Price paid: £ 220
Purchased from: Digital Village
Sound — 9
I mainly play Beatles, Kinks, early Who, The Jam, Oasis, Courteeners, that kind of thing. Ideally I'd have bought a Rickenbacker but since I didn't have the 1500 or so to buy one, a Telecaster seemed like a decent enough substitute, as it still has a nice ring in its sound, with suitable bite and snarl in the bridge pickup. YOu can quickly see (or hear) why Joe Strummer was always seen with his battered-up example. I play through a Vox VT50, normally on the AC30TB setting, and it does a convincing job of the '60s British invasion sound in the bridge position. The middle setting is very, very ideal for rhythm playing and, of course, funk. I don't normally use the neck pickup in isolation, but I feel you can use it for something rather more mellow if you wish. I'd personally prefer a P90 or a humbucker for anything jazz-like. I can't say I'd reccomend this guitar for metal playing. Not that it stopped RATM mind...
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing guitar for a few years, mostly acoustic. This is the first proper electric guitar I've actually owned. If this thing was lost or stolen, I'd probably go and get a Mexican '60s Telecaster. This guitar does a great job at just being a Telecaster for under 250. The only thing I really wish this thing had was a proper Fender logo, but then, I suppose you can't have it all at this price point. As a beginners' guitar, it makes it an option well worth considering. Easy to play and being a Tele - well-designed and easy to maintain.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I've not used this guitar in a live situation, but even considing the odd niggling issue, the guitar overall feels solid enough. It could potentially do a live gig, but then you'd always take a back-up as you never know when you'll break a string! Telecasters are fairly simple guitars to maintain and repair, haivng no complex vibrato systems to worrry about for instance, and a bolt-on neck, so no Gibson-type sob stories if the neck does ever snap.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The set-up from the factory is clearly aimed at the beginners' market, which is fair enough given the modest price point. For a beginner, the .009 strings would be a real boon, very easy to play your barre chords on. Of course, a more expereince player may want to make some adjustments and fit slightly thicker strings, but eithr way, this ais a guitar with bags of potential. One complaint would be the hardware, which has quickly tarnished, and I feel the nut could be better. There was also initally trouble keeping the guitar in tune, but then tat's always cured by fitting new strings and stretching them properly. I've had no serious tuning issues since. Another issue is a fairly common Tele issue - a loose jack. Most of these such issues tend to be the difference between a 250 instrument and a 1000 example though - mostly niggling faults that can often by easily sorted. Having said that, the switches are solid enough, and not noisy at all.
Features — 8
The guitar in question is a 2009 model, made in China. 21 frets, pine body, maple neck, Kluson tuners and three-saddle bridge, string through body and two alnico III single-coil pickups. To sum up, it's really a vintage-style Telecaster with a more modern feel, with the medium-jumbo frets and .009 string gauge as standard.