In search of Springsteen tone

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Joined: 11/05/20
Posts: 118

To set context I'm working my way through Guitar Fundamentals 2 then plan on taking the Acoustic course, then Rock.

I only have an acoustic at this point, but planning to get an electric. For my first and main electric I'd like to get a Fender Telecaster as I plan to learn lots of Springsteen songs and its very versatile. (Interests also include Keith Richards, Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Jimmy Paige used one in studio - so I'll get a lot of mileage out of a Tele).

I researched Springsteen's guitar(s) and all are heavily modified and custom. I am leaning toward a Vintera 50's Modified but am opened to suggestions. Would even consider a American Professional ii. I can't go to the stores right now, but want to feel how the different neck profiles fit in my hand. I could only try a few strums as I'm a beginner.

Springsteen's pickups vary but he used JBE Gatton T-Style Pickups (dual rails) for many years. The Gatton's are vey Twangy (think Country). Most recently on the album Letter to You you can see in the documentary that he used a heavily relicked Telecaster with side-by-side humbuckers in both positions. Not really the single coil that Teles are known for.

I know nothing about acheiving tone other than most of it comes from the fingers. Should I buy a more affordable Tele and swap out the pickups to Gatton's or could I achieve the tone from a stock Tele and with the amp and pedals? Or get a modelling amp to acheive it? How much do pickups vs amp affect tone? I'm afraid the Gatton's would get me close to the Springsteen tone (afraid of the country sound) but also need to consider versatility for other music. I'm also not against getting another guitar for different tonal options, but really want a Springsteen guitar first.


# 1
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Joined: 11/23/19
Posts: 418

I think a modelling amp is the way to go. You can get them fairly resonable these days. Positive Grid Spark, Boss Katana, Line 6 and Fender Mustang are just a few that I've looked into myself that are around 150-250 range. From what I read the Spark has like 10000 tones on their cloud so I would think there are plenty of tones for the artists you listed. It won't be exact, but you'll get the versatality your looking for without buying and modifying a bunch of guitars. I'm guessing you don't have an amp at this point anyway so you might as well go this route. A good Tele doesn't necessarily have to say Fender on the headstock. There are many affordable options out there that won't run you in the thousands. Pickups and pedals can be added later on when your ready to finetune the sound you want, but with the modelling amp you may never need that. Good Luck.


# 2