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Old September 3rd, 2009, 12:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fender BAJA Telecaster

Hi Guys

Been thinking of purchasing a Fender BAJA Telecaster and was looking for any information, recommendations, thoughts etc from any of you guys who may have one or have played one.

There is one in our local store that is nice, but am intending to play a few others to find the right one before I decide to purchase.

I would appreciate any information or advice anyone can offer.

Thanks

BigMike

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Old September 3rd, 2009, 12:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They are a very well respected "vintage style" Tele. Their unique features are their relatively large soft-V neck with a more modern 9" radius and medium jumbo frets, the Twisted Tele neck and Broadcaster bridge pickups, and the switching options provided by the S1 circuitry. The blond ones seem to be generally more popular than the desert sand ones, and the only thing to watch out for is that some of them - certainly not all of them - can be rather heavy.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 03:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Check out the Baja topic under "Owner's Clubs" here at TDPRI.

Expect to find a wider selection of nice sounding and playing ones in the "Desert Sand" color, and likely for less money. If you buy a Blonde one, make sure it is a good one since demand is especially high in that color - you're not the only 1 looking for one.

Beware:

Ones with beat up or dysfunctional S-1 switches. Some wobble is OK, when you press the button down once, you should get change of function in positions 2 and 4 only. 6 pickup selection choices; and

Beware heavyweights unless you intend to play seated. You could steal (buy cheap) a heavy but nice sounding one, but it is yours to keep. It won't sell easily like lighter ones do.

Biggest, fattest neck section of all MIM Fenders, Tele and Strats, by a good distance. I like 'em.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 03:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My Baja is a "heavy" Desert Sand - it's unplugged tone is quite resonant and I don't believe I would want to swap for a lighter body - I've strung it with Da'darrio 11s which I think really suits it character. As far as desirability goes, I think a Baja looks great, feels great and plays like a dream. But then I have a Standard sunburst Tele and think that's incredible too!!
I recommend the Baja highly, the S1 switching gives you some incredible tones you could not usually get from any single Tele.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 03:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The heavy neck is responsible for much of the weight, and they're no heavier than a lot of other solid bodies. I wouldn't say the Desert Sand sounds better than the Blonde. The extra pickup variations are all usable. The S-1 is solid and reliable, the weak point is the little bit of rubber tubing. There are good ones and better ones, you do need to try them out.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 03:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I found a clearance BAJA last Jan. at GC, messed with it a bit but also got an Esquire about the same time and as it worked out, the Baja has been in the gig bag for most of 8 months or so. Lately I've been thinking of putting together a "clanky" not pretty sounding Esquire or Tele and thought I already have a good neck on the Baja and got it out.

Well, here's Mr. Numbnutz himself. My Baja is already 90% of the guitar that I've been assembling in my head, duh! Really no excuse to change either pickup, especially the Twisted Tele although the Broadcaster is no slouch. I have a Nocaster that is lighter but 3 other Teles weigh about the same so it's not a fat boy and the more I look at the Desert Sand the more I like it. Think I'm gonna' make 2 mods. 1st is pull the S1 switching and go with the old 3 way and 2nd, I've been sitting on an old allparts top loader plate with steel saddles that I'm gonna' stick on there and see if I can get a little more clank or trash tone out of it.

I'm with Boris, I like 'em too!
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 04:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boris bubbanov View Post
Beware heavyweights unless you intend to play seated.

Nobody has said what heavy is exactly. Mine is 8lbs... is that heavy?

Anyway, I don't understand the weight thing... is it the tone that suffers or the weaklings that can't hold onto an 8lb guitar for a few hours?

It's not like a Tele is anywhere near Les Paul territory for instance.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 05:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Great tele!!!

I think the Baja is a great tele. It was a super deal before the price hike, now it's just an OK deal. I love everything about it ( big neck, 9.5 radius, CS pickups) but I have been considering pulling the S-1 switch out and replacing it with a 3 way switch. I don't really use any of the tones with the button down other than the third position. Other than that, a great tele and very versatile.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 05:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Mine is around the 9 lb. area but I played Les Pauls for so long it is actually a relief to play.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 05:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I picked up a used sand color Baja cheap from a poor smuck that didn't even know it had S-1 switching. It's got a few nicks down by the input jack, but otherwise it looked pretty good. Then I got an after market bakelite pickguard and now it looks as great as it sounds!
I messed around w/ a MIM Nashville model for a few years and even put a GFS mini in the neck. It was a nice guitar. Played and sounded great, but I'd take this Baja model over the Nashville any day!
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 06:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VerySlowHand View Post
Nobody has said what heavy is exactly. Mine is 8lbs... is that heavy?

Anyway, I don't understand the weight thing... is it the tone that suffers or the weaklings that can't hold onto an 8lb guitar for a few hours?

It's not like a Tele is anywhere near Les Paul territory for instance.

8 pounds is not heavy, not in my book. Nine is heavy.

Some guys here have been playing many years, many shows, long shows, and weight does matter to them and to others as well. A lighter weight guitar can be "faster" and sometimes you must have that, to get a passage to sound right.

I didn't mean to say a Desert Sand Baja is inherently better in any respect, than the Blonde. I just meant, the remaining selection of them by all rights should be better, since everyone's cousin wants a Blonde one and they will be picked through in the shops, with many of the best sounding ones grabbed already. That's been my personal experience. I ended up with 7 Desert Sands and 0 Blondes because the better Blondes got grabbed already AND I imagine the average price I paid for a Desert Sand Baja was $ 200 less than the average price people paid for Blondes. Take what you can find, when it sounds and plays nice.
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 06:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Hey Guys

Thanks, this is really helpful stuff and much appreciated.....

Regards

BigMike
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 07:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Buy one!

Just buy one.

I've played guitar for 20 odd years, the last 10 semi-professionally. Always been a Les Paul/SG/Tele player (no frills guitars!) and always insisted upon having a USA guitar as my number one. I don't know if that's for reasons of kudos or snobbery - probably a little bit of both.

I bought my blonde Baja 2 years ago as a back up to my trusty old 2005 SG Standard thinking it would be a nice looking Tele to have as a back up (I used to have a MIM '60s Classic as number 2). And then . . . I took it along to practice . . . . . . . . . . . and it blew me away!

I no longer own any US guitars, and I dont want one. The Baja is by far the best guitar I have ever owned - and mine is a 9lb heavyweight.

Incidentally, my pal has a 2006 Desert sand, 7.5lb and that sounds just as good!
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Old September 3rd, 2009, 10:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I could say I have an upgraded Baja or admit I am "parting" together a Tele with a Baja neck and a Baja blonde body - both in mint condition and absolutely beautiful. It has a Glendale stainless neck plate, Gotoh vintage-style tuners, Highway 1 bridge plate, Callaham brass compensated saddles, Acme control plate assembly with the "volume kit" and an Electrosocket jack. It's not finished yet but I have half of a Don Mare Hayride set in there - the bridge pickup - and have played it as is and it is blowing me away. Soon it will have the Don Mare neck pickup and then - watch out! I will say that it is THE best Fender neck I have ever played, and is in no way a fat neck compared to other guitars I have. Actually, so far it is the best Tele I've ever played (well I can't remember the '69 I bought new and sold a year later) and it isn't even finished yet. The only thing I am thinking of changing is the bridge plate and saddles - to all cold-rolled steel by Glendale for the total in twang. All in all, it is a fabulous platform for modding to a superior instrument.


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Old September 4th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Mine has the little 60th anniversary medallion on the back of the neck.
I also upgraded the stock cap w/ a Jensen .047 PIO, from R.S. Guitar Works.
Great woody tone.
I like an ash body better than the alder. My opinion.
Heavy? I have a 76 LP Deluxe. That's heavy!
I find the neck is very comfortable. First soft "V" I've owned.
I can't believe the $$$ they want for these new in the States!
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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:02 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Hey Guys

Thank you are very much for your help, advice and assistance, the good news is i've gone and got one and I am delighted......

Here she is :



Once again thanks..........

BigMike
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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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One thing I noticed about the Baja urethane neck finish and polyester body finish is that they are very brittle and crack easily. They don't just get dinged, like a smooth ding, but the finish cracks when dinged (kinda like an egg shell though a bit more resilient). I believe this to be true of all the MIM Fenders I've examined in stores. As delicate as lacquer is I think it might be a bit more flexible, as opposed to brittle, at least when new.

Now the polyester they used in the late '60s and '70s, that's a different story. That stuff was thick and relatively tough.

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Old September 4th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Nice score Big Mike. Enjoy!
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Old September 6th, 2009, 07:50 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I don't know the weight of mine but I do know the neck, which I have had off, is about the same weight as a body blank. Personally, I can't tell the difference between a 7-lb guitar and a 9-lb one when it's on a strap, I do notice that a 14-lb bass is a bit heavier though. My ash Baja is very little heavier than my alder AmSer.

I may be odd but the only thing on the Baja I did not like was the Twisted Tele, so I swapped it out for an American Standard neck pickup that I just happened to have. The only other alteration was to put a TBX tone control in because I like them. And to give it a really good setup with grooved saddles. I also bought it an ashtray cover for show.

Mine has also received a ding that cracked off at the neck pocket. The flake was maybe 2mm thick.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 08:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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You'll be giving away the Schecter then ? ........
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