Squier Vintage Modified Telecaster Special review

  • £334
  • $499

This Tele with a twist has bags of retro style plus a little bit of 'kook' to spare

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Our Verdict

Squier's Vintage Modified Telecaster Special carries on the Tele tradition, and at a price that will leave you feeling like you've robbed someone.

For

  • Excellent neck; blend of classic and quirky; great tonal potential.

Against

  • Cheap-looking machine heads.
Buying options

If all guitars are girls, then this one is Zooey Deschanel.

Like Zooey, Squier's Vintage Modified Telecaster Speical is beautiful but kooky at the same time. And sure, the classic Tele look is there, but it's offset by modern sensibilities and a quirky, retro-styled twist: Classic Deschanel, in other words.

"Once you start experimenting with pickup combinations and amp settings you'll soon realise just how broad the range of tonal possibilities on offer here are."

This is a guitar for players who appreciate the versatility and tank-like quality of the common or garden Telecaster, but pine for something a little outside of the usual. That's what the Vintage Modified series is all about, really.

Most of us don't have pockets deep enough to stretch to anything of actual vintage these days, and finding something that has tone, genuine old-school charisma and that won't fall apart after a light thrashing isn't exactly easy.

But consider this: familiar Tele curves; silky butterscotch blonde finish with a hint of the basswood grain underneath; 50s-style bridge and black pickguard combo guaranteed never to go out of fashion; and a neck ripped straight from a Squier Jazzmaster, chunky medium-jumbo frets and all. Squier has put the effort in here - this guitar is light, poised, ready for anything and built to last.

Sounds

That pickup combination might raise a few eyebrows, though. The chunky singlecoil at the neck (Duncan Designed and also borrowed from a Jazzmaster) jars a little at first, but you soon forget that when you plug in. Full-bodied, growly with a bit of well-deployed distortion and handy for art-rock noise, chugging riffs and much more besides, it's got a lot of balls for a singlecoil.

Select the bridge pickup and it's back to business as usual Tele-wise, sharp and stinging in all the right places and pretty much perfect for anything from folk rock to funk. If you're considering buying one of these you're probably not planning on shredding your days away, but you could give it a bloody good go. Teles can do anything. True story.

The Jazzmaster headstock won't be to everyone's taste, and the machineheads look a bit on the cheap and cheerful side of things - but they hold their tuning well enough. The maple neck is a joy, comfortable and slick with well finished frets, and once you start experimenting with pickup combinations and amp settings you'll soon realise just how broad the range of tonal possibilities on offer here are.

It's often said that you can't go wrong with a Tele. They can cope with anything from post-punk to Peruvian pop, they look the part and most will outlive you.

It's the kooky girl at the party with the pretty smile and the faded Stones badge, and you won't regret taking it home for a second. The Deschanel formula - it works.

Tech Specs

No. of Frets21
Scale Length (Inches)25.5
HardwareChrome, vintage-style three-barrel string-through-body bridge
Available Controls3-way Pickup Selector Tone Volume
Left Handed Model AvailableNo
Neck MaterialMaple
Guitar Body MaterialBasswood
Pickup TypeDuncan Designed TE-101B (bridge), Duncan Designed JM-101N singlecoil Jazzmaster pickup with AlNiCo 5 Magnets (neck)
Bolt-on NeckYes
Available FinishButterscotch Blonde (shown), White Blonde