Fender Affinity Telecaster Review | Good for Beginners?

Popularized by Fender and made affordable by Squier, the Affinity Telecaster is an excellent option for any beginner guitarist looking for a new electric guitar. In this Affinity Telecaster review, I want to dive into exactly what makes this guitar good and what you’ll be giving up for such a good price.

As I mentioned in my earlier Affinity Stratocaster review, the Squier family of electric guitars was bought by Fender in 1965. By producing the Affinity series of guitars in Asia and using more efficient materials, Squier has managed to make the Fender Telecaster – one of Fender’s most popular models – affordable for most anybody interested in buying a new beginner guitar.

Squier Affinity Telecaster Review

The Affinity Telecaster, like the Strat, is made with an Alder body and a maple neck. One of the few differences in materials between the two is the use of maple for the fretboard on the Telecaster instead of rosewood.

A Squier Affinity Telecaster review closeup

The Affinity Telecaster is equipped with two vintage-style single coil pickups that are located at the neck and near the bridge as well as a three way selector switch. All of this is controlled by two knobs for volume and tone.

Overall it is a very simple, very sturdy setup for an electric guitar that has proven effective and long-lasting for many guitarists.

Affinity Telecaster Review: Sound

In my opinion, the Telecaster is a finesse guitar. It’s not meant to play heavy metal or hard rock. For this reason, when I hear people complain to me about buzz on the Tele I’m not shocked when I learn that they were beating the hell out of it.

It’s also not fair to review the sound of the Squier Affinity Telecaster when run through the cheap amp that comes with the starter pack. When playing it through a quality sound system the Tele responds well with a crisp, bright sound that it is known for.

That said, how the Affinity Telecaster comes setup has not impressed me. The action is unpredictable which can be one reason why some people hear a buzz. The natural tone of the guitar isn’t incredible.  Most people, however, will be sending the signal through so many pedals and amps that they won’t know the difference.

Affinity Telecaster Review: Hardware

 I’m going to be a little more critical of the hardware, which I think is the weakest link of the Squier Affinity Telecaster. This, in my opinion, is where Fender pinched a few too many pennies.

The knobs and switch that came with the guitar were quite cheap and I’ve heard others complain that they were all loose. It’s disappointing but not at all a surprise considering the price of the guitar.

The pickups are also of a lower quality but, as far as a beginner is concerned, they get the job done.

One of the best parts about the Affinity Telecaster, however, is that you can correct all of this. We call this a guitar mod.

Modifying the Affinity Telecaster

Modifying the Squier Affinity TelecasterWhat many people, including myself, love about the Squier Affinity Telecaster is that it’s a great guitar to modify. Just Google “Affinity Telecaster Mod” and you’ll see all sorts of articles and forums where people talk about how they modified their guitar.

What exactly do they do? Most of it has to do with the hardware and electronics. I replaced the single-coil pickups as well as the knobs and switch. The nut also needed some work on my Tele so I fixed that up as well.

The best part is that the mods are usually quite cheap in comparison to buying a higher-end guitar.  Because of this, a lot of people opt to buy the Affinity Telecaster for the sole purposes of modifying it.

Summing Up Affinity Telecaster Review

I hope this Affinity Telecaster review has given you a better idea of what to expect with this guitar. All in all, Fender produced a sturdy body and neck.

The hardware and electronics will work for most any beginner guitarist.  But, you probably won’t want to bring it on stage without modifying the guitar. Thankfully, new hardware and pickups won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Oh, and one last thing – I think you’ll really enjoy the different color options available on the Telecaster. Fender produces everything from “Lake Placid Blue” to “Sunburst” to “Butterscotch Blonde“…and they’re all beautiful.

In conclusion, I give this electric guitar a 4 out of 5 stars for a beginner guitar. You will want to either upgrade or modify eventually.  Be prepared!

 

9 Responses to Fender Affinity Telecaster Review | Good for Beginners?

  1. silvio matti says:

    Today i just bought this guitar same model-color at local shop (in Italy) for 150 euro in bundle with a small Rocktron-15 (with reverb)amp.
    i used to play strato-type guitar but for this one ia new experience. i like it.The bridge pickup s so bright sharp-blade that i need to cut treble.with a medium overdrive and reverb and neck pickup you get a perfect blues sound much better than strat-like guitars.

  2. silvio matti says:

    About the comment above i forget to write the cost of the small amplifier rocktron-15 that I bought it for 50 euro.

  3. Dave Krischak says:

    The best cheap guitar I’ve ever owned. Yes it has a cheap finish on the body and fretboard but its made in China! New set of strings, adjust string height and bow in neck and plays so sweet, like wow who would have expected it? I’ve become very partial to this tele and gave away all my more expensive stratocasters. I’ve been playing for 45 years. This is truly the cheapest guitar I’ve ever loved. I did put a set of noise cancelling pickups in it but the sound was good with the originals, just had to ground the case of the neck pickup. Otherwise all kinds of hum! In my old age I guess I’ll carry it around like a puppy.?

  4. Bob Rudge says:

    I play Country – primarily Pedal Steel. Bought mine at a great price on ebay. Guitar is totally as new !
    I’m not sure if the previous owner set it up, but I have absolutely no complaints. Great action and sound. Had just a slight fret buzz on the D – cured by a slight up adjustment.
    I think marking it as a good instrument for beginners does it a disservice and lowers it’s perceived value.
    As far as I am concerned and for my purposes (Clean sound) it holds it head up well with the best of them, and I have owned US models.

  5. George Ripp Russell says:

    Pro player of 47 yrs. I have had 3 or 4 Squier strats they all except the gold 60th anniversary went their way. Never had a squier tele but do have a Japan Fender Slimline f-hole with emg active pickups. Bought this guitar in lake placid blue (Daughter loved the color and thought I should get 1) just to add to collection and maybe mod for a knock around practice guitar. NOT!!! Thing rocked out of the box. Will mod with some pickups and electronics and use as a go to for recording and performances. Feels like a higher end axe. Takes me a while to stop playing it. The sound as is now is not bad. A little on the brittle end wide open but roll off some treble and you are in tele land. Noticed that they used I guess what is called the treble bleed wiring system which can cause an over abundance of treble.5 out of 5 stars for this one IMO.

  6. JR says:

    How old is this review? There are Affinity Strats with maple necks too, and have for quite some time.

  7. […] is a grunge sound. If you’re wanting something more clean for jazz or blues, consider the Squier Telecaster or the Epiphone Les […]

  8. First one delivered had a beautifully figured maple fretboard,played well but sadly the selector was wired wrong giving me neck/bridge/bridge.I am a tech and plan to mod but why should I accept a bad QC pass.Got a replacement which is of a quality that frankly surprised me.I see a lot of Teles.Great body and neck,perfectly finished but just plain maple fretboard this time?At least the switch was correct.Anyway this will be getting a new pup set and added to my collection.Shady QC as mentioned but the good ones do get thru.Great guitar and tho many are calling it a beginners axe,It goes far beyond that as is,and with new pups and pro set up,will be a stormer and dont let anybody tell you a Tele is no use for metal.It most assuredly is in the right hands.

  9. […] installed. What I love about these pickups is that unlike some other guitars by Squier where it is often recommended that you replace the electronics, these pickups on the Jagmaster sound great plugged in and won’t need modifying. The pickups […]

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