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Fender Telecaster Review.

posted Sep 18, 2014 14:14:08 by RonKelly
I have had my Telecaster for about a week now and I wanted to play it for a bit before I reviewed it.

Firstly to the case. The logo on the case is a bit crappy, a bit of wear and it'll be off. Some of the lining was not glued properly (an easy fix). The latches all fit properly but the outside lining isn't quite straight.

Overall, it does the job but you could buy a genuine case for not much more.

On to the guitar. Overall I am very impressed. It sounds great and is really easy to play. It looks great and arrived without any flaws in the paintwork or wood. The logo looks fine to me but do Tele's have only one string tensioner? Action required very little adjustment although I noticed that the top E was quite low on volume so I had top adjust the pickup to compensate and that seems to work well. All knobs work well although I thought that volume up and treble (brightness) up would've went the same direction however they are opposite.
I am impressed with the fit of the scratch plate. I've seen some shoddy fitting ones but mine is great, as good as any Tele I've seen.

Overall I really like this guitar, it looks well and sounds great. (I might do a sound video at some stage.)

Final thoughts, I recommend the guitar but give the case a miss!














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16 replies
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MichaelWamback said Sep 19, 2014 16:02:36
String trees, not "tensioners". Leo Fender built what is arguably the worst guitars in the history of man, from a technical point of view. Most guitars have a head that is at an angle to the neck. This causes the string to pull downward on the nut, seating them so that the instrument will play properly. Fender couldn't be bothered to figure that out, so he cut a straight neck and headstock, using the little string trees to change the angle of the longer strings to that they would seat in the nut.

I've seen some Fenders with one, and some with two. Doesn't really matter.

Glad the guitar turned out well.

The only real reason to buy a case from these guys is to help further protect the guitar during shipping. Otherwise, there are a large selection of good affordable cases on the market.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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HtesJoseph said Sep 19, 2014 16:14:24
Is anyone offering the tele's with " string thru" ? I see some with pics of string thru but I think those sellers just pull pics of reAl tele's
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AndrewWolczyk said Sep 19, 2014 17:19:06
This one appears to be string through. If you look at the third last pic you can see the strings disappearing in to the body. I prefer my top loader to tell you the truth. Makes for easier stringing. Fender made both, although most load through the back.
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AndrewWolczyk said Sep 19, 2014 17:19:33
THe only thing that appears really off on this one is the jack plate. Fender uses a round cup that fits in the hole and is held in place by a tensioner, but a common complaint is that that part tends to fail.
[Last edited Sep 19, 2014 17:23:19]
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GrandSpector said Sep 19, 2014 17:55:31
Mine is also string through, came from the Dylan Store.

And yes, the cases are usually crap. I don't even think they do much in terms of protection during shipment.
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drew said Sep 20, 2014 02:53:00
All knobs work well although I thought that volume up and treble (brightness) up would've went the same direction however they are opposite.

That's weird - did they only have one reverse audio taper pot on hand when they built this guitar or something?
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MichaelWamback said Sep 21, 2014 04:48:40
I wouldn't loose too much sleep over the pots. All of the pots that ship with these are pretty much garbage (even though they have improved a bit from years past.) I would always rip out the crap in a Chibson and do a proper rewire. Good quality Bourns or CTS pots, nice old fashion push back wire and vintage braid. You will have a rig that won't let you down for years and years, not one where the pot will fail at the worst possible time.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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RonKelly said Sep 21, 2014 18:11:50
String trees, thanks for that. Yes I intend to replace the electrics at some stage.
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MichaelWamback said Sep 25, 2014 15:48:45
I would strongly recommend getting a 4-way Oaks Grigsby switch when yo do the upgrade and mod the guitar with it. I think this mod should almost be standard on Telecasters. Basically, switching from all the way back toward the neck - positions 1/2/3 are your original Tele tones of bridge/bridge+neck/neck - but the 4th switch position all the way forward reverses the polarity of the neck pickup. This means you can flip it between series and parallel. The new tone is a bit louder in volume and has a much fatter bottom than you usually get out of a Telecaster. Think of a "George Harrison" type of tone.

You can find lots of wiring diagrams for this mod on the net.

The only modification you have to make is to the neck pickup. If you look at it, the black wire (ground) is soldered to the pickup, and then jumps over to ground the metal pickup cover. You basically have to unsolder or cut off that jumper and solder a dedicated ground wire to the tab of the pickup cover. The reason for this is that when you switch to the new position, the ground wire becomes the hot wire, and your bridge cover would no longer be grounded - introducing noise into the circuit. But it's a really easy mod that only takes a couple of seconds to perform.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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RonKelly said Sep 25, 2014 19:47:18
Thanks for that. I've ordered a 4 way Oaks Grigsby and a set of '72 vintage pots. Any recommendations as to what pickups I should be looking at?

Cheers, Ron.
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MichaelWamback said Sep 26, 2014 15:47:14
I don't work on a lot of Teles, and had a set of Sheptone that someone gave me for mine. Pickups have so much to do with personal taste. What is your budget?
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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MichaelWamback said Sep 26, 2014 15:49:04
I would recommend a Sprague Orange Drop .047 capacitor though. Really decent cap, small enough to easily fit in a Strat and really affordable. You can pick one up on Ebay for under $3.
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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NickintheStates said Sep 26, 2014 19:27:23
For me I love the twisted tele neck pickup and texas special in the bridge from fender. I do have a parts tele though with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders in it... it's mean as hell and still very much a tele. Just a tele that might be suspended from the major sports for failing a drug test.
My kids don't need closet space... or space under their beds... that's where guitars live!
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RonKelly said Sep 28, 2014 16:31:12
I ended up getting a Mudcat bridge pickup from Leosounds and a Fender N3 noiseless neck pickup. I paid £45 for the Mudcat and £35 for the N3, both include postage. Seemed to be both good enough value.

I listened to the Mudcat sound clips on the Leosounds website and it sounds great. I bought the N3 as a result of internet searches and reviews.

That'll be all electrics replaced except for the jack input which I don't really see the need unless someone knows better?

I'll have a look at the capacitor, thanks for that.

Ron.
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MichaelWamback said Sep 29, 2014 04:28:34
There really is usually no need to replace the jacks. If you look at them, it's such a basic design that there isn't really all that much that can go wrong with them.

The biggest issues in the Chinese Teles and Strats are normally the pots and switch. They will work well enough, but the quality is dubious and a lot of them will fail fairly quickly. It's better to have quality components

I should also warn you that you existing switch tip might not fit your Oaks Grigsby switch. The USA Teles and the Asian Teles have different thickness of the switch. So you may need a new knob, unless your switch came with one.

It's also possible you may have to switch up your switch plate in the Tele also for a USA spec plate. The overall plate dimensions tend to be the same, but the shafts on CTS or Bourns may be thicker than what came with your guitar. Good to test fit - and worst case you can get a US spec switch plate off Ebay for only a couple of dollars. (If the holes are too small, you may also be able to ream them out big enough with a step reamer from an auto store and a hand drill.)
The two most important things to remember in life: "The only time it's acceptable to work with amateurs is if you are making porn." "If you want to work with clowns, join a circus."
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