ATE-33 review by Tokai

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 4.6 (12 votes)
Tokai: ATE-33
0

Price paid: € 285

Purchased from: Musamaailma, music shop in Helsinki, Finland

Sound — 9
I play mostly rhythm back-up but some lead stuff as well, basic pop/rock and stuff on the charts, from Madonna to Green Day to Beatles to Bee Gees. The bridge single-coil pick-up gives you the most basic electric guitar sound, you can't really complain, especially for rhythm work. It's a bit noisy as all single-coils when you crank the volume up, and if you have a loud solid state amp, of course it's bright, it's a tele. I play it through a Fender Frontman 212R and a Peavey Classic 30. I can really get some nice Beatles tones with the Peavey. With the warmness of the tubes and a Proco Rat 2 pedal I feel I can also confidently take on Smells like teen spirit or other grungy stuff. The covered neck pick-up is less useful for all-purpose playing, it's more of a smooth country twang tone. I'd give it a 9 because of the neck pick-up, but then again it's a tele so the neck pick-up is part of the package isn't it...

Overall Impression — 9
I think it's a pretty good all-around, or if you want that bright twangy tele tone for country. The bridge has been a pain the ass but besides that, the guitar seems first-class to me, all sound, fit and reliability.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Being a really cheap guitar, I didn't expect much but I have had zero problems with it. I have occasionally gave it the violent treatment, have gigged with it, used force with the knobs, and nothing, it's as good as new. The frets have been way less worn down by the strings than e.g. in my Epiphone Les Paul. Also, the knobs broke loose from the sockets way sooner in that guitar, and they're still in prime condition in this tele. Strap never broke off, etc. Would gig and am gigging without a backup. What could go wrong?

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The set-up was just as it should be: low action, no string buzzing, perfect intonation, microphones at a suitable height, etc. The only problem has been the bridge. Being a tele-style bridge, it has two screws per string holding the string up. For some reason, the screws are always loose, on both E strings, sometimes on G and B as well. I've tried changing the screws as well. With frantic strumming or more violent playing, the screws undo themselves and the strings lower themselves until they buzz against the frets and sound too loud with the microphone. IT'S REALLY IRRITATING!! Also, the bridge's little metal reeds that hold the strings up sometimes touch each other lightly and start buzzing, ie. they aren't tightly together nor separate so when you play the strings they buzz against each other. Also pretty annoying, makes me want to put a piece of cotton or something between the string holders. There's also some small hints in the guitar that it's cheap. The pick guard shaping has been screwed, I wonder if it was shaped by hand? But, besides the crappy bridge, there's really nothing that was wrong in the guitar that would affect playing or sound.

Features — 8
Was probably made somewhere in Asia 2005-2007, basic Telecaster copy with a tele bridge, covered neck single coil and open bridge single coil. Only two knobs, overall vol and tone, but I guess that's all teles. It's a telecaster, nothing more or less.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    L2112Lif
    The only problem has been the bridge. Being a tele-style bridge, it has two screws per string holding the string up. For some reason, the screws are always loose, on both E strings, sometimes on G and B as well. I've tried changing the screws as well. With frantic strumming or more violent playing, the screws undo themselves and the strings lower themselves until they buzz against the frets and sound too loud with the microphone. IT'S REALLY IRRITATING!!
    Thats actually a fairly big problem, if you were to gig with it... Trust me, I can't STAND when a guitar goes out of tune during a performance, I'd probably fling the thing into the audience if it did THAT...
    Fender Dane.
    I agree with above post. It's a pretty major problem but I wouldn't fling the thing into the audience but I would fling it at the person who sold it to me fairly quickly.
    Skwisgaar S
    That thing looks like a cheaper, nastier telecaster which really takes some doing
    Ghefly
    You're probably better off getting the Squier Classic Vibe telecaster.
    castintheTele
    In all honesty, just save up 200 extra dollars and buy a MIM Tele. I have an '07 ash bodied Mim tele and its amazing, its built astonishingly well considering that I only paid 400$ for it.
    acade365
    castintheTele wrote: In all honesty, just save up 200 extra dollars and buy a MIM Tele. I have an '07 ash bodied Mim tele and its amazing, its built astonishingly well considering that I only paid 400$ for it.
    MIM's quality control sucks: some are great and some are horribly fretted, badly intonated, etc. It's pretty hit or miss. I'd recommend the Classic Vibe Custom by Squier; doesn't hace the Fender name on the headstock, but it's cheap and it sound GREAT.
    sg4ever
    acade365 wrote: castintheTele wrote: In all honesty, just save up 200 extra dollars and buy a MIM Tele. I have an '07 ash bodied Mim tele and its amazing, its built astonishingly well considering that I only paid 400$ for it. MIM's quality control sucks: some are great and some are horribly fretted, badly intonated, etc. It's pretty hit or miss. I'd recommend the Classic Vibe Custom by Squier; doesn't hace the Fender name on the headstock, but it's cheap and it sound GREAT.
    Quality control IS bad. I know one guy I had to borrow an MIM tele from for a gig. It played and sounded great. Another friend of mine has an MIM tele as well. It has a dead fret high up on the neck(he has neglected to fix it because he doesn't play lead) and the neck is so cumbersome and not at all fast or comfortable like other teles I've tried.
    castintheTele
    I'm not sure you guys are painting a picture about mim Teles thats complety accurate, they definatly have quality control problems with the mim Teles and Strats, but American Fender and Gibsons have qc issues also. If you just put some effort into finding a good one,( as I did) you'll be fine.
    Seref
    Quality control problems disappear when you do what you're supposed to do and try the guitar that you would buy. If you play the floor model and it's perfect, buy the floor model. If you don't want to buy the floor model, ask to try a new one and go through them till you find a good one. If they know you're serious about spending money the store will let you try the backroom guitars until you find the right one.
    paukkumaissi70
    L2112Lif wrote: Thats actually a fairly big problem, if you were to gig with it... Trust me, I can't STAND when a guitar goes out of tune during a performance, I'd probably fling the thing into the audience if it did THAT...
    Well, you know, it goes out of tune just when the bridge varies. If I play and strum aggressively over a song, I just screw the bridge back after the song - and the strings are back in tune, no need to re-tune. The tuning that way is excellent. It pretty much always stays in tune, the only time I have to re-tune is when I accidentally twist the knobs.