I have a confession: I’m a bit of a headstock snob, mainly because I’ve always equated quality with the name on the headstock. Additionally, I’ve had mixed experiences with Squier guitars before. As a result, I haven’t paid much attention to Squier guitars over the past few years. However, over the past year after joining The Gear Page forums and The Telecaster forums, I started hearing a lot of very good reviews about the Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster. The first few times I heard rave reviews, I didn’t pay much attention to them. However, over time after hearing more and more rave reviews, I decided to take a closer look at the Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster.
The Classic Vibe Telecaster is not meant to be an exact replica of a ’50s Telecaster; it’s meant to evoke the vibe of those guitars, and I think it does a good job of that. This Telecaster features a white polyester finish, a maple neck, a one-ply black pickguard, Alnico III neck and bridge pickups, and one volume and one tone control with a three-way switch. The most intriguing part of this guitar to me is the pine body. I’ve never played a guitar with a pine body, so I was curious to see how the guitar played and sounded.
From what I can tell, the pine body takes a little bit of the “spank” away from what I normally think of when I think of Telecasters. The guitar sounds a little bit darker and maybe a little edgier than some of the other Telecasters I’ve played. I was thinking that I might need to swap out the pickups due to the fact that this is such an inexpensive guitar and I didn’t think they’d sound very good. I may still swap them out at some point in the future, but I actually like the way the pickups sound. Many people think they sound just as good as the pickups in the Made in Mexico Telecasters, and I’d have to agree.
One of the few complaints some people have about this guitar is that the neck is a little too small. I have to disagree, though. I’m used to playing thicker necks, but I find the thin neck of the Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster to feel great. In fact, after playing my Jimmie Vaughan Strat for a while, my fretting hand often hurts. Not so with the Telecaster. I can play for a long time and experience no pain.
For a relatively inexpensive guitar, the fit and finish of the Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster exceeds my expectations. The frets are well fitted, and I couldn’t find any flaws in the finish. The guitar feels solid and well-made. I wouldn’t say that the Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster is as good as USA-made Telecasters (although they can hold their own pretty well), I would say that the Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster is as good as any Made In Mexico Telecaster I’ve ever played.
If you’re in the market for a well-made, yet inexpensive Telecaster, I highly recommend checking out the Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Telecaster. The street price for the guitar is $350. If you want the same value in a slightly different package, Fender has recently announced two more Classic Vibe Telecasters, the Classic Vibe Custom and the Classic Vibe Thinline.