Oscar Schmidt continues to supply beginning guitarists with many affordable, quality instruments. We just looked at the OS-300, a Stratocaster style guitar. Now, we are taking the OS-LT (coming soon) through its paces. This Telecaster style guitar will interest first-time buyers, but also those who want to expand their tonal palette with a wide spread type of tone. These types of guitars have been used in every single style of music, so it’s a very good option to start, or to offer different playing styles to current guitar owners.
I’ve filmed a video documenting my impressions, and it includes various sound samples in different styles.
The Telecaster, a fine choice
No matter your musical preferences, the Telecaster has been featured heavily in most styles. While some people associate it instantly to country music (in which it’s definitely the main choice), many famous guitarists have used it in legendary recordings. For example, while he is usually associated with Les Pauls, Jimmy Page was notoriously known to use the Tele in the studio. Other extremely famous classic rock artists such as Keith Richards, Alex Lifeson, and Joe Walsh also use this type of axe consistently.
This is not where the Telecaster ends though. Popular music often favours this tone, as seen by pop artists such as Prince, Andy Summers, and Jeff Buckley. The roots of the instrument also bring us to Blues and Motown. Metal music even has representatives: John 5 and Jim Root. The guitar is even present in different styles of jazz: from the fine bop style of Canada’s own Ed Bickert to the multi-faceted modern playing of Bill Frisell. I even used a Telecaster for most of my jazz studies at university. Last but not least, this instrument has also attracted some forward thinking musicians such as Jeff Beck, Tom Morello, and Richie Kotzen.
Another very attractive characteristic of this style of guitar is its simple design. Telecasters are well known for being reliable, stable, and very simple to adjust, modify, and fix. This adds a lot of value to the instrument, and the Oscar Schmidt is definitely made with this in mind. If this is your first guitar, it’s a great platform to learn basic maintenance. The OS-LT is also an excellent choice to grow with, since it’s so easy to modify.
The OS-LT features
As with the OS-300, Oscar Schmidt unfortunately doesn’t reveal the specification fully on its website. Apart from indicating the maple used as the neck material (which is self-evident), nothing is really described on the instrument’s file.
The 21-fret fretboard of the OS-LT appears to be rosewood, which is a common fretboard wood on Telecaster type guitars. Usually, luthiers select Ash or Alder as body materials, but the spec sheet doesn’t specify. We’d have to strip down the guitar’s finish to confirm, but that might be overkill.
The website doesn’t list any electronics information either. This guitar has a standard pickup configuration of a covered single-coil and an angled single-coil pickup mounted on the metal bridge. The controls have a pickup selector which enables you to use each pickup individually or together. There is also a volume control and a tone control which affects the higher frequencies of your sound.
While I received a black guitar with a white pick guard, this model is also available in white with a black pick guard—essentially the opposite of the one I got. In the box, you will find an Allen key and a 1/4 inch jack, so you can plug in and make any adjustments as soon as you get it. Also, I noticed the pickup selector plastic knob was missing. I eventually found it in the same plastic bag that included the other accessories, so don’t worry if you don’t see it on the guitar once you get it.
Good setup and great tones
As I was exploring the various sounds available, it was clear to me that the OS-LT is a great choice to begin with on your guitar journey. Out of the box, it didn’t need any adjustments, and the action (string height and neck curvature) was easy to play.
The neck has a nice unfinished, smooth feel. Contrary to the OS-300 Strat style guitar from Oscar Schmidt, this is a more modern feature, and most guitars nowadays present necks like this. So if you have some playing experience, this should feel quite familiar. It’s not the smallest neck, and I find that it provides a good compromise between comfort and ease of play. I didn’t notice anything off-putting about it.
Sound wise, you can definitely accomplish any of the Telecaster tones you wish. Knowing what we do about the Tele, that’s quite a lot. If you watched the video, you’ll see how versatile the guitar is. From clean riffs to soaring, overdriven leads, everything is not only usable, but satisfying. I especially enjoyed the middle position which yielded a complex, cutting sound.
Classic sounds such as the single coil neck tones or twangy country bridge tones are readily available. I will say, though, that some of the single coil settings can get noisy—especially with some gain. Single coils naturally produce a lot of hum; this is not a defect. In the middle position, this issue is non-existant, but you might notice it in the two other positions.
Thankfully, there are tons of pickup option available. With this type of design, it’s quite simple to swap them out and try out many options. This brings me to the overall value of the OS-LT. For the money, this is an excellent first choice. It provides a good sounding, easy to play instrument. It’s also a great platform to grow with and modify, as you develop your playing style and preferences. Also, the low price point will attract the guitarists that simply want an affordable Telecaster and the awesome tones it provides. Definitely be on the lookout for this model—there’s a lot to like.