American Elite owners - long term evaluation

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by psallo, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. psallo

    psallo Tele-Meister

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    Hi all,

    Strongly considering getting an American Elite Tele - in love with the Mystic Black / Maple model!

    I wonder how many long term owners of the Elites there are (well, at least as long as you could have owned one, maybe a couple of years) and what your evaluations are.

    How have you liked the guitar over the long term, are they on par with Fender's other premium production options?

    Have you found that you liked the compound radius and compound neck profile over the long term?

    I wouldn't reject a great guitar over the pickups, but I have liked them each time I test drove the N4 Noiseless. Did you stick with those pickups or eventually make a change?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer Tele-Meister

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    I too would be interested in the feedback to this question. I’ve played these in stores a half dozen times, liking them mucho, thinking I am almost going to buy....but haven’t yet.
     
  3. bluzkat

    bluzkat Tele-Holic

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    I've had my Elite for a couple of years (Autumn Blaze Metallic) and its still one of my favorites. I haven't needed to change a thing other than the switch tip. I use a Rutter's knurled switch tip on all my Teles. I like the N4 pickups and the compound radius. I only wish I could have scored one of the Elites with an ebony fretboard, but I wasn't going to part with this beauty... rosewood is fine. :D
     
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  4. Speedfish

    Speedfish Tele-Meister

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    One of the absolute best necks that I've played! Beautiful wood and sounds fantastic. My only complaint is that I don't like the binding as I find it uncomfortable for my right forearm. The black binding looks sharp against the butterscotch blonde finish, but feels sharp against my forearm as well. I prefer a more rounded edge than the binding on the elite offers. I wouldn't change anything else.
     
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  5. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    I have a mystic black with rosewood. I love, LOVE it!!! I love the pups. I absolutely LOVE the neck. Best most comfortable easiest to play neck I’ve ever, well, played. I love the S-1 switching. I’m used to a 4-way switch with parallel/series wiring, but I find the S-1 to be a good system.
     
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  6. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

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    The pups are excellent sounding. They are very clear and defined compared to most other Series. (I don't own but I have tested them quite profusely) Although I prefer the Strat. But the compound neck is ultra playable. The ebony is very fast and slippery. The rosewood is good on some of them, but i have seen some less than acceptable (imo) rosewood fretboards on the elite models.
     
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  7. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve been playing my Elite (Mystic Black with maple ‘board - best finish combo, the only one that comes close is Ocean Turquoise / tortoiseshell like my Jazzmaster!) since May 2016. Still love it, haven’t changed a thing except I now use a Pitch Key to allow switching to Drop-D tuning and I changed from 009-042 to 009-046 to allow for better tone on the low D (& my next move will be to 010-046 to match my Jazzmaster).
    I think the N4 pickups sound great. There may be other Tele pickups which are brighter but I’ve played others which aren’t as bright and aggressive as the N4 bridge pickup. It really is a snarly rock pickup when you want it to be. And the neck pickup is just what I want a Tele neck pickup to sound like too.
    The neck is very comfortable. To me the compound radius doesn’t particularly register under the fingers, it just feels right all the way up. It feels better than the older Deluxe neck and I believe this is because the change in carve to thicken up the shoulders at higher frets stops the neck from feeling thin as the board flattens out. I’m not a shredder so maybe I’m not the best person to get the most out of this — to me it feels as comfortable as my Jazzmaster (9.5” radius) or PRS SE245 (10” radius) and perhaps slightly faster. Definitely more comfortable than my old skinny-necked Squier Strat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  8. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Tele-Afflicted

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    I really wish I hadn't read this thread. I'd never really thought about the Elite but having seen and heard everything here, then looked online, i now need to go and play one. Then I will probably end up trying to find the funds to buy one. My wife is gonna be so cross with you guys ;)
     
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  9. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve said this on a couple of other threads — for me the 3-way plus S1 is far preferable to the 4-way switch. I don’t actually use the series option very often, I’m not a huge fan of the pseudo-humbucker sound, but I think the S1 is the best way to have this option available.
     
  10. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Holic

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    I dare not try one! I know exactly what I would do if I did.
     
  11. fueradeljuego

    fueradeljuego TDPRI Member

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    I bought one last year for $1200 slightly used....it was tuxedo black and was stunning. It sounded great, and it "snapped". I posted a thread about it. I hesitated at first but I ended up loving the 4th generation noiseless pickups. The problem with the guitar was that it had intonation/tuning stability issues that a professional setup would not remedy. I'm not gonna pay $1200 for a guitar that has that problem so I flipped it for $1300.

    I never really understood what all the fuss is about the so-called incredible neck on the elites. I have a $275 MIM tele right now and I love the neck and it stays in tune beautifully. I think the compound radius fretboard is a bunch of hype and an unnecessary complication. Because when you think about it, how do you set the string radius on a compound fretboard radius--to the lower frets or the higher ones? Yeah, of course you estimate to the middle, I'm convinced that that contributed to my intonation woes.
     
  12. psallo

    psallo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I am going to play one tonight, but it's good to hear about people who've gotten along with them over the long term. Maybe I'll have a sweet NGD today :)
     
  13. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Afflicted

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    I also own the Mystic Black/Maple neck combo Elite(have had it a year). Neck is the best I have played on a Fender.

    Regarding the S1 switch, I think it really shines when you crank up the gain. I dont use it really as I am not a high gain player. The N4s in the standard settings are great for blues/hard rock.

    This guitar has ruined me with regards to playing other Fenders when I visit a music store. Nothing comes close. Even the Elite Strat.....but then I am not really a Strat guy. YMMV
     
  14. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    I don’t think the compound radius makes any difference at all to your ability to set up and intonate. The fretboard is still a series of straight lines — it’s just that it’s a shallow section from a cone, not from a cylinder.
    The nut has the minimum radius (max curvature), the bridge has the maximum curvature (nearly flat). Between the two the strings follow straight lines which will be as close to parallel to the fingerboard as you need them to be.
    I’ve had zero tuning or intonation problems on my Elite.

    On the other hand I wouldn’t buy any guitar just to get the compound radius - as I said before, I’m not a shredder so the flatter higher frets don’t benefit me very much. But for me it is a very comfortable neck and that is what I buy guitars for.
    And of course YMMV!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  15. larsongs

    larsongs TDPRI Member

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    Why did they use the Bridge they used & why the routed out section below it? That killed it for me. I wanted the Thinline & liked everything about it. I planned to put a Bigsby with a Vibramate on it but found out it can't be done because of the routing.
     
  16. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    You can’t have liked “everything” about it if you don’t like the floating bridge — it’s one of the defining features of that guitar!
     
  17. larsongs

    larsongs TDPRI Member

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    I liked everything but that..... Sorry. I should have been more clear.

    I'm not knocking the Guitar. I'm just asking a question & stating why it didn't work for me.

    I'd buy the Thinline Elite if it had a Traditional Brass 3 Saddle Bridge as an Option.

    I'm glad for all of you who love your Elites....
     
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  18. psallo

    psallo Tele-Meister

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    Oh boy, this thing is coming home with me. What a guit!
     
  19. Old Tele Hack

    Old Tele Hack Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    The neck on my elite is more comfortable than any other guitar I've ever played, bar none. A back-to-back comparison of the N4 pickups in my Elite w/the pickups in the lovely AVRI '52 that TDPRI blessed me with shows that the '52 is a little "richer" sounding, but, that doesn't mean that there's a thing wrong w/the N4s. I like the S1 switch, especially when I roll some tone back to play a backbeat rhythm under another guitar, or to crank the tone all the way up for a bit more drive. The comfort cuts are very nice, and I love the finish and rosewood fretboard.

    I've traded other guitars, the Elite, the '52 and my P90 SG will be with me as long as I play guitar.
     
  20. psallo

    psallo Tele-Meister

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    Oh yeah, this boy is mine:

    [​IMG]



    So hard to get a decent pic of the metallic black finish, but I love it!

    [​IMG]
     
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