Price paid: $ 104
Purchased from: eBay new
Features — 9
2016 or 2017 from China almost certainly. Huntington Telecaster copy for very cheap price, but fairly well made. I would rate it about like Cozart (nice in some models) or Spectrum (decent), some of which are pretty good no matter the cost. The Huntington Tele is a standard layout, but with rounded edges and fairly light body and neck. The gloss poly body is a layup of several pieces and the neck is solid maple, not really finished as we are accustomed to seeing. String through body and all ferrules needed a dab of glue in the holes and all are proud of the body. Solid saddles I like with smooth Allen screws for height/tilt. Volume and tone controls and a 3-way Tele switch with hat knob. Standard Tele pickup type. Tuners are conventional (not Kluson style) and are fairly smooth, which is nice. Strap and cord included and it came in a plain black gig bag enclosed in a white foam-paper sleeve and well-boxed.
'9' for a fairly well made Tele copy at $84 and $20 to ship with a close fitting neck/pocket and a decent nut to adjust and pretty good bridge/saddles well chromed with cheap chrome is a bargain. A smooth and well shot natural body with clear gloss poly an a 1 piece maple neck at this price is pretty impressive.
Sound — 7
This I have to wait for since it is not yet played. See below for explanation. '7' is what I expect if it is decent.
This takes 500 characters, so I have to block it out to get the review done. I have the neck off and strings off, so I can plug it in and gently tap the pickup with metal as I change the volume and tone knob and listen to the switch. I hear every control is totally quiet, which is a good sign. So, I may get lucky and not need to change out the capacitor on the tone control. I find that having a few of. 047 and. 056 uf caps available is handy. A very bright guitar can use the. 056 to trim off more highs. Consider setting the volume at about 7-8 and the tone at about 4-7 to get a feel for what to do, if anything. Set the amp volume and bass-treble settings to get close and then fine tune the treble/bass with the tone control and usually about 8-9 on the volume is a 'sweet spot'. 8 or 7 tends to 'clean up' the sound. Consider adding a 4-way Tele switch if the guitar is a keeper or not (it makes resale much easier and opens up that 'both pups in series' strong bluesy sound). It's easy to wire up to a standard US type 4-way from Allparts. And if you have a mediocre amp, consider a used speaker... I play a '74 Princeton Reverb
(ultra clean) and the stock speaker was ordinary. But a Weber and later a decent Eminence really made it impressive enough for local pros to ask me about the amp. And a decent guitar into a great amp beats the reverse. Don't be afraid of a good solid state modern amp (Fender Frontman 25R as an example).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The nut slots are far too high and that it something all new guitars need except the finer ones. The saddle screws I take to barely below the top and then shim the neck pocket as needed after the nut slots are close to correct (3rd fret test is press at fret 3 and the strings over the frets 1-2 should barely have a gap and 'clink' with nearly no space underneath). The neck is 1 piece and raw, but fairly well smoothed. I wipe on 1 coat of light gloss polyuretnane, lightly sand when well dried, then a final coat then very fine sand (like 1000 grit) and then rub hard with a scrap clean Ts hirt to buff smooth.
The neck plate is crooked but not much and it really is not a big deal. Plenty long screws and the bores are straight. Not sure yet about the switch operation nor capacitor, but a new cheap switch can be quieted with a shot of electronics cleaner. I expect a 8-tab cheapie and 'dime pots' and a cheapie capacitor. Pickups generally need to be raised to cause some 'woofiness' and then lowered gradually to get a balanced tone. I set the middle screw of the bridge pickup to tilt it down slightly off parallel to the body (to reduce that sharp trebly tone).
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar is light from low density woods, but is actually fairly attractive. Well chromed hardware is cheaply done, but smooth chroming. The strap button holes should have a toothpick of yellow glue swirled and let dry a day before installing the strap buttons for safety. And I take a tiny wipe of ChapStick on the neck wood screws to make screwing in easier and smoother (sticking screws lead to crewdriver slip and finish scars and more wood damage putting the neck off and on for shimming work). I find 1-3 business cards at the rear 1/3 of the pocket will cover most shimming needs. It just takes some practice looking at the neck/body angle to judge the number of shims. I am rating this '9' initially for the guitar itself... it seems neatly fashioned (like by a machine) and the body well-shot in gloss poly and the installation of hardware is neatly done.
Overall Impression — 9
A Tele is a versatile guitar and can cover so many things with a decent pickup set, that I rate any Tele as an '8' unless it has real problems. This one is nicely made of cheap materials and the pickups may be OK or mediocre... I'll know soon. But be prepared to get a used set of Tele pups and I used Tele and Strat pickups from Rose (Rose Buff Beauty are their flagship Strat set) that are very inexpensive and damn nice tone and very well-made and wrapped.
I learned that passive Tele/Strat pickups can use any old capacitor of the needed value (.047 or .056 uf)... Active electronics is another matter.
This guitar needs the nut slots cut down carefully with nut slot files and do NOT do it yourself unless you were shown how and work slowly. Once you cut too deep, then you have to replace the nut. This task is for a setup guy unless you are handy and have pals who are setup guys for living (like I do). You can learn what to do if you have good hands and are not clumsy. Just be honest with yourself and if in doubt... Take it to a setup guy.