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.