Review: Fender Gold Foil Telecaster

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Review: Fender Gold Foil Telecaster


Fender Gold Foil Telecaster | Fender Music Australia | Enquire for Pricing

Fender are a true innovator and they have the back catalogue to prove it. Given their illustrious history and the sheer number of breakthrough technicall advancements to which they can be credited for, it makes a tonne of sense that the most recent run of Fender releases appear as something of a melting pot, taking these iconic feature sets and design cues from Fenders past and combining them to unique effect. 

Guitarists and bass players have alway had a knack for customisation-combining disparate pieces of equipment that don’t always interface perfectly with each other on paper, and this is especially relevant when it comes to pickups, bridges and controls that our guitar bodies aren’t routed for. Fender have taken this a step further and smoothed out the rough edges, releasing a range of classic Fender shapes that feature their cult favourite gold foil mini humbuckers, in turn offering a unique sound that’s otherwise difficult to achieve with any other pickups. 

Read more gear reviews here.

Mini humbuckers sit between the size of a single coil and a proper humbucker, and require some specific routing, unless you’re happy for there to be a little gap around the larger cavity or a specific pickup ring. The sound, again, sits somewhere between a single coil and a humbucker, with less hum but not the massive sound of a humbucker. The gold foil element is what makes this range unique, offering a truly vintage style tone, and in a variety of configurations, in this series. We’re specifically talking about the Telecaster here, but the series also boasts a Jazzmaster, Stratocaster and Jazz Bass.

The Fender Gold Foil Telecaster is new for 2023 and is a standard, full-size Telecaster that’s made from mahogany as opposed to the alder and ash more commonly used. The neck is maple with an ebony fretboard, and the 60’s ‘C’ shape feels great in the hand. Historically, the 60s is where guitar manufacturers started to move away from ‘baseball bat’ necks, so the Gold Foil series will feel familiar to most players. 

The mahogany body adds a bit more weight to the guitar overall, but helps in adding heft to the Telecaster sonically. The gold foil pickups have less bite and twang than more traditional single coil Tele’s, but instead offer warm, sizzling tones that are ideal for rhythms or uniquely fat leads. It’s immediately obvious that the gold foils are quite low output, but they’re designed that way, and for good reason. Lower gain means they have more headroom by the time they get to your amp, so you’ve got more clarity for cleans and less risk of buzzy distortion when your signal hits your amp. The humbucker configuration helps with any potential noise and having a humbucker in the neck and bridge position on a Telecaster was a new experience for me, but definitely something that helped me coax out new sounds and styles of playing. The satin urethane finish on the neck helps fretting and moving around the neck quickly, without any glossy nitro or poly finishes to stick to your hands and slow them down.

Head to toe, the Fender Gold Foil Telecaster is its own beast. The maple neck is finished in satin urethane with a matched gloss urethane headcap in true 60s style. The Tele is available in either White Blonde or a deep Candy Apple Burst, and the ebony fingerboard provides a stark contrast to both finishes, while sonically adding some clarity and spunk to the dual mini humbucking gold foil pickups. The pickups are controlled by a master volume, master tone and a three-way switch, allowing for traditional Tele togglin’. Helping that classic Tele tone along are the brass saddles and synthetic bone nut, while the Gloss Polyester finish allows the body wood to breathe and give the eventual output all of those warm, rich overtones that mahogany has in spades. The aforementioned fretboard has a 12” radius, so they’ve gone for a more modern feel, but the 25.5” scale length will make you feel at home, and can handle most tunings without intonation issues. This whole range is an array of newer and older style specs together, mixed together for an entirely playable Tele at the end of the day.

The Fender Gold Foil Telecaster is one part of a new range of unique guitars and basses from Fender. Having conquered much of the world of guitar innovation, Fender have instead paired some existing tech such as gold foil pickups, and built a range around them so us tinkerers don’t have to go routing and re-routing our guitar for our latest sonic adventure. The gold foils deviate from the twang and treble of a classic Tele configuration, what with a covered neck single coil and uncovered, angled bridge pickup, but the wood selection makes it all tie together nicely into something new. The neck shape, feel and design are a super comfortable play, and specs like the radius and mahogany body shift the tone and playability into a more modern field – the gold foil pickups providing a dichotomy with their warm, sultry, 60s tones. Mini humbuckers have that unique ability to poke through a dense arrangement but also provide weight and impact, and the Fender Gold Foil Mini-Humbuckers fit this to a tee. 

The Gold Foil collection may not be everything you expected from these tried and true, traditional Fender shapes, but they’ll surely inspire something new entirely. Fender seems to have the uncanny ability to help us do that.

Head to Fender for more information. For local enquiries, reach out to Fender Music Australia.