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American Performer Telecaster Overall quality?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Daystar, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Daystar

    Daystar NEW MEMBER!

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    Hey guys - First time poster, long time lurker.

    I’ve spent years playing cheaper Mexican guitars and I’m looking to upgrade from my Baja.

    I’ve never quite loved my Baja, maybe it was a bad one. I bought it second hand and it never seemed to be well intonated, even after several pro set ups. Plus the neck wasn’t for me.

    I’m not a gear head, but a performing musician and want a guitar I can buy then use with minimal fussing around or problems. Tuning stability and intonation consistency are important.

    I seem to like the actual sound of the Performer to the professional, but the 3 saddles are not compensated like the Pro. This coupled with it having less expensive parts etc due to it being a lower model to the Pro have me worried. Am I safer going with the Professional?

    Liking the sound is one thing, but what are people’s experience with the overall quality of the Performer? Particularly in relation to the Intonation?

    This will be my only electric and will be used to record and perform regularly (post Covid anyway!)


    Thanks
     
    telestratosonic likes this.
  2. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. My answer to your question is yes and no. I don't believe that the Performer will be better than the upper level MIM guitars such as the Vintera series or other similarly priced Mexican made Fenders. The Performer is probably a little nicer than the Player line, if you like it's specs. Fifteen minutes ago, i just finish playing my MIM '72 reissue Tele after playing an AO 60s Jazzmaster. They both play great and the fit and finish on both is perfect. The only places the MIM falls short for me are in the poly finish, as I really love a nitro finish and maybe the pickups. Both of these are subjective. I've considered selling the 72 because I'm more of a single coil guy, but the guitar is so nice, I bring myself to do it.

    If possible, which nowadays is a big if, try to play a Performer and some of the Vintera and other higher end models such as the Brad Paisley or used Classic Player models before buying.

    Good luck and please report back and show us what you get.
     
    Daystar likes this.
  3. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Being a 3-saddle bridge, the intonation is a compromise regardless. Unless you put compensated saddles on it. This isn't a quality issue, it's an inherent design quirk of the 3-saddle bridge system. If you're already not happy with the intonation of your Baja, then I don't see this being any different.

    Quality wise, I'm not sure what people expect. Every USA Fender I've picked up has been rock solid and near flawless in its construction regardless of the series. The Performer and the Pro are not as well appointed as some of the most expensive lines, but they are definitely workhorses that will be reliable for decades.
     
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  4. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Yosemite pickups are my favorite ever, both the Strat (my avatar) and Tele ones. My Performer Strat is the best Strat I've ever had in 50 years and dozens of MIA, MIM, and MIJ guitars, and I put the Yosemite Tele pickups in my Squier Bullet Tele, and it's now the best Tele I've ever owned too.
     
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  5. 53Strat

    53Strat Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I have a Baja and an American Professional.

    I too found the bridge on the Baja below par and changed it out for a Wilkinson compensated item. With that change and the fact I like chunky necks the Baja is a keeper.

    The Professional series is a nice package but I must say I changed the whole guard for a Nashville set up. Didn't like the concept of the V2pickups or whatever they came with.
    The latest ones have new pups and you really need to try them. The Professional is worth the money IMO.
     
    Daystar likes this.
  6. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have an Am Pro Strat too, but I don't care for the V-Mod pickups, and replaced them with some that I like more. It's second only to my Performer Strat.
     
  7. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    What I find funny is how people state that the vintage pat pend bridge on the Performer is lower quality (sound or physical?) compared to the higher level series.... Yet custom shop 50's and 60s guitars that are well over $3k use the same vintage spec bridge.

    Buy the Professional and some compensated brass saddles and enjoy!

    I personally like that matt finish found on some colors. It seems very thin and doesn't show ANY fingerprints.
     
  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Welcome, Daystar!

    I don't find the Performer to be any different quality, than the Baja.

    This is more about, which features do you like and get along with best. The Performer has what I consider to be unacceptably large fretwire - so I would avoid this model anyway. But it also has die cast tuning machines more in the quality of the lesser MIM models - while the Baja has splits and I tend to use more and more of those every year.
     
    Daystar likes this.
  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I'm totally lost as to why you would find the Wilky/Sung Il bridge to be superior to the basic AV 52 style bridge that both the Baja and the Performer use. Guys in the business can buy these Wilky/Sung Il bridges in bulk for almost nothing. Personally I think they're the least well made compensated saddle bridge available. I had one in use for a while, but it is in the parts box now, corroding away.

    I wonder if you just got a bum Fender bridge. What I did is buy 10 of those plates, then drop 'em one by one on a hard surface and listen for the lively ones - those I install after making sure the bottom is dead flat and smooth, and the unmusical ones I cut in half and use as G E Smith style bridge plates - rout mount the bridge pickup. Some bridges are just "sprung" I think.
     
  10. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    I have two APs, a bass and a guitar, both in the Aubergine color (my main reason for buying them).

    Quality is basically "diet" or "student" American quality. It's like what you would have seen in the old days on something like a Musicmaster or Duo-Sonic. Student features, but with standard American production line Fender build.

    Finish quality on the bodies is top notch.

    Neck finish quality is good, but the finish is matte, and not very attractive. This is the largest thing separating them from higher trim levels, visually speaking.

    Both my fretboards are gorgeous slabs of dark burgundy rosewood.

    The fretwork on both is decent. Not perfect, but good enough to gig without any changes. In an ideal world, the edges would be slightly more rounded over, but that said, they aren't sharp like many MIMs. I haven't done any additional yet work to mine (though I will eventually get around to softening the fret ends a bit).

    The pickups sound outstanding. The AP Tele SH (sometimes called the Tele Hum) is the best sounding SH Tele I've ever played. It will NOT be getting any pickup swaps – only an additional tone knob between the two existing knobs, and an angled switch.

    The gig bags are a joke. They are only slightly better than a navy seabag for carrying the things. You need a proper HSC or at least a high quality gig bag to do the instruments justice. They are worth investing in a "real" case for.

    The line, while good, is overpriced IMO. At the current pricing, a quality hardshell case ought to be included. As they come, with the unbearably crappy gig bag, They ought to be $150 to $200 cheaper.

    As such, my bottom line is this: I highly recommend the line...but I would not pay full retail. Get at least 15 percent off, or buy used-like-new.
     
  11. 53Strat

    53Strat Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    The Baja bridge used straight brass saddles without compensation - quite different from the Professional item. The strings actually passed next to and against the height adjusting screws
    and they were not spaced properly and could not be adjusted permanently as the position needed to be to close ( read against ) the saddle adjustment screws. no problems with the plates at all. I considered just replacing the saddles but I liked the look and sound of the Wilky.

    The Wilkinson was fine straight out of the box and remains happily on my Baja.
     
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  12. stonetone7

    stonetone7 Tele-Meister

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    It’s still hard for me to believe - after all this time - that any $1,000 guitar does not come with a hard case for which the manufacturer probably paid $25. Just like that $1,200 amp that doesn’t come with a few pieces of woven nylon in the form of a cover.

    It’s still my biggest guitar-related pet peeve.

    Anyway, unless there is something specific you don’t like about a particular set of features, you can’t really go wrong with any American Fender (lemons aside).
     
    MAXXFIELD likes this.
  13. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    Hahaha....

    Now it's not only the saddle material we have to worry abt but we even have to do the 'ping' test on the anointed metal.

    Hahaha.....
    .
     
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  14. Cesspit

    Cesspit Tele-Holic

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    Don't be afraid to look at some of the Japanese Teles. I would say the fit and finish are up there with USA models and there's a host of models to choose from.

    Japanese or USA and all pretty good in my experience. As for intonation, my MIJ 62 reissue is 3 saddles, intonates just fine and it stays in tune, period.

    Happy hunting.
     
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  15. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    Boris - American Performers have those "Classicgear" tuners that look like Klusons, have the split posts but mount like modern tuners (with the 2 pins and the screw-down bushing). They are also 18:1 ratio.
     
    Daystar likes this.
  16. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    I had a Tele Performer Hum.

    I was so unimpressed that I
    'upgraded' to a Player Series.

    Yup the Player is cheaper and MIM but I reckon better.

    YMMV.
    .
     
  17. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I hate to be the one... but if you have been unhappy with your Baja and it seems you need a workhorse, but in a budget... maybe it's time to venture out to other brands and models. You'll never know, you might find your one. As you can tell, I'm not a stick to one person with guitars. I would go for whatever inspires me to play, no matter what the headstock says or body shape is.

    Happy hunting!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
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  18. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

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  19. telemystix

    telemystix Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I love my HB performer that I got used for 6 bills...

    did some tasteful upgrades (pickups, thick glendale neck plate, tortcelluloid p/g, rutters switch tip, fat bensonite saddles) and it plays as well as any Tele Ive owned.
     
  20. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I hear you.

    But I understand (and I could be wrong) that the internals are no different than these Diecasts the other models. In sum, they look like Splits on the outside but on the inside, they're not.
     
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