I have read many good things about the Classic Vibe range of Squier guitars, and watched more than a few glowing reviews, so Thomann's stellar bundle offer was very tempting. Having played humbucker-loaded guitars most of the time (I have a 1980 USA Strat as my only other non-humbucker guitar) I've been keen to widen the variety of sounds I get on my recordings and the Tele's distinctive twang seemed to be missing from my songs. Well, not any more. The CV Telecaster is a budget instrument in many respects, made in China, using pine as the body wood (and several pieces - I think five), no "tummy cut" on the rear upper bout, and a fairly basic jack socket - but then it's also very faithful to the 50s Telecaster "vibe" that it is trying to catch! The earliest solidbody Fenders were all pine, before a switch to alder; properly treated, pine makes a good tonewood (spruce is related to pine and fir, and acoustics use a lot of spruce). Fender has also in the past few years produced Vintage Reissue instruments using pine, so although it may seem to be a compromise it also has its own virtues. The body is coated with a thick-looking finish that I expect is polyurethane, and the butterscotch colour is surprisingly good.
Without a "tummy cut" the Telecaster sits differently to my Strat, and indeed all of my electric guitars; not especially comfortable, it'll take a little time to get used to it. The action is also a little high for my tastes, and I will probably lower the bridge saddles a little when I feel so inclined. The saddles themselves are the older style paired ones, which limit options slightly but are alleged to improve tone due to their size. I wouldn't mind betting that strings sharing a saddle interact differently to those with individual saddles. Either way it is another "classic" feature that probably contributes to the sound.
The sound is the thing. With new strings it is extremely bright, biting, perhaps even harsh if your eq settings want to push it that far. Backing off on the tone controls produces a plummy tone that, while not anywhere close to humbucker warmth, is still very usable, if not particularly distinguished. It's the bright ringing tones that drew me to the Tele in the first place, and I now have plenty of those to draw on. It will be very assertive in a mix.
The neck doesn't feel especially fast. I don't know whether it is the heavy finish on the maple, or the neck profile (C), but although lead playing is not a problem, the clean, bright and (when a little underplayed) articulate tones really suggest rhythm playing is the CV's main strength. Played hard, the sound can get a little chaotic and full chords are probably not as useful as 3- or 4-note chords but then that's part of mastering this instrument. It really isn't just another guitar that you can "strap on and go". After a long introduction session I'm just beginning to figure out how complex this simple instrument can be, and what possibilities it opens up. It's a long journey I'm looking forward to. Great guitar, and a great offer from Thomann in the bundle. Completely recommended!
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