Price paid: € 200
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 10
I mostly play at home, just sometimes guest with some friend's band. I use a Bugera V5 all tube amp, a Vox Pathfinder and a Fender G-DEC Junior. For recordings I use a Vox Tonelab or the COSM effects of my Boss 8-tracker. The VM Thinline hasn't been played a lot obviously but the fool who owned it before me must have had a capo clamped on fret 10 all the time as the fretwire there is severely scarred. Still playable though so it doesn't matter much. The strings were rusty so I put on #9 Ernie Ball Slinky. Tried it out on my little Tube Monster and was disappointed at first - it had a nice sparkling sound but pretty thin. I swapped the bridge with a Wilkinson compensated three saddle bridge, put on #10 Slinkies and look out, the tone is much stronger, fuller now (no idea yet which factor contributes more, bridge or strings or both). I had planned to swap the pu's too as I had read several reviews where people didn't like them but I am happy I waited with that - I really do like them now. They are best at clean and slightly crunched settings when the semi solid construction decently adds some nice color to the typical twang. It will also handle some classic rock with ease. You get a good variety of sounds out of this guitar, from jazzy/bluesy tones on the neck pu to biting twang on the bridge. As with my four other telecasters I don't fancy the middle position much.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly bluesy, rocking stuff and also a bit of punk rock, reggae and folky stuff. I do a lot of riffing but also some solo stuff although I'm far from being a shredder and I don't aspire to ever be one. I play for 30 years. If it was stolen I'd look out for one again - or probably for the Classic Vibe Thinline. I love that slight acoustic sparkle in the sound of this guitar. Compared to my Baja Tele it sounds brighter and more "wiry", (the Baja has overwound pu's). When I ordered it I was thinking of installing a humbucker in the neck position but as I like the pu's I am not certain I will try that out.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I would not hesitate to gig with this guitar. It's very dependable and holds the tuning well. I especially like the tuners as I do have tuning problems on other cheap guitars but not with this one. The other hardware is good except for the bridge which I replaced with the Wilkinson bridge (which I highly recommend). The finish is good and solid, this guitar will last for some time. Only worry I have is the fretwire when I look at the state of the 10th fret. But then I don't plan to put high pressure on this neck. Some people shouldn't be allowed to won guitars.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
It was well set up when I got it and the way the former owner has treated it I doubt he had a hand in that. As I swapped the bridge and put on harder strings I had to do a set up myself. The tuners are good, the controls work well. That scarred 10th fret has some sharp edges (what did this guy do to this guitar?) but it's not that bad and doesn't cut into my fingers. The neck is great to play, the finish is flawless. Better don't look into that soundhole, they didn't bother much with the interior. The saddle is said to be some artificial bone material, I do not know. The pickguard isn't properly finished at the pickup selector switch.
Features — 9
My black VM Thinline was made in 2008 in China. The specs are well known, Duncan Designed PUs, short scale, semi solid, just check the other review here for more details. I had been looking for a Thinline for almost two years on eBay here (Austria/Germany) but people seem to like them so they don't sell them. Got it for a good price, 200, - It hasn't been played a lot obviously but the fool who owned it before me must have had a capo clamped on fret 10 all the time as the fretwire there is severely scarred. Still playable though so it doesn't matter much. No name tuners, nameless ashtray bridge with six wobbly saddles.