I have been playing for 5 years and own 5 guitars. Telecasters suit my needs perfectly and this Monterey offering is the best value for money, period. With a pickup change I would say it is easily the equal of a mexican Fender, perhaps better when you consider the superior cosmetic features it has (like binding etc). The only complaint I have about it is the horrible fret buzz all over the neck. I really do not want to go through the hassle of getting a fret level but it seems with this guitar it is an absolute necessity. If it were stolen I would buy it again, this is "my guitar".