Fender Baja vs American Special

boris bubbanov

Tele Axpert
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Got the Baja!

A few points, after 20 minutes of playing/testing/enjoying:

- I don't care about out-of-phase (as I already knew beforehand)
- I might convert the switch to a 'regular' 4-way switch, if feasible, and check if I can change the polarity (+wire switching) of the bridge pickup, so I'll have RWRP. For the moment, noise is within acceptable limits, even with distortion.
- The poly finish on the back of the neck is fine for now, but let's see what happens in sweaty summertime.
- Vintage machine heads. I love vintage machine heads!
- The neck pickup is great! Definitely better than the one in my Classic Player.

To be clear: for the moment, I won't change a thing. I always take a few weeks to appreciate a guitar on its own merits...

Am I happy with my purchase? Oh yes! :)
Changing the polarity alone, won't get you 60 cycle noise cancellation with the stock pickups. You'd have to switch one or both pickups so that they are reverse wound and reverse polarity towards one another. Such as, FCS "No-Caster" pickup sets.

Anyway, congrats! Great choice!
 

transmetro

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Congrats on the purchase! Sounds like you got a great guitar.

FWIW, I don't find the glossy poly gets sticky with sweat the same way nitro can, but to each their own. It's easy to satinize it, which helps tremendously.
+1 I'd definitely rather have poly neck than nitro if sweaty.

I used steel wool on the back of my Baja neck to make it feel played in. So that's always an option if you find you don't like the feel of the finish.
 

krautcat22

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Changing the polarity alone, won't get you 60 cycle noise cancellation with the stock pickups. You'd have to switch one or both pickups so that they are reverse wound and reverse polarity towards one another. Such as, FCS "No-Caster" pickup sets.
I don't think I'd need to change the pickups. Just make the bridge pickup RWRP (changing the polarity as well as switching the wires). Based on what I've read on this forum, it should be an easy & risk-free operation. (I'd lose the out-of-phase option, though, as has already been pointed out.)
 

Maguchi

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Hello tele fiends!
I'm new here. Hello to all!

I keep my MIM Player tele at my friend's place, where we have our rehearsals. That's why I need another tele for my home. If my home doesn't have a tele, it's not a home. ;-) So I'm on the lookout for another (previously owned) tele.

My question: I have to choose between buying a Fender Baja Telecaster, or an American Special. The latter one is a bit more expensive (50 euros), but that's not a big deal. So, which one should I choose?

What I don't really care about:
- 4-way switch (I can install that myself, if the need arises)
- shape of the neck (C or V)

What I care about:
- RWRP would be nice (not a must-have, though)
- fret quality is important to me (rounded edges etc.)
- I need at least a 9.5'' neck radius
- no thick poly finish, please!

As for the pickups, anything that is well-balanced and sounds different from the Fender Noiseless pickups I currently have, is fine by me.

So, which way should I lean?

Thanks!

EDIT: the Baja Tele is as good as new, the Special has some slight wear
I'd go with the Special, neck feels better front and back. Rounded fretboard edges on the Special and better fretwork in my limited experience with these two guitars.
 

krautcat22

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+1 I'd definitely rather have poly neck than nitro if sweaty.

I used steel wool on the back of my Baja neck to make it feel played in. So that's always an option if you find you don't like the feel of the finish.
I've used steel wool on another guitar of mine. Works like a charm!
But I'll wait until I have a reason to do that. Right now, the neck feels more than fine... :)
 

krautcat22

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I'd go with the Special, neck feels better front and back. Rounded fretboard edges on the Special and better fretwork in my limited experience with these two guitars.
You're late to the party. I went with the Baja. ;)

I played the Special and the Baja side by side, felt the fretboard edges, checked the finish, weight, ...
The Special was more expensive, and it didn't feel that "special".
But hey, every individual guitar is unique...
 

OmegaWoods

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Congrats on the new Baja! Mine is growing on me recently and I've decided to keep it.

Also, good for you for playing them before purchasing. That's the only real way to know which one, as you discovered.
 

PARCO

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I have both. I like the pickups on the American Special and I like the neck on the Baja. I really don't care for the pickups on the Baja but the neck is so nice. Eventually I will change the pickups in the Baja. If the neck were fatter on the AS it would probably be my #1.
 

KokoTele

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I don't think I'd need to change the pickups. Just make the bridge pickup RWRP (changing the polarity as well as switching the wires). Based on what I've read on this forum, it should be an easy & risk-free operation. (I'd lose the out-of-phase option, though, as has already been pointed out.)

Well, you'd have to unwind the coil and rewind it in the other direction, and change the polarity of the magnets. Reverse Wound, Reverse Polarity = RWRP.

Swapping the wires doesn't reverse the polarity.
 

krautcat22

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Well, you'd have to unwind the coil and rewind it in the other direction, and change the polarity of the magnets. Reverse Wound, Reverse Polarity = RWRP.

Swapping the wires doesn't reverse the polarity.

Maybe I was a bit too concise in my previous posts, but what I'm planning to do is the following:

1. Change the polarity (by using a strong neo magnet)
2. Switch the wires around (ground becomes hot)

Obviously, I'd do both at the same time, and for one pickup only. This should give me true RWRP.
Rewinding a pickup is not something I'm willing/able to do. It's easier just to swap the wires.

For the record: I'm not an electrical engineer. I just base my info on what I find on the net, and TDPRI's "Just pickups" forum.

Luckily, I have a pair of old tele pickups laying around somewhere, so I can test and see if I'm overlooking something...

One of the threads I looked at:
https://www.tdpri.com/threads/north-and-south-question.1097134/
 

krautcat22

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Swapping the leads reverses the phase, but not the wind direction.
I fully agree.
But as long as the current flow is reversed (which is a logical consequence of winding in the other direction), it should work just fine. Again, that's based on what I've read here and in other forums.

I'll be testing the whole RWRP scenario this weekend. I'll post my findings here afterwards.
 

krautcat22

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And... I've found a first (minor) issue: intonation!

Apparently, I don't have enough room to properly intonate the E-A strings. I have to move the saddle all the way back, but the spring is in the way.

My solution: I'll try cutting the spring in half, which will give me a couple of mm extra. :cool:

Do I have any other issues to report? Nope! ;)
 

Vibroluxer

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Just my opinion of course but like pull boosts, they dont affect anything unless you use them. It keeps the guitar stock should you ever decide to sell it.

Now I don't feel the same way about pickups. Just keep the original.

And should you decide to sell it, lemme know! But I won't hold my breath. Welcome to the club.
 
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krautcat22

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Just my opinion of course like pull boosts, they dont affect anything unless you use them. It keeps the guitar stock should you ever decide to sell it.

Now I don't feel the same way about pickups. Just keep the original.

And should you decide to sell it, lemme know! But I won't hold my breath. Welcome to the club.
The Baja will remain stock for at least a month. Except for some minor (reversible) mods, but I don't see the need right now.

As for selling: as soon as the Classic Player tele gets back from the band practice room, that's the one that will get sold! :)
 

bobio

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Comes down to neck profile "for me", American Special...😍

20210828_180243628_iOS.jpg
 




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