Price paid: £ 329
Purchased from: Soundslive
Sound — 9
I play alot of John Mayer, Bonamassa type blues. The SD pickups are a fair bit darker than Fender pickups, to my ear. It removes some of the harsher tones, but still has the twang that the Tele is known for. Running it through a Blackstar Studio 20, it gives a lovely crunch in the bridge, a very woody tone that's great for chords in the middle, and a lovely clean solo tone in the neck. I fitted an Oak 4-way Switch to put both pickups in series, giving a punchier sound, which I use as a solo boost. Stock, it was silent and amazing. However, the shop decided to ground the new Switch wrong, so it currently hums, but that's my own fault. Its sound then is great for blues, however it can reach metal territory without sounding brittle or harsh. All in all, a great sounding guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
I play blues/rock, funk and classic rock, and for me, this here piece of wood with strings is perfect for me. I've been playing for about 5 years now, running through a HT-20 and its my sound. If this was lost, I'd get another, but fit a mini-bucker in the neck, as I love the hot-rodded Telecaster. My fav feature would probably be the SD pickups, they suit my sound to a T. The only thing I wish it had was a 6 saddle bridge for intonations sake, but it still makes an amazing guitar!
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have done a few gigs with this guitar now, and it has withstood alot. The hardware is great, the tuners don't slip, however I put in roller string trees to stop the strings biting. The extra large strap buttons are solid too, really good idea from Fender there. When it comes to gigging without a backup, I don't think that its ever good to do that, as there is always a unforeseeable event just around the corner. However, if I had the money, I would have another waiting in the wings.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Out of the box, the action was a tad low for my liking, no buzz, but still low. Intonation was great, but had to change it when I put new strings on it (D'addario 10-52). The finish was clean as a whistle, no bubbles or blemishes. The neck wood had the perfect amount of birdseye; enough to look stunning, but not enough to cause weakness in the neck.
Features — 9
2008 Lite Ash Telecaster, Made in Korea. 22 fret birdseye maple neck and as the name would imply, a 'Lite Ash' body. 3 saddle bridge with brass saddles, great sustain but can take a while to set up, intonate etc. Volume, tone, 3 way Switch gives you control over the Seymour Duncan Alnico 2 Pro Telecaster pickups. Jumbo strap buttons means that straplocks aren't as necessary, but still, better safe than sorry.