Classic Player Baja Telecaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.1 (115 votes)
Fender: Classic Player Baja Telecaster

Price paid: £ 370

Purchased from:

Sound — 9
I play a bunch of different styles (though mainly blues, Indie, grunge, classic rock, and a bit of metal here and there) and I personally think it handles them all really quite well. Since the stock pickups on this are designed to be on the lower output side of things, it can start to get a little muddy if you go crazy and crank the gain to 11. Played clean it really has a lot of clarity and switching the pickup selector really gives you a lot of tonal variation, but personally I think this guitar really shines with a low-medium amount of distortion, which gives the bridge pickup a really nice aggressive, biting, 'raw' sound which is great for punky kind of stuff, think of the distorted guitar bit's toward the end of RHCP's 'Give It Away', sounds almost identical if you ask me. Another highlight is the use of both pickups at the same time which gives a really nice sweet sound that's also quite clear and defined, think of Blur's 'Coffee And TV', and I'm told The Cars make a lot of use of this setting. The neck pickup is tonally quite comparable to a Stratocaster, but with a bit more bite. The S-1 Switch puts the pickups out of phase when both are used, which gives it a surprisingly different sound. With both pickups in the series wiring position, there's quite a bass cut and a really 'honk-y', nasal sound, while in the both pickups in parallel position + S-1 is the same effect but less noticeably so. The extra pickup selection on this model, which as mentioned before uses both pickups but in series wiring, doesn't seem to make much tonal difference compared to the Standard 'both' setting to be worth an extra pickup selector position in my opinion, so I'm considering 'downgrading' to just a 3-way selector.

Overall Impression — 10
If this were or stolen I'd definitely get another, out of the 6 or so other guitars I have this is definitely one of my most favourites to play. Personally I'm not a fan of the extra tonal options from the S-1 Switch and 4 way selector, I'm sure for others they'd be very usable but I just don't find myself using them that often. Good to have them there though, 6 different tonal options instead of 3, not counting the endless possibilities of mixing those and the volume/tone controls. After fixing the issues it had, it plays really nicely, sounds great in almost any musical situation I throw it at, and just looks incredible. Really glad I bought one in the end.

Reliability & Durability — 10
After fixing the issues mentioned above, this guitar seems like it would easily handle Live playing. I sometimes play for hours and hours straight and during those times it's never had any problems what'soever. I'd gig it without a backup since it holds tune amazingly well and is really versatile. The finish on it seems like it'd last forever, not a single dent or scratch so far, despite my constant clumsy knocking it on chairs, amps, desks, etc.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The factory setup was pretty good, though I had to fine-tune the intonation a little bit. It played and still plays amazingly and really smoothly, but otherwise it has/had build quality issues. After a few weeks the tone control had came loose inside and the knob lost it's positioning so you could keep turning and turning it. Was easily fixed with a screwdriver and spanner. The pickup selector knob kept coming off really easily after a month or so, would come off from just moving the pickup selector. Seems the slot that sit's around the metal part of the pickup selector was just a little bit too big so it was always loose. Bought a replacement and now it fit's so well you can pick the whole guitar up by the pickup selector, if you wanted. The input jack's getting a bit loose recently but that's an easy fix. The pickguard screws are probably slightly clumsily placed, so there's small gaps between the body an pickguard in two places, on the bright side though these are really handy for slotting spare picks into. Electronically the guitar doesn't seem to be shielded properly, there's a small amount of buzzing if you're not touching any metal parts. The paintjob's all fine and good except for a few really small odd patches near the neck pocket, you wouldn't find them unless you were looking for it though. Speaking of which they sent me one in the wrong colour. The gigbag was labeled 'blonde' (the darker yellow finish with black pickguard) but inside was one in 'desert sand' which is pale yellow and a white pickguard. Didn't really bother me though, I should've returned it for that but didn't. Overall nothing major apart from the colour mishap, just small details, so a 7 here seems reasonable. They're faults that probably should've been picked up at the factory though. This one's made in Mexico and my American Fender Strat had no problems at all, so I'm guessing this one slipped through quality control that day.

Features — 9
My Classic Player Telecaster was made in Mexico in 2008. Has 21 frets on a maple neck, with an Ash body. The neck is a 'soft V' shape; when I first took the guitar out of the box I'd immediately thought it looked huge, like playing the underside of a boat, but it's actually one of the most comfortable necks I've played and barely feels different at all to the relatively thinner necks of my other guitars. The neck itself is quite glossy and tinted dark slightly which gives it a mildly Vintage look, which goes with the Vintage style hardware such as the kluson style tuners, 3 saddle bridge, 5 screw pickguard and such things you'd see on early Teles. However I've replaced the tuners on mine with locking Gotoh ones, visually identical but a lot less hassle since I found the old tuners a pain to restring since they're done in a way different to normal or locking tuners. And I'm lazy. Has the Standard Telecaster controls, but with a couple extras; a four-way selector Switch (the extra position uses both pickups, but in series wiring which seems to give a slightly fatter tone) and an S-1 Switch which sets the two pickups out of phase for a couple more tonal options. Basically it has all the visuals of an oldschool Telecaster but with a couple of 'modern' wiring mods thrown in for some extra versatility. Came with a gig bag and a manual. At the time of writing I've owned this guitar for almost a year.

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