'72 Telecaster Custom Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 04/07/2015 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: '72 Telecaster Custom
The '72 Tele Custom gets a kick-in-the-pants with the addition of a single humbucker in the neck position for those fat warm tones. To achieve the classic styling the '72 Custom is adorned with bullet truss rod and silver-tipped, skirted amp knobs.
 Sound: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 9.4
 Reliability & Durability: 9.1
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.4
 Features: 9.6
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (8) pictures (2) 44 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
5 of 13 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1096.17

Purchased from: Bonners

Features: It was made in 2003 in Mexico. It has 21 fat frets and has a maple neck and has got a laminated top. The bridge obviously is a Tele one and there is a 3-way selector Switch for the humbucker and the pickup. The pickups are standard Fender ones. The shop gave me a gig bag with the guitar. The finish does chip quite easily. // 8

Sound: It doesn't really suit my style of music which is punk and metal with a bit of weezer added in. It would be a good guitar if you were in a Rolling Stones tribute band. I play it with a Boss Turbo Distortion and a Marshall Valvestate 60w amp. It's a Tele so has quite a bright and tinny sound. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up fine and everything with the guitar was absolutely perfect. There were no flaws at all. It is perfect in this area. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is a Fender and is pretty tough and I would gig without a backup, it's pretty reliable and the strap would not fall off. // 8

Overall Impression: This is a nice guitar but it doesn't suit my style. I've been playing for three years and I might try and sell it. If it were stolen I'd claim the insurance money and buy an SG. I hate this guitar but I cannot fault it in terms of set up etc. // 10

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overall: 9.2
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 549

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: Mine is a Mex, lovely maple neck which has gone a nice shade of yellow since I've had it (4/5 years now), Tobacco sunburst Alder body which has also aged really nicely- the colours really show well. I think everything else has been covered. It didn't come with anything, though I got a hardcase at the same time for obvious reasons. // 10

Sound: This is one of the most versatile guitars I've played. The bridge single coil can really squeal if you want it to, switching to the humbucker gives a really deep rich tone, then you can get virtually anything in between using the blend position. I've used this for everything from DC Hardcore through to jazz and it has a damn good go at all of them. I very rarely run it with any effects, just straight into my amp on clean though I do like a good thick ethereal reverb. The neck is lovely to play and you really feel every resonance running through it, just makes me want to use it more and more. My only fault is the poor wiring inside (as is the case with a good many manufacturers) making the instrument noisy out of the box (though no more than any other tele I've played). I have since shielded it completely inside, ditched the chrome pup cover (quieter without it and looks cooler) fitted a (switchable) pre amp to the bridge pickup (gives it a little more warmth when it's needed, plenty of space inside for active electronics too) and added the option of series pickups, though I don't usually bother with this, it's mainly just to Drive wah pedals a bit harder. Since shielding it, I have recorded with it many times, often exclusively- there's nothing like the sound of two of them playing against each other across the channels. Personally I'd rate it 10 for sound, the pickups sound fantastic but I understand not everyone wants to pull their instrument apart to shield it so I knocked a couple off. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: It took me a while to get the action just right on this. I play with flat wound strings, so the heavier gauge meant I had to do a full setup anyway, but the action was unnecessarily high when I got it. The neck bow (truss) and pickups were fine though. The Vintage type saddles are a bit annoying, running two strings across one means it can be a real fiddle to get the intonation just right and the grub screws to adjust the saddle height can be pretty vicious, I've cut my hand on more than one occasion. I have thought about fitting modern saddles but to be honest it isn't that big a deal. Despite the little problems, the guitar really is worth your time to get right, when it's spot on, it virtually plays itself and holds it's tuning very well. Again, I'd give it 10 for the end result but it looses a mark for all the time I've spent on it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The pickup selector has died on me since I had it, it is one of the odd ones with long Switch plates and the solder connectors out to the side, I didn't fancy paying the premium for one so I used a rotary Tool to sand enough of the body away to fit a standard vertical type. The cavity is still covered by the scratch plate so I don't know why they don't use these from the start as they are much cheaper. Other than that, there isn't too much to go wrong really. Mine has taken a number of hits, the 'e' tuner has been bashed around again and again, it is bent but still works fine. As for playing wear, I've played it every day since I've had it, very little damage and what there is would have damaged any guitar (e.g. I kicked a coffee mug off the desk and naturally, the corner of the mug landed right on the edge of the guitar, going right down to the wood). Once you're over the first ding, the rest don't seem so bad and if you want to keep it perfect, don't gig it. // 9

Overall Impression: I like to keep my guitar collection to a minimum as I prefer to play them all as much as possible. I know as soon as I've found a keeper and this is most definitely one of those. As to whether I'd buy it again, yes, assuming the replacement plays as well, looking at other reviews it seems the QC is generally very good as I haven't seen many bad words said. // 10

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overall: 10
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: J6strings21fret, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Musiciandfriend.com

Features: I just bought this guitar and all I have to say is wow! I was really blown away buy this guitar because not only does it have a great sound and playablity. This is the cheapest guitar I own and it plays better than most of my other ones. The only thing I recommend is that you get a rosewood board for a warmer sound or, that may be just my personal favorite. // 10

Sound: I use a Boss ME-50 effects pedal. I mostly play punk/ska and tend to stay in the Gibson guitar field but wow. I can simply emmulate almost any song I played with my Gibson perfectly. The Rosewood Board gives it a nice warm sound. Even with my ok MG50 it still sounds great but with my stack, forget about it! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I always get my guitars set-up first before I really play them. With some polish, new strings and minor neck adjustments at the shop this guitar was a trophy. I actually got some wall clips and hung all my guitars up and the '72 looked great. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I cant really tell you much on reliability since I got it but I'd bet this guitar and gear was meant to last. I just changed the knobs cause the knobs it came with are wierd and are like 4 inches high. Cost about like 10 dollars. I would use this guitar on stage with my band anytime. I would bring a backup though because I would never take a chance and say if lightning hit it (I hope not) I would have no guitar. // 10

Overall Impression: Like I said I play punk and this guitar deffinetly fits the bill. I can really play this all day without touching my Classic Custom Telecaster. If someone was to steal this guitar from me, I would get Chuck Norris to hunt them down and beat them then I would just buy another one. This guitar is my heaven. I love everything about this guitar except the knobs which I changed ($10.00). // 10

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overall: 9.4
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: Micstand, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: My '72 custom reissue was made in japan between 2002-2004. It has 21 Vintage sized frets on a D shaped maple neck with one piece maple fretboard. It has an Ash body with a US blonde finish which you can see the lovely grain of the wood through. It has a 3 saddle strung through Telecaster bridge, all chrome hardware of course. It has passive electronics with a Fender Wide Range humbucker at the neck and a Standard Telecaster single coil at the bridge, with 2 volume and tone controls and a three way pickup selector. The tuners are non-locking Gotoh machine heads, not much else to say about those really. I didn't get anything with my Tele but I got such a fantastic deal on it that I didn't mind at all. It's a great sounding, great playing instrument although I'd liek to have it set up to the Fender spec as I find that the action is slightly high for my liking, but it's a beautiful instrument. I think it looks fantastic but it took me a little while to grow to like the blonde finish as at first glance I thought it looked like a weak coat of whitewash. // 10

Sound: I play a mixture of jazz, blues, heavy rock and most things in between really, I play alot at school and in a couple of bands so versatility is a must have in any guitar I'd buy. I'm using my tele through a Snarling Dogs wonder wah 2, a Boss DS-1 Distortion and a Boss ch-1 super chorus, but I plan to extend my pedal collection in the near future This all goes into my Behringer GMX 212 60 watt stereo amplifier which has different amp simulators and stuff, rather too hi-tech for me. The tele isn't noisy at all really, and with the neck humbucker it's possible to get some lovely sounds for any style. I predominantly use the humbucker when I want a smooth, full and fat tone for playing jazz etc, but then I can Switch into both pickups for a punchy, ballsy blues tone or add more distortion for a very full, round sounding distortion. I rarely use the bridge single coil as it is so damn punchy I'm not quite sure what to do with it, it's perfect for your jangly 60's beach boys or beatles tone though; it's just a fantastic guitar. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I think that the guitar could have been a little better set up at the factory: the action is a little high for my likings and the intonation is a little flat from the 7th fret onwards, minor faults I know but time consuming none the less. The pickups are adjusted just fine and they have a nice high output on every string, no dead spots to my ears anyway. I've had no problems with the bridge at all to date, it's properly anchored and no buzzes or anything, lovely job. The only flaws on this guitar are a small dink on the top fce of the fretboard and a couple of marks on the headstock that came from it being hung up in the shop, these are merely superficial and so don't really worry me. Overall, tis a fine beast. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've gigged with this guitar twice and it's been fine, no problems. I may change the tuners to G&L style locking tuners purely because I like them, but for now these tuners are fantastic, no problems with tuning or anything like that. I took the original strap buttons off and replaced them with strap locks, and it still mystifies me why locking strap buttons aren't fitted as standard in the factory, I would never trust any guitar without strap locks, no matter how solid the original buttons feel. I am too poor to afford a backup guitar so yes, I would trust my tele without a backup for the simple reason that I do not have a backup with which to backup the tele. The finish seems pretty solid although I hope that it'll wear off with a few years' gigging, as I love that "worn to the wood" look that Mr. Rory Gallagher showed so well. // 10

Overall Impression: As I've said, I play various styles of music and I find that it's perfect for each one, obviously I wouldn't use it to play metal but that's another story. I've been playing for 3 years now and I feel that a japanese Fender was the way to go as I don't have the playing experience to deserve a US Fender, but I felt that I wanted a better sound than the Vintage SG that I had before. I'd like to have this guitar set up properly, that is the only quibble I have with it. If my tele were stolen, I would buy another one definitely, but I'd like to get one in sunburst, but maybe I'm just being picky. I love the versatility of this guitar and the great warm tone you get off the humbucker. I played a few other guitars on the way to choosing this, namely a G&L Legacy Telecaster, and assorted epiphones. // 9

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overall: 8.4
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: dandhjohn, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 750

Purchased from: Unknown

Features: The original Telecaster Custom was in production from 1972 until 1981. According to the Fender website, this guitar was produced between 1977 and 1978. The actual date stamp is on the base of the neck and I'm not about to unbolt it to check. The Telecaster Custom has classic Ash body and added a C-shape maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard including simple mother-of-pearl Dot inlays, Bullet truss rod, Vintage string-thru Tele bridge and 3-bolt neckplate brought to life by a Wide Range humbucking neck pickup and a traditional single-coil bridge pickup. Controls include 2 volume and 2 tone knobs plus a 3-way toggle Switch all mounted in a black/white/black pickguard. I like the separate volume and tone controls this guitar has over the Standard Telecaster with the larger three way slide Switch. Width at nut:1-5/8" Body width: 12-3/4" Scale Length: 25.5" // 9

Sound: The neck pickup is a wide range humbucker created by Seth Lover for Fender in 1972. The bridge pickup is a Standard Fender Single Coil pickup. The neck pickup has that fat and smooth humbucker sound that is a large part of the Gibson Mystic that Fender was trying to break into when they introduced this guitar in 1972. The neck pickup in this guitar seems to have lost something over time as it's lost most of the sharpness I've associated with humbucker pickups. The P100's I have in my ES-330 are much cleaner and sharper than this model. The single coil pickup gives the guitar a classic Fender sound while the humbucker gives another dimension to the sound the guitar makes. As with most single coil pickups, this one tends to pickup unwanted signals from light dimming rheostats. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: The string action has always been quite good. The neck is a little fatter than my Fender Strat, but is quite fast and smooth and the rosewood fingerboard gives a nice warm touch to the guitar. I've never much cared for the all maple finger board as they feel too hard compared to the rosewood. The rosewood fingerboard does give a nice contrast to an otherwise blond guitar. The finish is a clear gloss over a natural wood finish that lets the natural beauty of the Alder Shine through. I'm a wood worker and always appreciate a beautiful piece of wood as this guitar is. The black/white/black pickguard is a little oversize in my opinion as it hides a large amount of the Alder body. A smaller pickguard with the controls mounted directly into the wood would have made a much sharper looking instrument. Cover plates on the back as Gibson does allows the visible side to have more wood showing than the larger pickguard does, although it does increase the cost to produce the guitar. The finish has held up quite well with no noticeable dings or scratches. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The three screw attachment of the neck to the body does not hold up a well as it should. The guitar has been dropped while in it's case and sustained a tweak to the neck where it has had to be pulled back into alignment. This was Fender's first foray into Humbucker style pickups having lost ground to Gibson in the late 1960's. // 8

Overall Impression: This is probably the least played guitar in my collection, but every once in a while I have to bring it out and try it out. As it is quite heavy and would compare in weight with most Gibson Les Paul's, a wide guitar strap is a must to be able to shoulder this instrument. I need to get the neck pickup checked to see if there is something wrong with it. Other than that, I should play it more to really find out what potential this guitar has. // 8

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overall: 9.4
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 710

Purchased from: Your Music (Rome)

Features: My '72 custom reissue is a model made in Mexico. It has 21 Vintage Style frets on a C shaped maple neck, that is in my opinion really one of the most positive elements for this guitar (see action, Fit & Finisch section, below). It has an Alder body. The hardware is entirely chromed and in particular I It has a 3 saddle strung through a Vintage-style Telecaster bridge and Fender Vintage F Style Tuning Machines. It has passive pickups: a Fender Wide Range humbucker at the neck and a Standard Telecaster single coil at the bridge, with 2 volume and tone controls and a three way pickup selector. // 10

Sound: I play post rock, Indie, darkwave, postcore and I find this guitar simply awesome for this kind of genres. The Humbucker gives a "round" and smooth sound, very warm and perfect for minimalistic grooves, like Mogwai Acoustic riffs. The middle position is very versatile and almost perfect for a Franz Ferdinand style of playing chords. The single coil gives a sharp, very bright sound. Of course, this guitar is not the best for playing extreme metal (you know, is a Tele) 'cause even with pedal effects designed for heavy metal the sounds remains too bright and the distortion not so brutal. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I start with the assumption that is impossible to judge a guitar simply on the bases of the country of production. I think we definetely have to challenge this prejudice. In other words, it is not true that Fender guitars made in USA are in absolute terms better than Mexican guitars of the same price range. One should always try a guitar before expressing any consideration. It is true that some Mexican Telecaster could be really bad assembled, showing dramatic problems which make those guitars impossible to be played. However, other Mexican Tele could be really better than some American models. I think my guitar is one of the best Mexican models that I've ever seen: perfect assemblage, finishes, no flaws, etc... Moreover, I remained really surprised from the neck, that has a great quality and a playability, in my opinion better than some American Tele. The action is in amazing and this guitar is really "fast" and simple to play. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Can't say very much about these topics, because my guitar is very young, but it seems to be really a solid model, made with good materials, very well finished. // 9

Overall Impression: In my opinion the Fender Telecaster Custom '72 could be one of the best options for playing guitar styles based on chords progression and minimalism. It is not just a case that Scottish post rock heroes Mogwai use one of these guitars on stage. I owned a Mexico Stratocaster before this one, and I think it could not be comparable in quality with this Telecaster. I owned also an American Gibson SG and I've sold it, 'cause the sound was not so versatile for playing my music; moreover, I've recently bought a J5 Triple Deluxe Telecaster, but, although price was higher than the 72' Custom, the J5 is too heavy (in terms of sound, weight and visual impact) and uncomfortable to me, especially for the quality of the neck. The Custom 72, instead, is versatile, light, cool, comfortable and has a really amazing quality/price ratio. // 9

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overall: 10
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: 1Duffy1, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: K&S Music

Features: Made 2011. MIM. Maple fretboard. Vintage sunburst. This guitar has all the features that you need to supercharge a Telecaster and take it to a level way above the stripped down level of a Traditional Telecaster. It has the pickup compliment to bring this guitar into a new area of awesome Telecaster tone, developing the typical Telecaster sound into something totally untouched before by a Traditional Telecaster. It is a HOT rodded sound that retains a quality of sound that is unique and superior to the typical mediocre guitar. This is a special, very special, rendition of the Traditional Telecaster that retains a very serious Telecaster vibe but moves forward with a serious sound that is both delicate and roaringly awesome in a new and unexpected way. This could be considered a conservative looking "sleeper" type of HOT rodded guitar that is capable of springing out of the woodwork of the stage to surprise many a serious musician that is expecting to hear more of the same old standby. // 10

Sound: I play blues, rock, and folk/rock. I use a variety of good amps with it including, Marshall JMD-1 two twelve combo, Peavey Delta Blues fifteen inch, HRDX Tweed Sp Ed, Vox VT30, 2011 '65 Deluxe Reverb RI, Peavey 6505+ combo. Effects not needed for a great tone with a good amp. Sounds super great on Fender clean, very excellent with overdrive, effects. Very quiet, especially with the gate on the Marshall JMD-1. The '72 Custom Tele has very excellent stock pickups and a really great stock sound. This quality of having excellent stock sound definitely deserves to be noted and supported by a ten rating. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Very beautiful, well built guitar with everything in the right place. Great finish and beautiful wood grain. The neck is lightly finished and very beautiful. The factory action is excellent as well as the set up. The guitar played and sounded better than the Road Worn similar version with the Seymour Duncan '59 neck humbucker; and I really like SD '59 HB's, so this says something about the criticized Wide Range HB in its current stock form - I like it very much, a very unique and excellent sound. Very great stock bridge pickup too, nothing like the junk that was on my MIM Standard Tele I recently bought and replaced with excellent Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Tele pickups - very, very beautiful pickups that allow this MIM Standard Tele to sound like I think a real nice Tele should. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Perfect as it is excellent in all way as it was received into my possession, brand new. It is a heavy guitar and seems to be heavy duty in its construction, but is very beautiful and a work of ART in itself. This is a heavy guitar that doesn't just have a lot of extra weight because of bad choices of wood by the manufacturer. I think the extra weight is a strategic consideration that was taken into consideration by the designers when this guitar was still in the planning stage, where they were trying to design a super nice guitar to meet a very special goal. // 10

Overall Impression: I have been playing guitar for around forty years on a regular basis, fifteen years seriously. I have some other very excellent guitars well worth mentioning elsewhere. I would replace this guitar forth with if it were lost or destroyed. This guitar looks great, but, more importantly, it feels incredible in my hands, accommodates my fret hand incredibly, provides a range of excellent tones, has some decent weight, balances very well, produces a sound that is totally rewarding and provides immediate gratification. It is capable of making the most out of a decent amplifier. This guitar compliments other more Traditional Telecasters, has a sound of its own, and strikes a cool visual vibe when compared to the typical Strat or Les Paul. It has a very serious and cool vibe of its own that it stands behind with serious quality and a solid sound. I bought this guitar because it has a great range of tone and a very serious Fender Telecaster look, with the HOT rodded appearance that it is equipped with a supercharger, and it reinforces it's serious image. // 10

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overall: 8.8
'72 Telecaster Custom Reviewed by: DomRusky, on april 07, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 775

Purchased from: GuitarGuitar UK

Features: Made in Mexico, the guitar has standard 21 frets with a maple gloss neck, really beautifully finished - this was the main reason I loved the look of the guitar. The neck is pretty standard telecaster, quite wide which gives more freedom for bending etc. (based on previous experiences with Les Pauls). The body has a black scratch plate and is pretty easily scratched (obvious as it may seem, it does show), so may be worth upgrading it or replacing every so often if you're after a pristine look. The body is fairly medium weight, probably just a touch lighter than my Les Paul black beauty.

The humbucker at the neck is totally adjustable and the single coil at the bridge sits nicely out of the way (as you can see from the pic). The tuners are basic telecaster tuners and hold really really well, even with my crappy stringing. The pickup selectors have 3 settings, single/single+hum/hum. The tone and volume controls allow them to be independently adjusted and give you room for pretty much anything in between the two. Came with a standard soft gig bag - nothing special but pretty thick so I would trust it on journeys where I was sat with the guitar (i.e. not on a plane). I really can't fault the features, they're exactly what I was looking for and seem top end, the guitar is very well put together. // 10

Sound: The sound is phenomenal. The humbucker is a wide-range pickup (or something similar) and it sounds incredible when you run it through a high gain/distortion pedal, it gives a huge punch and sounds nothing like you'd expect from a telecaster. The single coil is the total opposite, and still incredible. It gives a real classic twang and makes you feel like you're right back in 1972. The clarity from playing anywhere between clean and metal is superb and I can't fault it.

As mentioned above, the tone and volume knobs and the pickup selector allow you to really play around with the guitar's sound. I've managed to get nearly any tone imaginable out of it as you literally go from the highest twang of the single through to the deepest, richest boom of the humbucker and this is total versatility in my opinion. Is there anything else? The only issue is that there's quite a bit of buzz, but nothing unbearable by any means so this is easily overlooked.

I run this through a Vox amp with a bunch of overdrive pedals in front, and it sounds great through them all - except the Keeley modded metal zone pedal. For some reason I can't quite get the two to accept each other, so I wouldn't say this guitar suits all playing styles - even the humbucker doesn't seem to have enough power to push through metal. However, it still sounds awesome with the rest - my TS9 in particular. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up with 9's at the factory, the action is pretty low/standard so nothing unusual there. I swapped them out for 10's and the guitar has held fine, so there's a bit of room for maneuver when it comes out of the box. The truss rod is also very easily accessible and altered, if you need to or if you want to change the setup. The humbucker was set quite high so I lowered it a bit, I was getting a lot of buzz and that seemed to help (not entirely though).

The guitar is put together incredibly well otherwise, other than having to turn a couple of screws I really can't find a single fault on the guitar, the only annoying thing is the scratch-plate was covered in cellophane when it was delivered and screwed on top, so I had to unscrew the whole plate to get all the plastic off - annoying. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This guitar would definitely withstand live playing, I've had it for a few weeks and had no problems (yet), of course only time will tell but it seems very capable of lasting. The strap buttons are also very sturdy, again I'm sure time will tell but I would be confident using any strap on this guitar. Personally I use strap locks just to be 100% safe, but I'd risk it on this guitar over any if I had to. As mentioned above, the scratch plate is very easily scratched, (duh - but seriously) and so it would require replacing every few years if desired. However, I haven't managed to do any significant damage yet so I'm very pleased. // 9

Overall Impression: This guitar is by no means the best guitar in the world, but I'd probably pay up to £1,000 for it and intend to keep it for decades to come. It sounds phenomenal, looks incredible and is worth every penny. Definitely not for beginners, but if you're confident in playing and have some spare cash, or you're a professional looking for a reliable, sturdy guitar - I thoroughly recommend this tele! I was concerned about buying the guitar because I'd seen so many pictures of the maple neck looking almost orange (like a benidorm tan) but I was over the moon when I saw it, trust the pictures on the website!

I play classic rock/punk/pop punk/metal and this guitar suits almost all of my playing styles. I wouldn't suggest it for someone who's in a slipknot cover band - but the best recommendation I could give is for someone who's looking for that telecaster twang but also wants the ability to switch to a thick, deep and booming rhythm. I only wish it were cheaper so I could buy both colours! // 9

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