Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster – Unrivaled Value
Welcome back everyone. It’s been a while since my last review.
Today, I’m looking at a Squire Classic Vibe Telecaster. This guitar was purchased not too long ago and I think I’m about ready to give you my opinion on it. I want to say right up front that this review is going to be a description only, there will be no playing in this video. So if you’re looking for samples of the tone, you’re gonna have to wait for my follow-up video or click on another video.
Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster – Why Spend More?
Right now, I’m going to give you some insight on why I think this guitar is one of the best deals out there currently. I purchased this guitar a little while ago when I was in the market for a Telecaster. I haven’t owned a Telecaster before, so I thought that before I go out and spend $2,000 for an American-made reissue, I’d look around to see what my what my options were. So, I stumbled on the Squire Classic Vibe Series, and at about under $400, I thought that it looked quite interesting. The price was right for me, so I started playing the guitar in the store and I tried to find some issues with it that would, you know, make me change my mind and buy something else. But I couldn’t find anything wrong with this guitar. Honestly, at that price point, and I look pretty hard. I did not find any issues, so I bought it It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve owned this guitar. I’ve had an opportunity to play it live with a band situation and at home to really get a feel for it. I mean you don’t really understand what the advantage or disadvantages are right away until you actually get a chance to bond with the guitar for a while. So I think I’m ready to give you my opinion on this guitar and I’d like to start going over the details on this guitar and break it down for you.
So, the Squire line, for you for those of you who don’t already know, Squire is the low end of Fender guitars, the budget line that’s made overseas. This particular guitar is made in China and they have other lines like the Affinity line of Squire that is even lower than this one here and I think those are made in Indonesia. In any case, a lot of people are hesitant to buy anything made in China these days and there’s good reason for that. I’ve heard quite a lot of horror stories in terms of what you get quality-wise, although what I’ve learned over the last little while is that there’s quite a varying degree of, you know, quality of products coming out of China. If you take Apple for example, their iPads and iPods are all made in China, and they’re probably considered some of the best put together devices out there right now. So, it all depends on where they’re being manufactured and you know what the specs are and what the actual manufacturer the people having them manufactured want out of the product, because they’re capable of doing some quite amazing things if, you know, if they’re asked to do so.
So getting back to this guitar. I wanted a Telecaster and I didn’t want to spend too much money. I stumbled across this particular guitar and I really liked it. I played it in the store for a while it sounded great. It had a great butterscotch finish that I really, really like. I love this, you know, Keith Richards style look of the guitar and so it caught my eye and after playing it for a while, you know, I really, really liked it.
So let me go over it for you really quickly. The body on this guitar is, is not a one ply body. It’s actually a few pieces of wood put together and one way you can really tell is by looking at the butt end of the guitar. It’s easier to see. I don’t know if you can spot that or not. You can make out the different sections in the wood when you’re looking at it from the front or from the back, depending on whether or not the guitar has grain or not. You might not be able to see the glue joints. They’re harder to see if they’re, if it’s well matched, but you can make them out if you pay attention. This one here is quite nicely matched and because of the grain, it actually hides the glue joints, which is good. You know that’s what I like. I don’t like this mismatched wood of any kind because you can see the grain. I really like the fact that the grain is visible through the wood because I like to be able to see what kind of wood I’m getting. You know, like if you don’t see the if the grain, if the guitar is painted over, they can put whatever they want under there and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the best quality wood. So in this case, the fact that I can see what I’m getting leads me to believe that, you know, it’s well put together.
So, the guitar is finished in polyurethane. It’s not a nitrocellulose finish like in some higher-end guitars. A lot of guitars these days are finished in poly. There are some people that claim to think, or would like to think, that nitrocellulose is a better option and I mean it all depends what you’re looking for. There are some advantages and disadvantages. The advantages to nitrocellulose is that it’s thinner and a lot of people believe that because it’s thinner it makes the wood more resonant and makes the wood breath, and there’s all kinds of theories out there as to why nitrocellulose would be better. The disadvantages with nitrocellulose is that it’s very thin. It could scratch and nick a lot easier, to even wear off if you rub the finish for a while. It’ll eventually wear off and it will also crack if you expose your guitar to sudden changes in temperature whereas polyurethane doesn’t do that. Polyurethane is very resilient. It will chip if you hit it hard enough, but it’s easier to maintain and it’s also a little bit harder to scratch. So there’s disadvantages and advantages to both. I have no problem with the polyurethane on this lower end guitar and to me, I mean, it’s all a question of what you’re using the guitar for. If you’re going to be using a guitar and you want to take it with you as a, you know, kick around guitar, for me the polyurethane will work just fine because it’s a little bit more resistant. That being said, so the finish on the guitar is flawless. There’s no defects at all, no little, you know, blotches or imperfections that I can see on this particular guitar body.
The neck is where I like to pay most of my attention when I’m when I’m buying a guitar. I look at the to see exactly how the neck is put together and if there’s any space within the neck joint between the neck and the body, and there’s absolutely no space in here. I’d be hard-pressed to slip a piece of paper in there. I don’t think it would even fit. So the neck joint is perfect. There’s no gaps and I’ve seen some terribly routed out guitar bodies in my time that are, have almost like, I know, a sixteenth of an inch on both sides and you don’t really, you really don’t want that. None of those issues on this guitar.
Classic Vibe – Great Quality Guitars on a Shoestring Budget
The body itself is has a string-through body design as any typical Telecaster will have. The hardware on this guitar is quite solid the plated pieces, the tone knobs, and the covers, and the bridge saddle here are all made of a very good quality metal. They’re pretty thick. I mean to me, this is thicker than a reissue saddle. It is also, it also seems to me to be made in a different way because you don’t get the rough corners that seem to be made out of bent metal on the reissues. This one is very smooth. There are no little creases. It actually seems to me to be better quality metal on this. The bridge itself is something where people have different opinions. The saddles on this particular bridge have, they’re basically made out of vintage style brass saddles and there’s only three. Some people like to have a saddle for every string because they think that it’ll allow them to intonate the strings better and have better accuracy on each string. The three saddle design, which is more of a vintage thing, you’re basically compensating the intonation on two strings at the same time so you might not have as much flexibility if you need it. Out of the box, this guitar didn’t need that much setup and I did intonate and it wasn’t an issue at all for me. So I like the vintage style saddles. I like that vintage look, but some of you might disagree with me. That’s fine for me. Just to let you know, I didn’t have any problems with the saddles.
Moving on from the saddles. The tone and the volume knob are also solid feeling. They don’t have any kind of wobble or shake. They have a resistant feel to them so when you turn them, they’re not like, really loose, like you couldn’t spin them around. They actually have quite a bit of resistance to it and that makes it feel quite solid in your hands. The same goes for the three position switch, very solid and no issues there whatsoever.
The pickups on this guitar are all Anilco fives and I thought that I might have to swap them out. That was just a misconception in my opinion because I automatically associated, you know, a Chinese guitar to poor quality pickups. But to be honest with you, after playing it for a while, I have no real need to swap them out. They sound really good and I think I’m just gonna keep them in for now. I don’t have any issues they sound pretty good. They’re not microphonic at all. To me, they sound just as good as, you know, some of the American Standard Telecasters.
Moving on the pickguard. On this guitar is a one ply pickguard. It’s got a chamfered edge around it so it’s not a rounded edge as you would find in an American Reissue. It’s just has an angle chamfer to it. The thing that impressed me about this particular pickguard is how thick it is. It’s actually probably over an eighthof an inch easily, probably more than that and it seems very solid. I don’t think I’ll have any issues with this picguard. It’ll probably outlive the guitar for how thick it is. Again, it seems very solid.
Moving on. The neck on this guitar is a maple neck. It’s not highly figured. There’s no real birdseye figure in it. It’s just a good quality piece of maple. The frets on it are medium jumbo frets, so you’re gonna have frets that are a little bit thicker than on a Reissue. I think the reissues, the vintage style frets are a lot thinner. I like the medium jumbo size. It feels quite comfortable. I didn’t have to adjust the neck at all really out of the box and all I did was lower the height of the strings a little bit and there’s no buzzing on the neck, which you know, is a pleasant surprise. The other thing I like to look at is how well the frets are finished on the outside and inside edge, and usually when you run your fingers over the frets, you don’t want to have any sharp metal pieces, you know, protruding out of the frets and I don’t have anything like that. It’s very well done, no issues at all. The markers are just typical black inlays and one of the things I got to mention on this guitar, because it is polyurethane, that some people feel that the neck is a little sticky because of the polyurethane. I don’t really feel that’s a big issue. Um, it seems to me to be just, as you know, slippery as you would get on a Reissue. I don’t really see a lot of a lot of difference there. The key, I guess, would be to keep it clean and keep it free of any kind of buildup of residue when you’re playing. Other than that, I don’t see a big issue. The one thing I did want to mention about this particular neck is that it’s a lot thinner than an American Reissue front-to-back. It’s thinner, okay? So the American reissue will be fatter and this is a lot more thin. I like that for me. I actually like both. I like the thin and the thick neck for different reasons. For me, this one’s a lot easier to play because it is thin. But I do like to have a beefier neck from time to time. So I’m kind of wavering between the two. But in terms of play-ability, the strings are well spaced, out even for my bigger hands. They don’t seem to cause a problem when cording, very easily accessible to all the strings. The nut was cut quite well and I didn’t have to refile the nut at all. The slots were not overly cut or cut too deep. Everything seems quite well done in that area and the tuners are vintage style tuners that you would find on most Fender guitars. They work quite well and they don’t have any issues with slippage at all.
So overall, what else can I say about this guitar other than it’s a great value and I would not hesitate at all to pick one up in your local store. If you have, you know, an idea of trying out a Telecaster and you’re not sure if you should drop a lot of money on the purchase, I would strongly recommend you try one of these. You will not be disappointed at that price point. As I mentioned at the beginning, you really can go wrong very good quality guitar for the money. I did want to mention though that I did look at the rosewood version of the Classic Vibe Telecaster with the darker sunburst body and the binding, sort of the Andy Summers style version of this line. I really like that look in the guitar, so I wanted to maybe get one of those as well, and I found that I didn’t like the neck as much for some reason. It’s not the same profile and I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to like that particular one, but I prefer the neck on this one much better. To me, a Telecaster is, you know, fits between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul and you can get some really nice beefy tones out of it. I don’t think you’re limited in any way. Some people think they are because there’s one less pickup than a Stratocaster. But really, if you like that chunky meaty tone, you can really get it easily out of this Telecaster. So don’t hesitate. Try it out and you might be pleasantly surprised, and who knows, you might save yourself a ton of money and consider that you might not actually need the full-blown Reissue from Fender or maybe you can at least work your way up to it eventually.
So that’s it for my review for now. I’ll follow it up with some sound clips and, you know, I’d like to eventually do a side-by-side comparison with this guitar and my American Reissue Telecaster. And who knows, if I get some extra time, I might actually do sound samples of both side by side and you can judge for yourself whether or not there’s all that much difference between the tone of this one and the other one which cost about four times as much.
So thank you for listening to this review. I appreciate any of your feedback good or bad. Drop me some, some comments if you want to. Ask any questions. I’d be happy to answer them and I look forward to my next review.
Thank you very much.
Classic Vibe – Great Sound, Reliability, and Playability
Alright, alright, alright. Time for yet another gear review. It’s been a little while since I did a review. I haven’t gotten any new pieces of equipment recently, but I finally picked up a new, a new git fiddle, so I thought it’s time to get back on the horse and show you guys.
So what do we have here? We have a Telecaster. Obviously, but alas, this is not a Fender. Well, it is a Fender Squier by Fender. This is a beautiful Squire Classic Vibe 50s Tele. Now, the word’s out on the street on how amazing these guitars are, and I got a taste of it with my brothers Squire Classic Vibe 50s Strat which I featured on the channel about a year, maybe maybe two years ago. Now, I did a Strat comparison between a high-end American Strat and a low end Squire and I think it was a J Turser. The other guitar that I did in that video. But I really loved that Classic Vibe Strat that my brother has and I figured, you know what, let me give it a shot on the Tele here. Now, I’m in love with 52 Telles, the old-school original design, but I can’t afford one. Who can? You know? So when I saw Squire was making these, I was just like, you know what? I think I’m gonna give a shot, and I’m, I’m sure glad I did.
Loaded with the Features You Want in a Great Guitar
So let’s take a look at the features. We have a pine body finished in a beautiful butterscotch finish. If you know anything about Fender, you know some of the early Teles and the early guitars were made out of pine which is hence, the classic vibe. They’re kind of an homage to the classic feel. We have a beautiful maple neck finished in kind of a vintage amber to kind of go along with the body. A beautiful black guard, which I love. That a classic look of a black guard Tele. Up at the headstock over here, we have Squire written in gold with the standard Telecaster head shade and it says Squire by Fender. It features the old-school kind of tuning keys where you kind of cut the string off and you stick it in the hole there and then and you string it up and it locks it in place. I love these. A lot of people don’t love them. I don’t know why. It’s just as good as any locking tuner. This thing stays in tune really great. Again, maple neck with a c-shaped profile and this is where it kind of differentiates from the vintage guitars. The frets are medium jumbo, so it’s like a classic vibe with some modern appointments, which I really like. So the medium jumbo frets makes it easier to set up with a better action and better for bending. You’re not worried about fretin’out. Now back down here at the bottom, we feature two alnico five Telecaster pickups that sound great. A little bit higher output, especially in that bridge pickup. A vintage ashtray style Telecaster bridge with three brass saddles. One of things I really like about the brass saddles on this one is the saddles all have little grooves, so the strings kind of sit in the groove so they’re not kind of sliding around like some of the old vintage ones. So they stay in position a little better. Standard Telecaster controls – master volume, tone 3-way switch. That’s it. This is just a beautiful Telecaster and I’m gonna show you the back here. Also, a skunk stripe on the neck. They’re just really beautiful, beautiful, beautifully done. The pine body just looks awesome. It really has the vintage vibe. There’s nothing I can say bad about this guitar.
Now, don’t let that name on the headstock fool you. You know a lot of people are real, I don’t know, particular about playing gear that has a better name on the headstock and they would think, “Oh, Squire. I’m not gonna play a Squire. That’s like a that’s like a beginners student guitar. Well yes, some of the Squires are beginner student guitars, but Squire has been knocking it out of the park lately with some of their guitars and really giving their Big Brother Fender a run for their money. This is far from a student beginner guitar. This is a professional quality guitar in every way shape and form. Yes, some of the components, the pickups and, you know, maybe the pots and stuff aren’t as great, but those are such easy fixes. Now this was made in China. I believe some of the other ones are made in Indonesia, but this is a Chinese made, you know, and I gotta say, this is just a beautiful instrument. Now, when it came to me, I gotta tell you that the setup wasn’t great. Now I didn’t expect it to be. In fact, I’ve had to set up, you know, $2,000 guitars. You have to do that. You know they’re sitting warehouses and the necks swell and the wood changes and all that. So that’s not in no way, a slight on the quality of this instrument. And I had to put my own strings on it. It came with real slinky, you know, like nines, which I don’t like. I play with tens. But other than that, it’s just really great. I paid three hundred and fifty dollars for this guitar; just shocking, shocking that you can get that much guitar for 350 bucks.
So I’m gonna play a little bit more. As you can hear, I had my amp set pretty clean and I’m gonna strum some chords, let you hear the characteristics of the pickups in each position. I’ll play a little bit of lead stuff, nothing too big, and then I’ll kick in an overdrive pedal and let you hear how this thing can rock. So here we go. I’m gonna start on that bridge. Real shiny Telecaster tone. Now, I’m not a country player, but you can totally get that country sound. Really great Tele twang is there, but this pickups’ got a little bite to it, you know. You can hear, out of my amp, pretty clean, but when I dug into it, it’s got a little, it’s got that little bit of crunch, which is really nice. Now here’s bridge and neck pickup. Really nice sound. Great sound, really great sound. Very useful. Now here we go. Here’s their neck pickup. Really beautiful. So, those, that’s the kind of clean sounds. You can get really great sounds out of these pickups. I’m really shocked with how great they sound, and again, you know I might eventually change them. But as is, it’s really a great sound. All I had to do was turn the bass up just a little bit on my amp and it still gets that nice warmer sound. They’re not too shrill. They’re not like really cheap pickups. I mean they’re pretty good. From what I understand, I believe these are Tone Riders, just rebranded Tone Rider pickups. You can correct me if I’m wrong down there. And if I’m wrong, please do. I’ll be happy to know if I am, but I know they’re alnico fives and they sound great. I mean really great. Now I’m gonna give you a little bit of spank, turn up an overdrive pedal here. It’s not really a lot of overdrive, just a little bit so you can kind of hear what they sound like. Like anything, when you clean the single coil pickups, you turn on the overdrive, you get a little humm. So, if you’re gonna play you know harder stuff, you might want a noise gate or something like that. Not that I would play, you know hard rock, with a Tele, but you know, some people do. So just to let you know. So here’s a little more classic rock sound. So you can see, there’s that bridge pickup. So you can see, you can see, it’ll rock. And here’s both pickups on right there. I love this guitar. I’m just shocked at the value you can get for 350 bucks. This guitar is awesome. I would take this to a gig tomorrow and have no problem. I know it would do the job that I wanted to do.
So there you go man. If you, if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, but you want a really great Fender style guitar, take a look at the Classic Vibe Series. You can also look at the Vintage Modifieds, which are really great, but the Classic Vibes, that’s kind of the top tier for Squire, and man, they’re awesome. It’s just really amazing what they’re putting out. I would put this up against any, any Fender, especially, you know, the, you know, any made in Mexico or anything like that. I would put this right up against it, and think man, sounds just as good. It feels great, neck is amazing, weight is great. I mean, it’s just a killer guitar.
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We’ll see you soon.