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Fender Player Telecaster HH Review 2021 – Before You Buy

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Fender Player Telecaster HH – My Favorite Guitar for Intermediate Skill Level

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Versatility

Summary

The warm, thick, and rich sound is guaranteed with 2 humbuckers. Good for metal, rock, and blues. But on top of that…

Fender Player Telecaster HH includes maybe the best split-coil option I have seen and heard(at least in this price range). It comes really close to the original single-coil sound. So funk and jazz/blues are easy-peasy for this guitar.

Pros:
-Super-versatile, a wide variety of different sounds
-Smooth feel
-Comfortable to play
-Quality is really high for the price
-Stays in tune well
-Nice classic look
-Split-coil tunes are amazing

Cons:
-Edges of the fretboard are a little bit rough
-Out of the box action is too high for some players(for me), adjustments are easy with the truss rod tho
-Doesn’t exactly give original Tele sound

I have found it. The best electric guitar for intermediate.

4.6

How Player Telecaster HH sounds:

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You can immediately tell that this guitar looks stunning, but what about the sound, playability, and quality…and most of all, is it worth your money? Let’s find out!

Fender Player Telecaster HH specs:

Body type: Solidbody

Body wood: Alder

Neck wood: Maple

Neck shape: Modern C

Scale length: 25.5”

Truss rod: Yes, dual-action

Fretboard material: Maple. Pau Ferro fingerboard option available too.

Fretboard radius: 9,5”

Number of frets: 22, Medium Jumbo

Nut width: 1.65” (42mm)

Pickups: 2 Player Series Alnico Humbuckers. Both are passive pickups with a coil-split feature.

Pickup switch: 3-way

Bridge: Hard Tail Bridge, 6-Saddle, String Through Body

Who crafted this Review:

reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author & Reviewer: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although plays acoustics too. Started this blog in January 2020.

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Fender Player Telecaster HH Review

Sound

Hear how it sounds:

The main reason why I like this Tele is the sound, and how versatile it is.

2 Player Series Alnico Humbuckers provide warm, thick, and rich sound. These pups handle metal, rock, jazz, and blues sounds well. So practically, no genre is completely out of reach for this axe.

For a long time, I have heavily disagreed with folks saying that Fender guitar with humbuckers suck, and I stand behind this again. Can you find better-sounding humbuckers? Maybe. Do these Player Series Alnico Humbuckers suck? Absolutely not.

So the humbucker tones alone are solid, but…

Fender Player Telecaster HH includes maybe the best single-coil (coil-split) option I have seen and heard(at least for this price range). This comes really close to the original single-coil sounds. So you are not limited to humbucker tones only.

Funk and spanky jazz/blues are easy for this guitar. 

I don’t want to sound like I’m just praising this axe, but I really love how versatile the tones of this tele are.

The use of an Adler in body wood ensures that the tone of this axe is well balanced, and offers a great variety of both bright and warm tones. The maple neck and fretboard give the tone a small bright twist.

Again: Versatile sounds are one main thing why I like this guitar right now. Especially for the price, these tones are hard to beat.

But of course, you can find better-sounding axes if you spend more. And if you, for example, are looking for a guitar to play metal, you can find better options.

But when it comes to versatility and you exploring lots of different genres with your guitar, this is in my opinion one of the best options in this price range.

Playability

Fender Player Telecaster doesn’t give you too much hard time when played.

The neck shape is Modern C and the nut width is 42mm(1.65inches). The neck is thin, narrow, and really smooth from the back, feels good for sure. This neck is really comfortable for folks with small hands(me).

Modern C neck is one of my favorite neck shapes and this is why I enjoy playing this and other Player-series Telecasters. It just fits a hand of a human being and I can reach every corner of the fretboard quite easily with my small hands.

The fretboard radius is 9,5. The curve doesn’t make things too hard, and you will get used to it soon, no matter what kind of guitars you have played before.

If you after a super easy to play shred machine, flatter fretboard probably serves you better.

I have noticed that picking and especially palm muting is not so smooth with Telecasters(ashtray-bridge) as it is with Les Pauls(tune-o-Matic bridge). Gladly this Tele has Hard Tail Bridge (strings going through a body), in my opinion, this sits in the middle of an ashtray and tune-o-Matic-bridge, being relatively comfortable. Although the ashtray is the iconic Tele bridge.

But this comes more down to your own preference, picking hand placement and experience, but I just wanted to share my opinion.

All seems soo picture-perfect…but let’s complain a little bit…

When I did research, I noticed this complaint from some users: ”The edges of the fretboard and edges could be smoother”. Gladly this doesn’t always happen and at least when I have played Player Tele’s, the edges have been smooth.

For some reason, in the case of Fender guitars, the action is always a little bit too high for me out of the box. This Tele is no exception. Gladly this is easy to fix with truss rod or bridge adjustments. So this is only a tiny flaw.

But overall, the playability of this axe is really good, and it fits well for my small hands.

Quality

Quality is excellent for the price. It lacks some details and a high-quality finish when compared to higher-priced Fenders, but hey, this is why this guitar is so affordable. But the value for money is still super in my opinion.

The guitar stays in tune well, thanks to good quality tuners. When I’ve laid my eyes on this guitar, the paint job has been flawless.

Looks

The looks are amazing, especially the blue one. For a long time, I have been a huge telecaster fan, and I’m absolutely going to buy a Telecaster at some point.

Summary

Pros:

  • Super-versatile, a wide variety of different sounds
  • Smooth feel
  • Comfortable to play
  • Quality is really high for the price
  • Stays in tune well
  • Nice classic look
  • Split-coil tunes are amazing

Cons:

  • Edges of the fretboard are a little bit rough
  • Out of the box action is too high for some players(for me), adjustments are easy with the truss rod tho
  • Doesn’t exactly give original Tele sound

Excellent all-rounder with one of the best split-coil sounds I have heard at this price range. There is definitely no reason to feel sorry about buying these over higher-priced Telecasters.  If I didn’t own any electric guitars, this would be one of my top choices.

And yes. This guitar is worth the price in my opinion.

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What does HH mean on Fender guitars?

These capital letters reveal the pickup configuration of the guitar. It tells us what kind of pickups and in which order they are. Using the first letter of each specific pickup when talking about pickup configuration is common among the whole guitar industry.

  • HH means that the guitar has 2 humbucker pickups.
  • HSS means that the guitar has, 1 humbucker and after that comes 2 single-coils.
  • HSH means that the guitar has 1 humbucker at the bridge, single-coil in the middle, and a humbucker at the neck.
  • SSS means that the guitar has 3 single-coil pickups.

Are Mexican Telecasters and Stratocasters any good?

While the Mexican-made Tele, and Stratocaster lose in quality when compared to their American-made big brothers, they are by no means bad guitars. Mexican Fender Telecasters and Stratocasters offer excellent value for money, sound great, and are comfortable to play.

While ago I tried lots of different Stratocasters in the music store nearby, and the cap between Mexican and American-made Start’s was not big at all. I noticed the difference mostly in the fretboard/fret edges and overall finish(the fretboard of American-made are a little bit smoother and look like more time has but into finish).

But there is a high chance that you are not going to be disappointed, no matter which one you buy.

Alternatives

Strat Option – Fender Player Stratocaster

The Fender Player Stratocaster is a modern take with vintage appointments. A redesigned body hearkens back to some of the very first Stratocaster models, yet the neck is more modern with medium-jumbo frets for easy note bends.

This particular model has a surf rock-inspired finish (Tidepool) that will definitely get your audience’s approval. 

The electronics are specifically designed for the Fender Player Series and feature 3 Alnico single coils, 1 volume control, 2 tone controls, and a 5-way selector switch. 

My friend Darren who also writes here at Guitaristnextdoor.com has played this Start more recently than me and also reviewed it, here’s the pros and cons in his opinion:

Pros:

  • Medium-Jumbo frets allow for effortless note bending
  • Alnico V pickups give a great bluesy snap and smooth articulation
  • Neck radius has a comfortable, natural feel
  • Lightweight and incredibly balanced

Cons:

  • Highs can sound too harsh and can be challenging to tame
  • Synthetic bone nut is not slick enough
  • The synchronized floating tremolo causes a bit of tuning instability (classic Stratocaster bridge would be better)

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Spanky Budget Option – Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster

I tried this out in a music store nearby a while back. I compared lots of different Stratocasters there and I think that this one is a lot easier to play than most Fender Stratocasters. And this Squier didn’t lose much to the higher-priced Original Fender Stratocasters sound and quality-wise either. 

This axe is a great option for small-handed folks, and for people who are looking for a high value for money guitar with spanky Strat tones. This Squier offers your more spanky tones when compared to Fender Player Telecaster HH.

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If You Want to Play Metal – ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000

I tried this for the first time in a music store nearby, and it has been one of my favorite guitars since. This guitar is just gorgeous.

It handles everything, but it’s made for heavy riffing. A pleasure to play and listen to. It’s a little bit pricier than other guitars featured in this post, but it still offers great value for money with higher quality and stunning tones. 

You can read my full review of this guitar here: ESP LTD Deluxe EC-1000 Review 2020 – Before You Buy.

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Conclusion

Fender Player Telecaster HH offers excellent value for money, great tones, and comfortable playability. It’s a great choice.

To be honest, when writing this review my Telecasters fewer started raising again… my wife should hide my wallet again.

In case you want some way to display or give more protection to your new Telecaster, these articles might be helpful:

I hope that this review helped you out! I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

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