Jumbo Sunshade - Blogpost

 
Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus
 

This Chinese-made Fender Tele will set you back $400 (January 2014).  It's considered a "budget"/"entry-level" guitar.  As far as entry-level guitars go, there are a LOT of guitars available

in the $300-and-below price range.  So what's to like about the Modern Player Plus?  Well, quite a bit actually...

First of all let me say that personally i would have no problem using this guitar as a 3rd or even 2nd guitar in any working band situation.  There are some modifications i would make before i would

want to use it as my main guitar, and i'll get into that later.
This Telecaster has a few key things going for it that make it a great guitar.

Price
You can always expect to pay more for a guitar that is name-branded, as this one is.  Cheaper Chinese-made Fender guitars are usually going to be branded Squire, not Fender.  You're also getting a three-pickup guitar with coil-splitting; and a great finish (solid wood body; not a veneer).
$400 will be outside the budget of many beginners, but it's certainly well within the budget (as a decent/cheap backup guitar) for most working musicians.

Playability
Since there is no top cutaway/horn on a Telecaster, they're always gonna be a bit unbalanced compared to a Stratocaster (when played standing up).  This pine body weighs in at 6 pounds before pickups and hardware, so that's not bad at all.
 

Unlike some Telecasters, the Modern Player Plus has a very deep

body bevel on the back; this makes a huge difference in terms of standing there playing an hour-long set (times three per night).
It's also gonna be that much more comfortable sitting on the couch noodling or practicing while watching TV on weeknights.


The neck on this guitar is more like a strat than a traditional tele, and so it's going to be easier and more comfortable for most people to play (especially less-experienced players).  In fact, depending on the model of strat you compare it to, this tele neck might be exactly the same.
C-shaped one-piece maple; 25.5" scale (42mm at the nut); 9.5" radius; 22 jumbo frets
 
Versatility
Many people see a Telecaster and immediately think it's gonna sound twangy, and as much as that has to do with the pickups it's also a matter of how you play and what you're playing through.  For most of whatever material you're playing, this tele has you covered.
Humbucker at the bridge, a standard strat pickup in the middle, and a tele pickup at the
neck.  With the mini toggle you can switch from humbucker to split/single at the bridge.
One thing you obviously can't get with this pickup set is any kindof traditional jazzy neck/humbucker tones.

 

MORE SPECS
Weight: about 14 pounds.

Neck is 1-piece maple with maple fretboard and single stripe on the back.  Synthetic bone nut.  Gloss polyester finish, front and back (aka heavily lacquered).
Fender lists this guitar as having jumbo frets, but many reviewers have stated that the frets are in fact medium-jumbo.  I missed out on my chance to get my hands on this guitar for review but i can tell you that with my Fender-made Jackson, the official spec is "jumbo" but they're definitely medium-jumbo frets.

Tuning gears are budget vintage style.  I don't know the ratio; it's not even listed on Fender's website.

Modern Player Telecaster Plus body is pine and comes in two finishes: Charcoal Transparent and Honey Burst.  As for what difference in tone this pine body makes versus say, alder or basswood?...ask ten different players and you'll get five different answers.

Pickups and Switching:
1 Volume, 1 Tone
All pickups are "Modern Player".  Middle is MP Stratocaster and neck is MP Telecaster.  There are no specs on the Fender site but at this price range on this guitar i can assure you that it's your standard Chinese-made low-budget fare.
Since the bridge/humbucker is split-able via mini-toggle, this guitar gives you a total of 7 different possible combinations.
5-way blade switch gives you:
A. bridge
B. bridge + middle
C. middle
D. middle + neck
E. neck
 

Bridge on this MP Telecaster is actually a Stratocaster hard tail.

That means it's bolted to the top with ferrules in the back (string-thru body).  It's comfortable; you get better tone and sustain this way (imo); and you get better intonation adjustment with six saddles than with those Telecaster

t-bars that you normally see on the more traditional teles.

 

WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE
Yes this guitar is badged "Fender"; not "Squire.  But it's still Chinese-made and so at $400 the Modern Player Telecaster Plus should come with either a cheap hardshell case or at the very least a gig bag in my opinion.

The heavily lacquered neck is pretty much the main thing mentioned as a complaint in all the reviews i've seen.  Definitely some people like the lacquer, but the trend toward satin finished necks (or completely UNfinished) has been going on since the late 80's; and i think it's completely safe to assume that most people who are gonna buy a tele such as this with the C-shaped neck and humbucker at the bridge would not be wanting the lacquered neck.

In many of the youtube videos featuring this guitar (even some of the pro vids), there is a terrible hum/noise coming from these pickups.  Definitely with distortion, but in some cases

even just straight from guitar to amp on clean setting.  This may just be the amp/pedals or venue-specific wiring (overhead lights) etc.  But i have to say that in my experience, ALL of the Chinese-made budget pickups either sound bad or are somewhat noisy (or both).

 

CONCLUSION
I really like this guitar alot and as i said above i'm sure it would make a great backup guitar in a working band.  Personally, if i were to ever use this MP Tele Plus as my main guitar i would need to do the following:
* Replace the budget tuners with ones that i could trust to stay in tune all night.
* Sand the finish completely off the back of the neck and possibly also buff out the fretboard depending on actual fret height.
* Replace the bridge and neck pickups with something decent (DiMarzio or Duncan).
* Rewire position 2 of the switch to give me bridge+neck pickup combination.

$400 is a fair price for this guitar and i'm sure any student/beginner would be very happy with the way it sounds and plays.

 

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