Stratocaster and Telecaster, also known as Strat and Tele are without a doubt Fender’s greatest achievements. Very similar when it comes to quality and price, these guitars differ in body shape, pickup configuration, bridge and the sound they produce.
Telecaster is famous for its sharp, twangy sound with loads of attack. Stratocaster, on the other hand has a more compressed and flatter sound, often described as “quacky”. Even though both guitars are very versatile, Telecaster seems to be very popular in country music, while Stratocaster is one of the most popular rock guitars.
Both guitars traditionally feature single-coil pickups. However, Stratocaster has three similar pickups, while Telecaster only has two, highly different pickups. This means that Stratocaster has a five-way pickup selector and offers more variety than Telecaster, which only has a three-way pickup selector.
Telecaster has a bigger, flat topped, slab-like body with a single cutaway. Stratocaster, on the other hand, has an elegant contoured body with a double cutaway, usually thought to be more comfortable. Stratocaster also appears to be easier to play and learn for beginners.
Stratocaster has a floating bridge and therefore gets out of tune more quickly. However, the floating bridge also enables it to feature a whammy bar. Telecaster has a fixed bridge, hence easier tuning and no whammy bar.