Classic Vibe 50s vs MIM Telecaster

Squier Classic Vibe 50s TelecasterSquier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster
Fender Standard (MIM) TelecasterFender Standard (MIM) Telecaster

With each Classic Vibe comparison, it has become increasingly clear that Squier is a serious contender in the budget-mid range.

Our Classic Vibe vs MIM Strat showdown was close enough that any negative preconceived notions about Squier could be cast aside, with many users even preferring the stock CV pickups to those of the more expensive Mexican Fender Standard.

We've also seen the more deluxe Classic Vibe Custom seriously challenge the MIM Tele.

Can we expect similar results with the slightly cheaper CV 50's Tele?

Classic Vibe 50s vs MIM Tele - side by side

Model Classic Vibe 50s Tele MIM Telecaster
Rating 90
($300-$500)
90
($500-$700)
User Reviews
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Harmony Central
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Ultimate Guitar
Harmony Central
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Musicians Friend
Amazon
Model Classic Vibe 50s Tele MIM Telecaster
Website Squierguitars.com Fender.com
Weight 3.7 kg / 8 lbs 1oz 3.7 kg / 8lbs 3oz
Tuners Vintage-Style Fender Standard Cast/Sealed
Neck Bolt-on Maple
Modern C
Scale Length 25.5"
Nut Material Synthetic Bone
Nut Width 1.625" 1.650"
Fingerboard Maple
Fingerboard Radius 9.5"
Frets 21
Medium Jumbo
Inlays Black Dot
Body Pine Alder
Pickups Custom Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele x2 Standard Single-Coil Tele x2
Bridge 3-Saddle Vintage-Style Strings-Through-Body Tele with Brass Barrel Saddles 6-Saddle Standard Strings-Through-Body Tele with Block Saddles
Classic Vibe 50s Tele MIM Telecaster


Comparison
Classic Vibe 50s Tele MIM Telecaster
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Differences between The Classic Vibe 50s & MIM

With no discernible difference upon first glance, we'll have to dig a little deeper to find out which of these two Teles is superior...

Hardware

Standard vs Classic Vibe bridge saddlesLike the Custom CV Tele, the 50's (right) has a 3 barrel style bridge

As with the Strat comparison, the Squier's "Vintage Style" tuners are a cheaper option compared to the Fender's Sealed Standards.

Even so, there is no glaringly forthright condemnation of the Classic Vibe's tuners in the reviews. While your typical MIM will hold its tuning more reliably than than the CV, most players won't notice, especially given the fact that most of us re-tune, or at least take time out to check the tuning at frequent intervals anyway.

Another difference lies in the bridge - the traditional three "barrel" saddles on the Classic Vibe versus the more standard six saddle setup on the Mexican Tele.

Arguably, the MIM allows for more precise intonation setup, as each string has its own saddle. But there's a cosmetic charm about the brass barrels that will appeal to some.

Squier Classic Vibe 50s TelecasterThe Classic Vibe 50s Tele in Vintage Blonde

Playability

Nothing to report here - both guitars use the modern C shaped neck and both have 21 frets. Low actions can be achieved on both.

Sound

Surprisingly, you'll hear considerably more brightness and overall presence from the Classic Vibe's stock Custom pickups compared to the MIM's Standard single coils.

Not only do we have different pickups, but we also have different body materials shaping the tone - the standard alder body on the MIM and the more unusual pine body on the CV, which harks back to Leo Fender's 1950's Broadcaster models. The CV really is a throwback!

This rather striking difference in tone creates an interesting point of comparison for Tele enthusiasts. With the Telecaster being known for its biting, top end brilliance, the Mexican's darker tone rounds off some of the sharpness of that top end, giving it a slightly different, more (dare I say) modern appeal for certain players.

Clean, the CV has a noticeably skinnier, tighter attack. When the gain is cranked, the Fender's darker output creates an overall smoother response to lead lines and power chords. There's less of an aggressive shrillness from the MIM. It's less "in your face".

So, true to the name, the Squier can indeed be considered closer to that authentic 50's Tele sound, whereas the Fender offers a more reserved take on that classic twang.

▲ Compare Sound

Bottom Line

If you want that traditional Tele look, feel and sound, the Classic Vibe gives you it in spadefuls. The pine body was an excellent choice by Squier/Fender in helping to attain its authenticity.

The neck and neck rating suggests the differences are more subjective than quality driven. But if you're looking for a classic Tele through and through, the Squier does have the added bonus of being $250 cheaper, meaning spare cash for a setup, accessories or whatever takes your fancy.

It just goes to show - even a significant difference in price doesn't necessarily mean even a minor difference in quality.

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