Purchased from: GAK
Sound — 9
It goes without saying that the guitar is not suited to metal; it's a Tele. My sound is very often clean and almost acoustic, but when I do use distortion I like it to be a nice, thick sound. The guitar as such is perfect for me. People often say teles are not rock guitars, but it handles the distortion beautifully and gives me the exact sound I wanted. Perhaps, occaisionally, it's country-twang is a little too much for me, but cranking up the bass can help minimise this. Unless, of course, you're after country-style twang. There is some hum, but what do you expect from single coils! I love the pickups on this guitar, I was very pleased to find they are Seymour Duncans, as I'm not a big fan of Fender pickups. Overall with sound, it's a pretty versatile guitar.
Overall Impression — 8
Despite previously having hated telecasters, the first time I saw this guitar I was converted. It really is beautiful. It's more than worth the extra money from a standard mex, and I think it provides really good value for the price. I'm quite annoyed though that they've come down by about 60 since I bought it a couple of months ago. If I hadn't bought this guitar it would've been a PRS SE. I chose this because it seemed more my style, but there are times when I miss a tremolo. It's a great guitar, easily one of the best in it's price range. I recommend it (my second one, anyway). Feel free to PM me any questions.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar, true to it's name, is very light, but it is sturdy without compromise. I love the pick up selector, it's really good quality with a big clunk when you change it. I had problems with my previous guitar where I would accidentally change pick up by knocking it when playing. No such problems here. I completely agree with the other reviews on the strap buttons, they are huge! It is quite a struggle to get them through the holes on your strap, but at least you know that when it's on, it's on! I would say this is a reliable guitar, you can feel it's been made well and I'm sure it will look and play as well this time in 5 years at least. Being a pessimist though, I would always have a back up at a gig.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Ok, here's where I make my complaints. The first guitar I was sent had absolutely disgusting fret buzz, it was almost unplayable, even when I raised the action to about it's highest. I also made adjustments to the truss rod but it didn't help. If you buy one and find this problem, just send it back. The second one I was sent had minimal fret buzz, even with the action nice and low. The first one I was sent was made in three pieces (the mex ones can be made in up to 8, well worth the extra 70), and the joins were not the best, either. However the second was made in just two, and the join is only at all visable end on. The wood is beautiful, and the finish is flawless. I have had problems with both guitars staying in tune. However, I put a new set of strings on just the other day, made sure they were wound really well, and *touch wood* it's been fine since. I did need to set the guitar up myself, but there are no problems with the way it was made.
Features — 9
The details of the features have already been given, except that it is made in Korea. I believe some are also made in Japan, though. Before I write the rest of the review I should tell you that the first time I was sent my lite Ash tele, it was so unbelievably rubbish that I sent it back. I then got a new one, and it is absolutely lovely. Such a contrast, I would warn you that there is, apparently, much variation in these guitars. I'll tell you more about the differences between the two in the other sections.