1990 Fender American Telecaster - Made in USA
Ships with and includes:
I purchased this Telecaster used for $480 from E.M. Shorts Guitars in Wichita, KS in October, 1999. I would estimate that I've put about 20 hours of light playing time on this guitar since I've owned it. Any significant wear on the instrument was done by the previous owner. It has spent most of its life (with me) in the case or briefly on a stand in my bedroom office. I've never gigged it, though I have taken it to band practice once or twice. My lack of playing it doesn't mean I don't love it -- shortly after purchasing the Tele, I ended up as the bass player in a cover band and I subsequently didn't (and still don't) have the chance to play much guitar.
This guitar is what I would consider a great sounding, great playing axe. (IMHO, good looking too.) The neck is straight and the frets (standard Fender "medium-jumbo"-type of the era) are excellent as well. Depending on your playing preferences, it might take years before you need a fret dressing. For me, its nowhere near needing a dress -- there is a lot of fret life left. The guitar plays well with no weird buzzes, dead spots, fret-outs, etc. I've got it set up at a medium-low height with .010-.046 and it performs nicely there. I have to claim ignorance on Fender neck shapes. I have medium-sized hands and the neck fits me about right. Not too fat, and definitely not too small or skinny either (unless you have enormous hands.) IIRC, this shape is comparable to the necks on American Strats of the same time period that I have played. The neck definitely has a thicker and rounder profile than my '87 Japanese Strat, if that info. helps anybody. It is perhaps slightly less round and broader feeling than my Explorer. The neck and fingerboard wood has some pretty markings (can't really call it figuring) here and there and the finish has a slight yellowed/aged tint. Pretty much your standard Fender maple neck. Judging by the weight and sound, I'm pretty sure the body is Alder.
Cosmetically, she's in good shape -- and she polishes up nicely. See the pics below. The chrome is bright and shiny. The color is yellow -- standard poly finish. As you'll see in the pics, the appearance of the paint varies tremendously depending on the lighting conditions. It goes anywhere from a mustard or butterscotch color in low light to blonde or cream color in bright light. Generally, it's probably safe to just call it yellow. There is some fading/finish wear (discoloration) on the back particularly, and a tiny bit on the front. It is particularly noticeable where hands or clothes might come in contact with the body (e.g. the cutaways, the edges, the center of the back.) Speaking of the back, it is conspicuously free of "worming" from belt buckling, though there are scratches and wear on the back from use.
In the middle of the pics section, you'll see the only notable problems with the finish. I tried to pick up as much detail as possible in the photos so you'll know what you're bidding on. There is "scarring" on either side of the bottom strap pin that looks like the result of the previous owner setting the guitar in a very unfriendly guitar stand. I am still trying to figure out what caused this type of wear. There are several points where this scarring goes through to the wood, and the finish isn't the most attractive where these defects are. However, it's not as bad as it looks. As you can see from the majority of the other pics, you can't even see the scars from the front or back when the guitar is sitting up. Perhaps I am used to it by now, but I don't think it looks as bad as the photos portray. Note that there is more wear on the bottom edges of the rear than on the top edges. If you need more info on this, I may be able to snap a better picture to put these marks in context with the rest of the guitar.
Not including the finish defect described in the previous paragraph, I count about 8 nicks where the paint is chipped down to the wood. Most of these are on the edges of the instrument and are visible in the pics. The largest one is about 3/8" x 1/4" on the lower bout where the forearm rests. The rest are between 1/8" and 1/4" in diameter. Other than that, I would say this Tele has the finish wear (surface scratches, wear fades, etc.) one might expect from a moderately gigged 15-year-old guitar.
Sound quality: No real surprises here -- sounds like a Tele. The bridge pickup is hot and fairly bright -- nice single-coil tone. The middle position has the characteristic country "spank" (the maple fretboard helps), and the neck pickup is mellow and bluesy. I am a classic rocker so I've focused on using the bridge pickup primarily and the neck pickup a little less. I know it's probably Telecaster blasphemy but I haven't used the middle position much. The bridge pickup alone offers an excellent, hot signal for distortion work. Compared to the same position on a Strat, the output is higher and is more even (in the bass and low-midrange.) Run this through a Rat or Tubescreamer into the front of a tube amp and you will be very happy. The TBX tone control is a nice addition, allowing more versatile bass/treble control over a standard pot. I think this is most useful in a lead situation -- bumping the pot over the center notch to enhance the treble response so as to stand out over the rest of the band.
A little more on sound: Shortly after I got this guitar, my friend Luke invited me to have a "Tele shoot-out" against his USA G&L ASAT. Though he's a good guy, he's a bit of a guitar snob. He also smokes me when it comes to playing speed and agility. I think he was convinced that no ~$500 Fender was going to come near a $1000+ G&L ASAT. Well, we took turns playing each guitar through my Fender SS combo and his Marshall tube combo. IIRC, his was strung with Elixir .011-.049, mine was strung with GHS Boomers .010-.046 (which could account for some differences.) He's the country picker and rockabilly fan so he played some fast licks in those styles using the clean amp channels. (He was doing his best to show off.) I plodded along in my slow, hammer-handed way with the distorted classic rock riffs and leads. (I don't think I'm capable of showing off!) After about 20 minutes of jamming and swapping, he got a puzzled look on his face and stopped playing. He said, "How come yours sounds so much better than mine?" He observed that the bass response and pickup output for my Tele was superior in all switch positions compared with his ASAT. He thought the top-end was slightly brighter than his ASAT, and the distorted tone was much better. He liked the weight of my Tele and the corresponding sustain, but noted that the neck was not as fast as his ASAT. He also didn't like the color. I had similar observations to his. I thought the fit and finish of the ASAT was more detailed and refined, but I definitely would have picked this yellow Tele as the better sounding guitar in a blind test.
Okay, okay...I know -- enough with the Musician's Friend catalog-style (but true) review story. I ain't claiming this is some holy grail of Telecaster tone. I'm also not claiming that this guitar is wholly comparable to an USA ASAT guitar, either. However, this is a good, solid, American-made instrument and it will provide the winning bidder with years of service.
The guitar ships in the original Fender hardshell case. The case is clean and in great shape. There is a minor dent on the "bottom" valence near one of the hinges (see photo), and that hinge has been riveted so as to hold the hinge in place more securely. The dent/rivet situation does not compromise the case integrity nor does it cause closure problems in any way.
Serial number: You Fender serial decoders may take issue with a "N9XXXXX" code matching a 1990 model. Here's what Fender's website says: "With 1990 came the introduction of the "N" prefix serial numbers, which stood for the 1990s. The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990. As a result, you will see some 1990 guitars bearing N9 serial numbers." This is a 1990 guitar. To add to the confusion, the purchase receipt image at the bottom of this auction is incorrect as far as the instrument date shown on the line item goes (it says "'91"). The salesperson at E.M. Shorts identified it as a '90 and I think that whoever printed up the invoice read the N91XXXX and thought it meant 1991. Note that the serial number shown in the pictures matches the one on the receipt.
Please review the photos below carefully and contact me if you have any questions. There is some flash and/or sunlight glare in several of the pictures -- sorry about that. If there is any question about whether a "feature" of the picture is a reflection or an actual defect, let me know.
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The guitar will be well-packed and shipped (in its case, of course) inside a guitar shipping carton. I always add extra protection around the body and especially around the neck to make sure that nothing will happen in transit. The strings will be evenly slackened with a minor amount of tension left on. (Per the advice of my luthier, I have shipped several guitars this way without incident.)
Why am I selling? Well, mostly financial and time considerations. I don't have much time to play guitar anymore. When I do play out, it is only on bass and even that doesn't happen very often. Still, I hate to sell this guitar...but it deserves to be played!
Anyway, my loss is your gain. At $1 starting and NO RESERVE, you can't go wrong! If spending $920+ on a new USA Telecaster doesn't appeal to you or you don't like the idea of a less expensive but foreign-made Standard or Squier, this may be the ideal guitar for you. Regardless of whether you are a country, rockabilly, rock, punk, or blues player, this instrument will make an excellent addition to your collection.
Thanks for looking! If you have any questions, please drop me a line. Also, please read the Terms, Shipping, Contact, Feedback section below before you bid. Some of it sounds serious, but it's just the usual stuff including some specific info relevant to this auction.
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