At the moment I’m on a search for a nice cheap spare guitar, something that can get battered in the back of a van, fall off stage and be used as a weapon on drunken hecklers. y’know a good all rounder.
While my Kotzen Tele continues to be the only guitar I use live. I’m not enjoying bringing along a £1000+ of Les Paul as a spare. To be frank, its been scaring the shit out of me.
So in my usual saturday morning hangover time wander around the shops, I stumbled upon one of the new Squier Tele’s. These are now made in commerce friendly but very politically dubious Indonesia, a country not known for its electric guitar building. However the build quality is a real eye opener. I was expecting it to be as shocking as their human rights record. Boy was I wrong.
The modernish “C” shaped neck felt pretty good, as good as anything Fenders Mexican plant has churned out recently. Hardware is pretty basic, but good for the price. Electronics are 2 Duncan Designed P90′s with dual volumes and tone controls.
The biggest suprise is the tone,the P90 type pickups were fruity and full, not the usual cheapo guitar pickups. Much as I love the PRS SE range I know I’d have to gut the electronics in order to make it work onstage. Not so here, think Townsend at Woodstock and your almost there, I got some great rasping chords and chiming arpeggio’s but the single coils also gave me some nice modern filthy riffs on the shops Marshall JCM with equal aplomb. Clean or dirty this felt like a £500 guitar and retailing at around £220 ish thats pretty impressive.
My verdict…………… its a great sounding and playing guitar. I almost got my wallet out save for one or two tiny issues…….
1)The weight! It was like having Beth Ditto after a good feed bouncing up and down on my knee for 20 minutes, even with a guitar strap on it was as heavy as a Les Paul if not heavier. My Kotzen Tele is mediumweight for a Tele, but this is a real bruiser of a guitar.
The wood used is supposedly Agathis a locally sourced wood Fender have used before on their De Armond range of cheap guitars a few years ago. Its supposed to be tonally a bit like Mahogany, but felt more like Limestone…..Ouch. I wondered if the nice indonesians were making guitars out of all the surplus weapons of torture and oppression the British government had sold them???? (political swipe there kids)
My recomendation is yes buy this guitar but join a Gym first or have a Chiropractor on standby. You’ll be singing the blues alright when you pop your back at the Dog & Duck on a friday. My second issue is…
2) if your an ethical consumer into fairtrade coffee and banana’s and I always see sensitive indie kids doing that kinda thing, maybe subscribe to Amnesty International and have a long think about how this great playing and sounding guitar only cost £200???