My son has been pestering me for a guitar for years.
He’s 12-years-old and is in the school band, so I figure maybe he’s old enough and has the musical inclination to learn how to play guitar. We went to a local guitar shop, looked around at what they had to offer and he settled on an Affinity Telecaster by Fender.
Folks, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve got an American Deluxe Stratocaster but I’ve always missed the Japanese Fender Standard Telecaster I had through college, law school and through my years of practicing law (I finally had to sell it to pay rent – that just about killed me).
That little Telecaster my son likes looks exactly like the one pictured at the top of the article. The neck feels great, the thing looks great and the guitar sounds a lot like my standard Telecaster did (well, before I changed out the pickups, at least).
It did my heart good to see the kid get so excited when I plugged in the Telecaster and banged out a few chords on it. The kids got good taste and he seems to prefer that vintage, single-coil vibe to a guitar that’s set up to scream like a banshee. Good for him.
The trick to picking out a starter guitar for a child has to do with balance. If you get a guitar that’s too cheap, the kid will lose interest in playing. If you buy one that’s too expensive, you’ll hate yourself if the kid loses interest.
The Telecaster my son picked out seems to be the perfect guitar for a kid in my son’s situation. It’s a nice little guitar that sounds and feels great and – at a mere $180 or so – it’s not one that will break the bank. If the kid does get good at playing guitar, he can run that one through just about any amp and it will sound good. He can change out the pickups if he wants a “better” sound or he could graduate to a full-blown American Standard Telecaster (or whatever else he wants) one day.
So, he’s got his Christmas present picked out and that’s a great thing. I reminded him that he won’t get it if Santa thinks he hasn’t been a good boy – it might wind up with me instead.
Or, I could just buy my own Telecaster and customize it so it sounds exactly like the one I pawned off years ago. There’s an idea…