Fantastic Telecaster for a friendly price.
I fell in love with this guitar when I was shopping for another telecaster. About 6 months ago, I decided I wanted a very traditional style tele. I narrowed it down to two options, the American Special or the American reissue. Both because they have the traditional ashtray bridge and brass barrell saddles, which all add together to formulate that classic tele twang. Some of the newer models have some classic tele features and sound, but those two harken back to the teles of yesteryear most accurately in my book. I ended up choosing the American special, for its great price tag, its lack of comfort cuts, which allows the tele to have more mass as the older teles did. It's a brick for sure, but it plays and sounds great. It has jumbo frets and came with texas special picktups which aren't bad at all, but were switched out for a pair of fralin split blades due to my personal preferences. All of that to explain the first time I played the Modern Player Tele:
It had just gotten in to my local shop when I was looking for my american tele, so I picked it up and played it and was impressed. It hadn't been tagged or priced yet, so I was surprised twice by the cost AND the fact that its chinese made. I went back two months later after a good month at work, as my bonus cash was burning a hole in my pocket. I knew exactly what guitar i wanted in the $400 price range: The Modern Player Tele Plus! So far, It's a great buy.
It has a pine body (which is a good thing according to tele/esquire enthusiasts). It has the comfort cuts I typically shy away from, but in this instance, the body mass still seems to be quite resonant and heavy (A plus for me once again). The pickup routing is well thought out and the 5 way switch and coil tap switch illicit a plethora of tones from an otherwise unsuspecting instrument. I'll come back to the pickups themselves in a second. The finish I opted for is the charcoal transparent. The top is very nice and the finish itself is well done with no runs and doesn't reek of CHICOM cheapness as do many others in it's price range. The vintage tint gloss nitro finished neck feels just wide enough for me, but manuererable enough to burn some serious licks off: Its worth mentioning that the Jumbo frets don't make the process any harder either and will appeal to your inner Yngwie. I gave this guitar 5 stars because for the price, it's simply loaded with features typically saved for more expensive instruments.
The pickups are the only thing I don't consider excellent about the guitar, but as a whole, theyre still GOOD in my book. The neck pickup to me is the best of the bunch, with deep bell like chime, throaty mids and sufficient but not overbearing lows come across in an intelligible manner. For now, the MODERN PLAYER neck pickup isn't getting replaced, even though I typically opt for noiseless style circuits.
The Middle, seemingly "strat-like" pickup is not bad at all, but I found certian things about it lacking. It's pretty well balanced between lows, mids, and High, with a noticable spike in the previously mentioned "Throaty" mids that the neck pickups has. To me, I'd like somthing a bit more defined in the middle to bridge the gap between the Bridge pickup's hi's and twang (in single coil mode) and the Neck Pickup's
lush yet defined low mids and mids. So in my guitar I've replaced the Modern Player Middle pickup with a Dimarzio AREA 67 which to me is a good middle ground between the two, noiseless, and brings forth a bit more output and pick dynamics.
Lastly, I'm sorry to say that I didn't like the guitar 100% stock ONLY because I'm not impressed with the modern player humbucker. It sounds OK in singlecoil when tapped, but with both coils engaged, it sounds loose on the low end, harsh on the high, and undefined on the mids. As you'll read here, some people don't agree with this analysis, so decide for yourself. I personally replaced the bridge pickup in my Modern Player tele with a Dimarzio 36th Anniversery PAF in zebra/creme exposed coils with black hex poles and I LOVE it. It roars in humucker mode, and when coil tapped, its punchy, twangy and dynamic to the pick attack. It fixed the one and only "problem" I found with this guitar.
The guitar shipped with a crummy set up, but honestly I saw through that, and remedied it easily and quickly. Even with the initial lackluster setup job, and the Bridge humbucker that I found rather unsuitable for my needs, I loved everything about else the guitar and could tell it'd be a monster player with a proper setup, clean up, new strings, and a new bridge and middle pickup. I now use this appx 70% of the time I need a telecaster IE country, chicken picken etc (and even when I don't SPECIFICALLY need a tele!) and it does quite well. I use my other two american telecasters the other 30% and still love them, but It should be a strong reccomendation that I personally prefer the Modern Player to two american models, one of which is 2.5x the price and the other thats FIVE times the price of the MPTS.
Bottom line? Get $400 and buy this guitar TODAY. Who knows when they may be discontinued? Worth every penny!