First thing’s first: we need to talk about the finish. With a silver-sparkle paint job capped off with a matching grey paisley pickguard, you’re either going to love it or hate it. Capping it off, it’s also been ‘roadworn’ by Fender for added effect. Straight up, there’s a lot going on with the way this guitar looks. Personally? I was caught off guard by it at first, as were a few other Mixdown staff. But then I remembered: music is supposed to be fun. There’s no need to be entirely serious all the time. Why not shred on a sparkly silver guitar? It’s liberating.
Once you can get passed the fact that you’re essentially playing a six-stringed disco ball, you’ll notice how light this guitar is. Thanks to a combination spruce and Paulownia body, the instrument is a breeze to play for longer sessions. Don’t be fooled though — this Telecaster is surprisingly resonant, complimented further by the vintage-inspired brass saddles at the bridge.
The feel of the neck facilitates movement thanks to a modern 9.5″ fretboard radius and V-shaped profile. It makes pulling off pedal steel-inspired licks that much more effortless (a must for any self-respecting Telecaster player) and bends incredibly easy. Once you’ve experienced playing this guitar, you’ll realise that whatever colour it happens to come in doesn’t matter. It’s a joy to play, and really lends itself to high-octane country styles.
The pickups feature a Fender ‘Twisted Tele’ in the neck, and a slightly hotter vintage-style option in the bridge that’s wound to Paisley’s own specifications. The neck position is springy and responsive, almost crossing into Stratocaster-esque tones at times. Many players forgo a Telecaster’s neck pickup entirely, but this is an entirely usable sound that showcases Fender’s knowledge of what players are after in 2017. The middle position is sweet as sugar — perfect for fingerpicking or that honky Tele funk sound. Over to the bridge position — AKA the most iconic sound that Leo Fender ever created — and you’ll find a fantastic tone that sums up why Telecasters are still so popular today. It retains all of the bite and twang you could ever need, without ever crossing into icepick territory. Well balanced and rounded, it’s a top-notch sound that proves this guitar is more than worthy for professional musicians.
To be entirely frank, I didn’t think I would like this guitar. But after spending a solid amount of time with it, I’m converted. It’s ostentatious and brash, but plays as well — if not better — than a lot of Fenders out there. There’s a lesson here. Never judge a book by its cover. Or better yet, a guitar by its finish.