Standard Telecaster review by Squier

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (26 votes)
Squier: Standard Telecaster

Price paid: $ 142

Purchased from: eBay used

Features — 9
Built in Indonesia, year unknown. Rosewood on maple neck. Body I do not know. Gloss finish has art on the top. Fine flake metallic green back and sides. Top only is a counterculture art painting of a Rolling Rock beer bottle. Neck finish is oil type and may be no-glare urethane. Not sure, but feels and looks dry. Standard Tele layout with solid saddles and hat type switch knob and cone shaped strap buttons with felt washers. . Tele bridge is well chromed and string through with string ferrules recessed into the body. 3-way switch is easily converted to a 4-way. Tuners look like Schallers but are not that quality. Smooth and positive, though budget caliber. The seller shipped it in an SX black cordura gig bag. Rated "9" because the guitar has maybe 5-6 tiny marks on the rear only and is otherwise pristine. At $152 to the door with pretty good pickups, solid, well painted, and with nice fret ends... it is a lot of guitar. And I have had a Classic Vibe Tele with Fralin 2% overwinds in it, so I know what a really sharp Squier can be.

Sound — 8
It is versatile and very passable since I go direct into a '73 Silverface Princeton Reverb with very upgraded speaker. A good amp makes a pretty good guitar sound just fine if you can play. Quiet and no noticeable hum. Bridge is a bit trebly and lacks that thick bass/middle of the 1960s that we dream of, but it is good. Middle position is pretty and delicate, yet strong. The neck needs adjustment to lower the bass side and raise the treble side to make is clearer. Bluesy neck pup. Rated "8" as it is entirely OK; not great or smashing, but pretty darn nice for a barely used Tele at $150.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Cannot be sure about the setup from the factory, but shimming the neck with 1 business card thickness in the inside 1/3 of the pocket is all it took to allow lowering the Allen screws just below flush to the saddles. The pocket was clean, the frets are good and needed only light fret end smoothing with a correct file. I see no defects at all in the finishing and neck/pocket fit, etc. Workmanship was very clean and solid. The paint job with art on the top was well done (colors as well as what is shown, and the idea of a beer bottle Tele is a "natural"). No rattles or electronics noise. I may get a slightly deeper cut of treble with a .050 capacitor. The rating is "9" since it is close enough to top flight to earn a "9"... remember it was barely used at $150 to my door.

Reliability & Durability — 9
A well made Squier Tele (Standard and better line) are solid and reliable and workhorse guitars for stage and parties. The finish is a bit thick, but it's a factory product built and painted to the Fender specs. We do not get to make a call on finish type and thickness. The electronics of a Tele are so simple that most any guy with a soldering pen can change pickups, etc. Rated a "9" because it is a pretty well made Telecaster from Squier in Indonesia factory. Change the pots to CTS or Bourne and wire in a 4-way switch and use good strings and consider good pickups as upgrades. GFS has some cheap ones, Kent Armstrong has some quite good ones, and there are a lot of winders selling in eBay and regionally.... you do not have to have Fralins or Holmes in your guitar. Sometimes "good enough" is good enough.

Overall Impression — 9
I play classical guitar, acoustic guitar and electric guitar. I write songs and have recorded some and got very good approval from a top Nashville songwriter of top hits. I have a good ear and hands and music in my family as well as a knack for songwriting in different types. so I can play more types of guitar music than most guys. So a Tele like this is not a top notch one, but you can get a used on cheap and make it much better with little work and maybe pickups, adjustments, and good strings (I have settled on .009-.046 D'Addarios). As an electric guitar, a Tele with 4-way switch can cover most all electric styles short of shredding and real rockabilly, country, blues, pop, rock and roll and some rock are no problem for a Tele. Leslie West played a Tele the night I saw Mountain live and Roy Buchanan opened the show ... with a Tele. See?

I rate this guitar a "9" since it is not a top flight Squier. But it looks ultra-cool and sharp colors, feels good, sounds good to 'damn good' and with more tweaking ands a settle period, it will be a keeper. I also found a barely used sunburst Squier Standard Strat to replace pickups with GFS "gold foils" and lit it up. Again... a lot of good guitar workmanship and features and good hardware for VERY inexpensive. The Standard series is hard to top for sheer value.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ...and a cheap, but really useful mod is to install a 4-way Tele switch (position 4 is like #2 but both pickups are on in series ...not parallel)to get a big beefy and bluesy sound from both pups on at once. These are NOT shabby and second rate and the necks are a bit fatter than the Classic Vibes and the guitar is lighter. I dig it.
    The Squier Standard Tele I got appears to have all original electronics, which is small offshore pots and a .033 value tone pot capacitor. To make a big change, just get high quality CTS or Bourne pots (250K and audio taper) and a .047 value capacitor for the tone to trim off the 'too bright' tendency of the bridge pickup.
    ... stock it has small offshore pots and a .033 capacitor... get CTS or Bourne pots and a .047 capacitor to trim off the 'too bright' edge in the bridge pickup, especially. Cost: about $10 max.
    Dec 8, 2016 I got another Standard series Tele for very cheap from a pawn shop in a neighboring state. It was virtually unplayed and was cosmetically perfect. If you want it just right, here is what they need: 1) deepen the nut slots so the '3rd fret test' has the strings with the tiniest visible gap from fret top to string bottom... 2) raise the bridge pickup closer to the strings and keep the forward tilt just a bit downward to reduce the 'too bright' midrange edge... 3) Check the neck angle by measuring the string bottom to fret top at fret 12. About 1/16" is right and the Allen screws in the saddles should be flush and not scraping the right hand. A business card 1/3 of the rear of the neck pocket will make the strings sit lower to the 12th fret. These 3 points can be done if you have nut slot files and Phillips screwdrivers. For many guys, leave it to a pro setup guy. It's maybe $25-35 to do it and is quick. I have 2 of these Standard Teles at well under $200 to the door in like new shape. That is hard to beat for a good Tele.