Purchased from: Sweetwater Sound
Features — 9
My Blacktop Tele guitar was received in 2012 and has a 27 inch scale rosewood neck with medium jumbo frets. With 2 passive single coils and one humbucking pickup, the tone choices are amazing. The Tele has the standard volume tone and 3 way switch with non-locking tuners. One modification that was easy to make and had a great influence on the tone was to replace the 2nd (G) and third (D) plain strings with wound guitar equivalents. Since no hard shell case that I had fit, I had to purchase a bass guitar case which works very well. The body appears thicker than a standard Tele which gives the guitar amazing resonance and the body contours are very comfortable. Strung B to B this is one fourth lower than a stock guitar so anything you play on a standard 6 string is merely moved up one string on this guitar. I recommend this for anyone seeking more drive and punch in their playing style.
Sound — 10
I play rock and roll and this comes very close to the style The Ventures used on their early albums. I play my guitar through a Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier with built in reverb and tremolo. I have not experienced any noise with this guitar but have not played under fluorescent lighting to check this out With a humbucking pickup, this should not be an issue. The sounds are rich and full with plenty of drive and sustain on most any setting coming very close to the Mosrites on early Ventures albums. This guitar has plenty of low end crunch and yet manages to provide a bit of high end sparkle in the uppoer register.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Sweetwater did an excellent job of setting this guitar up and it plays beautiful right out of the box. Everything was to spec and perfect. The Ghost Silver finish is flawless and is offset nicely with the black pick guard and chrome hardware making for a stunning guitar. There were absolutely no flaws whatsoever. The fret finish feels like it was hand rolled with no sharp edges and the C shape neck is comfortable in my hands although a bit thicker than a stock Strat C shape neck. The controls are easy to reach and do not interfere with my playing style. Ergonomically, this is a well thought out arrangement.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I am sure that this guitar would withstand live playing. Although now retired, I still play daily at home and this is one well made instrument. The hardware is top notch with an excellent chrome finish and I especially like the individual saddles for each string which helps keep this Tele in tune at all times. I'd use this on a gig and would only bring a backup if I needed standard tuning of a stock 6 string. Since the finish is a urethane finish, it is more durable than the lacquer finishes on higher end guitars and less subject to checking and cracking.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly instrumentals by The Ventures, The Shadows, and a few I learned from Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. This guitar has the drive necessary and yet can play clean tones without distortion when necessary. This guitar suppliments my Blacktop Stratocaster which I added a LACCE chrome dome sensor single coil pickup for an HSH combination, a Fullerton Movibe HH with twin Seymour Duncan P-Rails pickups, and a home built Strat with Duncan JB's all through a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp. If lost or stolen I'd buy a Fender Deluxe Telecaster. I like the aged cherry finish with pearloid pick guard and noiseless pickups. I compared this with G&L and Charvel and still like my Fender. For the Blacktop Telecaster, I wish it had a tremolo unit similar to the ones used on the vintage Mosrites.