The Standard sealed tuners do an excellent job of staying in tune and work smoothly and feel solid. The Corian nut (a synthetic material) and small, round, metal string tree, along with a neck end adjustable truss rod round out the head stock. The nut width of the Mexico made import standards is just a bit narrower than the American versions. This can be an advantage for players with smaller hands, or those looking for a comfortable chording platform.
These 2000 era standard Tele’s have smaller, vintage style frets that are seen as less popular today, but when properly leveled and dressed can be a very comfortable to play. The dot side and neck position markers are black plastic. The neck heel is square with slightly rounded corners, a design made specifically for Telecaster bodies
This particular instrument appears to have a two or three piece body – as evidenced by seams in the neck pocket, as well as glue lines just barely visible on the surfaces of the guitar when viewed under light at certain angles. Some reports indicate bodies made with up to seven pieces of wood can be found, and occasionally a sunburst veneer being applied over these multi-slab bodies and then finished in solid colors. Our information suggests that all the sunburst import models are likely veneered on the face and back for visual appearance. For the price point the visual appeal of a veneer far outweighs the slight difference in tone vs a one or two piece body from the American series.
The finish is typical semi-thick poly applied with a opaque sealer/undercoat. The great thing about polyester finishes like this one is that they wear very well, and show minimum signs of aging. While you don’t get that gracefully worn look – see Fender’s Road Worn series (circa 2009), they are easy to maintain and polish up nicely. Our review model required only a wipe down with denatured alcohol to remove grime and old wax, and then a quick dab of modern guitar polish to restore it’s luster both for the body and neck.
We really love this Agave Tele, the standard pick-ups – while not exactly vintage sounding – do have a nice tone to them and can be coaxed into gritty lead lines, funky rhythm riffs, and tube amp friendly clean tones. They are ceramic, but having aged several years they tend to loose some of the harshness associated with ceramics. Turn the up the distortion and well defined heavy tones can be found. All the old Tele tricks like rolling off the tone control for a deep mellow bass style tone, or using the middle switch position for great parallel single coil tones are there.
Modding possibilities are here as well, the components are high quality CTS pots and high quality caps ( the same components of the American series of the time). Four way switching, along with tweaking pot and cap values can give The standards tonal well variety beyond stock. Of course, there are lots of aftermarket pick-up options if the stock models don’t suit you.
The bridge is a modern design with six individual height adjustable saddles. Some instruments from this same period have barrel style individual saddles as well as top mounted strings. Our review model is strung through the body with the ball ends anchored in ferrels on the back of the guitar. We think the solid block style saddles and string through mounting have slightly better tone and sustain. The tone of these bridges is a little different from the vintage style stamped steel plate and brass, or the stainless models of some of the American series.
Unfortunately, the various styles of bridges are not all interchangeable due to these Made in Mexico standards having a slightly narrower string spacing and mounting hole configuration. – Which make quick parts swaps tricks, though it can be done.