Price paid: £ 775
Purchased from: GuitarGuitar UK
Features — 10
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.
Sound — 8
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.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
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.
Reliability & Durability — 9
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.
Overall Impression — 9
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!