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

cooltouch

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OK, the Affinity I bought for $139 arrived today. So far, all I've done to it is tune it up and play on it for a bit. The action is all wonky and it has two B strings instead of a B and E, so I'm gonna put a new set of strings on it forthwith. Then I get to set the action.

Here's a pic of the guitar:
squier tele affinity 1a.jpg


It's actually pretty clean, except for the scrawled signatures across the top They seem to have penetrated the surface's finish, so they won't be coming out easily. Doesn't really matter to me because I'll be repainting the guitar anyway.

But first I wanted to comment on the guitar as it sits right now. First off, I didn't think I'd like the neck because maple fingerboards often feel sticky when I play on them -- unless they have a matte finish, which this one does. So no stickiness. That's a big plus. Next, the pickups -- the bridge pickup actually sounds quite good. It has the typical Tele bite. But the neck pickup is a bit soft. There is a noticeable volume difference between the two. This doesn't happen with my other Squier Tele. I also immediately noticed this Tele is thinner than my other -- like with Strats, the difference in thickness between the Bullet and the rest of the Squiers -- the Bullet being thinner. Anyway, I was puzzled by the thinness because I thought that the Affinity had the standard body thickness. One question that immediately rose from this was, just what model do I have that I built my baritone from? I bought the loaded body about 8 years ago, and as I dimly recall, the seller claimed it was new. So, it's whatever a full-thickness Squier would have been 8 years ago . . . I guess.

So, given I actually don't not like the neck and I find the pickups to be okay, I may just slow my roll a bit and enjoy this little gem for what it is -- a cheap, but enjoyable guitar.
 

Doc Smotpoker

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OK, the Affinity I bought for $139 arrived today. So far, all I've done to it is tune it up and play on it for a bit. The action is all wonky and it has two B strings instead of a B and E, so I'm gonna put a new set of strings on it forthwith. Then I get to set the action.

Here's a pic of the guitar:
View attachment 979996

It's actually pretty clean, except for the scrawled signatures across the top They seem to have penetrated the surface's finish, so they won't be coming out easily. Doesn't really matter to me because I'll be repainting the guitar anyway.

But first I wanted to comment on the guitar as it sits right now. First off, I didn't think I'd like the neck because maple fingerboards often feel sticky when I play on them -- unless they have a matte finish, which this one does. So no stickiness. That's a big plus. Next, the pickups -- the bridge pickup actually sounds quite good. It has the typical Tele bite. But the neck pickup is a bit soft. There is a noticeable volume difference between the two. This doesn't happen with my other Squier Tele. I also immediately noticed this Tele is thinner than my other -- like with Strats, the difference in thickness between the Bullet and the rest of the Squiers -- the Bullet being thinner. Anyway, I was puzzled by the thinness because I thought that the Affinity had the standard body thickness. One question that immediately rose from this was, just what model do I have that I built my baritone from? I bought the loaded body about 8 years ago, and as I dimly recall, the seller claimed it was new. So, it's whatever a full-thickness Squier would have been 8 years ago . . . I guess.

So, given I actually don't not like the neck and I find the pickups to be okay, I may just slow my roll a bit and enjoy this little gem for what it is -- a cheap, but enjoyable guitar.

Seems to have all worked out for you then. It sounds as if you have the knowledge, and skills to change the neck pup if you please, and I would hazard a guess that a look at the pots, and wiring would allow for you to correct the sound drop on the neck pickup if you were to keep that one.
 

cooltouch

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Hey Doc, I noticed that the neck pickup was sitting a little lower than the bridge pickup, so I raised the neck pickup until it was the same height as the bridge one. That took care of the volume difference. It also seems to have improved the overall resonance of the neck pickup as well.

I've had a few days to spend with this guitar. It took me a while to get the action dialed in to the way I like it, and it's taken me longer to get used to the subtleties of the neck, but now that I've gotten used to the guitar, I find I quite like it. It's comfortable to play, for one thing, and that actually makes a big difference to me. See, I play best when I have a comfortable place to locate my right hand. And one thing I like about this generation of Squiers (and the American Standard Strat I own) is the flat-topped saddles. I can comfortably rest my right hand on top of these saddles, which amount to a quite broad and smooth surface. Contrasting this to the typical Gibson arrangement, where you have the Tune-o-Matic bridge and tailpiece -- the Gibson is all sort of sharp and spikey. It's definitely not as comfortable so it takes more work on my part to play a Gibson as well.

So far, I also like the sound of the stock pickups, although I freely admit they may not last. The only drawback I'm finding is the bridge pickup is extremely noisy. The neck pickup generates some noise, but not nearly as much. The bridge pickup is so noisy, in fact, that I can't record with it -- at least with the noise gates I've tried so far. I'm gonna look into shielding the pickup compartments to see if that might tame the noise somewhat.
 

bgmacaw

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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.

Pricey.

My current build is at $135 right now, including body, neck, pickups, electronics and hardware. The hardware and electronics I've had on hand for over 5 years so I'm depreciating it out. It will probably require another $50 in paint and other misc stuff. I could have gone cheaper if I hadn't bought pickups but used ones I had.
 

cooltouch

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bgmacaw, you're fortunate because you have a sizeable stash of parts. I don't -- I have to order the components for any mod I want to do. Now, if my goal was to build an acoustic, that would be totally different. I've got stacks and stacks of wood for acoustics, I've got rolls of fret wire and lots of material for nuts and saddles -- and I even have a couple of sets of tuners lying around. So really all it would cost me to build an acoustic would be fresh glue -- cuz you don't want to use the old stuff when you're building acoustics -- and strings.
But I'm modding an electric and I don't have any spares that I'd want to use (just take-offs from earlier mods), so I have to buy everything. So it goes.
 

bgmacaw

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bgmacaw, you're fortunate because you have a sizeable stash of parts.

The problem is remembering what I have. I was just about to order a set of 3x3 tuners and a wrap around bridge for the new project when I remembered I had both that I had bought for a project probably 15 years ago.
 

Doc Smotpoker

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Hey Doc, I noticed that the neck pickup was sitting a little lower than the bridge pickup, so I raised the neck pickup until it was the same height as the bridge one. That took care of the volume difference. It also seems to have improved the overall resonance of the neck pickup as well.

I've had a few days to spend with this guitar. It took me a while to get the action dialed in to the way I like it, and it's taken me longer to get used to the subtleties of the neck, but now that I've gotten used to the guitar, I find I quite like it. It's comfortable to play, for one thing, and that actually makes a big difference to me. See, I play best when I have a comfortable place to locate my right hand. And one thing I like about this generation of Squiers (and the American Standard Strat I own) is the flat-topped saddles. I can comfortably rest my right hand on top of these saddles, which amount to a quite broad and smooth surface. Contrasting this to the typical Gibson arrangement, where you have the Tune-o-Matic bridge and tailpiece -- the Gibson is all sort of sharp and spikey. It's definitely not as comfortable so it takes more work on my part to play a Gibson as well.

So far, I also like the sound of the stock pickups, although I freely admit they may not last. The only drawback I'm finding is the bridge pickup is extremely noisy. The neck pickup generates some noise, but not nearly as much. The bridge pickup is so noisy, in fact, that I can't record with it -- at least with the noise gates I've tried so far. I'm gonna look into shielding the pickup compartments to see if that might
Checking out for shielding was going to be my exact recommendation.
 

cooltouch

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I have a Strat Bullet with a rosewood fingerboard and I quite like it.

I need to update my earlier comments about my Tele being so noisy I can't record with it. I did some more investigating and I found the culprit. It was my amp's level. I have a Marshall DSL40cr with an emulated out, instead of a true line out, and I was running my marshall into my audio interface. Well, turns out, I had the amp cranked up really loud, although the audio interface was handling the volume with no difficulty. But what it couldn't handle was the noise the amp was generating at that high volume. So once I found this out, I reduced the amp's volume to a more sensible value and -- problem solved! My Tele is no longer unusably noisy. Just moderately noisy, as you might suspect. Still, I'm gonna shield the pickup and control cavities anyway.
 

Happy Enchilada

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Build a partscaster to your specs for around the same price as a classic vibe?
+1 for the partscaster!
Ebay is chockablock full of good bodies (I have used a couple with no problems). Lots of color choices, etc.
Get the neck you want, and that alone should make it worth the effort.
Instead of replacing evil Asian pots, switch, tuners, etc., get GOOD PARTS to start with and save $$ and headaches.
Put a PureTone jack in with an Electrosocket (sold together for $12 @ Amazon).
Start out right with a GraphTech nut, and they also make saddles (even 3 barrels if that's your thing).
Bootstrap has great pickups made in a garage in Ohio for ridiculously cheap (lots of love from me and others).

I built Linda Lou following this formula and she's a peach.
Bootstrap P90 neck, Pretzel bridge.
Sperzel lockers.
And all the rest as per above.
For $523 in parts.

1653507491553.jpeg
 

cooltouch

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Thanks for the feedback, Happy. Sounds like you have a system dialed in that works for you. So do I, for the most part. That's a pretty Tele you have there.

With respect to this Tele, actually, it's ended up being a bit better in stock condition than I thought it would be, so I've elected to take my time with the upgrades. I've decided that the neck would be first on my list. I've had really good luck with Warmoth's necks on previous builds, so I've decided to stick with Warmoth, even though their necks aren't exactly inexpensive. One thing I really like about Warmoth is they offer a "SuperWide" neck with a 1-7/8" wide nut. I have one of these necks mounted on a Squier Strat, and I love it, so I've decided I'm gonna get another for this Tele.

I cranked my amp with my Tele the other day and I discovered the pickups are very microphonic. So even though they sound good I'm gonna replace them with pickups of a higher quality. I've never heard of Bootstrap -- perhaps I'll take a look. I've had good luck with pickups from Guitar Fetish in the past, so I've been thinking about a set from them.

With respect to hardware, like pots and switches, I've been buying them from two sources, primarily -- a local electronic supply house that carries good stuff, and StewMac, who also carries the name-brand stuff. I've found that even the good gear is cheap enough, so there's no reason to cheap out on pots, switches, and connecting hardware.
 

cooltouch

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Classic Vibe has a 7.25" radius fingerboard, which I hate! It has the three-piece bridge saddle arrangement, which I also hate. The only thing the Classic Vibe has going for it that I can think of is the pickups have alnico magnets. I can get a good set of alnico pickups for my Tele for about $60. So I'm $40 ahead of the game -- actually, more than that since I would have to replace the bridge and saddle assembly, and the neck, which absolutely erases any advantage a CV may have.
 

Deeve

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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.
That's the direction I'd go - possibly even to the EART (stainless steel fretted) tele inspirations.
If I was going to buy more tele, that's where I'd look.
Peace - Deeve
 

cooltouch

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I'm no expert but I think most if not all CV's are 9.5"
Is this a more recent development? Cuz I read somewhere -- might have been here -- that the radius was 7.25" If this is a more recent development, then it does get away from the "classic" theme somewhat, I'm thinking.
 

bls82261

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Is this a more recent development? Cuz I read somewhere -- might have been here -- that the radius was 7.25" If this is a more recent development, then it does get away from the "classic" theme somewhat, I'm thinking.


I'm not really sure but I think its been like that the whole time. I think the CV's are not meant to be exact reproductions but to give off a classic vibe with a few modern features.
 

Boreas

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I'm not really sure but I think its been like that the whole time. I think the CV's are not meant to be exact reproductions but to give off a classic vibe with a few modern features.

I believe it depends on the model. My recent CV 50s Esquire is 7.25" (Sweetwater). Could also depend on the seller. Some may order specific necks for their "specials".
 

The Angle

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Every spec sheet I've seen on 50s CVs says the neck radius is 9.5. Mine definitely is. The Esquire may be an exception. Some Vinteras have 7.25 necks. That's an uncommon feature anymore. I'd be surprised to find it on an introductory or student-level guitar like the Affinity.
 

gip111

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I'm in the minority here, I love my Affinity Tele. I have big hands, but my fingers are not fat, maybe that's why I gravitate to it so much. Nut width is 1 5/8 (1.625) inch. I put a graph-tech nut that spreads the strings out just enough were they don't fall off the side of the neck. Tried different pickups on it, even Fender ceramics but the originals to me sounded the best. Had a few different Teles over the years, from Fenders to even the Monoprice (heavy) the Affinity keep staying.
 




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