A few weeks ago, I bought my first Telecaster. After almost 30 years of playing guitar, with all the guitars and gear I went through, I never owned one. In my quest to minimize, I decided it was time. Watching a ton of Greg Koch on YouTube had absolutely no effect on this decision whatsoever…yeah, I’m lying on that one! A brand new Fender Player Series Telecaster. This is the beauty I bought:
Even though it is made in Mexico, it is a spectacular guitar. The fit and finish was pristine, the place I bought it at, Russo’s Music in Hamilton, NJ, set it up just right, and both unplugged and plugged in, it sounded amazing too me.
I had also purchased some upgrades I had intended to install, as this was going to be a project guitar of sorts. Just before deciding to install the perloid pickguard and locking tuners I had purchased, as I was browsing the internet, I noticed something about the guitar on a website I was looking at.
Apparently, there is an issue with the bridge saddles that required pulling them way back so you can thread the strings through the string holes when changing the strings. This was not intentionally designed that way, and it also apparently threw the guitar’s intonation off every time strings were changed. Hmmmm…not good.
So I called Fender to talk to them about it. They informed that indeed, there were issues with the bridge and bridge saddle design, and they recommend I return to the point of purchase of the guitar, which is also an authorized Fender Warranty Center, to have them take some measurements to see if the new bridge saddles can be retrofitted on my guitar. They did tell me that if they could be retrofitted, new saddles would be sent to the shop to have them installed, but if this was not possible, they would send me a replacement guitar with the new bridge and bridge saddle design. Not good.
So off I went, back to Russo’s Music (who are awesome, btw), where I bought the guitar, for them to do the required measurements to send them to Fender. Sadly, they had to keep the guitar on premise as multiple back and forths with Fender would likely be needed. It indeed did take a few days of back and forth with Fender, but lo and behold, the retrofit solution was not in my cards.
I’m not exactly sure what the actual issue is. Even after talking to Fender on the phone a few times about it. It seems like the string holes were not drilled in the right place so the new saddles would not allow the strings to be threaded through the body properly and in the right position. Or something. Some techs said this was the problem, others had a different explanation. None of which really made sense, to be perfectly honest. All I knew was that I wanted a guitar that I could eventually retrofit another bridge to altogether and needed to be sure this would not be an issues. So I agreed to send my guitar back and get the same one with the new bridge.
Here’s the kicker. Apparently, the new guitars, with the correctly placed bridge and bridge saddles are currently in production. Like, right now. As we speak. This means they have to be built, inspected, pass the QC, and only then be shipped to the consumer. I was told by Fender that I would likely not get my new guitar until sometime in November. Big bummer. They have my money. I have no guitar.
I called Fender to complain. They are sending me a T-Shirt. Not a fair trade at all. I have no choice but to wait, though. Sucks.
I must say, that through all this, Russo Music has been awesome. They are great people. The best music shop I’ve ever dealt with. I mean that. They are a small outfit, with only two shops, and treat people like real human beings instead of cash registers. It doesn’t hurt that they have absolutely gorgeous guitar there, some of which I’ve never seen. Spectacular specimens. If you live on the North East Coast, I would encourage you to visit one of their shops. Either in Hamilton/Trenton, NJ or in Asbury Park, NJ. Here a link because they rock: Russomusic.com
DISCLAIMER: I am not employed, nor get any free stuff from Russo Music. I just think that when people excel, they should be applauded. Too much negativity on the internet. We need to pat people on the back more!
Thanks for reading!!