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Finally got to see the Pros up close

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by spenno, Apr 21, 2017 at 12:56 PM.

  1. spenno

    spenno TDPRI Member

    Sep 23, 2009
    After drooling over the Professional Teles for months, I finally got to see them in the flesh today at the only guitar store local to me. The last Tele I had was a Mexican thinline about a decade ago. When I bought a Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue the treble was taking people's faces off in the front row and I went for a Ric 330. The ten-year experience of the Ric is not a tale for this forum, suffice to summise that it looks ace, sounds like nothing else, is not a particularly enjoyable playing experience and has a very thin neck even for my smallish hands. I wanted to see if I could retain those parts I like about the Ric - maybe the sound to a degree, and the wow factor, but lose the parts I don't.

    They had the seafoam, crimson, black, sunburst and sonic grey. I had a quick fiddle with the sonic, the one I was most intrigued by as the colour didn't seem like something Fender would normally come up with. Obviously all of my experiences will be in direct comparison to the Ric which is all I've known for a long time. So ... I was immediately taken with the smoothness of the back of the neck, and the frets being a little taller than I imagined, despite reading about both these all year. I'm not much of a palm muter and didn't have any issues with the previous ashtray design, but could see that Fender have come up with a great redesign down to the recessed screws in the saddles. The finish was perfect.

    The guy hooked me up with a Princeton, another new experience for me. Nice amp. I checked out the treble bleed thing right away as it stuck in my mind as one of the major additions and was surprised at the clarity even at a low volume. OK - flat out on the bridge pick-up. Certainly brighter than I'm accustomed to, but pleasantly so, with all strings perfectly balanced. Onto some high chord work above the 12th fret - this is a biggy for me. I'm so used to the top E slipping off the neck and wanted to see how much of this is down to the Ric, or a problem with my Ric, or simply down to my technique. I didn't slip off the neck once in this hour. Guess that extra mm makes all the difference. Onto the Mystic Seafoam for a comparison between rosewood and maple. It all gets subjective from here as it's tough to fart around unplugging one guitar worth £1400, hang it back up carefully and grab another, then be playing quickly enough to make a valid comparison. It seemed a little brighter I'd say, but mostly I was looking at the finish; I like it, but I'd regard it as a finish I'd prefer to borrow for the night rather than wake up next to :)

    I threw an American Vintage 52 into the mix next, as this was another I have been seriously contemplating. I nearly picked up a mint 2016 model a few months ago for £900 (as opposed to the £1500 new price). I would say where I struggled to hear too much difference on the day between the Pros, this one was clearly a meatier, more trebly sound - maybe a little too much, but overall my favourite pickups of the lot. Also, as I expected, a much different feel with the shape of the neck. Not unplayable, but noticeably less comfortable than the pros.

    Back to the grey for the hell of it (guess which one I wanted to love most?) and then finally onto the Crimson for an alder / ash comparison. Again, difficult to tell any difference in a quick session (if at all, given the numerous debates on this issue). For whatever reason, although I wasn't stoked by the colour, this one seemed alive to me and if I had to call it on the day I reckon I'd have gone with this one. So many thoughts go through your mind when comparing ... can I tell any difference between the woods? I'm sure the more accomplished of you can but I certainly can't. But I did feel a connection with the crimson.

    Anway, that's it for this day. I was reluctant to sell the Ric to raise the funds on a blind purchase, as with funds being tight this is what I would need to do, but now I've seen the pros up close I am confident I'd love to own one. Maybe I'll be able to update this thread with pictures of a purchase in the near future!
    UncleJarmo and AnAxeNamedBeverly like this.
  2. AnAxeNamedBeverly

    AnAxeNamedBeverly Tele-Meister

    Jan 6, 2017
    That's how I feel about the Mystic Seafoam. Man is it gorgeous! It's just not me though.
  3. Just Dropped In

    Just Dropped In TDPRI Member

    Sep 12, 2015
    I doubt if any guitar shop local to me will ever have a Pro for me to check out (or hardly any Tele for that matter). So I would have to make a 200 mile round trip (or 321 kilometers!) to try one out. It must be nice to have a guitar shop close by with a sizable selection of new Teles. If I were going to get a Pro, I like the "natural" wood models, or the butterscotch variants, as I like Teles with visible woodgrain showing. Although, that Mystic Seafoam is stunning. Currently, I have a used American Standard (FSR) on the way, but if I ever needed a second Tele, it will probably be the one of the Pro models.
    spenno likes this.
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  5. spenno

    spenno TDPRI Member

    Sep 23, 2009
    The crimson transparent had done nothing for me in the pics, but was gorgeous in the flesh with the ash grain showing through. A really nice finish and the one that left the biggest impression on me!
  6. LKNJ

    LKNJ TDPRI Member

    Apr 22, 2016
    I've been a tele player most of my life, and I also happen to own a Ric. The Ric, for all its glory is definitely a flawed instrument. It's crazy to me that they really haven't updated it.

    Like many people I was pretty excited about the new finishes and features the Pros offer. Unfortunately, upon playing them I was somewhat disappointed. The neck profile felt all wrong to me. Much bigger than my late 90s tele and much less comfortable. More Gibson than Fender. My biggest disappointment, however, was with the elite series. Not only did they get the neck all wrong (for me), but the pickups were completely lifeless! I much prefer the last generation N3s.

    If you loved it, you loved it, and I'm not trying to dissuade you. But, if I were you, I'd check out some recent discontinued models - you can get a used American Deluxe from a year or two ago for cheaper than a new Pro. And those guitars had the best feeling necks of any guitar I've ever played.
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