Price paid: £ 289
Purchased from: GAK.co.uk
Sound — 8
To start with I plugged straight into my Fender combo and was amazed at the wide variety of sounds you can get with this guitar, the Tele definitely has a lot more top-end than most guitars and has a bite you don't get from any other guitar. With the tone knob all the way up it has a very piercing tone which will please the Indie fans, but rolling it off a bit produces an amazing funk sound which with some tweaking also replicates the sound of Johnny Cash's guitarist on "At Folsam Prison". Pushing it into overdrive the Tele doesn't disappoint, a mild overdrive puts you in the ballpark of the Keef sound whereas pushing it even more gives you a surprisingly good early Led Zep sound. Going further into distortion gets you a decent Tom Morello sound although the sound gets a bit buzzy by this point. My favourite type of distortion is fuzz and through my Electo-Harmonix Big Muff it sounds incredible, the sound that first comes to mind is John Frusciante's on "Dani California". Ok, so it can do old-school (dinosaur) rock, it can do funk, country and blues but can it do... Metal? The answer is yes, yes it can. Although definitely not your typical metal sound the Tele can handle it, unless we're talking about some kind of Extreme Satanic Hardcore Doom Experimental Thrash Death Metal, then you should get something else. Probably something with EMG's that will frighten children. Anyway, the Tele can handle most genres thrown at it, the only problem you might find with it is the problem with most single-coil pickups, that they buzz a lot sometimes. While not as good as the American Tele, for the price you definitely can not fault it for that.
Overall Impression — 9
In a choice between the Tele and a Strat I'm glad I chose the Tele, it can literally handle anything I throw at it from Hendrix-y type stuff to ambient electronic music. If it were lost or stolen I would buy another one in a heartbeat, definitely my favourite guitar and would recommend it to anybody (apart from an Extreme Satanic Hardcore Doom Experimental Thrash Death Metal fan).
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've gigged a few times in the past month with the tele and it's never let me down, it stays in tune through the whole gig and sounds consistantly great. Usually I play with a back-up, just in case, though with the tele I don't really feel a need for this as it's basically built more solid than a tank, although the day I stop bringing a backup will be the day I snap a string or some hoodlum steals it to sell for drug money.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
From the factory it was set up perfectly, they'd strung it with 9's which is fine with me although I usually prefer 10s. I usually end up adjusting the action on most of my guitars but this was set up to play easily and sound great. No rust, loose parts, chips in finish, strings didn't feel like cheesewire etc.
Features — 8
Fender Standard Telecaster with a black finish, maple neck and maple finger board with medium sized frets. Like most Tele's the controls and layout are simple, 2 pickups, a 3-way toggle switch (bridge, bridge and neck, neck), a single volume knob and a single tone knob, idiot-proof. Included were a free gigbag and allen key.