Price paid: £ 145
Purchased from: gear4music.com
Sound — 8
This is my first 6 string electric, although I have been playing classical guitar and bass for a few years now, and this really does seem to be a very versatile guitar. I play a fair few different things on it (although all fairly simple) including: Pixies, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and The Smashing Pumpkins, and it seems to be able to adapt to any of these pretty well. Basically I've not found a sound I can't get out of it yet (within the limitations of my amp). My amp is a Gear4Music 35W practice amp, and the clean tones I get from my guitar through it are pretty good. If anything I would say the Bridge is a bit twangy and sharp for my taste, but the neck sounds incredibly warm. I've found the best clean sound comes from using both together however. On the overdrive setting the neck pickup produces fairly thick tones, and the bride nice sharp overdrive (which is quite nice), although again my favorite sound comes from using both. The neck pickup is pretty quiet for a single coil, but the Bridge picks up a bit of hum, although neither is noticeable whilst actually playing. All around I think this guitar covers a fair range of tones, at least as many as my friend's Mexican Fender Telecaster which sells for a fair bit more. Don't get me wrong you won't get Ultra heavy metal sounds, nor true surf effects (due to the lack of a tremolo), but the range should be more than sufficient for any budding beginner. I might however swap out one of the pickups for a single spaced humbucker at some point (such as the Seymour Duncan hot rails) just so I can get a slightly thicker sound out of it.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a wonderful guitar, and it seems to work well with what I play, I think it's great for any beginner. If it were lost or stolen I would have to think long and hard about replacing it with an identical model, I may take an upgrade and go for an Epiphone of some sort, no reflection on this guitar, I'd just like to try a few others before recommitting. I can honestly say there is nothing I hate about it, does the job perfectly. Before I bought it I did review a lot of guitars in the 100 - $250 bracket, and decided that this was a good choice for all round playing (not knowing what genre I was going to play most once I got it) and I stick by that decision. The only thing I may do is get a humbucker to replace one of the pickups, but it really isn't anything urgent and will only happen if I feel like spending some extra cash unnecessarily. Overall great guitar, recommended!
Reliability & Durability — 9
It looks good so far, had it 5 months and absolutely no problems, still looks like it's fresh out of the box, despite a little bit of rough behavior. From past experience with Fender and Squier guitars they are built to last and I'm hoping this is no exception *touch wood*. I would gig with it without a second thought, although I do always gig with a backup (I would take a backup even if my main guitar were a Gibson or real Fender) in case of broken strings/acts of god, I utterly trust the dependency of this guitar. Saying that it is a bit early to tell, hence the 9, not a 10.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar came from a website still fully packaged and sealed in tight, so I assume it was not messed with in any way, in which case the factory set-up is the best I've ever seen! Action perfect, pickup heights perfect and condition perfect. I was the guitar tech for my last band , in which time I saw 6 new guitars, none of which were set up this well! I've had no problems with interference, even with a fair bit of electronic equipment about in my room. Also no problems with any of the guitar's internals. No flaws, perfect condition. The frets weren't sharp, the tuning pegs are fine and the saddles haven't sheered a string (a recurring problem for my mate's Mexican Telecaster). Overall nothing to complain about here.
Features — 9
I assume it was made in the last couple of years (just guessing) and it says it was "crafted in china". Standard 21 fret neck, maple with a polyurethane finish. Body wood is alder, Tele style with a butterscotch blonde finish. The finish seems pretty good, I've been careful, but it has been bumped and dropped a couple of times and remains unscathed. Standard Tele bridge, passive electronics and two single coil pickups. 3-way selector, 1 volume and 1 tone knob. Tuners are non-locking, but I've had it a couple of months now and it seems to hold tune pretty well. Supplies as is, with nothing else (a few picks might have been nice). Pretty much your bog-standard Telecaster setup really.