American Original - Worth the Money?

ricknbaker

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So two years ago, I thought I'd like an AO 60s Tele in LPB
Then the great plague came, and all stock dried up in the UK.
I'd forgotten about it until yesterday, when Fender UK emailed me saying they were back in.
But now I'm looking at the price - Nearly 2 grand (English pounds)
My current Tele is a ten year old American Special, cost £750. It's brilliant.
Is the AO really going to be 2.5 times better? (I do love the colour though)
 

sloppychops

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If you love the American Special neck, you probably won't like the AO neck. It's thicker and has vintage style frets.

I have an Am Special, but hated the thinnish neck and jumbo frets. Sold it and got a Vintera 50s neck for it. Also ditched the bridge pickup for a Bootstrap Palo Duo. Now it's great.

Neck considerations aside, you're mostly getting a double bound body with a nitro finish for the extra cost of the AO.
 

Lowspeid

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I have a 60's AO in sunburst that I bout new in 2018. I QUICKLY sold off my other two Teles (American Standard and American Deluxe), because it's just THAT GOOD. I love the neck profile (and the 9.5" radius), but wish it had medium jumbo frets instead of vintage tall. Overall they are AMAZING instruments, and if you can swing it financially (I NEVER advise paying for a guitar on credit) you won't regret it.

BTW, double bound LPB TEle with a Tortoise Pickguard ... 😍
 

HolmfirthNJ

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My current Tele is a ten year old American Special, cost £750. It's brilliant.
That jumps out at me - often we ‘love our current guitar but…’ - if you think it’s brilliant, and it wasn’t even particularly expensive, maybe it would be cool to stop there, and play the American Special for the rest of your life 🙂
 

ponycar

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The AOs have the vintage tall frets. I believe the AVRIs had the lower vintage frets.
The AOs are my idea of what a Fender should be. That said I'd rather have them be wider at the nut. There's always something...
 

kuch

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So two years ago, I thought I'd like an AO 60s Tele in LPB
Then the great plague came, and all stock dried up in the UK.
I'd forgotten about it until yesterday, when Fender UK emailed me saying they were back in.
But now I'm looking at the price - Nearly 2 grand (English pounds)
My current Tele is a ten year old American Special, cost £750. It's brilliant.
Is the AO really going to be 2.5 times better? (I do love the colour though)
You're not comparing the same thing.
If your Am special was $750 10 years ago, would it be $1200 today?
To be honest, that's the reason I don't buy retail.
I paid well less than $1k for my AVRI 52 hotrod (my avatar) about 10 years ago-used

Don't blame you for wanting more tele's though.... ;)
 

Chipss36

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The more you pay, the less you gain, it is a diminishing return.
is an AO better, I sure think so, is it 2.5 times better?

not even sure that that means, but no it’s not a logarithmic scale.

a squire can sound perfect to some….and is much much cheaper than both.
peoples levels of critical listening skills vary, peoples signal chains are vastly different.
to many it’s not worth it. To me however it is. The AO line, has the USA hardware, pat pend saddles, shallow ball end on the trem block, made in Japan tuners, gotoh, cts pots, crl USA made switch, bone nut, vintage style caps. The parts, are better, they support USA labor, that means something to me, others could care less.

imo, the largest problem here, is most base tone not off of some baseline,
but off of what they own and can afford. and that is a complete wildcard.

rather than say, playing what you own against a pre cbs, or cs, or what ever tone it is you are looking for, and well beyond what you can afford.
make that the baseline, and try to active that with the budget you have.
or what you think is “worth” it, to you.

I think everyone should play a fine vintage instrument, take the time to make a trip, play it through a great amp, and bring the best you have.
it’s a humbling experience. Or it is for me. i am fortunate to have access to some very nice instruments, and can keep them for weeks , usually a temporary trade for my vintage amps, to compare and contrast, few have these options, some have even better options.
and own a few. Or some many.

the AO line sat in a place I could afford, has hardware that is the same as the custom shop would use, I find the finish perfectly fine, others go ape about undercoating, and have x ray fingers that feel undercoating….errr something.

for me the weak spot of the AO line, imho, is pickups, and a top shelf pickup in a nice light AO, can make a huge difference in tone quality.

all that said, the AO line, had some real clunkers at the end of its production, compared to what they were when the line first started.
I personally would not buy a 9-10 pound AO, my last AO a 50s Strat has a terrible 3 piece body, no grain match at all, in 2 color sunburst, but the weight was good, and the tone was good, so I got it. Some of the others I tried were far worse, in both weight and tone. they were much better overall early on. The necks alone however all seem to be great. all seem to be a pound and an ounce or two. Fretwork is better than most, I still dress fret ends, and have a way I like them. And am picky about that.

I have the AO necks in 50s and 60s in both tele and Strat.
i love them, all are what I would call a big neck, that may not work for some. This is no wizard neck, or modern slim Style.

the modern features of them, are vintage “tall” frets, they are not a vintage fret, and I should get a few recrowns out of them before I need a refret and the 9.5 radius, I will not buy a vintage radius, and do not care for them, I tried, I don’t like em. If they were a 12” radius that imho would be perfect, my favorite fender necks are the ej Strat, and the srv Strat necks with a 12”. But 9.5 is close, I can work with that.

yet others may find this style of neck completely wrong for them.

suppose lots of words for, “worth is in the eye of the beholder“

first thing I check on any AO I would buy is what’s it weight. But that’s just me.
 

KC

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Well, they're all worth the money if they speak to you & you play them. Even an expensive guitar works out to be peanuts after a few years. My old thinline is 20 years old, play it 5x a week or so, cost $1000 new, lessee that's about 19 cents every time I play it. I can afford that!

The question is whether that shiny new LPB thing is going to scratch that itch and I'd be suspicious. The American Special is a fine guitar but pretty modern / distinctive with the big frets & hot pickups. Not saying that you won't love the AO but I would want to try before you buy, if you can, or count on a good return policy. I bought an AVRI 62 Custom a while ago thinking it would be the guitar of my dreams but after a year of wrestling with little frets & vintage radius, I had to give up. Bought it used for a good price & actually made a little $$$ on the deal so no harm -- but if I had bought it new I would have been out some serious money. Beware!
 

Killing Floor

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There’s no best guitar. LPB is worth more than some others. Just saying. If it fits your hand it’s worth it. If you don’t bond with the neck it’s never going to be your #1. Been a lot of price movement lately but go try one on.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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first thing I check on any AO I would buy is what’s it weight. But that’s just me.
Yes, Peach Guitars in the UK had a late batch of AO Teles and Strats earlier this year, and I was struck by the weights of some of them. My Classic Series ‘60s Teles are 7.5 to 8 lbs, which is just about right, I think.
 

Chipss36

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Yes, Peach Guitars in the UK had a late batch of AO Teles and Strats earlier this year, and I was struck by the weights of some of them. My Classic Series ‘60s Teles are 7.5 to 8 lbs, which is just about right, I think.
Wish them people at peach would get some mf lone star pickups back In stock, or at least let me pay and get in line for a set…..
tell ‘em some dude In Texas needs a set!
 

fenderchamp

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omaha
So two years ago, I thought I'd like an AO 60s Tele in LPB
Then the great plague came, and all stock dried up in the UK.
I'd forgotten about it until yesterday, when Fender UK emailed me saying they were back in.
But now I'm looking at the price - Nearly 2 grand (English pounds)
My current Tele is a ten year old American Special, cost £750. It's brilliant.
Is the AO really going to be 2.5 times better? (I do love the colour though)

Play the special. paint it if you want :)
 

HolmfirthNJ

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Wish them people at peach would get some mf lone star pickups back In stock, or at least let me pay and get in line for a set…..
tell ‘em some dude In Texas needs a set!
Just looked at the price! But it seems fair as you’re actually in Texas, that you should be able to get on the list 🙂
 

burntfrijoles

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Is the AO really going to be 2.5 times better?

The more you pay, the less you gain, it is a diminishing return.

Not the point. It’s not a linear relationship. You can assess value over the internet or without actually playing the guitar. The guitar is a tactile instrument. You play it with your hands, not your pocketbook.
When you pick it up, inspect it, play it, hear it, etc, what do your senses tell you. Subjectively does it “float your boat“? Does it scream “this is the one”? Alternatively, do you shrug your shoulders and say “meh”?
 

Chipss36

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Not the point. It’s not a linear relationship. You can assess value over the internet or without actually playing the guitar. The guitar is a tactile instrument. You play it with your hands, not your pocketbook.
When you pick it up, inspect it, play it, hear it, etc, what do your senses tell you. Subjectively does it “float your boat“? Does it scream “this is the one”? Alternatively, do you shrug your shoulders and say “meh”?
“suppose lots of words for, “worth is in the eye of the beholder“

pretty sure you just said the same exact thing here….?

the pocketbook is an issue for everyone, and will always be, some more, some less so. Regardless it is in fact an issue.
 

ricknbaker

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Not the point. It’s not a linear relationship. You can assess value over the internet or without actually playing the guitar. The guitar is a tactile instrument. You play it with your hands, not your pocketbook.
When you pick it up, inspect it, play it, hear it, etc, what do your senses tell you. Subjectively does it “float your boat“? Does it scream “this is the one”? Alternatively, do you shrug your shoulders and say “meh”?
Yeah, this is the thing. I need to find a dealer near me and get one in my hands; see what it feels like and how it sounds.
 




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