Fender’s brilliant idea to combine Master Builder design and supervision with quality components and Mexican production has seen a number of superb guitars that redefined how much bang you could expect for your hard-earned buck. From lovely 50 and 60s flavoured Strats to the sublime Baja Teles, you could now get very high spec guitars for not a lot of money. And now there is another one to droll over – the Triple Tele.
This design takes the ideas and obsessions of one of the elite team of master builders – in this case, Todd Krause – and there is much here to remind you of the Baja Teles. There is an alder body with a thick poly finish – It’s well applied and looks pretty bullet proof. One thing to note – it’s black all the way baby. There are no colour options so it’s a black body and a black scratchguard.
Even if you don’t love the colour, you have to admit it contrast very well with the one piece maple neck. This is a pretty thing with 21 well-sited and polished frets. There is a fairly thick poly gloss coating on this one though but I found it much more playable surface and less sticky than a recent Cabronita I played. Gloss neck finishes can have a huge effect on playability so make sure you spend some time playing one before you choose.
The neck profile is described as a thick c, but it was instantly comfortable, half-way between the 60s Baja and the thicker 50s Baja.
Woodwork was immaculate on my example – to be honest though, the design is so simple that it should be impossible for a modern factory to cock it up.
There are no surprises with the hardware, vintage style heads sort out the tuning with no fuss and at the other end is a traditional bridge with 3 brass saddles. I do love a brass saddle, it just calms the tele twang down a bit. As with both the Bajas, there were no intonation problems at all with just 3 saddles – it also just looks really cool.
Now on to the electrics. Now I wonder what is unusual about this Tele? There are 3, count ’em, 3 pickups. All 3 are Custom Shop Nocaster pickups. And there are no S-1 switching shenanigans with this guitar, you have classic 5-way Strat switching.
So this is a pretty tempting package – a solid Tele, good neck, 3 very high quality Tele pickups and Strat switching. Is this a marriage made in heaven or a Frankentele from hell. I’ll tell you tomorrow when I play the damn thing…..