Price paid: £ 500
Purchased from: Manns Music Colchester
Sound — 10
This is a tone machine and no mistake, lovely and warm when required and spikey as only a Tele can be, with everything in between. All with only two knobs and two pick-ups. I play a variety of music, mainly edgier stuff like Radiohead, but blues and 60's - 70's rock too, nothing too heavy, I am not a shredder. I am playing through a Laney LC30 all valve combo, with no effects except the Drive channel and reverb and this Tele is not too noisy even on the Drive channel with the gain right up. You are going to get some noise, as any single coil would, but nothing OTT. I have had a 1989 Standard Tele before, but sold it (DOH!) and regretted it ever since, this version of the Telecaster, in my opinion beats the '98 Standard for tone, no question. I upgraded the pick-ups in my old '98 to some Bareknuckles (Nice, very nice...) but do not feel I will need to in this instance as the tones available are OK with me.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall a good, if not better replacement for a '98 Standard, ticks all the boxes with me, I wanted a USA Telecaster and got one at a fair price.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's a TELECASTER, it won't break-EVER! Schaller locking strap buttons going on as soon as I get to a shop and definitely before gigging, made THAT mistake once before. I fit them to ALL my guitars, this is not to say that factory ones are no good, they just don't lock and all my straps have locking heads on. Of course I will depend on it, see above, I always take a back-up, but that is because I like to be prepared! (Strings break you know!)
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Set-up wise, no issues, the shop put on some new strings (D'Adargio 10's), before sending it out. Action a tad high, but 2 seconds with the allen key and a tuner and that was that sorted to my preference. Balance between the pick-ups seems spot on to my ears, no issues there. The finish, which I have seen take a bit of a battering on some reviews is faultless. The only "fault" was a ding (hardly noticeable)on the body, not through the lacquer, which occurred in the shop. I got 10% off for it and you really can't see it. All the frets are OK, no sharp spots as some reviewers have found, maybe I am just lucky?
Features — 10
It's a Telecaster, no frills, what you get is what you see. Mine is Satin Sunburst with white pickguard and maple neck/fretboard.