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As a beginner, you want a guitar that not only is affordable, but plays great as well. The Squier Affinity Telecaster checks all the boxes. It has an easy-to-play, C-shaped neck that makes playing chords effortless. Two single-coil pickups embody the legendary, bright tone tone that the Telecaster is so famous for. This is a full-size instrument meant for the the serious guitarist. The neck, however, is slightly narrower at the nut, which means it's great for small hands! Keep reading to see a detailed breakdown of the Squier Affinity Telecaster and why it's a fantastic choice for a beginner guitarist.
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By any measure, this guitar looks great. Pick from 8 different finishes, including a few classics like Butterscotch Blonde and Two-Tone Sunburst, as well as solid finishes like Black, Slick Silver, and Race Green. On a couple of finishes, you can even see the wood grain of the guitar's solid alder body for extra class and visual interest. A beautiful glossy 3-ply pickguard protects your guitar.
The Squier Affinity Telecaster's body is made of alder, which has been one of Fender's go-to tonewoods since 1956! Alder is bright and balanced, providing good sustain and excellent clarity between the notes you play. Because it's not as dense as other woods, it doesn't weigh as much either! The Affinity Tele comes in at about
The Squier Affinity Telecaster was built with easy playability in mind. The bolt-on neck has a very comfortable, ergonomic C-shaped profile. As a beginner, the C-shape is a great neck to start out with as it's great for all styles of playing. Whether you're playing chords or learning your favorite solos, it will work well for any application. The neck is satin-finished, so you won't have any problems sliding your hand up and down the neck as you would with a glossy neck.
The neck is made of maple, which has been the standard in Fender and Squier Teles for years. Maple gives your tone a nice, shimmery and snap - a major contributing factor to the iconic twang that creates that iconic Fender tone.
Keep in mind that the nut width of the Affinity Tele is 1.6", which is smaller than most Stratocasters and Les Paul type guitars. This means that the fingers are spaced closer together, which could be a problem if have especially large fingers. If you wanted to stick with a Telecaster, then you would need to upgrade to the Squier Standard Telecaster for a little bit of a premium. It has very similar features, but overall is a definitely a better a guitar.
The Affinity Telecaster comes with either a Maple or Indian Laurel fretboard. Which wood you get depends on the finish you choose. Visually, Maple is lighter than Indian Laurel, while Laurel a more visible grain in the wood. This shouldn't make any difference in playability if you keep your fretboard oiled and healthy. The finishes with a maple fretboard include: 2-Tone Sunburst, Black, Arctic White, and Butterscotch Blonde. If you like the look of the Laurel fretboard, choose the Competition Orange, Race Green, Race Red, or Slick Silver finishes.
Tonally, you would be hard-pressed to tell any differences if you heard Maple or Laurel, so don't worry about one sounding different than the other.
Just like on Fender Telecasters, the Squier Affinity Telecaster is equipped with two vintage-style single-coil pickups. They're fantastic for low-to-mid gain genres, but beware if you play a lot of hard rock and heavy metal. Because these are single-coils, you're signing up for a lot of hiss and noise if you crank the gain up high.
The bridge of the Squier Affinity Telecaster is a standard 6-saddle top-load bridge. The Tele bridge is famous for good sustain and playability and the Affinity bridge is no different. You get a large range of adjustment with the Telecaster bridge if you ever need to adjust the action or intonation of the guitar. String changes can be a bit cumbersome, but it should still be quite manageable for a beginner.
The lower-end Squier guitars aren't known for their tuning stability. They'll stay in tune just fine, but don't expect the rock-solid stability of a Fender American or even a Standard. The tuners on the Squier Affinity Telecaster are decent, standard die-cast tuners that are nothing to write home about. They'll keep you in tune, but don't expect the world from them!
Simplicity is the name of the game with a Telecaster. The Affinity Tele has the standard two-knob controls: a master volume knob and master tone knob. A 3-way sliding pickup selector is easy to click into position, allowing you to choose from bridge only, neck only, or bridge and neck pickup settings for great tonal versatility.
The Affinity Telecaster comes setup with a set of 9s - a light gauge that's easy on the fingers and perfect for the beginner guitarist.
Sadly, you won't get any extra accessories in the box.
Compared to a snappy, punchy brightness of a Stratocaster, the Telecaster is warmer, while still retaining that signature twang. Each pickup is quite distinct, with the bridge pickup more trebley and bright, while the neck pickup is rich and warm. Take a listen and see how great the Squier Affinity Telecaster sounds. While it may not have the pickups of a more expensive Fender Tele, it sounds great for the price point and will work for for almost any genre.
Over on Amazon, the Squier Affinity Telecaster is well-reviewed and highly praised as a fantastic beginner's instrument. With over 300 reviews and a solid 4/5 rating, it's quite a safe bet for those looking for their first guitar. Some of the top praises include good tuning stability, easy playability, and good value for the money. A few reviews complain about sharp fret edges, which is a quality control issue that would warrant an exchange. A couple of these negative reviews complain about the sound, but they are in the minority. If you've listened to the sound sample above and enjoyed it, then be sure you'll like the tone once you plug your own guitar into your amp and start playing.
On Reddit, there is similar praise, with users calling the Affinity Tele a 'workhorse' of a guitar and a 'great bargain'. A few users had similar negatives to say, mentioning that the fret's may not always be finished perfectly. However, because this is easily solved with an exchange, we wouldn't fret too much about it.
The Squier Affinity Telecaster is a great guitar for the money. Easy playability, nice looks, and good sound - it's the whole package for the beginner guitarist.