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While Squier produces many different high-quality Telecasters, nothing quite beats a genuine Fender Tele. At the lower end of the sub-$1000 price range, this Mexican-made Fender Standard Telecaster is the most affordable way to find a real Fender boasting quality electronics, excellent playability and the iconic design of the guitar that started it all. Let’s take a closer look…
This guitar certainly lives up to its name – Standard. That’s not a bad thing though, as it offers all the expected Tele aesthetics and functionality. This includes the timeless single-cutaway body that’s made of solid alder with a glossy finish in a range of different colors – from simple classics like Black or Arctic White, to vintage-inspired Butterscotch Blonde and Candy Apple Red.
The maple neck is also traditionally Tele in its design. This is bolted onto the body and features a relaxed C shape, a maple fretboard and 21 medium jumbo frets, with a smooth satin finish offering a great performance. Other time-honored appointments you’d expect are the three-ply parchment pickguard, the standard narrow Tele headstock, and – of course – the famous Fender logo in black. This is a Mexican-made Tele and shows off great Fender quality, fit and finish, while it’s setup nicely out of the box.
The hardware and electronics on this model are pretty standard too and Fender stick to the tried-and-tested pair of Standard Single-Coil Tele pickups in the bridge and neck position. These stock pickups are nothing groundbreaking, but prove very versatile, as we discuss below. These are controlled by a master volume and master tone control, as well as a three-way pickup selector switch.
Although the ashtray fixed bridge sticks with tradition, Fender go for the more modern configuration of an adjustable six-saddle string-through-body design with block saddles. At the headstock you’ll find six sealed die-cast tuners, which have a relatively modern design. These are responsive and hold your tuning well – no complaints here.
Using tried-and-tested design and hardware, there was no surprise that the Fender Standard Telecaster packs the traditional Tele sound. The pickups offer a snappy, sparkly, twangy tone that’s beautifully suited for clean blues and country playing, although the tone is pretty flexible for all styles of music – you can find crunchy palm muted powerchords, fuzzy rock lead and mellow jazz tones. While it falls a little short of the American-made Teles in terms of power, it’s a huge improvement on models you’d find in the more affordable price ranges.
The design is iconic, the tone is great, and your hands glide happily around the neck – it’s hard to be unhappy when playing this Standard Tele! While there are American-made Fenders to aspire to, the Standard Series is the best way to secure a real Fender Telecaster on a budget.