Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 10
So about that rhythm pickup, has it spoiled the sound of the Telecaster by changing what has worked for so long? In a word, No. If anything, the signature sound of the guitar had been enhanced by putting a humbucker pickup in there. Single coil pickups are less powerful than humbucker pickups, that's a simple fact no matter what brand you use, and the extra power means that the wonderful throaty tones that made the Telecaster the tool of trade for so many rings out as clearly as a bell, with no breakup or hum that comes with single coil pickups. Also, it sounds much thicker on this pickup than other telecasters, without any noticeable reduction in tone. The middle pickup seems to be ideal for country style licks as it picks up enough high frequencies to get the attack you need, but it is still throaty enough for all the chords you'll be hitting. The bridge pickup is phenomenally thick sounding, and really lends itself well to plays heavier styles of music, like metal and heavy rock, and lets be honest, John 5 is a metal guitarist most of the time, so it's to be expected. I would actually say that this thing has a thicker lead guitar sound than a Gibson Les Paul, and I know through owning one and playing one live fore a while, as well as playing this guitar live. My amps are varied, but My amp of choice for the moment is a Bogner Alchemist stack, along with a Blackstar HT 40, and it sounds fantastic through both. Whether it's clean or distorted, this guitar's tone sings through the amplifier beautifully. No breakup of sound to my ears, and in terms of styles this could achieve, I would truly say anything. The variety of tones between the pickups really does leave virtually every door open to you.
Overall Impression — 9
My overall impression of this guitar is that it's been made for it's sound at the expense of it's usability, but it's probably just because my hands aren't as large as some people's. I have been playing for quite while now, and I've played many different guitars through many different amps, and this guitar has got me some of the best tones I can remember. However, I would not use this guitar for practice because of the way it feels. On the whole I would have no second thoughts about buying another if I lost this, or it was stolen. However, if you are looking for a guitar that fits perfectly into your hands, I'd seriously play this guitar first before putting your money down on the table. Sound, fantastic, playability, average.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Hardware seems sturdy, and I've had no mechanical faults so far. I would say that the non-locking tremolo system means that if you are too crazy, even with normal string bending, the guitar can put itself out of tune. However, that's a fact of life for all guitars with this system, and not specifically this guitar. Certainly there's no chance of anything falling off this thing soon, and as I said earlier, the decorations are made of materials that won't rust, so they will certainly last. Just so you know what chrome is, it's an ingredient metal used in stainless steel to stop it from rusting, and it's what pans used to be made out of so they didn't rust either.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Well set up, although the action is strange, as the pickups are very close to the strings, so you need to be careful not to hit the pickup that's currently being used. If I were to say this guitar had any flaws, there's only really two, but they are noticeable. One is that this thing is immensely heavy, think a Les Paul with a brick strapped to the back of it and you'd be getting close, so naturally strap locks are a must for this guitar. Two is that the fret-board's width is wider than most guitars I've played, which is probably one of the main contributing factors to it's amazingly thick sound. However, it does make this guitar harder to play. Sure you can still do all the tricks you used to able to do with a previous telecaster, but until you get used to playing it, your speed may be hindered by the size of the neck. Other than that, I don't think that there are any other flaws, and I think that especially if you need to sound 'BIG', this guitar is miles ahead of other telecasters.
Features — 9
This guitar was made in 2007 and designed very closely in co-operation with John 5 himself. Overall layout: - 22 frets - Rosewood fingerboard - Laminated Black Top - Chrome inlays - Chrome Mirrored Scratch-plate - Non-Locking six point tremolo system - Locking Tuners - Master Tone, Master Volume dials that work for all three pickups - 3 Fender enforcer humbucker pickups, all passive - 70's style large Fender headstock - Telecaster body shape (you don't say?) - Relatively wide neck compared to most Fenders, and definitely much wider than most Ibanez guitar necks. I bought mine used, so I don't know what accessories come with it when it's new, but mine came with everything needed to made adjustments to the truss rod and such. I would say that for a Fender Telecaster, there is a lot more on it than you usually get, but I would say that what will probably be of most importance to Telecaster enthusiasts is it's neck pickup sound, as it's usually a soap bar style pickup installed (single coil designed for the Telecaster), and changing that could well raise a few eyebrows amongst guitar geeks. Overall, not much that you could go wanting for, and of course chrome is a non-ferrous metal (no iron) so it doesn't rust as time goes on, which I think is a clever little touch. One slight issue, the whammy bar, by design, only stays still when it's pointing away from the guitar neck, making it a pain to get some good vibrato technique sometimes.