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$89 Squier Bullet HH Tele: NGD (NOT!)

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by syrynx, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

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    I missed the Squier '51 blowouts several years ago, and ended up paying $200 for the one I eventually acquired (money well spent!).

    I missed the Squier Bullet HH Strat Hardtails for $99 last winter.

    I was not going to miss the $89 Squier Bullet HH Tele deal this weekend at Guitar Center.

    When I made my intentions known this morning, my partner replied, "You saved us a lot more than $89 yesterday."

    I had spent about six hours yesterday, writhing on the kitchen floor in geriatric, arthritic discomfort, fixing the dishwasher.

    "Yes... Yes, I did," I replied.

    She even accompanied me to GC to check it out.

    The one I tried was a sunburst. The body was at least three pieces, but a careful inspection was necessary to see the joins. It looked good. The neck looked and felt good to me. It had the characteristic Squier pallor (which doesn't bother me in the slightest), and the same sort of barely there finish as my Squier '51's, which I like. No sharp fret ends on this one! In fact, no visible fret tang. I'm not sure whether the frets are glued on, or whether the tangs are hidden; I suspect the former, as I suspect the latter would be more expensive. Not a deal breaker; lots of folks, including high end luthiers, have gone to glued-on frets.

    Played through a clean setting on a Super Champ XD, the neck pickup sounded very good to me. This was a major consideration because, while I have quite a few guitars, not a single one has a neck humbucker, and I was hoping this guitar could fill that void. Neck and bridge pickups sounded delightful together. I seldom use a bridge pickup by itself, but this one wasn't bad to my ear.

    That's the good. Now, the not so good:

    The bridge is the same deeply flawed one used on the Squier '51 and the Squier Mini, except that the saddle height screws are black. Not a deal breaker; I knew this in advance.

    The ribbon covering the open pickup coils looks loose. Not a deal breaker; they sounded good to me.

    Nothing lines up. The first string is much closer to the fret board edge than is the sixth string. No pole piece of either pickup is directly under a string. Hard to tell if the bridge was misplaced or the neck misaligned, or both. Not a deal breaker; toothpicks and glue are cheap.

    The setup was absolutely perfect for slide: Bridge saddles were set high (no grub screws sticking out) and in a perfectly straight line :rolleyes:, and there was a pretty good bow in the neck. Not a deal breaker; a quarter to half turn of the truss rod would probably afford adequate, rather than excessive, relief. And why bother setting intonation on a bridge that's likely to be tossed or modified with new saddles anyway?

    (Anyone in need of a dedicated slide guitar really, really ought to consider one of these; the one I played was very well suited to the purpose with no further investment required.)

    But I left without it. The frets were the deal breaker-- not their apparent tanglessness nor their glued-inness, but their size, which is minuscule. A decent body and decent neck, it seems to me, are well worth $89, and a pair of pickups I really like certainly sweeten the pot. But those tiny frets, maybe even smaller than vintage, just wouldn't work for me.

    "Besides," I told my partner, "we have higher priorities than another guitar."

    "Like what?"

    "Like a decent tenor ukulele."

    I wouldn't discourage anyone from buying one of these Teles as a slide guitar or as a mod platform. But I'm convinced that it would require modding to be useful for anything except slide.
     
  2. 61fury

    61fury Friend of Leo's

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    It sounds great, I like the full width body, but I've got an Affinity which seems fine. That 89 dollars is a deal breaker for me, like a 50 cent lobster dinner, it's just too much to believe. How ruthless were they to extract such a price?
    Now if I could actually play a guitar that would be a different story, I'd buy any POS for 89 dollars and be happily divorced.
     
  3. DOGMA Dunn

    DOGMA Dunn Friend of Leo's

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    Good story. but is it real that they are selling $89 teles?
     
  4. Greg M.

    Greg M. TDPRI Member

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    They are selling $89 Teles... but not very many of them. My trip to the Danvers GC revealed that they had one in stock. A ***VERY*** nice GCGuy dug around, until it was found, and let me fart around, for a half-hour, with it.

    Sadly... Gibson SG Non-Transparent Red (yucchhhh on a Tele... just MY opinion... I respect the tastes and opinions of others, here)... and just a 'meh' guitar. A GREAT bargain, but not a World-Beater, for a guy who is a mite short on cash.

    I have a bunch of unbelievably nice, cheap guitars (Squier, Peavey), and had hoped that there would be a few Bullet Teles that I could noodle around on... but...


    Greg M.
     
  5. hopper

    hopper Tele-Meister

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    Tiny frets? You are kidding, right?
     
  6. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    I'm going to GC tomorrow anyway......

    M
     
  7. Whoa Tele

    Whoa Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I picked one up and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I guess I got a good one because it seems gig worthy to me. I plan on turning it into a poor man's La Cab. YMMV
     
  8. Thundersleet

    Thundersleet Tele-Afflicted

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    I just got home and took mine out of the box. The usual store I shop at didn't have any so I had to go a bit farther and they only had two. A black and a burst. I took the burst home. I like that it hasn't been touched since it was in Asia. Some of the guitars that hang on the wall get kinda dinged up.

    The top hat knob is in a bag with a wrench for the truss and a wrench for the saddles. I think I got a good one. Out of the box every string was just a little flat. After tuning it up I have no fret buzz anywhere. The frets are maybe a little flatter than my affinity strat. No sharp edges at all. The factory setup is surprisingly low so the size of the frets isn't an issue to me. I don't think I'll need to tweak it much at all. The body looks to be three piece and the burst finish looks just fine to me. I just need to adjust the height of the volume knob and it could use a better nut. Overall I'm really very pleased. I don't think I've ever seen a better deal on a new guitar.
     
  9. slowhand84

    slowhand84 NEW MEMBER!

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    Heya folks, new here and new to the tele world. I nabbed this guy at my local guitar center...I too could not resist the lure of the $89 tele. I like the tobacco-burst a lot! This thing plays great and sounds good, but I'm going to put in the PRS Dragon II pickups I have lying around to really make it scream. Also going to change the tuners. The best part is, as good as this guitar is for $89, I also got a free $40 Kiss guitar strap as part of the deal, which is sweet. It's going on my Les Paul to relive the glory days. The final verdict on the guitar: an amazing value at $89, and easily upgradeable to Fender Mex. quality or better.

    Here are some pictures:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And of course, the freebie coup de grace...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. pondcaster

    pondcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can't speak for the $89 tele but nice strap!
     
  11. slowhand84

    slowhand84 NEW MEMBER!

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    I can speak for both...this thing would be a great value even for $150-ish, forget $89. Even stock, its definitely closer to "intermediate" quality than beginner. The pickups are surprisingly pretty good. But I imagine when I throw the higher end PRS Dragon 2 pickups into it, it'll really scream!
     
  12. Lost_N_Austin

    Lost_N_Austin Friend of Leo's

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    Modders - be aware

    I attempted the first modification of my HH $89 Tele. When I popped off the Bridge (easy with the top loader btw.), I noticed that the Bridge pickup route has the pickup wire lead channel directly under the lower/rear pickup mounting Bezel screw. The point end of the screw actually penetrates into the channel where the wires run.

    When I installed a replacement humbucker with larger guage wires - this became a problem. The bezel mounting screw penetrated the lead wires, causing a short to ground. I want to emphasize the fact that the guitar worked fine before I did the swap, so this was "on me". Just a warning to others for when you replace the rear humbucker.

    BTW, the pickup that came with the guitar sounded better than the one I tried in the guitar but I had always wanted to know what a humbucker with 17 ohms of resistance would sound like. This particular one sounded pretty 'meh'. Tonight I'm going to swap in my vintage Gibson T-Top humbucker and see what she sounds like.

    Also, does anyone else think the screw holes for the saddle adjustment screws are drilled too high up on the back side of the bridge above the string holes? When I finally got my saddles low enough to give me the action I wanted, the saddles were no longer parallel to the bridge base surface. I think that may have something to do with the Sitar Ringing some strings seem to display.

    Lost_N_Austin
     
  13. greensound

    greensound TDPRI Member

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    A salesperson at my local GC handed me a black one to try out a fuzz pedal with after the first guitar he handed me made no sound at all...hmmm. I played around with the pedal for a bit and then stopped to focus just on the guitar. Even playing through a little solid state Fender amp I was pleased as can be with this Squier tele. The feel, fit and finish all were decent, and not just for the money but decent period. They had a sunburst model available as well which was in sad shape so the black one (after approval from my loving wife) came home yesterday. I'll install a different set of strings and adjust the intonation and report back, but as far as I'm concerned this has been the best $90 I've spent in the guitar world in quite some time.
     
  14. dwlb

    dwlb Tele-Holic

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    Picked up one of the black ones. Wanted the red one but a very excited 13-year-old was about to buy the last one when I walked into the store. Good for him, I figure. Anyway, the one I got seems pretty solid and as a backup guitar --or possibly modding platform down the line-- it'll do fine.
     
  15. telegal55

    telegal55 TDPRI Member

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    i got one on monday 4 July i went to the new store in delaware thay were out of stock i got the sales guy to call other stores he found one in lancaster pa i had to drive about 45miles he begged that sales guy to hold it till i got there.when i plugged up the volume pot was real loose they fixed it and all is good .they even knocked off another 15 dollars for all my trouble .paid 75 plus tax and all is good . the 4th of july extra bang .
     
  16. Inferno0011

    Inferno0011 NEW MEMBER!

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    I recently just bought the same one. However, I have been trying to find the exact model name of this guitar and specs. As far as I know it is the Squier Tele Bullet HH?? Does anyone know where I can find the specs for this guitar??
     
  17. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    Seriously? Glued on without a tang?
     
  18. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep. This is nothing new; Parker has been using glued, tangless stainless steel frets from the beginning. Luthier Mark Sloan has a picture of a Parker's frets, and, if you're sufficiently interested to download a large-ish PDF (18 MB), here's a Parker technical bulletin with detailed refretting instructions.

    By coincidence, I was back in the same GC today for the first time since my OP in this thread, and played what seemed to be another Bullet HH Tele. Like the first, it was sunburst and had Issues, but some of the Issues were different:

    - Good: Strings lined up reasonably with pole pieces on both pickups; while not perfectly centered on the finger board, they were close enough that I couldn't complain. Action was on the high side, but playable; absent was the excessive relief/neck bowing I observed in the first one I tried.

    - Bad: Horrible sitaring on the open second and third strings; this nut would have to be replaced (or a capo used) before any music using open strings could be played.

    - Same as the first I tried: Bridge saddles all in a straight line at maximum height (i.e., tops of height adjustment screws flush with tops of saddles). Same tiny frets (and same absence of visible fret slots).

    - Not noted: Whether the ribbon wrappings around the uncovered pickup coils appeared loose, as was the case with both pickups in the first one I tried.

    Still a lot of guitar for the money, and if I were to buy one it would be at least partly because I really like the sound of the pickups.
     
  19. SpeyFly

    SpeyFly Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I looked at them too and knew I wouldn't be satisfied with it so I ordered a Blacktop.

    It would be a great mod platform but I've goto too many projects to take on another.
     
  20. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    It's nice to see the pictures.

    Milwaukee GC had none of the $89 guitars over the 4th.

    Looks interesting for $89!
     
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