|Body And Neck:|
While you can find some premium Fender Telecasters costing up to $10k – and wouldn’t we all love one of those – today we’re looking at a Tele that comes in at less than two hundred bucks. Released by Squier, the budget Fender subsidiary, the Affinity Telecaster promises solid design and tone at a price that anyone can afford, making it perfect for beginners. Let’s take a closer look at this popular model.
You can’t call a guitar a Telecaster unless it’s built with the iconic Telecaster shape. Thankfully this affordable model shows off the familiar single-cutaway body that’s not changed much since the early 1950s. This means it oozes vintage appeal, especially with the delicious Butterscotch Blonde finish which is translucent to show off the attractive grain of the alder body (other finishes are available).
With a standard 25.5” scale length, this Tele features a bolt-on C-shaped maple neck with a maple fretboard and 21 medium jumbo frets. There’s not much in the way of décor as this model keeps things simple and stripped down (as most Telecasters are!). However, it does come fitted with a three-ply black Tele pickguard, simple black dot inlays on the fretboard and the legendary Telecaster headstock up top with a two-color logo. For such a small price, the overall fit and finish impresses, with just a couple of rough fret edges – otherwise it’s surprisingly good!
Squier sticks to the basics here and gets them right. In the electronics department it sports two vintage-style single-coil pickups at the bridge and neck position, controlled by a master volume and master tone control, and a three-way pickup selector switch.
One of the more modern sights – one which we fully approve of in this price range – is the inclusion of a fully-adjustable six-saddle bridge with a top loading configuration. It’s not your traditional Tele setup, but it works well here. This fixed bridge is complemented by a set of decent chrome tuners, resulting in good tuning stability. Again, surprisingly good for such an affordable guitar.
Tonally there’s definitely enough quality here, although as the volume increases it shows a few signs of being a cheaper guitar, especially as the pickups hum and buzz a little. Still, it’s not bad at all, delivering a warm and clear sound with the classic Tele twang that goes so well with country, jazz and blues guitar, although it’s equally capable of playing heavier styles providing you have the overdrive.
When playing the Affinity Telecaster, you may find a few areas that give away its price, but ultimately this is one impressive guitar with a timeless style, smooth playability, and very respectable tone. For complete beginners to intermediate players searching for a cheap blues instruments to knock around, we have no problems in recommending this.