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I have a soft spot for a cool fiesta red finish, so when I was offered the opportunity to acquire this used Fender Custom Shop Journeyman Relic 63 Tele, then I jumped at the chance – Of course it isn’t just about a cool aged finish, as feel, playability and tonal character all come into play when selecting a guitar – But I can assure you that this Tele has a lot going for it, in all departments, so read on – The supplied certificate of authenticity confirms that it is a 2019 model – Complete with shop floor traveler spec sheet + the leather bound certificate wallet + ‘ash tray’ bridge cover – The package is complete with the black vintage style case, with stitched leather ends + an embroidered Custom Shop logo in the plush lining of the case lid – Re-strung with a set of 10’s and set-up with a sensible slick playing action

Journeyman light relic  character :-   I fully appreciate that not all guitar players buy into the seriously aged vibe that you’ll find on many  Custom Shop vintage based replicas – With this in mind,  this Tele takes on more of a  lightly aged approach, that some might say is more authentic – The nitro fiesta red finish possesses a worn and faded character, with far less scars, nicks and grazes than you’ll see on many other Relic models  – You’ll find no shortage of lacquer checking , plus very little in the way of a worn finish that reveals the alder body – Aged, but not abused, might be a fair remark when we talk about a Journeyman Relic finish – Hence you can  buy it and play it, without having to give it the kids gloves treatment – It is generally accepted that a thin base coat, plus finish, allows the guitar to ‘breathe’ so as to maximise the guitars natural vibrant character and this is a big plus factor of the aged approach – Just play it un-plugged to hear what I mean

Fender Custom Shop 1963 Journeyman Relic Tele :- 

Playing performance:-  The feel of the 1/4 sawn maple neck is pure vintage – It has the classic 60’s Oval C neck profile, with a thin nitro gloss finish – For a slick playing performance it is spec’d with a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, along with a set of Sanko 6105 medium jumbo frets – As such a fluid playing action awaits any prospective buyer – Effortless string bending and no choking out – A set of 10’s now feel so much more slinky – If you require a Tele that allows you to play in the fast lane, or drop into moody minor blues lick mode, with loads of emotion, soul and passion, then this is an ideal combination as it blends the vintage feel from the neck and a modern slick playing performance from the fingerboard, courtesy of those chunkier frets – The neck starts of with that ‘melt in your hand’ C profile that measures .826″ deep at the top nut end, then fattens out to a  .908″ depth at the 12th fret – Some will say it is pure vintage magic – This profile is certainly slimmer than the chunky baseball bat nature of most 50’s based Tele’s. All the hardware is vintage period correct and aged accordingly, hence ‘threaded’ steel saddles – Kluson style tuners with slotted string posts, single butterfly string retainer for E+B string, large top hat toggle switch cap plus flat top knurled volume + tone knob

Tonal character :- Vintage flavoured at its absolute best is an easy summary, partly thanks to a pair of  ’64’ vintage pick-ups and partly due to a vibrant alder body – The AAA grade rosewood fingerboard will help to offer softer highs, that are smooth and rounded, compared to the brighter attack from a pure maple neck/fingerboard combination  – Plug it in and you’ll experience a musical bite, edge and attitude from the bridge pick-up – Or that jingle jangle pop character with both pick-ups selected – Then a warm laid back character from the neck pick-up, coupled with sparkling clear highs – It is the Jekyll and Hyde character of a Tele that allows them to function so well  in so many different musical environments – You can obtain a warm laid back vibe, that is required for chilled out jazz, through to a feisty punk based character, with plenty of attack and attitude, so tune in and adjust as required – Hence soft to raw with all the bases in between equally available – With a subtle overdrive option selected on the amp, hence you are still in the land of ‘less is more’  the neck pick-up delivers those softer tones that Robben Ford loves for chilled out chords, whilst retaining excellent articulation and clarity – Lows are clear and full, with just enough mids to thicken up the overall character, whilst a bell like chime can be heard from the top end – Still with a more subtle overdriven amp setting, the bridge pick-up delivers those classic crunch rhythm tones with some balls, body, twang and bite – Tight and focussed – Or dig in for some country lickin tricks

Now add plenty of gain on the amp and the neck pick-up purrrs, with a velvet smooth character, that is almost thick enough to compete with a Les Paul – With more gain on the amp, the bridge pick-up  just rips it up, with enough bite to take you to the edge of that ice pick attack, that is ideal for those feisty phrases and riffs – Yet just roll off the volume pot a touch, for a softer voice that sounds like it is more refined and under control – Hence the Tele’s volume pot will allow you to maximise the guitars expression, so as to ensure that you and the guitar control the amp – So no shortage of soul, expression and emotion at your finger tips – Rolled off and it is more lush, controlled and subtle, yet with the volume pot on 10 it possesses more of that fierce ‘punky’ attack – So fine tune and adjust as required – On classic rock/blues overdriven amp settings, this approach will allow you to obtain a cleaner laid back voice with the volume pot on/around 6 or 7 – Equally the tone pot will ensure you’ll always hear those sparkling crisp highs when it is wide open at 10, so for a sultry jazz vibe take it down as required  – The ‘Grease Bucket’ is a simple modification on the tone pot – It still allows the guitar to retain the appropriate level of gain, as you roll off the highs on the tone pot – Hence less highs doesn’t mean less gain

Sometimes it is quite easy to state where a particular guitar fits into a certain musical style but with a Tele, or should I say a good Tele, it can work into so many different musical environments, so for what is the granddad of guitars, that is no mean achievement – Warning !!!! – Play it and be smitten

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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.