Fender | RRP AU$2,199
The Fender Acoustasonics have managed to bridge the gap between acoustic and electric guitars, offering players a key into newly explored tone territory, and the new range of Ensenada-built Acoustasonics are no exception. Traditionally, Acoustasonics have been a super high-end, US-made guitar out of the Corona factory in California, but the new range of Acoustasonics in the Player Telecaster brings the tone-bending, genre-transcending sounds to the market at a much more accessible price point.
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Straight out of the box, they feel, look, and sound very similar to US-made originals, and the deluxe padded gig bag ensures it arrives safely into your hot little hands. The body is mahogany, as is the bolt-on neck and it’s matched nicely with a rosewood fretboard. The body itself is a kind of pseudo-acoustic, not quite chambered solid-body, and not quite a full-blown acoustic either. The magic of the Acoustasonic is that it’s neither an electric or an acoustic guitar, but it’s also not simply a combination of both, but an entirely new amalgamation in and of itself.
In the hands, the Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is very resonant and loud enough to be played acoustically, and sounds great even without delving into the N4 Magnetic pickup in the bridge position or saddle-positioned Piezo. Plugged in and amplified, the piezo is articulate and controlled, much like you’d expect from an undersaddle pickup on a more conventional acoustic guitar. The N4 magnetic offers dark, woody overtones like an old jazz guitar or archtop. The blend of both? It’s really something else, much like the Acoustasonic itself, the blend of the N4 and piezo pickup is woody, mid-present but articulate, really pulling the best of both worlds into one tidy tone. The knobs allow control over a master volume and a blend, and a three-way switch to toggle between different combinations of both pickups. The knobs are well within reach while playing, and are made from wood that compliments the mahogany and, in this case, Fender’s classic Butterscotch Blonde finish. The body is about as deep as a standard Telecaster, and the rounded edges of the body allow it to sit comfortably against you. The shape and weight are comfortable like an electric and it isn’t as cumbersome as some larger-bodied dreadnoughts can be. The cutaway is comfy and again features a rounded edge, as well as the ever popular access heel that is becoming increasingly common across Fender’s newer ranges. The classic rectangular neck block is shaved away at the high E side, allowing players access the whole way up to the twenty-second fret and beyond if required.
The Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is an electro-acoustic guitar with a 25.5 inch scale length, so most Fender fans will feel right at home. The body and neck are both constructed of mahogany, the body topped with a Solid A Sitka Spruce top and Polyester Satin Matte with four different colours available – for now! The neck is a modern “Deep C”, and features a Rosewood fretboard and 22 narrow tall frets for a particularly ‘acoustic’ playability. There’s a Graph Tech TUSQ nut at one end and a Modern Asymmetrical bridge on the other, holding down tuning stability on the belly of the guitar. It comes strung with Fender 11s and the tuning machines are staggered Fender Standard Cast/Sealed tuners. The sheer weight, or lack thereof, of the guitar itself will shock you every time, contrasted by the big, punchy tone that the pickups offer once plugged in.
The mahogany of the body imparts a particularly pleasant tone across the whole instrument, doing away with the brittle brightness of alder or basswood, and the chambered design softens the muddy darkness of a big slab of mahogany into a perfectly balanced and entirely new guitar design.
The Fender Acoustasonics have been turning heads for some time now, and I truly feel their impact might have been limited by the price point of the American Series, which has now branched into the Stratocaster and Jazzmaster. This isn’t to say that the Corona, California-made Acoustasonics aren’t worth it, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. What it is to say though, is that the Acoustasonic Player series will put more of these guitars into the hands of players, creators, and artists.
Somehow Fender have made an incredibly high quality instrument at a much more accessible price point, without compromising on much at all. The Ensenada-made Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is primarily constructed from mahogany and features a Solid A Sitka Spruce top to help absorb and amplify all the right frequencies, while the rosewood fretboard imparts its own warmth into the notes you’re weaving up and down the modern “Deep C” shaped neck. There’s subtle hints to both the acoustic and electric guitar worlds with the combination of the classic Telecaster body shape and narrow tall frets, and not to mention the piezo undersaddle pickup combined with a very Tele-like bridge pickup in the N4. What’s more, it comes with a Deluxe bag to store it away when not being played, which believe me, won’t be often.
The Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is a glimpse into what’s to come in the future of guitars amongst an industry that is often focused on re-issues, clones, and emulation. Fender may very well be the only ones able to buck that trend because they’re the company everyone looks to for inspiration and innovation.
For more information on, head to Fender Music Australia.