Fender's Custom Telecaster Spalted Maple HH is a unique and stunning natural beauty. Spalted maple is highly sought after for its unmistakably beautiful look and is typically found on guitars in the premium price range.
Custom Telecaster Spalted Maple HH
Hakael, on november 09, 2012 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: SamAsh
Features: Introduced in 3/07, this Korean made, Special Edition Series, Custom Telecaster is much different animal from it's more traditional bretheren. This Telecaster features 22 jumbo frets set in a one-piece, 25.5" scale length neck (slim "C" shaped) topped with a rosewood fingerboard, carved mahogany body topped with a spalted maple veneer top. A Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus humbucker in the bridge and Seymour Duncan '59 reverse polarity humbucker in the neck provide plenty of tone while the three-position toggle, master volume, master tone, and push/pull coil select feature allow even more tonal variety by splitting/tapping the humbuckers for more of a single coil sound. The entire guitar is finished in a clear polyurethane finish (including the neck) that shows off the beautiful spalted maple veneer top. Oversized abalone Dot inlays and a cream colored binding surround both body and neck for a final, classy touch. Die-cast/sealed tuning machines, six string-through-body HardTail bridge done in chrome, and graphite nut round out the rest of the hardware. Accessories such as case, straps, etc. are not included with the guitar. In my case, the guitar was bought used, although in perfect condition. Bought new, the street price is approx. $799. // 9
Sound: This does NOT sound like your daddy's tele. With the SD Pearly Gates and the '59 humbuckers putting out a seriously hot signal, coupled with the slim, carved all mahogany body, this guitar is capable of putting out plenty of middle to low end crunch. Sensative and powerful, these pickups can cover a wide range of genres from country to hair swinging hard rock. Clean, this combination puts out a very rich/full sound, with a bit less brightness than your usual Telecaster. Pulling up on the coil tap and decreasing the volume will bring you a little closer to the single coil sound, Telecaster tone. Playing it through an Epiphone Valve Standard allows the pickups to sing, providing nice, creamy cleans to a dirty, gritty blues. Throwing an EQ and an EHX Metal Muff into the mix will have it chugging out metal while your Warlock's in the shop, yet you won't get your butt kicked when walking into a country bar with this slung over your shoulder. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: I got this guitar used, so I didn't have the chance to see it come straight out of the factory. At the store, it had been professionally set up, with all necessary adjustments already made (action, pickup height, neck relief, etc.). Other than a few, very light scratches on the back from normal, expected use, I really couldn't find much fault in the guitar, at least none that I could fathom having come from the factory.
The guitar is very well balanced and made comfortable with a little bit of body contouring. The tuners hold their tuning perfectly fine and move smoothly. The controls themselves move smooth without any stickiness. I didn't experience any pop from the pickup Switch, although you get a little pop from the push/pull coil select, only due to the fact that a quick push or pull will end up vibrating the body a little. The binding was very well done and adds a very classy touch to an already beautiful guitar. Although not an actual solid top, the spalted maple veneer looks great and is very unique. // 10
Reliability & Durability: This guitar definitely was made for Live playing, wanting to be looked at as well as heard. The hardware all seems solidly made without any "loose" fittings or bits. The finish is actually quite thick (judging from what I can see from the headstock alone) and any scratches that end up from regular use could easily be buffed out without any worry. With proper care, this beauty should be able to retain it's looks for a very long time. // 9
Overall Impression: I like variety when it comes to tone, which is also why I own a number of guitars. I try to cover my bases so that if I feel like playing a particular genre, I have the tools to cover it, or at least get close to it. I play anything from clean soft rock, gritty blues, to heavy metal. On it's own, this guitar can easily do early hard rock tones. With effects, it would be easily at home playing metal, although it doesn't look anything like it. I love the way it looks, with the very unique spalted maple top and I'm gaining a growing fondness for natural finished guitars. If lost or stolen, I'd definitely look to get it replaced, although I'm finding it harder to find these in stores. // 10
Features: About a 2008 or 2009 model.
Mahogany body and 22 fret rosewood neck.
Spalted Maple top.
Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus (bridge) and '59 (Neck)
1 Master Volume, 1 Master Tone with push/pull coil tap.
Made in Korea.
Case was included at time of purchase // 9
Sound: This guitar is very, very versatile. I have used it in a variety of settings, ranging from blues and jazz to hard rock and metal. The pickups are both rated at about 8k. They are hot enough to pack a punch, but aren't too in-your-face about it. Very nice clarity in the sound, quite bright. The coil split is an excellent tool for dumbing down your gain level. I like to use it for my bands cover of purple haze. When used on clean tones, the volume drops significantly.
The guitar is fairly bright, in general. I really enjoy the clean sound of both pickups in humbucker mode running parellel. Has a nice quacky, full sound. Each is excellent on its own for any level of gain. The neck can get a bit on focussed at very high gain levels, but i do not hesitate to use it. All around, a very good guitar.
That being said, the clean sounds can be a tad un-natural. Compared to my PRS, it doesn't have the same amount of beef. I expect this is largely due to it being so small (which is really part of why i love it). It can do anything very well. Not a total ace of everything, but versatility is bigger than sheer dominance for me.
I have played this through a Marshall TSL60 head/1960 cab and a Mesa/Boogie Mark IV combo and 212 recto cab. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: I mess with guitars as soon as I get them. It came with 8's, so I barely bother with factory setup. I've messed with the pickup height as well. I have the action set fairly low now, intonation is easy to adjust. The action is a pain unless you have a super tiny allen wrench.
The neck is superb. Ultra small and fast, very smooth. The shape took a while to get used to, since it felt to me like the edges stuck out a bit. I love it now though. Wiring is good, never had any problems.
Ultra light weight. I really love how light it is. I can pick it up in one hand with ease, and spin it around and just admire it. The spalted maple is awesome, the finished mahogany back and neck is great too. I get compliments on it all the time. Spalted maple guitars, let alone Teles, aren't too common so most people take a liking to this one. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I have NEVER had a problem with it. Gigged without a backup before (not anymore though.)
I slam the bridge, I've ripped strings off of it. Strap buttons are great, tuners are awesome. Tuning stability is excellent. No worries about it at all. It travels on the bus with me all winter, it's a working man's guitar...or student. Whatever // 10
Overall Impression: Can't reccomend it enough. I love everything about it, despite it not being perfect. My PRS CE22 can beat it in certain areas, but the reliability and sturdiness of this thing is unbeatable. Easy to play, sounds great, looks great. Would buy it again without a doubt.
I purchased this guitar on a whim. I wasn't planning on buying a guitar, but I picked it up and played it and that was it. Bought it a few days later and haven't looked back since. // 8