Price paid: C$ 400
Purchased from: L'Escale Music
Sound — 7
The Telecaster is known for it's twangy sound and is consequently associated with genres such as folk rock, country, jangle pop, etc. The most annoying aspect of the Mexican Tele (which led me to sell mine) is that it simply doesn't deliver that distinctive Telecaster sound. The front pickup sound much too muddy to be twangy, and the back pickup is so trebly that it almost chimes. Setting the pickup selector Switch in the middle position gets some fairly good sounds, but the realisation that I could get janglier tones out of my Jaguar HH led me to give up on this guitar, no matter how attached I was to it. This is a fairly noisy guitar, but it's something you need to Live with if you're looking for a bright single-coil sound (which this doesn't provide anyways). Don't get me wrong, it is a very nice sounding guitar, but if you're looking for that Tele tone as I was, this is the wrong model to be looking at. I play ambient Shoegazing music, and with effects added onto it, the Mexican Tele became much too murky to be able to satisfy my needs.
Overall Impression — 7
This is an all-around average guitar. It doesn't sound great, isn't particularly sturdy, and isn't hugely versatily, and it doesn't sound bad, isn't fragile, and isn't limiting. All in all, it's a good guitar for a new-ish player, but it just didn't cut it for me anymore. When I bought this, I was considering three guitars: an Epiphone Les Paul, an Epiphone Dot, and the Tele. I picked the Tele because it was the cheapest and lightest, and because I was looking for a twangy sound. Sadly, this guitar did not deliver what I was looking for. I've recently sold it. Someday I do plan on getting another Telecaster, but it won't be a Mexican Fender. Squier has been putting out some excellent Indonesian variations on the Telecaster (The Custom, Custom II, Thinline, Double Fat, etc.) and I'll be looking into those soon. It's a guitar that looks and feels great, but that could ultimately be replaced by a better-sounding, cheaper alternative.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This seems like a fairly solid guitar. For all the faults I mentionned in the last paragraph, it still played fine and was quite comfortable. The strap buttons are good, but I replaced them with Dunlop StrapLoks the day I bought the guitar just to be safe. I would definitely trust this guitar at a gig; then again, I've gigged with a pretty beat up and semi-functional guitar before. The one obvious problem a far as durability goes is that the finish on this guitar is painfully thin; it cracks and wears off at a surprising rate. I never played this guitar outside of the house, yet over the 6-7 months it was in my possession, I put a fair number of dings, scratches, and dents in it (without being rough). It already had a great number of blemishes when I bought it, so it isn't just me.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The wormanship on this guitar was fair, but I've seen better. Everything was well-aligned and most parts held solidly to the instrument. One obvious flaw was that the control plate was warped and protruded slightly from the guitar. I did buy this guitar used, but it couldn't have been more than five years old and the pots were already quite noisy. I don't know whether Fender or the previous owner is to blame. There were no flaws in the finish, and the intonation was fine.
Features — 10
My Telecaster was a Lake Placid blue '00s Mexican model and had the classic Tele layout: 21 medium frets, Fender tuners, Standard strings-through-body bridge. There are two knobs (one volume, one tone) and one three-way pickup selector Switch on a chrome plate. The pickups are Standard Telecaster single-coils. The neck was the usual maple bolt-on. I can't say for sure what material the body was made of, but I think it was a little light to be alder. It's a guitar with a very simple layout, but one that is efficient and has been a favourite for half a century.