Classic Player Baja Telecaster Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: Classic Player Baja Telecaster
With their years of building experience, our Custom Shop craftsmen created a "dream list" of specs, and this customized '50s-style Telecaster guitar' designed by Master Builder Chris Fleming has it all! Special features include a soft V-shaped neck, custom pickups with four-way switching, knurled chrome knobs and "Custom Shop Designed" neckplate.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.7
 Features: 9.7
 Overall rating:
 8.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.5 
 Users rating:
 8 
 Votes:
 113 
reviews (3) pictures (6) 37 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
Classic Player Baja Telecaster Reviewed by: qblue, on november 09, 2012
8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Features: With their years of building experience, our Custom Shop craftsmen created a "dream list" of specs, and this customized '50s-style Telecaster guitardesigned by Master Builder Chris Fleminghas it all! Special features include a soft V-shaped neck, custom pickups with four-way switching, knurled chrome knobs and "Custom Shop Designed" neckplate. // 10

Sound: This guitar is a tone machine, and will suit for rock, blues, R&B, and jazz. I have a Marshall MOSFET 100 half Stack, and a 60 Watt Crate combo w/ a 12" speaker. I use a DigiTech GNX3 with these amps on the clean channel. The Baja's sound is different because of the S1 switching system and Custom Shop '69 pickups, especially, the neck pickup. The blade switch has 4 positions, w/ positions 4 & 2 which are a combination of both pickups, and S1 switching these pu in and out of phase. In position 4 the pu are in series, parallel in position 2. There is also a more output in position 4, a kind of thin humbucker sound. Position 3 is the bridge pu only and it is a beast. It is the reason the guitar is above average. Position 1 is the Broadcaster pu. This pu can get the glass-like tone a tele is famous for. But with the position 2 and the S1 Switch engaged, I get a Strat bell tone sound. In position 3, I get a richer tone that I thought would not be possible with a single-coil. In position 1 there is a slight hum, but nothing that can't be handled. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I paid for the Fender dealer to setup the guitar. I love the barrel style bridge because I like the arched arrangement of the strings. The guitar is a blonde ash body with a perfect translucent glossy appearance. The chrome Ping/Fender tuners add a retro look to the guitar, and stay in tune. The V-shaped maple neck is no problem to get around. The Black pickguard is single ply and came with a single nick on it; the guard is not flush(factory defects). // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will outlive me, and I play the guitar live in many venues, church and coffee houses, w/o a problem. The finish is polyurethane, and will last. The hardware is great. I hate changing strings during playing, so I always have a backup, either my Gibson ES-347 or my Strat Ultra. The strap buttons are Vintage type, but securely anchor the weighty guitar; the Gibson is really a heavy guitar compared to the Baja, and has straplocks. I bought a case for the Baja, cause I hate gig bags. // 10

Overall Impression: I play blues, gospel, jazz, R&B, gospel, and Christian. I like this guitar because it doesn't feedback and you can play loud clear passages. The overall tone isn't overly bright. My favorite feature is the S-1 switch, which makes this guitar a tone generator. This switch allows for 6 different tones. It has a fatter tone than a Stratocaster, but less of fat tone in comparison to the Gibson. I would buy another in an instant if it got stolen. // 10

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overall: 9
Classic Player Baja Telecaster Reviewed by: pete-c, on november 09, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 370

Purchased from: GAK.co.uk

Features: My Classic Player Telecaster was made in Mexico in 2008. Has 21 frets on a maple neck, with an Ash body. The neck is a 'soft V' shape; when I first took the guitar out of the box I'd immediately thought it looked huge, like playing the underside of a boat, but it's actually one of the most comfortable necks I've played and barely feels different at all to the relatively thinner necks of my other guitars. The neck itself is quite glossy and tinted dark slightly which gives it a mildly Vintage look, which goes with the Vintage style hardware such as the kluson style tuners, 3 saddle bridge, 5 screw pickguard and such things you'd see on early Teles. However I've replaced the tuners on mine with locking Gotoh ones, visually identical but a lot less hassle since I found the old tuners a pain to restring since they're done in a way different to normal or locking tuners. And I'm lazy. Has the Standard Telecaster controls, but with a couple extras; a four-way selector Switch (the extra position uses both pickups, but in series wiring which seems to give a slightly fatter tone) and an S-1 Switch which sets the two pickups out of phase for a couple more tonal options. Basically it has all the visuals of an oldschool Telecaster but with a couple of 'modern' wiring mods thrown in for some extra versatility. Came with a gig bag and a manual. At the time of writing I've owned this guitar for almost a year. // 9

Sound: I play a bunch of different styles (though mainly blues, Indie, grunge, classic rock, and a bit of metal here and there) and I personally think it handles them all really quite well. Since the stock pickups on this are designed to be on the lower output side of things, it can start to get a little muddy if you go crazy and crank the gain to 11. Played clean it really has a lot of clarity and switching the pickup selector really gives you a lot of tonal variation, but personally I think this guitar really shines with a low-medium amount of distortion, which gives the bridge pickup a really nice aggressive, biting, 'raw' sound which is great for punky kind of stuff, think of the distorted guitar bit's toward the end of RHCP's 'Give It Away', sounds almost identical if you ask me. Another highlight is the use of both pickups at the same time which gives a really nice sweet sound that's also quite clear and defined, think of Blur's 'Coffee And TV', and I'm told The Cars make a lot of use of this setting. The neck pickup is tonally quite comparable to a Stratocaster, but with a bit more bite. The S-1 Switch puts the pickups out of phase when both are used, which gives it a surprisingly different sound. With both pickups in the series wiring position, there's quite a bass cut and a really 'honk-y', nasal sound, while in the both pickups in parallel position + S-1 is the same effect but less noticeably so. The extra pickup selection on this model, which as mentioned before uses both pickups but in series wiring, doesn't seem to make much tonal difference compared to the Standard 'both' setting to be worth an extra pickup selector position in my opinion, so I'm considering 'downgrading' to just a 3-way selector. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory setup was pretty good, though I had to fine-tune the intonation a little bit. It played and still plays amazingly and really smoothly, but otherwise it has/had build quality issues. After a few weeks the tone control had came loose inside and the knob lost it's positioning so you could keep turning and turning it. Was easily fixed with a screwdriver and spanner. The pickup selector knob kept coming off really easily after a month or so, would come off from just moving the pickup selector. Seems the slot that sit's around the metal part of the pickup selector was just a little bit too big so it was always loose. Bought a replacement and now it fit's so well you can pick the whole guitar up by the pickup selector, if you wanted. The input jack's getting a bit loose recently but that's an easy fix. The pickguard screws are probably slightly clumsily placed, so there's small gaps between the body an pickguard in two places, on the bright side though these are really handy for slotting spare picks into. Electronically the guitar doesn't seem to be shielded properly, there's a small amount of buzzing if you're not touching any metal parts. The paintjob's all fine and good except for a few really small odd patches near the neck pocket, you wouldn't find them unless you were looking for it though. Speaking of which they sent me one in the wrong colour. The gigbag was labeled 'blonde' (the darker yellow finish with black pickguard) but inside was one in 'desert sand' which is pale yellow and a white pickguard. Didn't really bother me though, I should've returned it for that but didn't. Overall nothing major apart from the colour mishap, just small details, so a 7 here seems reasonable. They're faults that probably should've been picked up at the factory though. This one's made in Mexico and my American Fender Strat had no problems at all, so I'm guessing this one slipped through quality control that day. // 7

Reliability & Durability: After fixing the issues mentioned above, this guitar seems like it would easily handle Live playing. I sometimes play for hours and hours straight and during those times it's never had any problems what'soever. I'd gig it without a backup since it holds tune amazingly well and is really versatile. The finish on it seems like it'd last forever, not a single dent or scratch so far, despite my constant clumsy knocking it on chairs, amps, desks, etc. // 10

Overall Impression: If this were or stolen I'd definitely get another, out of the 6 or so other guitars I have this is definitely one of my most favourites to play. Personally I'm not a fan of the extra tonal options from the S-1 Switch and 4 way selector, I'm sure for others they'd be very usable but I just don't find myself using them that often. Good to have them there though, 6 different tonal options instead of 3, not counting the endless possibilities of mixing those and the volume/tone controls. After fixing the issues it had, it plays really nicely, sounds great in almost any musical situation I throw it at, and just looks incredible. Really glad I bought one in the end. // 10

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overall: 10
Classic Player Baja Telecaster Reviewed by: craigeymac, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Designed by Chris Fleming, a Master Builder specializing in Telecaster guitars! Chris has built instruments for many artists including: John 5, Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, John Mayer, Pete Townshend, Joe Walsh and Ron Wood. This model is a 50's style Tele with custom/added features that include a chunky V-shaped neck, Custom Shop Broadcaster Single-Coil bridge Pickup, Custom Shop "Twisted" Single-Coil Neck Pickup, 4 way pickup switching, S1 swicth, custom neck plate and an ash body. // 10

Sound: The Baja is a beast! The pickups and combinations available via the 4 way switch and added S1 switch are amazing. You can get anything from this guitar from great twangy country, blues, jazz, rock, metal and anything in between. I've played this Tele through a Marshall, Mesa, Fender, Vox and Line 6 amps and it responded perfectly with them all. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar needed a setup apon arrival as it came from the factory with 10's and I play 9's but once set-up and intonated with 9's it played with ease. I went for the Blonde finish with black pickguard as I love the combination and it reminds me of the 52 Tele. The finish is nice and thin so you can see the grain of the ash through the paint. The hardware on the Baja is classic, featuring split shaft Vintage tuners that stay perfectly in tune, a classic 3 saddle bridge with 3 brass saddles and a perfectly cut bone nut. Due to experience with owning a number of Telecaster guitars I know the 3 saddle bridge will never be 100% perfectly intonated but its close enough not to bother you. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Built to last like and Fender guitar! This guitar will withstand live use with ease but you might want to add a set of straplocks to it to make sure it doesn't hit the deck, other than that the hardware will withstand live use also as its solid. I got a hard case for my Tele to protect it when taking it out. // 10

Overall Impression: I play all types of music and the Baja can do them all easily. I love the pickups of this guitar and it really does have a nice fat tone! I've been playing for years and have owned many guitars and this thing is up there with the best. If it were stolen and I had the money than yes I would replace it. // 10

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