I recently purchased an amazing Squier Classic Vibe Telecaster from the shop, with a black pickguard and a translucent cream/white body. The guitar neck felt amazing to me, and that's a big factor when I come to looking at guitars, as I feel you can change everything else but the neck is something you have to live with.
I've always wanted an Esquire type guitar, as I'm a bit obsessed with old Fenders, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make it into something a bit different.
Monty's do an amazing replica of a 1950s style Broadcaster pickup. The Broadcaster was the name of the Telecaster from 1950 to 1951, as Gretsch already owned the name 'Broadkaster' for their drum kits. Between 1951 and 1952, these guitars simply had the 'Broadcaster' part of the decal cut off of the headstock, with these guitars getting the name 'Nocaster's.
But before the Broadcaster, there was the Esquire. This was Leo Fender's original design, and it wasn't until just before release that they decided to include a neck pickup into the guitar, and sell it for more money. But the bridge pickups were the same, a slight variation on Fender's Champion lap steel pickups.
I'd looked into the Monty's Broadcaster pickup for a while and decided to try it out in this new guitar, along with a white scratchplate (which the very first few Esquires and Broadcasters had).
Me being a bit of a traditionalist as well, I went for Leo's original wiring. So the 1st position on the switch brings in a 0.047uF capacitor to darken the tone, making it almost bass-like in feel. Leo did this because bass guitars hadn't yet been invented, and double basses of the time were prone to a lot of feedback. So Tele players could in-effect take control of the bass duties on a gig, most of which was Country and Western Swing music.
The middle position on the switch gives you the typical bridge setting in a Telecaster, with the pickup being routed through the volume and tone controls, giving you a great amount of dynamics. I chose to keep the original Squire components in this guitar, as they're quiet and work brilliantly.
In the 3rd position on the switch, things really come alive. The pickup is routed directly to the output jack, bypassing the volume and tone controls. This gives an increase in treble, as the volume control isn't bleeding off any of the highs, and a slight perceived boost in volume and power. Pushed through an amp that's just on the verge of breaking up gives you an incredible clear and punchy lead tone that gives you a little crunch when you really dig in.
All in all, these Squier Classic Vibe's are incredible guitars, amazing necks, solid feeling bodies and hardware, and are set up great straight from the factory. The original pickups sounded great too, for that classic Telecaster sound.
Monty's are by far my favourite pickups, with a great range of styles from vintage PAFs to modern fat-sounding Strat pickups, I highly recommend them if you want an upgrade for your guitar. They're all hand-wound, with so much attention to detail and great little touches and care given in the packaging and presentation.
Thanks for the read! Tom Wright