Time to pick up another "cheap" Tele. Classic Vibe or Affinity?

cooltouch

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OK, I've been checking out the specification differences between Classic Vibes and Affinity models, and what I've found are fairly significant -- but except for the pickups and perhaps the nuts, it seems to me the Affinities have the edge.

For instance -- the CV 50s, 60s, and 70s all come with alnico pickups, bone nuts, and Kluson-style tuners. They have the three-piece bridge saddle arrangement (which I really don't like), except for one Thinline 70s model I found, which has 6, but they're the early Fender-looking 6 -- the bumpy ones. The Affinity series comes with ceramic pickups, synthetic bone nuts, Schaller-style sealed tuners, and six-saddle bridges, but these are like those found in modern Fenders -- smooth-topped saddles with no bumps. I have two Strats -- a 96 American Standard, and a Squier SE, both of which have the smooth-topped saddles. And I like the smoothed-topped saddles. The Affinity guitars also have a belly contour. I think I found one 70s CV that also had the belly contour -- a 2-HB model. But then I'm not interested in HB models, so that one doesn't count.

I'll admit, I like the body contour -- that's one thing I've always liked about Strats. I also like the sealed Schaller-style tuners over the Klusons. I own two other Squiers that came with ceramic pickups -- one I changed out to Alnico V's and the other I've left as-is for now. In both instances, the ceramic pickups were not that bad really. The one guitar that still has the ceramics is a Squier Tele Affinity, and I gotta admit, its pickups actually sound pretty good. the bridge pickup has that classic Tele twang and the neck pickup has a huge sound that totally belies its tiny size.

But one thing I can't find out about without handling a CV and an Affinity is the difference in neck shapes, contours, etc. The specs say both have C-shaped profiles and 9.5" radii. My Squier Strat has what I'm assuming is a C-shaped profile to its neck, which I don't find objectionable. I do note another difference between these two styles, which I do find significant. The CVs have narrow-tall frets, whereas the Affinities have medium jumbo frets. I like jumbos. I don't know if I care for narrow ones. I should get down to my local Guitar Center and have a look at each, but my car isn't running right now, which means I get to use the wifey's on the days she's not working. And her next days off aren't until another 6 days from now -- and meanwhile I'm starting to chomp at the bit. Dunno . if . I . can . wait . that . long .

So the way I'm looking at things, honestly I don't think the CVs are worth the extra money. All they have going for them, really, are the Alnico pickups and bone nuts. Am I missing something? If I am, please enlighten me. There's a $210 difference in new prices between the models. If I really had to have the Alnico pickups, I can get a nice pair from Guitar Fetish for around $60.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, why am I asking all this when I already own a Squier Tele Affinity? It's because I bought mine as a "loaded body" with no neck or tuners. I bought a Warmoth baritone neck (28-5/8" scale) for it and had to install a new set of tuners. Interestingly, this "Affinity" doesn't have the body contour, but it's fairly heavy and has a solid plank of wood. Maybe it's an early one?
 

doof

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I fell in love with the Classic Vibes about 10 years ago, bought the Butterscotch Blonde, the Vintage Blonde, and the black and white CVC, all from around 2012. I love the 3 barrel brass bridge, I love the vintage style tuners, and I absolutely loved the pickups. The only complaint about any of them is the sticky neck finish. The BSB is fairly heavy, never weighed it, but had a hard time getting through a gig with it without a sore shoulder by the end. The Vintage blonde is light as a feather and the CVC is somewhere in between.

I bought the BSB Affinity tele around 2013 and Esquire'd it. Only thing left original on it are the body and neck, otherwise, new electronics, Cavalier Fat Lion in the bridge, vintage style tuners from GFS, and even drilled out the bridge to accept barrel saddles. I'm not fond of the nut width though, i'm a pretty small guy at 5' 6'', but trying to play open chords makes the string spacing feel WAY too narrow, even for me. I was not aware the newer models have a belly cut, I'd kinda like to try one.

I'm not saying the Affinity is the best, or even my favourite, but it is the one I reach for 99% of the time. I like that the neck has almost a satin feel to it. The sticky necks of the Classic Vibes are my only complaints about them.

If the Affinity is closer to what you want right out of the box, then go for it! I think no matter what direction you go, in the end you'll have a guitar you enjoy playing.
 

The Angle

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I've had two Affinities, briefly. I liked them but they have a narrow nut. I couldn't play them without having adjacent strings buzzing against the sides of my fingers. Just something to be aware, if you have thick fingers.
 

cooltouch

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According to the specs I was looking at, both the Affinity and CV series have 1.65" nut widths, which is just a hair wider than 1-5/8" (1-5/8" = 1.625"). I agree, this is just a bit narrow for my tastes. Gibson's standard nut width is 1-11/16", almost 1/16" greater than Fender, and I think even Gibson's nut width is a bit skinny. But then I'm used to playing a classical, which has a 2"+ wide nut.

Still, while I feel a little crowded with the Fender nut width, I'm able to adapt without too much difficulty.
 

schmee

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The Affinity's are the cheapest of the cheap IMO. First time I saw one was in Wal Mart! But sure, you can get lucky with one. I got a Mono Price Indio for $79 shipped. I've been very surprised about it, but I have a feeling it's a "roll of the dice". It is heavy.
 

cooltouch

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Are you set on buying one of those two new or are you open to used options or non-Squier options?

I am always open to used options, provided the guitar has been reasonably well cared for. I took a look over at Reverb and the local Craigslist. Didn't find any great deals with either one. Haven't checked eBay yet. Not so sure I wanna go that route.

I haven't really investigated non-Squier options. Can't say I'm familiar at all with non-Fender Teles.
 

StudentGuy

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Not "dissing" the CV line at all ...

It s just that my recent experience with a line I thought I would be afraid of has convinced me that perhaps we are paying too much for the Fender headstock...

Best cheapie Tele ? ... Harley Benton TE 52 /TE 62 ...

They are shockingly good , for 1/3 the price of a CV
 

Nogoodnamesleft

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I have an Affinity Telecaster that I picked up a couple of years ago. No contours. It’s like a plain old tele - oddly full thickness body and string through too. My favourite guitar right now.
 

cooltouch

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That's kinda what I did with my baritone build. A loaded body with a Warmoth bari neck, had to add some tuners and a couple of string trees and that was it.
 

drmordo

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My Affinity has a very narrow fretboard and is difficult to play. I believe they are intended for people with smaller hands. My Bullet has a wider neck that is much more comfortable to play. I consider Bullets and Affinitys to be comparable in quality, but the Bullets are designed for full size hands.

Also, the fretwork will be better on the classic vibe.
 

msalama

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fretwork will be better on the classic vibe
It indeed seems so. I've tried a couple of the others, but the one I bought used (a '18 MIC 50's CV Tele) has such a good fretwork on her (and durable too, it seems) that it's actually on a par with any other Fender(ishs) I've ever owned. So buying one you CAN actually luck out it seems...
 

cooltouch

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My Affinity has a very narrow fretboard and is difficult to play. I believe they are intended for people with smaller hands. My Bullet has a wider neck that is much more comfortable to play. I consider Bullets and Affinitys to be comparable in quality, but the Bullets are designed for full size hands.

Also, the fretwork will be better on the classic vibe.
Regarding fretwork, I don't have any very recent Squiers to compare against -- my Squiers date from 2004 and 2013. I also don't have a CV to compare -- in fact I don't have any Squier Tele necks to compare. But I do have a Strat SE and Strat Bullet neck to compare. The SE's fretwork is cleaner than the Bullet's. Both are very even, but the Bullet's fret ends are beveled, but not rounded over the way they are on the SE's. Next time I change strings on the Bullet, I plan to round over the fret ends. Both necks have what I would characterize as "medium jumbo" frets, definitely not the "narrow tall" frets found on the CVs.

I can confirm that my Bullet's nut is wider than my SE's nut. The SE's nut is 1-5/8", the Bullet's is 1-11/16" (same as most Gibsons, incidentally).

One other thing which bears mentioning, but I don't know how it might cross over to Squier Teles, is the SE's fingerboard radius is 12". I can't tell with the Bullet and with my gauge set because the guitar needs to be unstrung when measuring fingerboard diameter, and the Bullet is still strung up. With the SE, I have the naked neck to examine because I replaced its neck with one from Warmoth.

One more comment about my Squier SE -- the "SE" term is one I picked up over at the Strat forums. It was made in China and its serial number has a CXS prefix. As I recall, SE stands for Standard Edition -- I think. So, it's not a CV, but apparently not an Affinity either -- or maybe an SE is an earlier version of what is now an Affinity? I dunno for sure. My SE had three ceramic single coils that actually sounded pretty good -- not nearly as nice as the Alnico V's it has now, but not so bad, honestly. It has a full-thickness body made from three buttmatched (not bookmatched) slabs of wood. They look kinda like maple, but I doubt they are. The neck is maple with a skunk stripe. It has a rosewood fingerboard. It played well, the frets are even and well crowned. Internally, the pots were 500k and the tone pot used a green 0.047uFd capacitor. The tremolo block was not full-size. At any rate, it has been a solid platform for customization, and if I were looking for another Squier Strat to customize, the SE would be my first choice. Changes I made to the guitar included a set of 60s-70s non-stagger medium hot Alnico V pickups from Guitar Fetish, the pots were replaced with a set of 250k ones from StewMac, and the capacitor was replaced with a 0.022uFd orange drop. I also replaced the shorty tremolo block with a full-sized brass one. Oh, and I replaced the neck with a Super-Wide one from Warmoth -- 1-7/8" nut width -- with a shallow C profile. Feels a lot like a Gibson Slim 60s profile, but wider.

I mention all this because I would like to do something similar to the Tele I eventually end up with. So all I really need is a Tele body. The pickups, pots, and neck will be upgraded anyway. All the other stuff can stay if I can find a Squier (or equivalent) for cheap, but they're all easy enough to replace if need be.
 

Willie Johnson

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If you like the 70's HH Classic Vibe with the contour, I wonder if you could get an OEM Squier three saddle bridge, maybe a used bridge pickup if you need one, keep the neck humbucker, and have the best of both worlds.
 

cooltouch

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Actually, I want to keep the stock neck pickup, or at least an equivalent replacement. I don't want humbuckers on this guitar. And I don't like the three-saddle bridge. I much prefer the bridge saddles found on the Affinity -- six, smooth-topped saddles.

I've been looking around at Tele bodies -- even the occasional loaded one -- mostly on Reverb and eBay. All I can say is I think I fell into an incredible deal when I bought the loaded Tele body that became the base for my baritone build. I paid $125 for it. The best deal I can find now for a loaded body is $240. Heck, for another $49 I can buy a new Affinity. And looking at just bare bodies, all the best deals are coming from China. Domestically, you've got to be up at close to $200 before you find a decent looking standard Tele body.

I think, in light of all this, I'm gonna be patient and keep my eyes open for a used Affinity Tele. Keep the neck for a while and upgrade the electronics soon after I get it -- maybe. Depends on how good the stock pickups sound.
 

telemnemonics

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(for example)
Base Warmoth neck, body from Tauro woodworks on eBay, used and new hardware, get an all USA Tele for CV $$.
Sorry, tried lots of current production Squiers and always return to better for less $$.
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

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Overall the newer Affinity may be your answer. I like the pickups, the belly carve, the tuners are nice.
The body is slightly thinner, but not a problem. Fretboard a little scratchy, but 10 minutes time, good to go.
Got mine at GC, Scratch and Dent $200. I love it because you can play it hard, and if needed mod it to fit
you. So many parts are interchangeable, that (including pots) you can create your own axe. I play stock,
thru a Vox AC15 C1, can get great tone, in all three positions. Hope this helps. Pray for peace.
 




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