I have been playing guitar for a year or two and let me just state this very clearly, I am terrible. My poor ability to play however, has not held me back from buying a new electric guitar. I have an acoustic guitar that I enjoy tormenting the cats and my wife with, but to really drive them over the edge you need an amplifier and some distortion.
I have been looking at guitars in the 300 to 500 dollar range for a few months now and did not want to buy anything made in China. Hey I know the political prisoners need something to do to pass the time, but making my guitar shouldn't be one of them. I have always liked the heavy crunch and thick sound of a Les Paul and found several knock offs that are made well and sound good, namely the Tradition and ESP but I have always had a soft spot for the Telecaster. After looking at a bunch of shiny new guitars, I could not decide on one particular axe so I kept looking.
There are two good music shops in our area, Woodland Music and Guitar and Watermelon Music in Davis. I have spent hours at each looking, playing and asking about six hundred stupid questions before I narrowed down my choices to one type of guitar and two manufactures.
After sitting in at a free guitar tone clinic at Watermelon Music one night, listening and learning about various guitar types and styles I decided I would purchase a Telecaster. The question was which one, Fender or G&L? Fender makes about 50 models from their Squire - Chinese Tele for under $200 to a Jeff Beck Tele for over $10, 000. My choices were between the Standard Telecaster, made in Mexico for about $400 and the Special Edition- Light Ash Telecaster for over $600. On the G&L side the choices were between the Tribute series ASAT, made overseas with all American parts for about $450 and the American made ASAT for just over $900
I liked the G&Ls and was very close to ordering a Tribute Classic when I stopped by Watermelon again and started looking the Fenders they had in stock. My taste in colors is not very exotic, I like black Guitars with very few frills and accouterments. While I was looking at G&Ls, I saw a Fender Light Ash Tele in black with a birdseye maple neck for $600. This was just over the amount of money I had decided to spend, but dang it was a nice guitar. I played it, I had my son play it, and asked more dumb questions before the person helping me said that that guitar had been in stock for about a year and they would really like to sell it, he said he would make me great deal on it.
I went home and looked it up on Musician's Friend and found it selling for $629. Needless to say when you can beat the online price by over $100, that is a good deal. I had the guys in the guitar shop put a set of DL Pure Blues strings on it and set the action before I picked it up. Here it is.I like shopping local when ever I can, sometimes the store has what you are looking for, sometimes they don't. I would recommend both Woodland Music and Watermelon Music. The owner of Woodland Music is an encyclopedia of Guitar knowledge and the young guys who work there are players and love to talk about gear. Watermelon Music has more than just guitars, from drums to violins to keyboards, the sell it, fix it and will teach you to play it. They also hold guitar clinics and other cool events.
I am now the proud owner of a great guitar that will last me a lifetime.
Gotta go, its time to make the cats run for cover.