Jeff Beck Live at Montreal Jazz Fest
Alan Iglesias & Crossfire at JJ's Blues

My Cheapo Butterscotch Blond Telecaster


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


I see you go on with your project, right? ;-)

Anyway, interesting to know your take on those guitars, I am already thinking to try one or two, for this price it is worth trying, won't let you broke :-)

I think the quality on Fender's Squiers is quite amazing. Gibsons at that price are good, but suffer from some cheaper materials.

It's best if you can try these asian guitars out to make sure they are to your liking in terms playability, weight and tone. But with a bit of effort you can get something very good and an excellent value. And having a spare guitar that you can leave at a relative's or friend's place means you'll practice more.


Yeah! The Squier Teles rock! I love my Squier Standard Tele. I upgraded the pickups on it, and now it sounds like a billion bucks.

Thumbs up for a good purchase, Zack!

My guitars consist of an Ibanez RG170 ($200) - my first guitar, a rock guitar with lots of sustain - a First Act VW guitar - purchased on ebay for $200, cool looking guitar with bright pick-ups though a little thin sounding and a Peavey Raptor (Strat) - acquired from my niece who did not take to her lessons (free). Peavey pickups tend to give fatter sounds as the poles are way bigger than on other strat copies.
I am thinking of going upscale. Looking for a good rock guitar for around 500-600. Any ideas. I like the necks on the Peavey EXP Specials and they sound good. A very underrated brand, but am open to other suggestions.

I took another route and went for good-ish but secondhand. I checked out a few old Japanese made ESP 400 series strats.

Ended up with something 20 years old (same as my other guitars) with a Floyd Rose bridge and EMG SAs. It plays well but will need a re-fretting and new bridge components in the next year or two. Having dealt with re-fretting before and looking for a project this was a good deal to me. The wood was good, as they say.

Prices seem to be about 300-400 USD for an un-gigged guitar.

After cleaning and set up, much better than expected.

To Clive about a $500-$600 dollar guitar, check out the PRS SE models made in Korea. I just picked up one (SE Soapbar II) for $500 (flawless, and gigged only a couple of times) off my buddy who got it on e-bay. The build quality of these lower priced PRS guitars is incredible! Plays like a dream (though I had to do a bit of setup work on it myself).

There are other PRS SE's on eBay - some selling for as little as $300 - all in excellent condition.


My son had a blast playing one of those yesterday!

Thanks for these demos, I'm new at guitar (at age 43!) and looking for my first electric. Trying to gather some info before I go into a store and fiddle around with a few.

I love the blonde and the maple neck. You can't beat it at that price point period.

The comments to this entry are closed.