Custom Telecaster Spalted Maple HH review by Fender

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (23 votes)
Fender: Custom Telecaster Spalted Maple HH

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: SamAsh

Sound — 10
This does NOT sound like your daddy's tele. With the SD Pearly Gates and the '59 humbuckers putting out a seriously hot signal, coupled with the slim, carved all mahogany body, this guitar is capable of putting out plenty of middle to low end crunch. Sensative and powerful, these pickups can cover a wide range of genres from country to hair swinging hard rock. Clean, this combination puts out a very rich/full sound, with a bit less brightness than your usual Telecaster. Pulling up on the coil tap and decreasing the volume will bring you a little closer to the single coil sound, Telecaster tone. Playing it through an Epiphone Valve Standard allows the pickups to sing, providing nice, creamy cleans to a dirty, gritty blues. Throwing an EQ and an EHX Metal Muff into the mix will have it chugging out metal while your Warlock's in the shop, yet you won't get your butt kicked when walking into a country bar with this slung over your shoulder.

Overall Impression — 10
I like variety when it comes to tone, which is also why I own a number of guitars. I try to cover my bases so that if I feel like playing a particular genre, I have the tools to cover it, or at least get close to it. I play anything from clean soft rock, gritty blues, to heavy metal. On it's own, this guitar can easily do early hard rock tones. With effects, it would be easily at home playing metal, although it doesn't look anything like it. I love the way it looks, with the very unique spalted maple top and I'm gaining a growing fondness for natural finished guitars. If lost or stolen, I'd definitely look to get it replaced, although I'm finding it harder to find these in stores.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar definitely was made for Live playing, wanting to be looked at as well as heard. The hardware all seems solidly made without any "loose" fittings or bits. The finish is actually quite thick (judging from what I can see from the headstock alone) and any scratches that end up from regular use could easily be buffed out without any worry. With proper care, this beauty should be able to retain it's looks for a very long time.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I got this guitar used, so I didn't have the chance to see it come straight out of the factory. At the store, it had been professionally set up, with all necessary adjustments already made (action, pickup height, neck relief, etc.). Other than a few, very light scratches on the back from normal, expected use, I really couldn't find much fault in the guitar, at least none that I could fathom having come from the factory. The guitar is very well balanced and made comfortable with a little bit of body contouring. The tuners hold their tuning perfectly fine and move smoothly. The controls themselves move smooth without any stickiness. I didn't experience any pop from the pickup Switch, although you get a little pop from the push/pull coil select, only due to the fact that a quick push or pull will end up vibrating the body a little. The binding was very well done and adds a very classy touch to an already beautiful guitar. Although not an actual solid top, the spalted maple veneer looks great and is very unique.

Features — 9
Introduced in 3/07, this Korean made, Special Edition Series, Custom Telecaster is much different animal from it's more traditional bretheren. This Telecaster features 22 jumbo frets set in a one-piece, 25.5" scale length neck (slim "C" shaped) topped with a rosewood fingerboard, carved mahogany body topped with a spalted maple veneer top. A Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus humbucker in the bridge and Seymour Duncan '59 reverse polarity humbucker in the neck provide plenty of tone while the three-position toggle, master volume, master tone, and push/pull coil select feature allow even more tonal variety by splitting/tapping the humbuckers for more of a single coil sound. The entire guitar is finished in a clear polyurethane finish (including the neck) that shows off the beautiful spalted maple veneer top. Oversized abalone Dot inlays and a cream colored binding surround both body and neck for a final, classy touch. Die-cast/sealed tuning machines, six string-through-body HardTail bridge done in chrome, and graphite nut round out the rest of the hardware. Accessories such as case, straps, etc. are not included with the guitar. In my case, the guitar was bought used, although in perfect condition. Bought new, the street price is approx. $799.

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