I love to play music, well more accurately in the past, I used to love to play music. Over the last 20 years I’ve been a gigging bass player in an avant garde D&B/Dub/Psycho rock band (needless ro say that in spite of label interest our sound was always a little too ‘leftfield’ to secure a deal), I’ve been a folksy guitar strummer of the most basic kind and have written countless PC made electronic ramblings and had a hand in several insanely popular but resolutely underground ‘Mash Up’s’.
Over this time I have built up a collection of guitars and basses that rarely, if ever, got played. In the current global economic downturn, time’s are hard, and I got an unnerving shock when I realised how much cold hard cash was tied up in my instruments. A plan was hatched. Sell them. Sell them all. I wanted to be left with just one guitar and one bass so I can still strum and noodle when the mood takes me but to make this cash generating idea work properly, they obviously needed to be cheaper than the ones I have.
A little research constantly turned up one piece of information, Squier guitars had released a line of vintage inspired instruments called the Squier Classic Vibe line, with each model receiving universal praise. I ordered a Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster Custom in sunburst, sight unseen from a web retailer, something I would never recommend anyone doing with an instrument. 24 hours later it was in my hands and I had to blink hard a few times and rub my eyes to believe it. It is beautiful. The sunburst is rich, the lacquer deep and the Alder body has a beautiful grain peeping through from beneath the golden sheen. It had a QC tag proudly hanging from a tuning peg detailing the action measurements, suggesting a factory setup. Surely not on a sub £300 guitar…
In the hand its beautifully balanced with a thin, comfortable fast playing neck, the action is low and free of fret buzz, the intonation perfect. The electrics are hum free, the cavities shielded, the pickups sound smooth, bright and spiky. It had an almost perfect factory setup, plays beatifully and sounds as good as any other Telecaster I’ve played, did I mention it looks beautiful? It tunes easily, and holds tune, regardless of how long or roughly I play. Overall the standard of the fit and finish is very high, the frets are perfect and there’s no rough edges or corner cutting to be seen anywhere.
I love it. Not only is this a great guitar for the price, it’s a great guitar at any price. I’ve had, and played, countless guitars in the past, with the Telecaster being my tool of choice and this really is up there with the best. The neck and sound may not suit everyone but the Squier Classic Vibe line offer 3 different Tele’s, a couple of Strat’s and even a Duo Sonic so even if the Telecaster Custom isn’t for you then there is bound to be a Classic Vibe that is.
In short it’s a fantastic guitar that looks, plays and sounds as good, if not better than it’s more expensive counterparts. It certainly beats the Made In Mexico (MIM) Fender Telecaster that I previously had. Short of buying into the top of the line Fender Custom Shop models it’s hard to see how paying the extra for the Fender branded equivalent model will reap any noticeable rewards. When I first started playing all those years ago, Squier had a cheap and cheerful reputation and I’ve played some truly terrible Squier’s in the past so I didn’t consider the Classic Vibe’s as an option, but those are distant days and incomparable to today’s offerings. If it hadn’t been for the knowledgable folks over at www.tdpri.com I wouldn’t have looked into these guitar’s any further, and I would have missed out in a big way. Give this to any guitarist in a blindfold test and compare it with any sub £1000 Tele and I’d be surprised they picked the Squier out as the ‘cheap’ one. It really is that good. I just wish I could have got my hands on instruments of this quality, at these prices, twenty years ago when I first started playing.
For the full lowdown, check the specs here
Check out the whole of the Classic Vibe line on the official Fender site