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.
Well, as for the Harley Benton TE 52, of which I now have 2 ,... Relatively high quality and Teleness aside, don't worry about shipping from Germany. $220 delivered to my door ...As for a non-Squier T-style, you might want to check out Eart. It has a lot of upgraded features like a roasted neck and stainless steel frets. Harley Benton has a similar model but with it you would have to worry about shipping from Germany.
Thanks for the info on the Earts. I wasn't familiar with this make, so I did some internet browsing. Found some over at Amazon.com. They sure look nice with their flame maple tops in translucent colors. Three problems, though: First, they have maple fingerboards. Second, the fingerboards have a compound 7.25' to 9.5" radius. And third, the neck contour starts out "U" shaped and transitions to a shallower "C" profile as you move up the neck.
First, I've never cared for maple fingerboards. If they have a finish, they seem sticky to me. If they don't have a finish, I'll need to put some sort of finish on it or it'll discolor, and then it will feel sticky. I dunno, maybe a matte finish might work.
Second, I just don't care for a 7.25" radius, especially down toward the nut end of the neck. Most compound radius necks I've seen have 10" to 16" compound radii, which I much prefer.
Third, I prefer a flat, thin neck, like the old Gibson slim-60s profile. I've played Fenders with decent, comfortable necks that weren't that flat, but a "U" contour sounds like something I would not be interested in.
It's worth noting that all three of my objections have to do with the neck. So, if I bought an Eart for $369 and then installed a Warmoth neck of my preference, which would run me anywhere from $250 to $325, I'll be looking at a guitar that will have cost me over $600 to $700. I could probably find a used MiM Tele for less.
I'm still thinking about an Affinity as a good candidate, or perhaps something used that will be an equivalent. If I replace the pickups and the neck, I'll probably be coming in at around $550, which, to me would be a pretty good deal, because I think it'll rival any Tele on the market.
Well, as for the Harley Benton TE 52, of which I now have 2 ,... Relatively high quality and Teleness aside, don't worry about shipping from Germany. $220 delivered to my door .
Yeah ... a US shipping point (or return service center ) would add to cost ... They would not be as crazy low priced as they are ... But with the 2 I had shipped... considering they came all the way from Germany ... the cost and the time involved is remarkable ...I've heard several complaints about shipping damage with Harley Bentons. This isn't the fault of the guitar or Thomann, it's just the way things are in the world today. Returns are also more difficult. Thomann really should consider US warehouse and distribution center for these guitars.
There is no doubt that the Classic Vibe series is superior to the Affinity models. I returned my Affinity because it arrived with a broken truss rod. That turned me of Squire for good. I went on a true Fender Tele hunt with patience as every one I clicked on had already been sold.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?
This conundrum is what makes partscasters worth more than the sum of their parts to the guy who built it and makes it worth less to everyone else. There’s no getting away from that either.