My Squire Tele
I've never owned a guitar with any kind of flashy graphic finish before this, but this being a pretty inexpensive instrument, I decided to be adventurous. Once the decision was made, there was no question but that I would want to use my own art. I figured I could print out the graphic on some kind of film using my color inkjet printer, then apply it in pieces. While searching out the appropriate materials, I happened across these Axewraps people's site. They say that their stick-on finishes can be removed with no damage to the guitar, not that this mattered in my case. They offered custom wraps for a variety of styles, but mine was not among them. When I emailed them, they replied saying that they would like to use my guitar to create a template, and if I would agree to send them the body, they would print and apply the wrap for me for free. I couldn't resist! Moreover, they also agreed to use my own art. I've owned some relatively high-end guitars over the years: a '61 SG/Les Paul (an original), an original reverse Firebird, with 3 mini-humbuckers, several vintage Les Pauls, a Gibson Johnny Smith, Howard Roberts Fusion III -- the list goes on. Hence, finding myself without an electric for several years, and with funds available only for a VERY low-end instrument, I really didn't expect to like it much. After researching the available instruments in my price range, I narrowed my choices down to a Samick Torino, which featured Seymour Duncan Design humbuckers, a Jay Turser SG copy, and the Squire Telecaster Custom, which is what I wound up getting. One of the things I liked about it was that the P-90 pickups meant that it wasn't a cheap knockoff of another instrument, but was unique unto itself. Also, I've always liked P-90s (although I'm thinking of replacing them with mini-humbuckers at this point). I also liked the control configuration (2-volume, 2-tone controls and a 3-way switch, which meant that I could easily incorporate my favored custom wiring scheme that supports series/parallel and in/out phase. Finally, being licensed by Fender, I figured I could depend on the general shape and proportions being 'correct'. I really detest guitars that are ALMOST like the instruments they try to copy, but have something oddball about them. I had hoped to find one at a local store that I could play first, but failing that, I had one ordered from Magdon Music in Olyphant, PA. As a matter of policy, they match the best online prices, and throw in a free setup as well. In addition, I paid an extra $50.00 to have it fitted with a bone nut (one of those details that bugs me). With the addition of a functional tweed case ($59.95), I came away at under $350.00, including sales tax. Having now lived with it for several years, I have to say that I am 100% satisfied with it. The tone of the Duncan-design P-90s is incredible. The overall vibe of the axe is something like Telecaster-meets-LesPaul Special. Magdon's did a great job on the setup, so I don't know what it was like right from the factory. As it came to me, the freets were perfectly polished, no sharp edges anywhere, intonation was dead on, pickups properly adjusted, etc. The only fault I can find with it is that the jack and jack plate are on the rickety side, but I will replace those when I get around to rewiring it. The neck features a satin finish, which while perfectly comfortable and functional, does, to my eye, impart a somewhat cheaper feeling, but it plays just fine, so I can live with it for the price. The tuners ado a decent job, not the best, not the worst. I have it set up with light-top/heavy bottom strings (.010 - 0.52), which I've always used on all of my electrics.