"Squire?! Hell yes, Squire! They did it!"
This reviewer purchased this item from Same Day Music.
Three-way selector switch gives fatter and sharper tones passably, the sharp being by far the best. Plays very well through a Marshall in clear or distorted settings. Surprisingly bright sounds through distortion with its single coils. While real Fender strats have better tone range and superior fat, clean tones, this Tele Affinity doesn't drop the ball piercing the distortion and delivering an articulate sound, comparable to any good strat I've played. Volume and single tone knob nothing to pay attention to anyway, though the tone knob has some limited effect. Mess with new pickups if you want to get wild, but the body is well-crafted enough to make it worthwhile. In the final analysis, one gets the ringing Tele sound, and I am not disappointed when I plug in and turn it up.
"Features" is always a tricky category. With this Affinity Telecaster, set the tone knob to full, click the selector switch down to bright, let the amp and pedals do the work, and just play. Locking tremolo set-ups and whammy bars are enticing, and I have them on some of my guitars, but few people truly need them, and fewer people know how to effectively employ them, and I'm no great exception. Buy a cheap guitar, you'll get a cheap tremolo--keep it in mind, no matter how cool it looks. My friend of 20 years is a professional pianist and guitarist of virtuoso ability. He plays the classical composers for fun, and can play rock from Zappa to King Crimson in his sleep. I've never seen him use a whammy bar. A string through body and a static bridge gets you farther in my opinion.
Ease of Use:
Piece of cake to play however you're positioned. Light enough for younger players but not child-sized. All-important low action on the strings, quick neck, holds its tune--a great rhythm guitar, however you're forming or picking the chords/notes, particularly for the player starting out or for the intermediate player. An old hat like me, 25 years of playing and composing daily, finds this model nothing but fun. Plug it into a decent amp, which you should be able to afford given the Affinity's low price.
The maple neck is not glossed, but I've found just how wonderfully refreshing that is, the natural wood feel, that nonetheless slides perfectly smoothly. Equally, the maple fretboard feels and operates nicely as a modestly polished wood. No junk fret placement or tuning pegs, and solidly assigned neck and silver hardware to the body, which is lighter than a standard telecaster but not insubstantial to hold, and the whole thing is set off by a brilliant butterscotch gloss, revealing an alder wood grain underneath, complimented by an understated black pick guard, well attached. Attentively made all around!
I have not had to contact Same Day Music on the condition of any instrument I ordered from them, and I've ordered quite a few (all arrived in excellent shape). I once had to cancel an on-line order, and the customer service representative was extremely helpful. I re-ordered my instrument on-line the next week and got it in two days. So, based on my past experience, good work, Same Day Music. They always deliver spot on.
Had you offered me an instrument by Squire for free last week, I wouldn't have bothered. Squire has traditionally been the low end of the low end of Fender products. I won't now try to convince anyone Squires match up with high end American strats, Gibsons, or the like. But when I was a kid, any guitar under $200 had strings three inches off the fret board and strayed to a tuning that defied the laws governing sonic principle. Not so with the Squire Affinity Telecaster model. A light bodied guitar, well constructed, and should remain solid over time. It is minimalist, but not trash. Has anyone picked up one of the $1200 Rickenbacker's lately? Feels like a piece of K-Mart plastic. I swear, I'd take the Tele Affinity for $179. They aren't Lennon's Ricks anymore.
The Wow Factor:
The guitar is quite pleasing to look at and this model's aesthetic scheme has quickly endeared itself to me. I have always thought Telecasters were the most butt-ugly design ever come up with. As a professional illustrator, it offended every sense of line, proportion, and use of space I've held to. But the silver hardware and black guard set against the immaculate butterscotch and natural wood work in concert to make the design pop. It overcomes itself and draws you to play it. It's a sharp little machine that will catch some eyes. The instrument looks like something snatched out of Keith Richards' hands.
I own guitars and bases by Charvel, Fender, ESP, BC Rich, Ovation, Jackson, Epiphone, Hofner, and Takamine. I stumbled into a music store and for fun played 3 Telecaster models: The low-end Tele Affinity, the $500 Tele, and the high end Tele model. You can feel the quality difference in the higher grade instruments--and yet, I was drawn back to the Tele Affinity by Squire. Fooling around with it for a while, I fell for it in a way the other models, no doubt a cut above, did not engender. Don't expect this guitar model to be in Eddie Van Halen's closet, and don't imagine it will make you Mr. Van Halen. But it's a steal for its price range, and an enjoyable addition to any collection, one I wouldn't feel self-conscious to play, or feel limited by what it offers. Take a chance. A disbeliever is glad he did.