Price paid: $ 750
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 7
First off, I have actually owned two '72 Tele Deluxes (one with trem and one without). Both guitars sound pretty thick but can get a singing kinda sustain with stock specs, but they also sound fairly muddy and I'll defined as well. Switching the volume pots from the 250K to 500K really helps clear the guitar up a bit and I recommend owners trying out this mod (most people prefer it). I tend to use the selector in the middle and modestly fool with the volume knobs if I feel like dialing in a tone. I find the tone is very versatile in this position and doesn't require me to do more than mess with my playing dynamics to get a range of tones. The bridge pup can be a bit harsh to be used just by itself, but is great for cutting through in a mix for leads. I would consider this guitar sounding better in blues rock, jazz, country and punk/indie style formats. This guitar doesn't saturate all that well for really modern heavier tones (sorry, not best for Avenged Sevenfold, good for the Minutemen).
Overall Impression — 6
I like the guitar, but I wish that it was better. When I consider how much I paid for the guitar and how much I'd spend on the upgrades to make it a good guitar then it just makes me wanna trade the guitar in and get something better. I am personally building a custom version of this guitar to my spec with a '79 Strat neck, '75 Tele Deluxe pups and an ash body with a trem setup and a callaham bridge with some nice tuners and an alternate knob/switch setup.
Reliability & Durability — 4
This is another problem for me. If I would have kept either of these guitars then I would have upgraded the bridge and tuners (as well as the pots). Probably would have replaced certain electronics as well (like the pup switcher on the first Tele Deluxe: I had issues keeping it's position fixed when playing). I believe this guitar could keep up with live playing, but it'd perform better, sound better, and perform more consistently with some good changes.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
This guitar was setup horribly from the factory, from intonation to action, to the pickup spacing from the strings. Expect to have to set this guitar up yourself if purchasing new, plays much better that way (don't forget about my preference for replacing the stock volume pots). I do like the neck of the guitar, lots of space with a smooth feel. The frets are a bit bigger than normal, so be aware of that if you prefer smaller frets. The finish and wood grain actually looks really good on the guitar (I got the sunburst finish, which is supposed to help hide defects anyway). I put it "middle of the road" because the factory setup is so bad, but the pull off the implementation pretty well.
Features — 9
This is the Tele Deluxe RI with the trem bridge (aka "Fender Classic Player Telecaster Deluxe Electric Guitar With Tremolo", which is just a horrendously long name). - Model Name: Classic Player Telecaster Deluxe with tremolo - Body: Alder - Neck: 1-piece maple, "C" shape, (gloss urethane finish) - Fingerboard: Maple, 12" Radius (305 mm) - No. of frets: 21 medium-jumbo - Pickups: 2 Fender "Wide Range" humbuckers, (neck/bridge) - Controls: Volume 1. (neck pickup), Tone 1. (neck pickup), Volume 2. (bridge pickup), Tone 2. (bridge pickup) - Pickup switching: 3-position toggle - Position 1. Bridge pickup - Position 2. Bridge and neck pickups - Position 3. Neck pickup - Bridge: Vintage-style synchronized tremolo - Machine Heads: Fender/Schaller Vintage "F"-style tuning machines Hardware: Chrome - Pickguard: 3-ply black - Scale length: 25.5" (648 mm) - Width at nut: 1.650" (42 mm) - Unique features: '70s Large Stratocaster headstock, 3-bolt neck plate with micro-tilt adjustment, "bullet" truss rod nut, chrome pickup covers, black dot position inlays, synthetic bone nut - Strings: Fender Standard Tension ST250L, Nickel Plated Steel, (.009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042) - Case: Deluxe gig bag Pretty loaded with options, maybe if they made it so the pups could be coil tapped it would be better. Would prefer an ash body, don't like the positioning of the selector switch (but I really who I can do "killswitch" tricks with the 4-knob setup).