Purchased from: Rondo Music
Features — 9
Purchased new on 04/09/2014.
- Tele-style (kind of) Arch-top guitar with basswood body
- Ash burl top
- Hard rock maple neck
- Rosewood fretboard with 22 frets
- Bound body and gold tone hardware
- Two passive humbucking pickups
- One volume control, one tone control, 3-way pickup selector switch
- Traditional TOM bridge
- Non-locking tuners
- Trans amber finish
- Length: 39 1/2"
- Scale length: 24 3/4"
- Width at the widest point: 13"
- Body thickness at the edge: 1 3/4"
- Width of the neck at the nut: 1 5/8"
- Width of the neck at the 22nd fret: 2 1/4"
- Weight: 9 lbs
Sound — 8
I play blues, classic rock and a little bit of many styles, including some improvisations. My preferences are a fixed TOM bridge with tail stop, humbucking pickups, a 24 3/4" scale, and 22 frets. I use Fender and Peavey amps and I play clean with a little reverb or sometimes just a bit of overdrive with reverb. I often use open chords when I sing, but I enjoy soloing as well. My guitars have to be able to sound almost like an acoustic guitar but still be able to handle some gutsy soloing. When I'm in the mood or need something different I am not above using various electronic effects, but most of the time I play clean and let my fingers provide the effects. After I set it up the guitar does what I want it to very well.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The factory set-up was far from where I like it, but every guitar player seems to like things a particular way. In my 48 years of guitar playing I have spent hours setting up every electric guitar I've ever had. In my case I like my guitar's action a bit higher than many players do, and I set my pickups lower than many players. The action wasn't too far from where I like it, but the pickups were way off and I lowered them as much as I dared. The wood and woodwork were very nice. In fact the finish is just gorgeous!
The frets were OK, but polishing them with steel wool made a difference. The bridge is fine but needed a little adjustment (not much). The pickups are mediocre, but after adjustment they sound good. No serious flaws.
Reliability & Durability — 7
The guitar is basically sound and if treated with respect it should survive live playing with flying colors. Of course it's always wise to have a backup guitar handy. Strings break and accidents happen. The hardware is acceptable, although not what I would call the best available. The strap buttons look average and should be fine unless someone is jumping around a lot when they play. While we're on the subject strap locks are a good idea. It doesn't do a guitar any good to take a fall onto a hard surface.
The finish is very, very nice. Everyone who I showed the guitar to was blown away by how good it looks. It seems like it would last as much as can be expected. Of course belt buckles are the classic enemy of guitar finishes, and few guitarists remember to remove their belts before they play. I expect to scratch the finish several times by accident in the future, but I play my guitars a lot. I don't just collect them and put them on display.
Overall Impression — 9
Keeping in mind that the price is more than reasonable and the guitar has a beautiful appearance I rate it very highly. Although it was playable out of the box, the guitar did require some setting up. Once I set it up I loved it, but it takes a bit of experience to set up a guitar properly, especially since guitar players all have different ideas and preferences. That is compounded by all the different styles of music people play.
Anyway I like a fixed TOM bridge with a tail stop and humbucking pickups, and a 24 3/4" scale with 22 frets. It's kind of unusual to find those on a telecaster shaped guitar, particularly at an outrageously low price. This NOT a telecaster per se. The resemblance ends with the body shape. Telecasters traditionally have single coil pickups, 25 1/5" scales, and 21 frets. More importantly, telecasters have that famous twang that many players love. This thing sounds more like a Gibson with those twin humbucking pickups, but that's also a sound that many players (like me) love.
In the end I am very happy with it, but it did require some work to bring out what I wanted from this little guitar. Nevertheless that is sort of a labor of love for me.