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As the official entry-level division of Fender, Squier is the only brand that can recreate every detail of the Tele without a cease-and-desist order landing on the doormat.
The best thing about Fender’s involvement is the sharing of trade secrets. When Squier claims this model has “a fast-action neck profile modelled on a late-'60s Tele”, you’re more inclined to believe it. The agathis body and maple neck have been executed in much the same way as its US sibling too.
The pickups aren’t Fender-spec, but the “hot single-coil in the bridge provides bite for stinging leads, while the chrome neck single-coil helps you find your own voice.”
After playing a number of US Fender Teles, we were fully expecting to pick holes in this budget equivalent. Instead, we were left slack-jawed. OK, so the Squier model doesn’t feel as luxurious, but there is nothing tangible to fault here, with a deliciously playable neck and fingerboard feeling totally professional, the build more than competent, and only the headstock logo reminding us we’re in the bargain basement.
We’d know that distinctive Tele quack anywhere, and while you can’t expect these single-coils to match the twang-some character of a Fender, they get far closer than you deserve. The warmth of the neck and the throaty bite of the bridge are both quality, but it’s the out-of-phase snap of the ‘in-between’ setting that really seals the deal.
Pros: Authentic vibe, classic tone.
Cons: The name on the ’stock.