Updated: January 25, 2020 by Richard Cole
Fender Telecaster is by far one of the most influential electric guitars ever made.
Actually, it’s the first successful solid body electric guitar. In a lot of ways you can consider it to be the father of every single ax we are using now. Being so popular, Telecaster is also one of the most copied electric guitar designs in the world.
Everyone wants to show the world their own take on this famous guitar. In all honesty, most of these guitars are no where near the original Fender. Some are so bad they are considered to be pure scam. With that said, there are definitely good Telecaster copies. The proof of that is Peavey Telecaster series which comes under the name of Generation EXP.
Just how good these guitars are can be determined by their popularity. Peavey has built a lot of different variations, with different pickup setups, all of which have sold in large numbers.
Was it as good as the original Fender?
Probably not, but then again the price was way lower, which allowed the fans of this body style to have their dream guitar without breaking their bank account.
Let’s get into our review !
Peavey Telecaster Generation EXP was available in several different configurations. One of the most popular one was the humbucker/single coil/single coil. It’s definitely not true to the original setup of the Telecaster, but it has proven to be the most versatile pickup configuration for many players. Aside from this combo, there was a version with two humbuckers, as well as three single coils.
One of Peavey’s main goals was to create a Telecaster platform which would be useable for every genre of music. This approach is partially why these guitars became so popular. Even though they are discontinued, those who own them can still get a good portion of their original price on the used market.
As you can figure out from its name, the body shape Peavey went with is the standard Telecaster style. Generation EXP series came in all of the regular Fender finishes, including sunburst/tobacco burst and all of the solid color variations.
The neck is a maple design with a rosewood fretboard that features standard dot inlays. In terms of hardware, there were several different variations available depending on the pickup configuration. One with three single coils featured an ash-tray type bridge which used a string-through body design and only three saddles. The other versions came with a standard fixed bridge and six separate saddles.
On the other side, at the headstock, you got a set of pretty average tuners. When it comes to electronics, we have already mentioned which combinations you could expect to see.
Generally, all of these bar the double humbucker one had that standard Telecaster metal strip with one volume and one gain knob. The one with two humbuckers had three knobs laid out in what is considered a standard configuration today.
What really put this line of guitars ahead of the competition was the versatility they ultimately offered to the user. Squier also had some Telecaster copies available, but they chose to stick with the original design which was very hard to pull off with cheap components. Peavey sacrificed a bit of authenticity for a more practical design. Needless to say, that paid off.
The most popular version with two single coils and a humbucker, offered a decent amount of tonal range. That humbucker was pretty good when it came to driving rhythms, and could handle the distortion rather well. With the addition of two single coils, this model of Peavey Telecaster became the favorite among the users.
Having only single coils on your guitar, especially a cheaper one, meant a lot of pickup hum. That’s the issue that is still hard to solve. The most aggressive type of Generation EXP is definitely the one with two humbuckers. These came covered and were really capable of keeping up with more saturated distortions.
Aside from the sound these guitars offered, there was one quality of Peavey Telecaster that needs to be mentioned. These guitars are really playable. You don’t often expect affordable guitars to offer such an experience, but this Peavey sure did.
What we like
Copying a popular guitar, and trying to make it affordable is borderline impossible to do. Peavey realized this, and has decided to give their rendition of the Telecaster a different spin. This type of approach really paid off, and it’s one of the best things about the Generation EXP. You could find a version that was suitable for any genre of music.
What we don’t like
The only bad thing about these Peavey guitars is that they are no longer in production. Generation EXP was one of the rare Tele copies which were actually worth getting..
When Peavey Telecaster hit the market, it showed the industry that you can definitely create a copy of a famous model at a low price, and still make it a successful product. Generation EXP series became popular for two main reasons. For one, they gave the Telecaster fans a way to own their favorite guitar without having to spend too much money, which worked great for those who had a tight budget to work with. On the other hand, these guitars also offered a wide range of electronics, making them suitable for a variety of genres.
Whether or not Peavey could have done a better job is really irrelevant. These guitars were never meant to replace the original Telecaster. Most of those who are not satisfied with the performance of the Generation EXP series expected far more from a guitar that costs a fraction of what Fender Telecaster costs.
The truth is that Peavey Telecaster brought a great balance of price and performance to a segment of the market which desperately needed a guitar like this. Compared to Squier, or other brands which offered a Telecaster style guitar, Peavey’s creation was several times better in all aspects.