This conversation was originally published to my Twitter feed.
I picked up one of the new Fender Vintera ‘60s Modified Teles today. I don’t care that it’s made in Mexico. It’s a good guitar.
I grew up with Strats, and fell hard for Les Pauls about 7 years ago. Teles – I’ve never understood. Will this one finally change that?
When we were kids, Teles were the choice of kids who played rock-n-roll … Status Quo, stuff like that. They had fat necks and you could drive a bus underneath the strings – at least, that’s how I remember them!
The neck on this doesn’t feel fat to me – but my tastes in guitar necks have definitely shifted in the last 12 months. The action is higher than I’m comfortable with, but quite low for a Fender.
The main thing to talk about with this guitar is tone.
It’s got an unusual amount of low-end output for a Tele – more than the two USA Teles I’ve owned. Makes for a warm sound, yet not muddy at all.
There’s plenty of clarity and cut too, with good dynamics and good string separation. The attack has definition without sounding too sharp. Might be soft for a Tele? Not experienced enough to say.
I’m finding the bridge pickup a little weak compared to the neck pickup. In position 2 with the S1 switch on, that makes for a surprisingly good dirt rhythm tone. Huh. S1 switching not a gimmick for a change!
Let’s quickly compare them to the Twisted Tele pickups I have in my American Deluxe. (The Elite is the equivalent model in the current Fender lineup.) Two very different guitars with very different pickup sets.
The Twisted Tele pickups are designed to make a Tele sound more like a Strat. As a result, there’s less mid-range, and more presence to the tone. If a Tele could wear a tux, this one would.
By comparison, there’s a lot more mid-range and rawness to the Vintera (to my ears at least). And thump. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. There’s a weight to the notes that works well. If this one wears a suit, it’s with a cudgel in one hand 🙂
Right now, I think the pickups are excellent, and I can’t see me wanting to change them. They sound great on their own, and should provide a great complementary tone to my American Deluxe.
I’ve no idea if other examples will sound like this, or whether I got lucky with this one. It’s the only one they had. I’ve not been able to compare it to others. If what I’ve said piques your interest, make sure you try one before you buy.
With this, and the Fender Player series too, Mexican-made Fenders are well worth a look. They’re not the badly made, lifeless planks of wood that they once were. And they stand up well against USA-made Fenders.