Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster
Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster

Road Worn '50s Telecaster, TLC-Shaped Guitar from Fender in the Road Worn Telecaster series.

MGR/DAEvo 09/27/2010

Fender Road Worn '50s Telecaster : MGR/DAEvo's user review

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Body: Ash, blonde finish with a thin coat of nitrocellulose lacquer that is worn in areas.

Neck: Maple, U-shaped, 7-1/4' radius, 25-1/2' scale length.

Pickups: Single coil Tex-Mex (2).

Hardware: All chrome, vintage-style tuners and bridge.

Strings: Came with Fender .10s, changed to DR .12s.

My Set-up: I use whatever small combo amp is handy with all knobs to 10 (except for the treble, which I back down a bit). I adjust the guitar to have the tone knob at 70% and the volume at 85%, giving me tons of headroom.

My profile: Eclectic guitarist from Southwestern Pennsylvania specializing in jazz, rockabilly, swing, classic country, alt-country, and punk/new wave.

This guitar was purchased for me as a gift from my girlfriend. Because it was a gift, I did not ask the purchase price, but I do remember it being listed at around $800.00 while I stared lovingly at it in the guitar shop.

List price is $1199.99 and most online retailers seem to offer about 25% off.

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First and foremost, the tone is killer. Through practically any amp I can replicate the exact range of sounds I need -- thick, jazzy chords to super-skinny twang. The combination of the ash body and the old-school lacquer really allow the tone of this guitar to shine.

Another pro is the hardware. This guitar stays in tune despite my best efforts to manhandle the strings into unhappy positions. The tone and volume pots are smooth and quiet, a real benefit for someone who makes constant adjustments during play.

My feelings about the 'road worn' aspect are mixed. While I love the way the tone and feel of the guitar are changed by distressing the instrument, I believe some of the dings and dents are simply cosmetic and add little more than an aesthetic.

The single coil pickups can be a bit tough to reign in, but that is to be expected from anything that is known to not 'buck the hum.'

This is a fantastic guitar. Well built, fine components, solid and sleek. As mentioned above, it stays in tune like a champ and I've had no issues with any of the hardware despite my near constant fiddling.

Certainly the quality may be diminished for those who dislike the road worn look. Many complaints are made -- both online and in local shops -- about why you 'don't buy shoes with holes in the sole' and other comparisons. My simple reply is that these holes add to the tone and playabilty -- more or less.

This is my new go-to guitar. Period. It feels great and it sounds even better. I am biased because it has sentimental value (it was a gift), but you can't argue with the tone.

Bottom Line: A solid addition to my collection and a new workhorse for gigging.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com