Tele Custom review by Squier

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (114 votes)
Squier: Tele Custom
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Price paid: € 220

Purchased from: musicstore.de

Sound — 9
I play a variety of music styles (usually I play in drop-D), but mostly alternative and hardcore (Billy Talent, Rise Against, Motion City Soundtrack, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Foo Fighters - you get the gist of it), and it's surprisingly versatile despite lacking the possibility to split the coils. The sound from the humbuckers has plenty of low and mid, but also that very nice shimmering high-end that you just don't get from, say, a Les Paul (that being an epiphone. I don't want anyone going completely /rage on me for supposedly claiming this is better than a Gibson). I play through either a 15 watt Laney something-or-other, or a beat-up old Peavey Backstage from somewhere deep in the seventies. Eighties? Something like that. Anyway, while sounding a bit puny when used with the Laney, it really shines through the Peavey. For effects I use a Korg AX5G. I usually play with a bit more treble than low and mid. My clean sound with this guitar in the Bridge position is somewhat big and roomy, as you would expect from the humbuckers, but still retains that tele-spirit with those bright shimmering tones. The neck pickup sounds very warm and rich, well suited for jazz (then again, I'm not really an expert in that field) and with the pickups mixed it'll produce a sound that's in-between - very nice on clean. If you dirty the signal up a little bit, you'll have a very nice, clear overdriven sound quite close to that of for example Three Days Grace's "Lost In You" - bright and clear. Dirty it up a bit further you'll end up pretty close to the sound of Ian D'sa of Billy Talent, which retains a lot of the properties of the clean signal while adding some raw energy and sustain. Dirty it up even more, and you'll be fully capable of playing along to alt metal and metal of your choice without losing too much clarity. That being said however, there is a point where the distortion will start breaking your signal apart, so be warned; while capable of playing some metal, it's not designed for that purpose. The neck pickup dirtied up can produce sounds ranging from traditional blues to the intense, almost synth-like distortion-sound of "Devil In A Midnight Mass". The middle position with a little overdrive can make recognizable indie-tones along the lines of Lukestar, albeit not as bell-like. A bit more drive, however, and you'll be in blues-solo land in no-time. The brightness from the Bridge pickup combined with the warmth and sustain of the neck pickup - simply lovable!

Overall Impression — 9
For me, this is a great guitar. The only thing I would like to add to it if I could would be coil split and a vibrato bridge. I've been playing for about five years - granted; the first few were a bit on-and-off - so I feel like I can use this guitar to the fullest. I own two other guitars - a Samick strat-copy and a Peavey Raptor Junior - but they are both lower in quality compared to the tele (the Samick being pretty close to it, though). If I lost it, I'd be really damned sad. I've gotten pretty attached to this thing. Heck, I even named her Alice! Knowing that nothing could replace my baby, I'd probably save up for a Fender Telecaster '72 Deluxe with a tremolo bridge. And then I'd name her Alice II. What I love about the Squier Telecaster Custom is its versatility. There is almost nothing this thing can't do! I also like the independent volume and tone controls, as it allows for a great range of sounds. Also, using the controls to kill-switch (turning one of the pickups off and switching between the active and inactive pickup for anyone not familliar with the term) is also a pretty cool feature.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This lovely black baby will definitely withstand live playing unless you purposely slam it into the ground. Or an amp. The hardware appears durable too. I've had it for just over two years now, and the hardware appears as solid as ever. No tuning problems, no nothing. The strap buttons are very solid as well, nice and big. I do, however, play with strap-locks. You never know, right? I would, however, never gig with it without a backup unless I had no other choice. While I have full confidence in it's ability to not spontaniously fall apart, string breakage is still a factor. The finish also seems pretty solid to my untrained eyes.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The factory set-up was horrible. Intonation was way off, and the action was higher than your average stoner. They only proved to be bumps in the road, however, as it has been playing wonderfully ever since (disregarding the routine check every once and again). I've lowered the action to as low as I can, which is pretty low, without getting fretbuzz. Ideally, it would go lower, but it's a minor problem. The Bridge pickup crackles slightly with the use of the volume knob though, which isn't really a problem for me because I usually blast through with the volume on 10 anyway (so uncivilized!), but it still needs to be mentioned. Other than that though, the guitar is flawless, the finish is even and the frets are superbly alligned.

Features — 8
This Squier Telecaster Custom (which is closer to a deluxe than a custom, really) was made in Indonesia. It's got 22 medium jumbo frets, and the 25.5" maple neck is a bit fatter than what I was used to when I first got it. The neck is laquered with a clear satin finish, which feels a lot quicker than gloss necks. It's also a bolt-on, as one would expect any Telecaster to be. It's got an agathis body finished in a glossy black color, with a three-ply black-white-black pickguard. The Bridge is a Standard 6-saddle tele-style bridge, which intonates fairly well. The tuners are unbranded, but they stay in tune pretty well. It comes with independent volume and tone control, and a three-way selector switch. The pickups are unbranded covered humbuckers.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    kevinpaul
    I owned one for 7 or 8 years and it was used in mint condition, still is in fact. I have taken it all over for all kinds of work. I just like it. The name snobs shut up after hearing it or playing it. Better and meaner than most Teles. My work horse. It was $150.00 worth much more.
    heath.lane
    I owned a MIM Fender Tele Custom and never bonded with it. Normally my main squeeze is my '65 SG Standard (or my brand new SG "Original", which is for all intents and purposes a reissue thereof), but Teles have a special place in my heart, so I HAVE to have a couple around. I played in a couple different cover-bands to keep my chops up between gigs with my band that actually creates new music, and in BOTH scenarios, I always got hassled because I most of the time in crummy dive bars would bring an Epiphone SG or a Squier Tele (my white Affinity with upgraded pickups, and with a Bigsby; or my black Custom) instead of my Gibsons/Fender, and these f*cktard brand-name-snobs always gave me a hard time because I wasn't playing a (and I quote) "REAL SG or Telecaster". I turned around a couple months later and took the Squier logo off of them, added Fender repro decals and re-clearcoated the headstocks, showed up to a gig, and wouldn't you know it? Nothing but compliments on my "Fenders" and that "good ol' Fender sound". Keep in mind they were, aside from the changed stickers on the headstock, the SAME as before, but in these idiots' minds, they were entirely different guitars, and therefore an IMPROVEMENT...lol Between that and breaking it to the powerchord-chugging neanderthal on "rhythm" guitar (with his $3K Les Paul and his all-"tyoob" Marshall) that my "f*ckin' awesome" tone he complimented was also coming from a HYBRID Marshall AVT series amp, I enjoyed sitting back and listening to the "pros" out themselves. All that said, in all honesty, Squiers are much closer to their more expensive cousins than Epis are to Gibsons, and I am currently about to buy ANOTHER of these instead of "saving up" for a marginally-better "F brand model. They got these right, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
    jordo54
    I have this guitar bought it like 3 months or more ago, used at a pawn shop for 200 or so dollars Canadian. its a good guitar i have it as my second, or backup guitar, unless im playing something bluesy or rockin' since i have my Dean Soltero with EMGs for metal! had to upgrade the tuners since they were kinda weak. The pickups are fine in mine, theres no interference or unwanted feedback. I play through a Orange CR120, great amp btw.i also upgraded the bridge since i didnt like the old school saddles.
    GEARGUY
    THIS SQUIER IS AN AMAZING GUITAR FOR THE MONEY. The humbuckers are very good and the hardware is close to Fender quality. ALL guitars buzz when next to a computer, by the way. The review by "Americanprick is just a bunch of beginner nonsense, and is very inaccurate in just about evey way..
    oojakapiv
    I spent ages looking for a guitar that I wanted to buy and I played many. For me, it's the left hand which does the talking on a guitar and if it doesn't sit well then it's no good what name is on the head. I played all sorts of big names but wasn't happy til I picked this up. The feel of it was just right and suited my style. I've had it for two years and I prefer it to my MIM Fender Tele which is both shoddy and noisy. I play it through Marshall foot pedals (Jackhammer, Chorus and Delay) and a Fender Frontman 212R clean channel and I can make it sing. For the price it's great.
    kevinpaul
    Go with the Custom! I have found things to fix on all my big name guitars. Flipped a good a few top names because they really pissed me off. But this shiny black gem is stayen. I have looked and can not find any thing to fix bitch about or even make shit up. Yes it is that good. Cheap Epiphones and the rest do not come close.