Price paid: $ 300
Sound — 10
When I tested this guitar I fell in love with its tone. high bass note attack. lowered mids. high treble. the Telecaster is known for it's twangy sound. It makes a an excellent guitar for jazz, blues, funk, fusion, pop, ambiental/IDM, light rock and their derivates. Wah-wah sounds great. The same for old style fuzz, helped by some amp reverb. I have no amp to play on (yes, shame on me) however, this guitar sounds great on an Marshall or Fender cabinet (marshalls are a little better for distorsion). Also ambiental effects, synthetical (chrystal or inverse delay, fake pitch) sound pretty good because of it's rich tone. Over 10 seconds of sustain on clean tone if strummed hard. This isn't an excellent guitar for heavy distorsions. You might try something mellow, or anything wich will benefit from the bass and treble gain. On metal distorsions, the general tone is extra-fat, and you can hear the notes clearly, which isn't always a good thing. Very bright sound on the bridge pickup. however I use the middle Switch position: it sounds like a different guitar too. very creamy, and good for harmonyes/chord progressions. In this Switch position the pickups are noiseless and the output is obviouslly louder. The neck pickup sounds almost like a Dreadnought acoustic if the tone knob is closed (of course, with a little reverb and hand tehnique) Great for killer solos where you need a little more tone. never use this pickup with large amounts of gain beacause it will sound awful (too much tone). Compared to a Strat, the tele is fatter. Not as fat as a Rickenbacker Vintage or a Fender Telecaster Vintage '65 (hollowbody). The original pickups are decent, not the best, not too noisy, noting too-too. But they are OK. Unless you wish a specific change in sound, do not change them. I wanted an extra vintage-blues feel so. I changed the pickups with Seymour Duncan's APTL-1 and STL-1b. They are replacements pickups, fairly cheap, but worth the money, you will get richer tone, less bass in sound leveled mids, without affecting the traditional twang. Those pickups are used on American Telecaster Ashwood '72 (well, instead of STL-1b there is another. it's a matter of personal preference). I try to play jazz and blues, mostly clean tone. Heavy distorsion effects like metal drives or a lot of grungy fuzz will sound professional, if you want to work a little extra to set your effects correctly. keep in mind this guitar was not intended for heavy use, but I am an adept of anything is possible. However, if I had the money, I would have bought another guitar, strictly for that heavy sound.
Overall Impression — 9
My guitar looks like hell, but plays like a dream. It plays well for any style, blues especially. I am quite a beginner in term of guitar playing (and pretty poor too, I wouldn't have bought it on 2nd hand), and I have no gear (aside from 2 acoustics, some cables and a computer). Cabinets were borrowed from friends and so. If you want a guitar that breathes some country air, this is the one you are looking for. It is a love it, or hate it guitar. Telecaster has a special touch. Every good guitar has it's own something. If it were stolen, I'd get a custom-shop Telecaster which looks aged, and has a floyd rose on it and the bridge pickup necessarely would be a humbucker. Good guitar, but if you are a professional, try a better variant of the Telecaster. This has as a minus finishings, worse pickups (which aren't that bad at all), and the tunning machines look less smooth.
Reliability & Durability — 9
this guitar is heavy. If you have shoulder problems, you should take this in consideration. sitting on a chair is not an option because the guitar will have the tendency to fall away from you, or just carva into your body. However, if you are smart enough, you can compensate the weight with added playability while doing vibratios and bends. As described before, the hardware doesn't have major problems, except for the knobs; they wobble a little, so you would need to tighten the screws a while. I didn't tighten them for awhile and nothing happened, except for the feeling of insecurity when playing. So I think nothing would happen in a gig. The strap buttons are solid, but the guitar itself is stubbornly unconfortable, beacause of its body shape and weight. I would adivice having a 2nd guitar for a gig. If not, be sure that you wont play with big distorsion and have high quality/new strings. Live is nothing compared to practice/studio, where you are generally relaxed and you have no room acoustics to worry about. This guitar has 10 years at this time. It's been overplayed, poorly stored, badly damadged (I changed all the electronics except for the Switch).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
as I said before, this guitar was bought second hand (oh, the guitar comes with Fender strings. the ideal gauge for this guitar is 009, but Fender strings are quite unflexible and loose tone quick, so I use other strings now): it was poorly adjusted, the pickups were badly placed, most of the metal parts were severely rusted, the output jack was decalibrated, frets were noisy, some were badly deteriorated due to overplaying and aging, and the neck was mishaped. I managed to solve all the problems on my own, so I can say one conclusion: this is a fairly durable guitar, if referred to hardware. Rusty screws didn't remain in the wood or damadged further so they were easy to replace. other rusty components, have been cleaned and they look at least decent. There is a problem with the saddles. from time to time, you should get a light metal scraper to reshape the saddles a little. There might be microscopic bavures which might damge your strings. I am saying this beacause when a string breaks on a tele in 95% cases, it will break from the saddles. reading previous reviews, I think this is one of the few major problems this guitar has. You might try to lower the saddles also. The Telecaster also has an incresed pressure per string compared to a Stratocaster. The same 0.09 string-pack un a Strat will feel like a 0. 095 on a Telecaster if you understand my point. The maple neck is superbe as playability. The tunning machines, too, which are extremely sensible. The finish is decent, but the paint is fairly thick. It resists medium bumps, whitchout scrapping the paint. However it's a standard series so do not expect extremely expensive paint, like those you see on gibsons. To me it was ok to clean it with alcohol, a practice which I DO NOT recommend to do, especially on very old instruments.
Features — 7
My guitar was made in 1993, Mexico. 21 frets, vintage/thin frets, great neck, 2x single coil passive pickups 3 way Switch. 1 volume and 1 tone knobs, original Fender locking tuners (beacause it's standard series they aren't as stylish as Fender's vintage-tuners). Keep in mind that Telecaster is one of the simplests guitars. Not very feature-packed. I cannot tell you about the accessories because this was 2nd hand bought (at half price).