American Standard Telecaster
Fender Tele with Alnico V Pickups
The American Standard Telecaster is the simplest and most straight-forward of Fender’s American-made Telecasters available.
It’s also the heart of the Telecaster line -- and the first model serious players who want American-made quality should consider.
While less expensive Mexican-made Telecasters are still great, reliable instruments backed by Fender warranties, there’s an unmistakable difference in quality between Teles made in Mexico and ones made in the United States.
The two plants aren’t very far apart, but there’s a world of difference between them.
It sounds silly or cliché, but Fender readily admits there’s a quality difference worth paying for.
While the Mexican plant on Baja California employs lower-paid workers and uses lesser quality finishes, woods, hardware and electronics, Fender uses its best materials at its Corona, California plant.
Available from online retailers starting at around $1,000, the Fender American Standard Telecaster is your best option if you want an electric guitar with the authentic Tele vibe.
Improved in recent years, an American Standard Tele is a good compromise for players who want better quality than the Mexican plant offers but can’t afford or don’t want the extra features of the Deluxe series.
Featuring ash or alder bodies for great resonance and tone, American Standard series instruments have modern C-shaped maple necks with rolled edges and easily visible frets that make playing easier.
Staggered tuning machines eliminate the need for string trees and a detailed nut reduces rattle and improves tuning stability.
Improvements include new bridges, better neck and body finish choices and even a newly molded, high-tech case.
Alnico V pickups are still featured.
You may not think something as minor as the neck finish can make a difference, but reviewers say it does -- at least as far as looks are concerned.
And let’s face it, looks are important with an instrument like the American Standard Tele that’s intended to go on stage with professional performers.
Previously, the neck was completely finished in satin so the back of the neck would have the expected feel.
Now, the back is still satin-finished, but the front has a richer color and a gloss finish on the fretboard to make it look better.
Little details like that are what separate good quality Mexican Telecasters from even-better models made in the United States.
Sure, you’ll pay more for an American Standard Tele than for a Mexican one, but you’re getting more attention to detail.
For many electric guitar players, that’s something worth paying for.
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