The fender Telecaster is a legend. Some guitar players ( ...i was one of them!) tend to underestimate the Tele because of its simplicity: two single coil pickups, only 1 volume and 1 tone knob, a 3-way switch. And they see the tele as a cheap alternative to the Stratocaster, which offers 3 pickups with a 5-way switch, and the vibrato. Then what happens? One day a big fan of Led Zeppelin like me discovers that on their first album Jimmy Page plays ONLY an old Telecaster. Yes, that full, fat, heavy, hot guitar sound doesn't come from the humbuckers of a Gibson Les Paul Standard, it come from the tiny single coils of the Tele! And the great Robben Ford endorses the very expensive Fender "Robben Ford Model" but uses his good old trusty Tele for his concerts and his records (beside a Gibson ES-335). And ... who else, let me think ... YES, how could i forget! The most underestimated great guitar player ever! Danny Gatton! Please if you never heard about him, look for ANY of his records. Unfortunately he made few records before he sadly departed. It would be hard to name all Tele players (Roy Buchanan, Albert Lee, Andy Summers, Mike Stern, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, many, many black blues players and so on). But let me mention 2 great Italian Tele players: my guitar maestro Lello Panico, leader of the Blue Messengers who plays the blues like no-one else here in Italy, and Andrea Braido, who gets the impossible out of his Telecaster!
My Tele is a cheap model made in Mexico. I bought it while i was in Sweden for 6 months for job. I thought i could live without a guitar ... but i was wrong! I saw such a beautiful brand new Tele on a shop in the center of Goteborg, tried it and bought it without thinking twice! It's such a nice guitar!
The fingerboard is so smooth and fast! With 0.10-0.46 gauge strings it looks like you are using thinner strings! Using a lower gauge would make the guitar sound weak, i don't recommend it.
The neck is quite thick. This really gives body and sustain to such a small guitar with single coil pickups.
The pickups. My favourite is the neck pickup! You have only 3 possible combinations of sounds but it's impossible to get a "bad" sound from this baby!!! The variety of tones you can get, with a proper use of the tone knob, is absolutely impressive. This guitar is second to no other about flexibility. Please try it yourself! About the quality of the electronics/pickups of my cheap mexican model, my guitar maestro Lello Panico (who is a Telecaster expert) thought i had changed the pickups when he tried my Tele. Shall i say more?
This is my advice: before purchasing an american standard Tele, try also a mexican (which usually costs less than half). Put a bend on your eyes and play both of them and let your ears and fingers decide! Personally i admit that i could feel the difference with my mexican only when i played a fantastic (4 times more expensive) Vintage '52 Telecaster Reissue!