Price paid: $ 2149
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 9
This Telecaster has a very open and resonant sound, and perhaps it sounds slightly warmer than a more typical telecaster. The chambered body probably contributes to this significantly. With clean settings, it can produce some almost acoustic-like sounds. The pickups are not noiseless, but the tone is worth it. The tone knob has a significant range, allowing you to go from a round and subdued jazz sound to classic in-your-face Tele twang. I would say that this is a fairly versatile guitar, suitable for just about anything but metal. Chords ring out with clarity and have good note separation. Due to the low-output pickups, for overdriven sounds one may need to a do a little tweaking relative to one's usual setup.
Overall Impression — 9
I play a relatively diverse array of styles, including jazz, fusion, blues, rock, country, and funk. This guitar should work fine for those applications. I'm very happy with it. Personally, I got this guitar as an alternative or something different from my other main guitar, which is an Ibanez JEM7V. In some ways it is a very different guitar. The Jem has very high-output pickups with a compressed sound, a longer neck that is virtually flat, it has a floating trem system (which I barely ever use), and it is a shred guitar in spirit - somewhat like a beefed up supertstrat. The Tele is much more open and clean sounding as well as utilitarian, with lower output pickups, a fixed bridge and string-thru body. That said, you can shred away on this thing just fine.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've had this guitar for a few weeks now and haven't had any issues with reliability and durability, and only time can really tell that. The finish seems strong. It has done its job fine so far in live situations. It seems like a perfect workhorse guitar for the refined guitar player.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar played very well and seemed set up fine right off the shelf. The compound radius is definitely helpful. Chords down low are incredibly comfortable, and there are no issues with single-note lines higher on the neck. If anything, I found it a bit too easy and loose to play due to the fact that it came with 9's from the factory (I normally use 10's and actually notice the difference in feel). My only complaint is that the wonderful looking tweed case that I got with it happens to be sized slightly improperly, such that it's a little bit of a tight fit to get the guitar in it. I've no idea how Fender could screw up on that.
Features — 10
2012 Fender Select Telecaster (Chambered Ash). 22 medium jumbo frets, Medium C-shaped birdseye maple neck, 9.5-14" birdseye maple fretboard, flame maple top, violin burst gloss laquer finish, with bi-flex truss rod system, a belly-cut, a no-load tone control, and its own uniquely voiced pickups. Very light-weight, which is useful for a smaller statured guy like myself. It also comes with a beautiful tweed case, a strap, a cable, and a cloth.