Following up on my purchase of a dirt cheap Squier Strat, I finally broke down and bought the guitar I've wanted for a long time: a beautiful butterscotch blond Squier Affinity Telecaster which I picked up at Guitar Center for a mere $169. Hey, I'm a big spender and this was my splurge! For under two bills, this is an amazing guitar.
The Telecaster was the first solid body electric guitar and pionneered the bolt-on neck manufacturing process. It was invented by Leo Fender as a working musician's guitar without a lot of frills. It was originally called the Esquire (with one pickup) then later the Broadcaster and eventually renamed the Telecaster.
As with most Teles, the Squier version is a bare bones, stripped down guitar: two single coil pickups and a simple 3-way switch. It's got a nice Telecaster "honk" sound on the bridge pickup and a very bluesy neck pickup sound for lead guitar. It's got decent tuners and the pickups sound great. Hey, if its good enough for Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer and Albert King, it's good enough for me.
I found this Tele to be more comfortable than either the Epiphone SG 400 or the Epiphone Les Paul and I like the tone better than my $100 Squier Strat. Of course, it all comes down to personal preference, but for basic rock and blues, I think the Tele tone is fantastic and versatile enough to cover a lot of ground. It's got a comfortable neck and the body is lighter than the average Gibson guitar. Having bought 4 cheapo guitars in the last year, this is likely my last purchase for a while. I've got guitars stocked around the country but the Tele is by far my favorite.
As I've said before, Asian-made guitars have improved tremendously in quality in recent years. So if you're looking for a first electric guitar or a backup guitar, the Squier Tele should be on your list.
Update: I've added a short video on YouTube so you can hear and see the Squier Telecaster in action