Made by Squier—Fender’s budget brand—the Affinity Telecaster is an entry-level version of Leo’s iconic axe. This one has been relic’d and hot-rodded. For some strange reason, I don’t own
Made by Squier—Fender’s budget brand—the Affinity Telecaster is an entry-level version of Leo’s iconic axe. This one has been relic’d and hot-rodded.
For some strange reason, I don’t own
any all-original, “normal” Fender
Telecaster guitars. All mine are either Tele
“inspired” or modified in some way. While
looking around on Craigslist the other day,
I noticed this intriguing Tele. Apparently
someone had taken a fairly new butterscotch
Squier Affinity Telecaster, relic’d
it, removed all traces of “Squier” from
it, and then stuck a Fender decal on the
headstock. The seller knew it was actually
a Squier and listed it as such, so there was
no deception going on. The pictures of the
guitar just looked way too cool for me to
pass up, plus it was fairly cheap.
So I called the owner and arranged to
meet him at his place of work, which was a
lot closer to me than going to his home. It
turned out he was in law enforcement, so I
wound up in the police department parking
lot. Whoa! At first I was a little nervous,
but he turned out to be a really nice guy
and we ended up chatting during his lunch
break about music and guitars. I paid him
his asking price of $150 for the guitar,
which also included a very nice reissue
tweed hard-shell case. I figured the guitar
was worth about $100 and the case $50.
That’s bottom-feeder territory for sure.
LEFT: A close-up of the body scars and distressed metal parts. The upgraded Duncan pickups are identical to those Jerry Donahue has in his
signature Fender Tele. RIGHT: All references to Squier and Affinity have been banished, and a Fender decal now graces the headstock.
Although in general I like stock Squier
Teles, I’m not a big fan of their neck pickups,
which tend to sound a bit “wooly”
and dull to me. I decided to take the guitar
to my tech, Jack Dillen, and have him
replace both pickups with a set of Seymour
Duncans I had lying around. The Duncans
I gave Jack were a Jerry Donahue model
bridge pickup and an Alnico II Pro Strat
pickup for the neck, the same type of pickups
on Jerry’s signature model guitars. This
gave me a perfect opportunity to finally
test-drive the pickups (and get my buddy
Jerry off my back about trying them).
Jack had the guitar ready the following
week. When I played it through
Jack’s Fender Pro Junior, I knew right
away it was a good move to replace the
pickups. I seemed to get a lot more Roy
Buchanan-inspired harmonics in the
bridge position, as well as modern, snappy
Strat-like blues and jazz tones from the
neck pickup. Yeah baby, that’s what I’m
I also like that Squier offers satin finishes
on their maple fretboards and necks.
It makes the neck less sticky when your
hands get sweaty, and it feels better than
the heavy polyurethane finishes on most
maple fretboards. This guitar is most definitely
a keeper now.
Bottom Feeder Tip #367: If you like
the way a guitar plays, but aren’t wild about
its sound, it pays to replace the stock pickups
with some really good ones. Pickups are
the guitar’s engine, and I feel like this one
went from a Mustang to a Shelby Cobra!
is a founding
member of the
trio. He also does guitar
clinics promoting his
namesake G&L signature
model 6-string, and produces
artists and bands at his studio in
Asheville, North Carolina. You can contact
Will on Facebook and at willray.biz.