Saturday, September 6, 2014

2008 Fender Japan Telecaster All Black TL-71-AB Electric Guitar Review

Hi there!

It would not be a trip to Japan for me without wandering through a few music stores and checking out the instruments that we never get to see her in the states. Today we are looking at another gem – a fairly rare 2008 Japanese Fender Telecaster – the “All Black” model. I think the model is TL-71-AB, meaning that its basic design is similar to a 1971 Tele.

You can see why they call it this – it is almost all black! The body is glossy black, as is the back of the neck and the headstock. I am willing to bet it originally had a black pick guard on it too, but it was wearing a red tortoise shell one when I found it hanging in the store (it was a used instrument). I do not mind, though, because I think it is a nice contrast. They went for a silver Fender logo and no other markings on the headstock.

I read online that these are made of basswood. but it weighs 8 pounds, 1 ounce, which is a tad heavy for basswood, so I had to pull the neck. It looks like ash in the neck pocket to me. The neck is maple, and it is has a pretty rosewood fretboard.

The hardware is certainly good enough, with chrome Gotoh sealed-back tuners to hold the strings solidly. Their clean modern look goes well with the color theme of the guitar, and I am glad they did not choose black tuners. And fortunately they went with a three-saddle bridge – Telecasters with six-saddle bridges just do not look right.

The electronics are where I get a little lukewarm on this thing. This was not a super high-end guitar, so it ended up with a basic run-of-the-mill pickup set and chintzy pots. The wiring looks awfully thin, too. But, all-in-all, it is a solid instrument.

I found this one at Komehyo in Nagoya, which has the biggest secondhand guitar inventory that you will find in the city. It is in like-new condition, with not a scratch or ding on it, and the price was cheaper than what you would pay for a MIM Telecaster here in the United States.

Of course it looks awesome, and the finish is just beautiful. But it also plays very well, with nice fretwork and a great set-up and action. I wish there was a little more bite to the sound, and this one might get a set of Lollars and nicer pots and wiring if I am able to hold onto it for more than a month or two, but in the meantime it is certainly good enough for anything I will be doing.


1 comment:

  1. I ordered a natural colored 2007 Tl71 from Japan on the 3rd. Japanese seem to ship very slowly. An E series Fujigen. Hope it plays well.