Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 8
A 2013 Chinese made Modern Player Plus comes with 22 frets, a solid top of pine, a glossy clear coat over a charcoal or honey burst stain, strung through the body, 5 way selector, with the usual configuration (Like a strat), volume and tone as well as a coil tap for the humbucker in the bridge position, and vintage style tuners. At this price it came as is, no case. I had a leftover Fender hardshell that was initially meant for a strat, but this fit perfectly in it. One of their heavy duty road cases.
Sound — 9
It sounds like a tele! I heard someone describe the pickups as "Jazzy." Coming from a seasoned jazz guitar background, that could not be any less accurate. The humbucker is great to have, but more bass response does NOT equal jazz. I had this through a Built By Speck PBR Drive (A Timmy transparent OD clone) and a Flashback X4 to my Vox AC15 CC with an Avatar Helatone speaker. It isn't as chimey as some of the more expensive teles can be, through my setup at least. But it got a great single coil tone right off the bat. Gives you that "dual amp" tone, where the overdrive takes the subtle backseat to the clean tone. Super tasty. When the neck and middle pickup are joined, it is noise cancelling. The neck and middle can be a little noisy, but not enough to bother me.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Stays in tune great so far, frets play even, the tuners have not slipped yet. The back of the neck is a little "gummy," and I may go ahead and sand it down like a lot of players do. There are a few factory pictures that make the charcoal finish look more walnut-y, I assure you it is a true charcoal. It looks black in most light, and you can still see some of the grain. I much prefer the saddles this came with as opposed to the vintage tele style. They stay in tune much better and do not have the same tendency to slip.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I haven't had this nearly long enough to now for sure how long anything will truly last. But as a touring musician I would take this on the road out of the box. And it was cheap enough I could just buy another if things went horribly wrong. It's one of the more inspiring tele's I've played, after shopping around for a couple years. The clear coat is hefty, so if you really wanted to relic it, you'd have your work cut out. It is so darned cheap though, and doesn't carry the Squire stigma. I put 11's on it immediately, which changed the way it felt for the better. But it should probably be set up for that tension.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing alternative rock, folk, pop, and jazz for 13 years. I own a Steve Andersen Metro Special archtop, a 2001 PRS Custom 22, and got rid of my Jazzmaster Classic Player for this. I have toured extensively in the US, Canada and Europe and would take this with me any day. I may eventually swap out the pickups for something slightly higher quality, and strip the finish and stain it a bit lighter. This plays as well as any tele I've picked up (Tele Deluxe that I played on the road for a couple tours, Hot rod teles which I loved, and thinlines I've played in studio).