Price paid: £ 219
Purchased from: GAK
Sound — 9
Put simply, the sound of this guitar is AMAZING. Aside from my rock/funk band (for which this guitar is literally perfect), I play/write a lot of psychedelic rock, post rock/post metal/drone/ambient, Indie rock, folk rock, prog, and hard-to-classify post-modernist stuff. The guitar absolutely nails these styles. I play it through a Laney AOR 30 watt combo (supposed to be a JCM800 clone with bags more distortion, but it sounds a little different, I suspect due to the 6V6 valves). Clean, this guitar sounds exactly as you'd expect: perfect for stuff like Explosions in the Sky, Bloc Party, Oceansize, country music etc. If you roll back the tone control, you can get a nice jazz tone, although not as authentic as with some nice humbuckers. I played it through my flatmates Marshall MG100, it actually made the cleans on that amp sound really nice (the OD channel was unsalvageable, however). With some overdrive, this thing nails tones like "Helicopter" by Bloc Party, Stairway to Heaven solo, or anything off the first Pink Floyd album. Also gives an incredible blues tone, although I don't actually tend to play blues. Add more overdrive and you're thinking RATM, absolutely spot on. Add even more and you're into Cult of Luna, or Mouth of the Architect territory. The clarity is astonishing, more so than my twice-the-price Ibanez RG1570, even with maximum overdrive (which is one hell of a lot of overdrive on my amp). There is a fair bit of noise (a lot, if you max the overdrive), but this was to be expected with single coil pickups. Another complaint is to do with my delay pedal. It isn't true bypass, but this doesn't matter so much with my Ibanez, as the tone-sucking is not very obvious. On this guitar, however, when you disengage the pedal, it loses a significant amount of presence. I am guessing this is due to the specific frequencies a lack of true bypass affects, which the Telecaster has more of than the Ibanez. This is more of a problem with the pedal than the guitar though. I have been playing guitar for over 6 years, and this is hands down the nicest sounding guitar I've ever played.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing over 6 years, I own 2 other electric guitars: Ibanez RG1570 (appallingly set up, so I don't play it all that much, although this is soon to change) and a Stagg Strat copy. This is half the price of the Ibanez, and nearly as good. It is twice the price of the Stagg, and about 3 times as good. Suited to many styles of music, as long as you can handle that twang. I took a gamble on buying this without trying, but it most certainly paid off. If it were lost or stolen, I would buy another without a doubt, once I had the money of course. Overall, this guitar gets a 9, a 10 if you take into account the price. I will never doubt Squier again.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Strap buttons seem solid, nothing special, just the standard. Will probably replace them at some point down the line though. As previously mentioned, I am in a band. I played my first ever gig with this guitar 2 days after it arrived, and it held up fine. As it was my first gig, I was nervous as hell, and so forgot to tune it both before and while being on stage. Unprofessional, I know. I realised I had forgotten to tune about half way through the song, but soon after, I had some solo chords to play, and to my surprise they sounded perfect. The guitar had managed to stay in tune during transit, despite being thrown around in the back of a taxi. Very impressed. I would use this guitar without a backup if I didn't have a back up... but I do, so I see little point in taking the risk.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar came to me very well set up. Action was perfect, intonation nearly so. Piss-easy to play, one of the nicest necks I've ever laid my hands on. Finish is gorgeous, hasn't scratched at all as of yet. Frets perfect, hardware nice, shiny and secure. Silent pickup selector. Impressive.
Features — 9
Squier Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster - Pine body - Lovely semi-transparent cream colour finish - 2 Alcino III single-coil pickups - 3-way pickup selector - Gorgeous maple neck - 21 medium jumbo frets I had been searching for a new guitar for about 6 months with a <300 budget, telecasters had always appealed to me, but I had been put off by their excessive amounts of twang, given that I am a metal fan. Luckily for me, upon coming to university, I have stopped playing so much metal, and formed a rock/funk band, for which a Telecaster is obviously a top choice. I noticed this guitar had much better reviews than any other guitar at the same sort of price, in fact, much better than many at substantially higher prices. Given the hilariously low price and 7-day return policy, I decided to just go for it and buy without trying. I did not make a mistake. This guitar is all one could want from a telecaster, for a fraction of the price.