Purchased from: some guy
Sound — 8
This is a classy sounding instrument. Played acousticaly it has a vibrant and surprisingly loud tone that is much richer in frequency range than I would have expected. It continues performing when plugged into an amp. It can get those typical tele clean sounds, with a lot of country twang, it's great for playing Texas blues and 60s british blues, yardbirds type stuff etc. Give it some Drive and it's equally good, this isnt designed for heavy overdrive but mildy overdriven it sounds good, and importantly maintains clarity and definition. For '70s rock this will do the job. The pickups offer a wide range range of sound from screaming and rude on the bridge to warm and withdrawn on the neck. If you play hybrid of fingerstyle, ala Jeff Beck, the neck pickup is quite a winner as with the right technique you can ply a wide range of tones from it. The pickups themselves have been very noiseless so far by single coil standards. Equally the pots are not scratchy, contrary to what I've heard people say before. Despite the overal very bright sound you would expect this guitar doesnt't have too much in the way of anoying percussive overtones that you get when turning the tone and volume up full. I normaly have to adjust these on guitars to control the problem but this works just fine so I can keep everything up full if I want. I have played this through an Epiphone Valve Junior, Vox modelling amp and Laney trany amp so far and it has performed great through all 3. The only problem is that the guitar lacks a bit of response, dynamic range is limited somewhat. Overal this guitar has real character, it's a bit rough round the edges and isnt a blanced as other instruments but it is what it is and I love it for it.
Overall Impression — 8
I'm an obsesive musician and have been playing a number of years, I'm also a total gearhead and in that time I've gotten through more guitars than I can remember. I play all kinds of music, rock, blues, jazz, fusion, metal, classical, latin. I bought this simply because I love guitars and had never owned a Tele. If it were stolen I probably wouldn't buy another but I would really miss it. When I bought it I didn't intend on owning it forever but on reflection I really don't like the idea of parting with it. The best thing about this guitar? It has real character, an identity all it's own you might say, it's more of a person than just an instrument. I was lucky to pick this up for just 70 easily one of the best bargains I've been lucky to come across. don't let guitar snobbery cloud your vision, if your interested give one a go.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It always bugs me why people say certain guitars (normaly korean built etc.) are badly made and will fall apart after a couple of years or if gigged. I'm my expierience there is little or no truth to this. The number of times I have accidently smashed, so called cheap guitars, into walls, the ceiling etc. and yet they survive with no afereffects. This guitar was already well used when I bought it. I have since given it quite a beating on several occasions and it's showing no sign of suddenly exploding. Seriously, nothing has gone wrong or loks like it will. I've played a Brand New squire Standard Strat as well and I'm overal very impressed with the workmanship, I would rate it better than Epiphone. I would gig it, even as my primary instrument with no concern.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I bought this secondhand and it desperatly needed a set up when I got it. After some love and hard work I got it set up to what I would consider it's optimum performance. Unfortunatly the intonation simply wont set up perfect, however it is very close to that mark(98%)and it doesnt't really hinder the instrument. Call me a perfectionist but it's a shame as the pitches and overtones will never resonate as well as they could. The tuners work fine as far as I'm concerned, and I don't care what anyone else thinks. If you set the instrument up properly and keep the tuners tight it will stay in tune. I jammed with it for an hour straight. When I decided to check the tuning I found it had barely gone out of pitch. I've had more trouble form guitars with decent grover machineheads. The only gripe is that they have a low gear ratio so you have to be very delicate when tuning or you will tune over pitch. As I've already made clear electrics were fine. The finnish was beaten up a bit but it was secondhand so that's to be expected. Finnaly, playability. As a person Who likes shorter scale lenghs, flat freboards and treats anything other than a small fret with extreme prejudice, I had more than a few concerns when buying this instrument. But overal it plays ok. The neck is just average compared to similar instruments not especialy good but it doesnt't inhibit the player in any way. The action might be a bit high for an unexpierienced player but shouldn't be too much of a problem for a long time player. (you need the action high for the best tone and to eradicate fret buzz) The only other issue is note choking on high bends, but you get that on most guitars with big frets and a curvy fretboard so it's not really something to complain about. Overal for a beginer this instrument plays slightly better than most other entry level instruments I've played. For an advanced player this should be perfectly fine, like I say it wont help you play great but it wont inhibbit you too much either. I find it plays about 85% as good as a decent les paul. Not bad for a Tele.
Features — 7
I don't remember the exact year offhand but it's around 2 to 4 years old. Made in indonesia so it has an agathis body, I bought it secondhand. I wont list the full spec because, that has been listed here several times already. One thing worth pointing out though it has 22 frets which I personaly consider an advantage when measuring it against an affinity series tele or Fender Standard.