I spent a good bit of time recently playing a new blonde, ash-bodied "Road Worn 50's Tele" through a Deluxe Reverb at Guitar Center. Let me start this review with two qualifiers: I do not "get" relics. Nothing personal against those who play 'em, but I'm old enough and play out often enough to wear out my own guitars, and don't see a lot of value in accelerating that process. So you know I have some background for this review, The last Tele I owned was an awesome guitar, a Fender Japan, ash-bodied, feather-lite, 50's Tele with a custom wound set of flat-pole-bridge, Broadcaster pickups which were hand made by the late WL "Van" Van Zandt (we miss you, Van). I sold the guitar in a moment of weakness; What, like you've never done something completely stupid before? So the first of two similar Teles I picked up had a terrible setup, with a severely bowed neck and visually uneven frets, so I put it back on the rack. Note to Fender guys: I understand that there is some readjustment necessary after the initial factory setup, and sometimes shipping a guitar to different climates and altitudes can affect setup, but how much trouble would it be to at least attempt to get a good straight neck starting point at the factory? Then I picked up the other one. First impression, good setup, easy to play, action low but not too low, but what really impressed me was the acoustic sound of the guitar. Very rich and resonant wood tone unplugged. Hmmm... This is promising. So I plugged it into a reissue Deluxe Reverb, not my favorite of the reissues, but a known entity. Turned the amp up loud enough to get a little punch, set treble and bass in the middle and turned off the reverb, which always seems to get in the way of an accurate assesment of tone for both guitars and amps. First impression plugged in: Wow. Second impression: More wow. The aforementioned wood tone of this guitar really translates well through the amp. I mean really translates, so much that after trying every pickup and volume setting, I flat out DID NOT want to put this guitar down. Speaking of the pickups, these cheap Tex Mex Tele pickups are actually pretty cool, vintage sounding pickups, with plenty of Tele honk and bite, but with the warmth of my old Van Zandt Broadcaster style pickups. I began to wonder if the Tex Mex's flat bridge pole pieces were an intentional Broadcaster design nod. Compared to every other production Fender Tele I've picked up since selling mine a couple years ago, this is the first real winner that measures up, maybe even surpasses the one I let get away. I finally had to put the guitar down, but not easily. Have you ever picked up a store guitar and immediately started running through a list of inventory of gear to sell in your mind, in order to finance it? And maybe because I don't get relics, or maybe because this is just a crappy mass produced rellc job, this seemed like a particularly ugly guitar to me, and I don't care. It just played and sounded awesome.