Price paid: $ 366
Purchased from: McMeekins Music Northern Ireland
Sound — 8
Firstly, the unplugged tone is great on this guitar, making it quite nice to play along without upsetting neighbours, flatmates or anyone else, plugged in the guitar really comes to life the bridge pickup can cover a whole range of tones very well indeed, whilst still retaining that classic Telecaster sound, so much so my guitar tutor fell in love with it when he played it and proceeded to spend five minutes playing some pretty nifty country riffs, the neck pickup however can sound a little weak and thready, and I tend not to use it very often, however a pickup upgrade is on the cards quite soon.
Overall Impression — 10
I have to say this is my favourite guitar, it even beats my Fender Standard Strat, I'm now saving my pennies for an American Deluxe, but where that not the case and my baby were to burst into flames tomorrow I would buy another one, I may still buy some decent pickups for it, AVN do some nice ones. But bearing in mind that I like to play a bit of everything this guitar fits the bill, the lack of sustain is easily rectified by the use of the compressor on my Multi-FX unit and combined with that almost any sound is acheivable, but when it's quiet time, I can still sit in a comfy chair and jam along with something over my headphones without worrying about an anti-social behaviour order. So I would have to say to anyone starting out, or anyone looking for a budget option Telecaster, look no further, just don't buy the Affinity one, I tried one of those in the shop and it's in a completely different league to this beauty.
Reliability & Durability — 10
My playing style can be quite heavy and aggressive, but I have yet to break a single string on this guitar, and it manages to stay in tune quite well whilst I'm punishing it, apart from the scratch in the body caused by somebodys carelessness there are no major blemishes and I would be quite happy to take this guitar anywhere without a backup, however I do find that I have to use strap locks as the strap buttons don't seem to keep the strap loops in very well.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
The only blemish to the guitar on purchase was some minor damage to a small area of the wood on the fretboard at the 20th fret around the area of strings 5 and 6, however it was the only one in the shop, my mind was made up, and it makes no difference to the playing of the guitar, the action however needed to be setup as there was quite a bit of string buzzing and I was gutted at having to leave the shop without it for a few days. The finish is great, although a friend of mine when he borrowed it had a nasty habit of forcing his plectrums underneath the scrathplate area above the strings and there are now some scratches there, along with a fairly significant scratch running down from the top of the guitar to the scratchplate.
Features — 10
The Telecaster I purchased was a 2003 Squier standard Tele, I had owned quite a few different electric guitars and this was the first one I felt suited me ideally, it has 22 medium jumbo frets on a rosewood fretboard which is rather good quality, it is the standard tele configuration (two single coil pickups, with three way selector Switch and one tone and one volume control). The 3 colour sunburst finish is surprisingly well done and quite striking, the tuners and bridge aren't the Vintage tele style however going with fenders more modern types but I prefer them anyway, the bridge saddles in particular, being indepently adjustable, are I think an improvement though this may put off some purists, the neck is almost perfect for my playing style, being let down by being not quite wide enough at the lower frets, the body itself is quite heavy and has no contours but again that would take away from the Telecaster feel.