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

bgmacaw

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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.

I recommend looking for a used Squier Standard Tele. This series was discontinued around 2018 and is very good, easily equal to the CV in build quality although it's features are more modern. I had one for a while but I ended up selling to a friend who I had loaned it to. He really liked it, he said better than the new CVs he tried out at Guitar Center. Of course, I had set it up the Standard and the CVs were out of the box and grubbed by who knows how many people.

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.

 

GrandpaBill

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I will probably be eviscerated for saying this but. I have a CV 60s and I love it they are going about 480 now. I have done a few upgrades and needed or not most of us do it anyway.
Why not think something different. Eart telecasters are a great starting platform for whatever you want the specs on these are fantastic.
I have 4 Tele's a Fender Ultra , a Fender Special Edition , Squire CV 60s and my Eart.
This $369 Eart with a few inexpensive upgrades holds its own against them all.
It is the lightest and most comfortable the only one with stainless steel frets.
Just an old man's opinion.
 

Matt Sarad

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I have the Classic Vibe pine body. I added a Pau Ferro MIM Tele neck. My Squier red Sparklecaster has the Indian Laurel board.
Both look good, play easily, and sound like a Tele should.
 

StudentGuy

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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.
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 ...

In both cases, I ordered late Wednesday afternoon and had them delivered to my door UPS on Monday. neither smashed , bashed (or mis-delivered like FedEx has been doing with anything from Sweetwater, about 400 miles away.)

I bought the Ash models, 'cause they look so Butterscotchy and the grain is to die for ! But ... they are heavy (figure rollin up on 10lbs.)

But I see Squier CV 's in butterscotch , pine bodied coming up at 9 1/2 lbs (with one outlier at less than 8 lbs, on the Sweetwater page)

The pickups in the HB are great. Sound as Tele was they wanna be. The roasted maple neck is super cool.

All that is available from HB in a lighter guitar , TE 62 ... Poplar with opaque (but nice ) colors.

The Eart is probably cool, but at $369, you could buy two HB's for that ...
The stainless frets are probably cool , but I have no problem with the standard nickel silver stuff.

The dressed fret ends are probably waay cool .. unless they are a bit shy of the fret board edge (?) where a sting might get trapped (???) Some reviewer guy cited that, But I really don't bend that tuff

The HB caramelized (roasted/ torrified) neck has well finished fret ends. Way less to no fret sprout compared to my Fender Am Pro Jaguar (rosewood fretboard contracts in the dry winters in the Mid-Western US)

How bizarre are things getting , when $400 is not the lowest priced quality cheapie guitar one can buy ...
 
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cooltouch

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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.
 

StudentGuy

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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.

Check out the Harley Benton TE 52... or TE 62

I never had a maple neck before buying this beast ... Always rosewood, (or now Pau Ferro/ Laurel/ Ebony )

But "signature" classic Teles ... have maple fretboards.

Now, that is the cool thing on the HB 52. The neck/ fretboard is "caramelized " with is another way of saying roasted/ torrified.

As such ... requires no finish. But it is satiny smooth on the back side
When Warmoth sells a roasted neck, they say that is the only type that does not require a finish to keep its warranty.

I like the roasted ,because its less likely to shrink in the dry Mid Western winters where I live. It also has well finished frets, no jaggies to slice your fingers ...

Cool Tele type pick ups .. Did I say Heavy ? Yeah

Did I say 13.7" radius ? Yeah. Not skinny neck, but not chunky.

All for $220 delivered in 5 days (counting the weekend ... From Germany
 
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howardlo

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@cooltouch, the SE stands for special edition. They only came in the starter packs that included the guitar, a small amp, a cord and I believe maybe a strap and were boxed as a package.
Those SE Strat starter packs haven’t been made for the past ten years or so.
 

cooltouch

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Well, I'm close to pulling the trigger on an Affinity for the price that some folks are asking for a loaded body -- $139. It has a maple fingerboard, but I plan to replace the neck with one made by Warmoth anyway. The Warmoth neck, configured the way I like it, will cost me $209. The GF pickups I'll probably replace the stock ceramics with will set me back another $61. And I'll probably have to replace the pots -- less than $10 for the pair. So that comes up to a grand total of $419, not including shipping and tax, of course. Quite a bit cheaper than a new CV, but I'll wind up with a guitar that will most likely be a lot more fun for me to play.

This particular guitar has that butterscotch finish, which doesn't do much for me. And it's not a recent enough model where it has the contour cut. But fortunately, I have a plethora of woodworking tools, cuz I build guitars (classicals). These include shaping files and rasps, as well as a random orbital sander. So I plan to sand off the finish and cut the back contour, as well as a top contour, like you find on Strats. I haven't decided on a color yet. Might be a clear finish, depending on how the wood looks, otherwise, I'll choose something opaque, probably a metallic finish.
 

bgmacaw

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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 .

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.
 

StudentGuy

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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.
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 ...
 

cooltouch

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OK, I went ahead and ordered that $139 Affinity. Found it at a San Francisco Guitar Center. I've bought used stuff from GC before, and have had good luck with it. They do a good job of packing their gear for shipping. One thing I like about GC's website is they have a lot of used items and often there are some really good deals to be found with their used gear.
 

Doc Smotpoker

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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?
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.

What fell into my lap was a 60th Anniversary Nashville Deluxe Telecaster. They didn’t even have a picture of it up yet on the site, but I called to ask about it, got the details, and the dude said, “Oh, and by the way, it’s the 60th Anniversary edition with a badge on the back of the headstock…” I asked him to send me some pics real quick, he obliged, and I told him consider it sold. I bought it right then and there, and it’s a beauty. The best neck on a Tele I’ve ever played, and according to my guitar tech who is in his 70's, and loves his Tele’s it is by far the best neck he has ever played.

But back to the Affinity vs Classic Vibe, it’s Classic Vibe all day, every day over an Affinity model, and I mean that across the board. The CV has the split tuners which are way cool, and help keep it locked down and in tune. To me it’s like asking would you like a Lincoln or a Ford LTD. The CV is a much better bang for the buck. I guess the bottom line to what I’m trying to say, it make sure you get what you want, you never know what may fall into your lap, and take the CV over an Affinity model any day of the week. It’s just a superior series. Period. Hope this helps. A little patience when hunting, can yield great results.
 

cooltouch

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Hey Doc, well it's a moot point now, since I've ordered an Affinity. But for what I have planned, I still think the Affinity is the way to go. I basically wanted the body with pickguard, bridge plate, neck plate and screws, and possibly the tuners. I plan to replace everything else. I've already chosen the neck and pickups I want, and I'll be replacing the pots as well. I'll probably keep the pickup selector switch and the output (input?) jack.

I'll keep y'all updated with my Tele's conversion process.
 

JL_LI

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There are product managers who decide the specifications of each guitar in a line. It’s a marketing rather than a technical position. Become the product manager snd you still can’t specify anything you want because products are marketed to a price point these days and products in a product line have to complement each other without any more overlap than branding requires.

But there is an alternative. Fender has a custom shop where you can specify the guitar of your dreams as long as you can pay for it. But alas, most of the CS guitars hanging stores were specified by a product manager. There’s no getting away from it.

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.
 

cooltouch

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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.

You've pretty much nailed it, but I do think that a judicious selection of parts can increase the value of the guitar, although not perhaps to the level of investment. Let's take this Tele Affinity I've just ordered as an example, including what I paid for it and forecasting what I plan to do with it. With tax and shipping, the guitar cost me $174. The neck will cost me $209 plus tax and shipping -- say $225 as a guess. The pickups will cost me $61 -- say $75, including tax and shipping. I'll probably have to replace the pots too, so that's probably another $15 with tax and shipping. So that's $489. Right at the price of a CV. But I don't want a CV. Plus, I'll be contouring the body as if it were a Strat, with both the top and back contours, and repainting it. What's my time worth? As a guitar builder, I set it at $25 an hour, and my guitars ended up being priced between $2000 and $2500. So, let's figure a paltry low value of my labor at $25 an hour. It'll probably take 4 or 5 hours to do the contours and paint it -- call it 4, so we can add another$100 to the total -- brings it up to $589.

I'll be much happier with the guitar I will put together. The Alnico pickups are slightly warmer than stock. Warmoth can put together exactly the neck I want, which you can't get on a Tele or Strat of any model. And it will have the contours and paint scheme I want. Once completed, I will have no plans to sell it . . . ever. So, the ultimate price really does not matter to me. What counts is how much I will like it. And I suspect I will like it much more than any Tele that Fender makes.
 




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