04-03-2013 08:35 PM - edited 04-03-2013 08:43 PM
This arrived about 9 days ago. I wanted to spend a little time before making any reactions or public declarations.
This is a Squier Classic Vibe Custom telecaster, which differs from the original CV 50s teles in a few ways, most obviously the binding and rosewood, but it also has a notably slimmer, quicker neck and ostensibly brighter (I haven't A/B'd them) alnico 5 pickups.
Ordinarily these come in sunburst with white binding, but there was a limited run of them as black with white trim and white with black trim. Last I checked these weren't available on the big box sites like musician's friend, in fact, the only online retailer I've seen them at was sweetwater, who had 3 or 4. As of this writing they have one left. If you want a black one, here's your chance.
Anyway, this was my first time ordering from Sweetwater. They have an aggressive customer service style, where they will actively seek you out to talk to you about your order. I'm somewhat indifferent on this, but if I had a problem or question it'd probably be really nice.
Sweetwater boasts a "55 point inspection" process, whereby (they claim) their people will examine and set up the guitar before it ships. I like the idea of this, but in my case the guitar wasn't much better set up than it would be if I ordered from MF. No big deal, I can do basic setup work myself. Just thought I'd mention it.
Onto the guitar itself.
It has a painted black headstock.
I either own or have owned a variety of Fender MIM guitars since 2008, including two teles and two strats. In terms of overall build quality, I'd put this on that level. That is to say -- Really good. No slop anywhere, neck joint is pristine, everything looks really neat. Honestly, you could be forgiven for thinking this is the same level of construction as four digit instruments. I'd say the same about the late model MIMs, too. Great guitars just don't seem to cost that much to manufacture anymore.
After setting it up a bit and lowering the action to my liking (I was able to get it rather low without any fretting out problems and without serious buzz, there are no real fret issues out of the box, which is nice) My ultra-first, ultra-early impressions of it were that my hand felt a bit cramped because the neck is so slim. It took a while before I acclimated to the neck and settled in a bit. After that point, though, I think this is probably the fastest neck I've ever seen on a telecaster in my life. I'm not married to the idea of slim necks or fat necks, it's honestly a case by case thing for me. In this case, it almost reminds me of playing my old Hamer Mirage neck back in the day, because that, too, was a slim, fast, rosewood neck that very nearly played itself if you hovered your fingers over it. While your hand may feel a bit cramped if you're used to a bigger neck, if you learn to just relax a bit and unclench, you'll discover that the neck requires little effort to play. This isn't a big chunk of neck that you just grab and slam around like a baja tele. This is a really slim neck that you daintily work with your very relaxed fingers. You may like that or dislike it, but that's my assessment of it.
volume/tone pots are very smooth and firm, meaning, it takes some effort to turn them. This "feels" like quality but if you like doing volume swells you may want to spend some time in the weight room first.
Regarding the sound of the pickups, they seem a little brighter than a stock MIM tele, but not as bright as I feared. I'm still working out whether I want to experiment with pickups or not. I am likely to, eventually. I really liked the A3 rockwinds from bgpups and I may get more of those. That said, these are very useable. I can't find a problem here.
Overall, you've got a guitar with seriously impeccable construction, a fast neck, and good sounding pickups for about four bills. I've heard people say these are "almost as good as fender MIMs" and so forth, but, honestly, I can't figure out what makes them worse. These and mims both have excellent construction and good pickups. There's no quantifiable way to say one is better than the other, from what I can tell, unless you consider the logo on the headstock as a flaw, which is fair enough. I like that Fender logo too.
I did have ONE little annoying issue, but it's small enough that I don't really count it as a strike against the guitar. The input jack basically fell apart, because, from what I can tell, the retainer claw inside was installed just slightly out of position, meaning there just wasn't enoguh slack for the nut to screw onto and for the life of me I couldn't get this thing back together. I ultimately gave up trying to thread this thing back on and put the top piece aside and bolted the input in without it. Functional, and maybe I'll fix it once I start caring and/or figure out how.
And there you have it.
P.S. Anyone know where I can get a pickguard that'll drop directly onto this without modification? In particular, one that has a humbucker route?
04-03-2013 08:45 PM - edited 04-03-2013 08:46 PM
A new jack is cheap.
That's true. But installing the retaining piece in a new position is the problem. It's really, really hard. I saw a special tool that makes it apparently easy, but it costs $18.
04-04-2013 04:35 AM - edited 04-04-2013 04:36 AM
Looking at all of them, most of them are about 8 pounds, give or take an ounce or two. Sweetwater weighs every guitar (you pick which serial number you want, complete iwth photos of the exact guitar, that's the nice thing about SW). The lightest CVC I've seen was 7 pounds 12 ounces, the heaviest was 8 pounds 5 ounces. Mine is 7 pounds 13 ounces. I factored that into choosing which one I wanted.
04-04-2013 07:55 AM
Nice looking tele, congrats! Good review, too.
04-08-2013 09:37 AM
04-08-2013 11:17 AM
04-08-2013 03:51 PM - edited 04-08-2013 04:57 PM
electrosocket is the way to go.
My 52RI came from the factory with a broken jack, its a design flaw-leos only brain fart.
drilling 2 holes is easy and reversable, the trad cup covers the holes if you dont want the much better electrosocket design.
the bit is 1/8"-same size hole as the pickguard screws. juts drill not even 1/4"
put the electro on first, then mark where the holes are with a pen, and drill. Literally takes 2 minutes.
04-09-2013 01:13 AM
04-09-2013 03:15 AM
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