Eric Clapton. B.B. King. Keith Richards.
What do all of these legendary musicians have in common? They have all rocked out on the Telecaster.
First released all the way back in 1951, this Fender electric guitar has become a legend in and of itself in its 70-year run.
Funnily enough, there were many critics of the original Telecaster, who laughed at its unique shape, referring to it as a “snow shovel.” It didn’t take long for those who made fun of the guitar to be proven wrong.
Critics and guitar players alike discovered that the Telecaster was easy to play, sounded spectacular and was designed to last.
Soon, the guitar was seen in live performances, concerts and movies around the world. As the decades went by, there were some adjustments made to only make the guitar even more of playing pleasure, including tweaks in the neck, bridge and pick-ups.
Nowadays, the ‘Squier Classic Vibe’ Fender series pays homage to the classic guitar while maintaining a rich, authentic Fender tone.
A Look into the Squier Classic Vibe
The ’50s Telecaster is one in a line of several ‘Squier by Fender’ guitars, including a ’60s Custom Telecaster, ’60s Telecaster Thinline, ’70s Telecaster Custom, ’70s Telecaster Thinline and the ’70s Telecaster Deluxe.
Each of these models has its own colors, shapes and markings that bring about what prior musicians loved about the original Telecaster.
Though yes, each of these guitars has its own take on classic Telemaster, the ’50s Telecaster remains a fan favorite for both beginners and expert guitar players alike.
The guitar maintains much of the same construction and style of the original, including Fender-designed alnico single-coil pickups, a bridge featuring barrel saddles and a string-through-body design, nickel-plated hardware and a vintage-tint gloss neck finish.
All of these are not only trademarks of the original, they each offer great benefits to how the guitar plays overall.
For instance, the single-coil pickups make for a sound that reflects the original.
Additionally, the bridge structure is built for resonance. Even better, the nickelback hardware is exactly what makes the guitar have the same look as the classic.
So, we can surmise that this guitar model is a great reflection of the original Telecaster model in look, sound and feel. But how well does the Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster fair among reviewers?
What is GOOD about the Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster guitar?
There is plenty to love about this guitar besides its nod to the ’50s classic. Oftentimes, critics may love a guitar whole customers despise it and vice versa. In this instance, both critics and customers alike appreciated the model for many reasons:
- Out-of-Box readiness: The number one praise customers have given this guitar is just how ready it is to be played once it is unboxed. What does this mean exactly? It means that just after taking the guitar out of the packaging, it sounds terrific. Specifically, there is no fret buzz and very solid intonation. In the end, customers reported that no big adjustments were needed, which is always a huge bonus when it comes to guitars!
- Unbeatable sound: There is no doubt about it: this guitar produces the same renowned sound of the much-loved original. Fans particularly love the tuning machines for their stability, and the action is nice and low. As this sound is what made the original popular, it’s good to know that this model also holds the original magic.
- Perfect construction for beginners: This guitar has a “c”-shaped neck that is the perfect setup for beginners. Players will feel the guitar sit comfortably on their legs and wrap around the guitar neck easily. As Fender themselves note, the C-shape is also great for supporting any musical style.
- Looks like a classic: If you want the look and feel of the classic, you will not be disappointed. In this series, the models all have colors of the original models, headstock markings and wood (pine and poplar). Many fans prefer that the model has stuck so faithfully to the original look instead of taking on a modernized feel.
- Awesome playability: This guitar is meant to be played all day or night long (or both!). Specifically, what does guitar playability mean? Playability refers to how the guitar neck fits in your hand, as well as how easy it is to play chords and pluck the strings. Fortunately, this guitar makes all three nice and easy! Even better, the durability of this model is great for playing all kinds of musical styles and withstanding a wild gig or a long playing session at home. This is an important, essential feature for any worthy guitar.
KEY TAKEAWAY: The ’50s Telecaster looks and feels just its predecessor to make every guitar player feel like a legend.
What else to consider about the Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster?
Of course, nothing in music is perfect, including the instruments. In this case, the ’50s Telecaster has been knocked down stars before for some issues that included defects and its price as compared to other, similar models:
- Made abroad: Customers who purchased the guitar on Amazon occasionally had issues with the state of the guitar as it arrived in the box. Some complained of loose parts, strings that easily snapped and knobs that fell off with just minimal use. These guitars often ship from China or Indonesia, which was a problem for a select few customers. Some users would have preferred an all-American made guitar rather than one constructed in another country.
- Customers may need to purchase extras: As this guitar is sold as a stand-alone instrument, those wanting to make modifications will need to chuck out more cash for additional parts, electric equipment and other accessories, which could potentially be an issue for those wishing to save on dough. At the same time, many customers believe the instrument is absolutely perfect as is with no big modifications needed.
- Price can be a bit high for beginners: Speaking of cost, this definitely is not the cheapest guitar compared to its competitors. At $429, others may find the price a bit steep compared to other Fender models or guitars of other brands. For instance, many other customers have found similar guitars for $200 or even cheaper. At the same time, the average price of an electric guitar continues to rise, with the newest average sitting at $562. Regardless, those guitar players wanting something a little less pricey might do better to look elsewhere or opt for a cheaper Fender model.
- Potentially needed upgrades: Some customers believe the guitar needs some upgrades in certain areas, including with the input jack and output jack, specifically. There have been several instances of these being loose upon arrival. This may play into cost factors with potential modifications.
- Only right-handed: Sorry, lefties — no left-handed option here. But this guitar is so good that it may just be worth trying it out!
KEY TAKEAWAY: There have been some cases with defective parts here and there, which might inspire some customers to purchase this guitar in-person rather than online.
So, what’s the verdict?
50s Telecaster has nearly 5/5 stars reviews on online shopping sites and guitar magazine magazines alike.
There is no doubt it is a great instrument waiting to be rocked out on, especially for both newbies and experts alike.
New people to Fender will learn to fall in love with the brand and will have their musical doors opened to plenty of new opportunities. After all, Fender offers plenty when it comes to musical instruments, equipment and accessories.
In the end, this is one guitar worth spending a little extra money on!
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.