Tele TE-90 FLT Vintage White Perhaps best guitar ever made
Telecaster man, 12.05.2017
This guitar far exceeded my expectations as a guitar in sound, affordability, it's unique look, feel and balance, and playability. I am still amazed by the finish, the pickup sound, and high quality craftsmanship of this guitar. At first, I was trying to figure out how to play this guitar, because the action was low and soft, which I like and love but I was used to really working a guitar to get sounds out of it. This guitar simply sounds like one of the $1,000 plus (I'm from the USA) guitars from a USA company (made in Mexico/China/USA), just in regards to the material let alone the sound in that it almost sounds equal, like a 9.5 to 10 on a 1 to 10 scale. I mean I've played other expensive guitars and the TE-90 FLT VW is amazingly light action, so it's hard to get adjusted to the feel and playability. But it's great for jazz, chords. I know it's not expensive, but it feels expensive and I really want another one just so I can play this one hard. I baby this one as if it was a $1,000 guitar, because it just sounds, plays, looks, and plays like one. It's very unique sound, since it's chambered under the pickguard like other another USA guitar style from California with FLT humbucker but this TE-90 sounds equal if not better. It has a jazzy kind of vibe and sound or a little blues or rock too. Really it plays everything, but I love it for chords. The neck just feels right (I like thin/slender necks) since my fingers are not long. Also, the headstock is really unique and you may not like it but I do for it's uniqueness. The weight is perfect, not too light or too heavy. The fretboard is a good flatter radius but not too flat. When you play this you will be able to feel and hear the high quality right away. I'm glad I have this one guitar in my arsenal/toolbox because it has a really warm sound with the two humbuckers and chambered pickguard area. The look is very unique/cool. The fretboard is so playable, once you get used to low action and soft touch, that you can play for hours and forget about the time. The maple fretboard and frets are a bright sound. It really begs you to play it. You can also really shred on it too or go slow and jazzy. I love the belly cut. The only con I have about this guitar is the pickguard does get scratched easily (but it's a pickguard after all); I think it might just be the plastic is not glossy enough, but that's a good thing too, it gives it a different softer look. I'm getting the Three Tone Sunburst, when I have the change because it's a really excellent guitar overall. --Marco, USA
5* was the maximum I could give for sound. I need 8.
This saga has been a bit of a double edged sword for me. Good & bad but ultimately good. The story may be long and traumatic for some, do not judge until the end.
1 s t I m p r e s s i o n s - T h e G o o d. When I first opened the box I was surprised, it didn't look like the badly cropped image on the site. I was expecting something that looked like it had been used to stir grey emulsion paint and wiped down with dry newspaper. Not so. The lacquer is deep and brings the grain of the wood through the thin paint coat very well, and, I cannot find a joint in the body! I've had reports of a two piece but I honestly cant see a joint.
The neck is smooth with no fret ends and a really nice satin finish, the fretboard is not heavily coated either, it should age nicely, it's a bit too light for me, almost almond, so a heavy gloss finish would be bad. It needs dirt and wear.
Tuners felt pretty smooth and held well but don't look anything special. the nut looks to be cut OK and the neck needed no adjustment out of the box. Intonation was a mile out but so what.
T h e B a d - W i t h S o m e G o o d. Now it gets a bit messy. My eyes moved to the pick ups. I've never had a Filtertron stye before so it was new ground. Again, finish is spot on, chrome is deep, black is black, but....... the screws holding them to the body had mashed up holes where the cross used to be and were put in at an angle so the heads were a few mm proud of the pick up top and wouldn't sit in the counter-bore. It was then pointed out to me that the bridge wasn't fully seated, I never noticed, explains the intonation. I screwed it down and it has a bow of about 1mm in the middle. By now I'm thinking shall I return? I'd also found a few minor dents (on the back & neck) & noticed around the bottom horn the paint was thin with runs around it.
I'd had a strum out of the box and she felt nice enough, noise from the selector though, I'll give her a play before returning, for old times sake. And then I p l a y e d her.
I sat with honey dripping out of my ears from the blue notes and cracks in my lenses from the power chords and one massive grin, this was impressive because I'm quite audibly offensive when I play. I had a hard decision to make. Should she stay or should she go?
I emailed Thomann a few times, maybe 1st for guidance, then for a replacement, then for a refund, then a price reduction, then I got an answer. Send it back or sort it at your end at your cost and void the warranty. I was a little bit surprised, and a little disappointed at this as customer service has always been at a level most companies can learn from, but I wrote an email back saying I'll keep it. Why?
T h e G o o d. To sum it up this guitar is a bit of a lemon. It has many more faults than I've mentioned, mainly cosmetic and a few hardware issues. I'm pretty sure that this is a 1st batch run and things will be sorted soon. I have 4 x HB's and an Epi SG from Thomann and this is probably the worst & also the most expensive, my PB-20 is a Deko, go figure? This is also T H E best guitar out of them all! Without a doubt. This guitar will rip out your soul and drop it at your local crossroads for some horned imp to collect on the way back from Souls-R-Us.
T h e S u m m a r y. Would I recommend this guitar? Very much so but don't as yet expect perfection. If it was stolen would I replace? It wont get stolen as its not out of my hands long enough and when it is I'm sat looking at it. How does it sound? I don't know, I've had nothing like it to compare. mines like a P90 with a Single on top that drives like a humbucker??? 'Tis Witchcraft. How does it feel? Like a Telecaster that weighs as much as a Les Paul but balanced. Would I change anything? Maybe once I replace a few minor bits & void the warranty the neck will get swapped for an amber Strat type but that's a personal thing. Will I use Thomann again? Of course, but maybe not on brand new product. Anything else? Yes. Around 1967 a quite large USA company made a mod to a Telecaster, it was pre-thinline, it was known as the Smuggler. Take off the pickguard. This has to effect the sound in a + way?
In a nutshell, my guitar has faults. Yours may not. Whatever, it?s worth it. We buy for sound. Buy this guitar. The model it's based on when translated sums up this guitar perfectly.
Electric Guitar Deluxe Series, Ash body, Laminated top made of flamed maple, Walnut body strips, Bolt-on neck made of Canadian maple, C neck profile, Fretboard: Maple, Fretboard radius: 350 mm,...
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