Purchased from: Guitar Center
Features — 8
2013 model, not listed on any Fender or Squier site, special model made in Indonesia. Telecaster body, nice sunburst finish, basswood body with a humbucker bridge pickup and the standard tele neck single coil pickup. One volume and one tone control, 3 way pickup selector switch, standard non locking tuners finished in black as is all the hardware. 21 fret maple neck with rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays. 24 3/4 scale. Oh yeah it strings through the body, a real plus that adds to the sound.
Sound — 6
Basically, it is a low priced telecaster and as such you get pro's and cons. On the pro side: the body is slightly thinner than the standard telecaster, but has a nice light weight, and is very resonant when played unplugged. The neck has a real nice feel, and the fretwork is much better than I expected. Plugged in, it has that tele snap, even with the humbucker which to be truthful, is very bright sounding for a humbucker. The neck pickup actually sounds pretty good, and overall, it is not all that bad. The cons: the pickups are okay, nothing to write home about, so eventually they will be replaced but that being said, it doesn't sound all that bad. For a hundred and twenty bucks, it's a great start. Like some of the special Epiphone models that GC sells, this guitar has some great potential. It definitely has that tele sound, and the combination of the slightly slimmer basswood body and the humbucker still retains that tele snap. I give it a 6, but truth be told, I wanted a tele, and this is a great project to work on. Really looking forward to it!
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The set up was not that great, but after bringing this beast home, setting up the pickup alignment, it was ready to go. The actual finish on this guitar is really nice. The sunburst finish with the black hardware looks great. The neck on mine fits quite nicely, no gabs, and aside from a loose jack, everything else on the guitar was solid. Again, a cheap guitar where the tone control actually WORKS! The necks is solid and has a nice feel, and the fretworks is actually passable, though truth be told, some filing will make it perfect (not sharp, just needs polishing). The body is well matched as you can see some grain through the finish and it looks good.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar will stand live playing, but it is one that with a little extra work and some change of parts it can go from just a guitar that you can play live to one that you WANT to play live. I believe you could play it without a backup, but more importantly, I bought it as a starting point to make the guitar I always wanted. The body is cut for 2 humbuckers but it is a hum bridge, tele single neck, with the standard tele pickguard, single ply. The finish is extremely impressive period, not just for a cheap guitar, but for a guitar period. This one was made in Indonesia, which I feel is made better than the Chinese made Squiers and Fenders. While the frets are not "silky smooth," they actually were smoother than a 500 dollar Fender Tele selling new at GC so all of the companies have gotten a little lax on this part of guitars, Ibanez and other companies included. One final note, the hardware and especially the strap buttons are solid as they come.
Overall Impression — 8
I like a variety of music, and this guitar is suited for all of them. To be truthful, I know I will be replacing the pickups eventually, but as a starting point, this guitar is a solid 10. I have sold a lot of gear off lately so now all I have is an Epiphone Special I with P90's and a Frankenstrat. If it were stolen, I would definitely be angry and would replace it. What I like best about this guitar is the finish and how it looks overall, I wish it had better pickups but for the price, it is still a playable guitar, but more importantly, it is a great starting point for a project of the telecaster that I always wanted. One more big plus, it strings thru the body, and the body as a comfortable feel, as does the neck.