It’s here. I’ve just spent the whole morning with it. A few pics below but here’s a link to all the pics from this morning 50 or so, and includes close-ups of some of the nerdier detailed stuff you might want to check out like fretboard edges, neck thickness, headstock scoop, etc. Daylight wasn't that great.https://imgur.com/gallery/ifYN5jI
First impressions: Fit and finish: Exemplary. Nut is beautifully cut. Frets are gorgeous, everything feels bomb proof and it bloody well should for this money. The special embroidered case is classy and the candy is nice.
Factory Set-up out of the box: Not great. It came out of the case action pretty high, neck too much relief. Easy and quick to do, but if you order one do get the shop to set it up. Plays easily. This is not a Tele to fight with.
Smell: Quite a noticeable sweet marzipan nitro perfume. If that’s what you want, it’s here in spades!
Colour: The colour of finish is to my eyes most like the NOS Nocasters I’ve seen. Also similar to the most recent AVRI. It’s a fairly transparent finish with plenty of grain showing through including on the edges. 3 piece body I think. Very hard to capture with my little Canon camera, but in the flesh it’s all there.
It looks different in different lights. The pics have tended to wash out the body colour a little, but there some here where there is more hue that are more like the in the flesh.
It is not White Blonde. It looks like in some pics. It is a very gentle creamy tan light butterscotch. Next to my ‘50s Hot Rod BSB (which is very BSB!) it’s very pale and light. But next to my White Blonde it looks light butterscotch, which is what it truly is.
It’s gorgeous, but I will say that the tint on the neck is a touch too strong tint for my preference. I do like vintage tint maple, but I would have knocked that back a bit. The pics seem to have washed out the body and added hue to the neck.Is there a “shelf”? There is a bit of a lip/narrow shelf where the heel of the neck meets the body – is this a tribute to the early shelf? It’s not especially pronounced but it’s there and it’s not on my other Teles. More reading on this. https://www.tdpri.com/threads/on-the-shelf.704633/
Neck: The neck is not for the “baseball bat” full on Nocaster people – this is definitely slimmer. Don’t buy this if you want an inch at the nut. This isn’t it. Think Baja/AVRI scale. Right in my own sweet spot between the thickness of my Baja and AVRI neck. It’s substantial, but not ’51 Nocaster. I don’t have callipers and can’t find my solder to make a shape.
In the Imgur pics I’ve lined it up with other ‘50s types. In the pics Left to right:
‘50s Hot Rod
I think it is most like my AVRI ’52 and a bit slimmer than the Baja neck. It has a deeper scoop from nut to headstock face than the others. Fretboard edges are very nicely rolled, but not excessively. It’s a really lovely neck carve in the hard. Very, very natural feeling playing position. Someone has taken a lot of care on the final shape. Well done the Fender employee that sanded the neck. Lacquer is not sticky or draggy. Thank you. The decal looks great and is over the lacquer, as it should be.
I know it’s spec’d as 7.25 radius but this feels just a touch flatter than that to me. It wouldn’t surprise me if this were more like an in between carve in the sanding and finishing process like an 8 or something. The action is now very low and there is no fretting out at all. If you don’t do 7.25 radius, you still might find this still works for you. Frets seem a touch bigger than vintage but I’m not a fret nerd and not too fussy. Happy with everything about the neck though would ideally have a more pronounced maple grain on the back of the neck.
Weight. Feels under 7 pounds on/in the hand, though on the scales it’s actually 7 ¼.
Pickguard: Seems like a very thin nitro finish over a Bakelite or other fibre type, not glossy, rather buffed to sheen. This will definitely attract play wear and develop those classic naked patches.
Pickups: It’s very resonant through the body and it sustains acoustically. I’ve only played this for a couple of hours at low volume through my Yamaha THR100HD, so take the below as just a first take.
I plugged this straight in after having been playing my ’64. Instantly the pickup difference was evident.
This bridge pickup is very full and throaty. Very rich and thick mids, sweet top, plenty of heft in the low end. The frequency range seems wider than a ‘51 Nocaster pickup which is what I thought it would be like. It’s like a thicker, richer Original Vintage with a warmer top end. This is going be totally cool for anything from rock and blues to finger picking. It’s really not going to do that scooped ‘60s toppy jangle thing.
The neck pickup is very open, brighter than I expected and full range. Quieter than the bridge. More like the Nocaster neck pickup. Not Stratty. Has a lovely clear acoustic quality. The middle position is pure quintessential Tele.
The top end remains when rolling back the volume but it doesn’t get thin. Nice job.
I’ll post some sound clips when I get to it.