who even knows how to handle a screwdriver or drilling machine can carry out. However, we would still recommend you pass the job over to a professional luthier if you are not a total DIY person.
Although it might appear to be quite simple, there is still a possibility of you damaging your guitar if you don’t know exactly what you are doing. Trust me, damaging your strat or tele is the last thing you would wish for at this point.
Pros of Having a Tele Bridge on Strat
- It feels a bit more compact
- It will give you a rather unique tone and overall feel
- Clean and Strat-like in the body while getting rather thick and fiery in the bridge
- Permits further modifications
- Less expensive than buying a new tele
- Maintains tuning stability
Cons of Having a Tele Bridge on Strat
- You will have to drill some holes in the body of your beloved strat
- Some say they are difficult to operate and that they can be loud
- Once a guitar is modified, there will always be a possibility of malfunction, however, slim the chances
- Won’t exactly look stunning because of the modification
- A strat should play and feel like a strat and not like a tele
How Do You Make a Strat Sound Like a Tele?
There are a few other ways you can make your strat play like a tele. One amazing alternative would be swapping the neck pickups.
Replacing the standard Tele neck pickup with a Strat neck pickup should be the least invasive way of making your strat play like a tele.
But this is not a straightforward fix. Because there will always be an issue of size consideration, you will have to carry out some modifications in order for this to work. A skilled luthier can always help you with this.
Also, you could simply just buy a tele and play! That’s simple and it requires almost zero technical stress…