Price paid: C$ 600
Purchased from: Tom Lee Music - Richmond
Sound — 8
I'm a bit biased. I love the twang of a Tele and the Vintage Tele single coils do not disappoint. I've paired this guitar with a Roland Cube30x, and for the purpose of this review, I'm only considering the clean JC120 channel. Acoustically, the guitar really rings. Great sustain and it feels nice and loud. The chrome neck pickup is smooth and warm. Add in the unusual middle pickup and you get a much beefier and mellower vibe. It sort of broadens the range of sound. Now, with the middle pickup selected alone you start to bring up the twang of the guitar. With the fourth position, bridge and middle selected, you get a great bright chiming tone. And of course it wouldn't be a Tele without the clang of the bridge. I love it! I would have preferred the switching to be the Nashville style 5-way, where you can have neck and bridge active in the third position, sacrificing middle only. This is easily remedied by a number of mods. I think the one I will eventually do, is add a Switch on the neck pickup to turn it off or on no matter which position the selector is in. There is plenty of room on the control plate to add a small switch There is also the ever present hum, but I don't notice it unless I'm not touching the metal parts.
Overall Impression — 9
I love classic rock, country, 80's metal, surf, and I'm sure this guitar can do all of those. It may mot be the best, but it sure is fun. I have no trouble getting real nice clean surf guitar sound and great country twang. I have to say, the one thing I wish this guitar came with is the neck and bridge setting for the pickups. Hopefully I can get that mod together soon, and I'll be crying may way to country stardom!
Reliability & Durability — 8
I'm probably not the best guy to rate how long the guitar will last having only been playing for a few years. Everything about this guitar feels nice and solid and very well built. The tuners feel nice and tight, very responsive. The strap buttons hold up well. The volume and tone pots have smooth motion and may actually be the weakest feeling part on the guitar. We'll see how well they do in a few years of playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
This is a Mexican made Fender and I've got to say, I'm very impressed. It really feels like a much more expensive guitar than it is. I considered the Classic Player Baja, and the American Standard and really, I felt this particular guitar felt just as good. I did mess about with the action a bit to get it to respond better to my ham fisted style, but I can hardly fault the boys for that. I wasn't really used to the 9's it shipped with. The intonation needed some work. I like messing about with stuff like that so it was fun to get it the way I like. Only two flaws I could find: the nut was poorly filed on the first string, so it kind of jumped a burr when you bent it, but that was easily remedied. And there is a small flaw in the finish behind the neck. It looks like the poly didn't adhere all that well. Hopefully that doesn't become a problem down the road.
Features — 8
This is not your dad's Telecaster. This is the Blackout Telecaster Deluxe. This model sports three "Vintage Telecaster Style" single coil pickups, chrome accoutrements, a glossy black polyester finish, black pick-guard, five-way switching, and a modern six-saddle string-through bridge. Not to be confused with the Telecaster Blackout, which features two humbuckers and a similar visual style. The body is a nice heavy alder and the neck is an amber stained maple to give it that Vintage look. Medium jumbo frets and a Fender gig bag round out the features. Its not just the looks that make this a great guitar, its that middle lipstick pickup. With it, one can create sounds somewhere in between Strat and Tele, with some of the best from both worlds.