American Special Telecaster Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: American Special Telecaster
Brand new model so it would have to have been made late 2009/early 2010, 22 jumbo frets and the Standard Fender scale of 25.5.
 Sound: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.2
 Features: 8.7
 Overall rating:
 8.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.7 
 Users rating:
 8.1 
 Votes:
 48 
reviews (6) pictures (4) 29 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 7.6
American Special Telecaster Reviewed by: Shayne777, on november 09, 2012
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 862.4

Purchased from: Axe Music

Features: Brand new model so it would have to have been made late 2009/early 2010, 22 jumbo frets and the Standard Fender scale of 25.5. The body is alder with a gloss urethane finish and the neck is maple in a modern C shape. Classic tele body with a 70's over sized style headstock which I think looks just perfect on this guitar. Classic tele style bridge which has yet to give me any problems. The electronics are passive with the Standard tele controls, one volume, one tone and a blade Switch selector. The pick ups are the Texas special tele set which sound amazing and really bring out that classic tele twang. Fender Standard tuners which are alright but I hope to Switch them out at some point soon. This guitar also come with a Fender deluxe gig bag which is alright but the back straps on it always leave a huge space between you and the guitar that somtimes you might smack the top against somthing if you are on a bus or other small areas( I have tried adjusting them everywhich way and always have that problem). // 8

Sound: My Influences range from Jimmy Page and Keith Richards to Josh Homme and Adam Jones and this guitar carries the load wonderfully. I play it through a Seymour Duncan Lava Box and Morley Bad Horsie II wah pedal to a Orange Crush 30( the older one without the built in effects). My sound is a bit muddeled somtimes but I fully blame that on the amps weak distortion and the qaulity of the Lava Box which has distortion and overdrive but doesn't do either very well. Playing clean this guitar makes peoples knees bend when they hear it, the sound is very bright and twangy and is perfect for bluesy and country sounds( I have yet to recreate a good keith richards tone which I blame on the amp and my terrible EQ skills). The pickups on this guitar are really the only thing holding it back from being a great metal guitar but I suppose you could always take a page from Jim Root and cut it up to fit humbuckers though you'd loss your twang( and I love my twang). // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: When I first got this guitar I couldn't have it set up professionally for a couple of weeks and coming from the Fender factory the action was unbearably high but once I had it set up the guitar just further impressed me. Everything else about the build of the guitar was quality( whcih you expect coming out of the USA), the pick ups adjusting was good and everything was properly routed. The finshed was done very well and I am trying very hard not to nick or chip a piece of this guitar as to preserve the amazing job they did. When buying this guitar I played it against an American Standard and felt this guitar to be the more soildly built guitar as the Standard just felt bulky to me. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Playing the kind of money you have to for an American Fender you would damn well expect it to withstand living playing though I do not gig currently so I can't comment of how this guitar would hold up on stage but I am confident it would get the show done. The hardware is great on the guitar but the strap buttons aren't very good, I have had to make a few saving catchs from the guitars strap slipping off the buttons, I would recommend throwing strap locks on ASAP as you might not alawys be able to make the saving grab. I would not use this guitar without a back up gigging not because its not a beast of a guitar but because from what I understand gigging without a back up guitar is just looking for trouble and a bad show. The finish should be on this guitar for many many years and if its not even better I loved an aged guitars looks but if you are someone who wants to see his reflection in this guitar in 30 years I would count on it. // 7

Overall Impression: I try not to piggenhole myself to a style but in a board sense I suppose it would be Hard rock/Alternative and this guitar is a great match for them. I have been playing for awhile now and own 2 other guitars, a Dean VX and a rip off strat. The Tele kicks the strats ass from here to the moon and back again but it is hard to compare it with the Dean as they are both very different guitars which is another reason I bought the Tele. If it were lost or stolen I would probably go back to Telecasters but I hope to have more income the future(as I am sure everyone else is) so I might go from a higher vaule one or maybe even a custom shop one. I love the sound of this guitar but wish that the neck was a little thinner to make lead work a little easier and I would have rather had Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups in it but I suppose I could always instal those myself later on down the road. // 8

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overall: 9.8
American Special Telecaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 799

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Features: + made sometime in 2009/2010 + 22 jumbo frets on a maple neck/fretboard + alder body with glossy finish (mine is oly white w/black pickguard) + Vintage 3-brass saddle bridge with string-thru body + Texas Special pickups with Standard tone/volume/3 position pickup selector + wired for Greasebucket Tone Circuit (meaning that if you roll the volume back on the guitar it does not also roll off high end) + American Standard tuners + comes with deluxe gig bag, truss rod wrench, and shammy My one complaint? Wish it came with a hard case. At this price though I'm lucky I got a bag! // 9

Sound: I've owned a slew of Telecasters. One U.S., one MIM, one MII Squire and one MIC Squire. The only one I still own of that bunch is a 93 MIM Telecaster Standard, so I use it for comparison. The US Special has maybe a more polished sound. The MIM is rougher, but not by much. The US Special hits my amp a little harder than the MIM but again, not by much. Unlike the MIM, the US Special's range of pickup tones are all useful. I find myself using the middle mode more than I thought I would (on the MIM I never use it...better pickups on the U.S. perhaps? ). It's got the Telecaster sound I've grown to love but it's a little more versatile for what I do (indie/noise rock). My chain is guitar -> Blue Monster WOOF! clean boost -> Ibanez Turbo Tubescreamer (on + setting) -> Danelectro Grilled Cheese tremolo -> MXR Phase 90 -> MXR Carbon Copy -> Fender Hot Rod Deville 4x10 (for loud shows) or 1960's Alamo Challenger 1x10 10w tube combo (for solo shows). My rhythm tone is clean right on the edge of dirt. I roll the Telecaster's volume back a little to clean it up and work the volume (which is why I LOVE the greasebucket circuit...though oddly I don't notice much high end roll-off with the MIM). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Mine came from the factory set-up with 9's. I played two gigs on the factory strings without any intonation issues. When I popped the D string at the third show I went ahead and restrung with my usual 11's. Intonation and action just as good as before. Considering this is an AMERICAN guitar and it cost as much as it did I'd expect nothing less. Anyhow, the guitar came from the factory gig-ready. If there are any issues from the factory finish-wise I have not noticed. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've been using this guitar live for several months and I am still loving it. The neck feels already broken-in and it is easy to play. Tuners are solid, the bridge is solid, the guitar just feels right and plays right. That was something I didn't get from picking up any number of Classic Vibe Squiers or most MIM Teles. It's a great guitar at a great price. I wanted to invest in a guitar that I would keep for the ages, and that is what it is. Expensive and nice enough to cherish, not so expensive that I'll cry when it gets its first ding. PS: I never gig without a backup. I hate to watch bands restring onstage mid-set. But now my beloved and much cherished red 93 MIM Tele is relegated to DADGAD/backup duty. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall...this guitar is just the right one for me. It gives me the right amount of bite for clean and rhythm and has enough oomph as a distorted rhythm. I don't play leads that much, but when I do I can still be spanky like a good Tele should be but the other pup positions give me tones that most wouldn't associate with a Tele. Would I buy it all over again? You bet! Am I 100% happy? Well...let's say 99% happy. Wished it came in a larger choice of colors (I might have chosen something different than white). For the color to be the only thing you're unhappy about says that this is a fine guitar. For this hack it's quite nice enough. // 10

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overall: 8.2
American Special Telecaster Reviewed by: Swannie, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 799

Purchased from: local music store

Features: Made in USA 2009 or 2010 22 jumbo frets alder body with flamed maple neck poly finish traditional brass-bar 3-saddle string thru bridge 3-way selector with greasebucket tone circuit texas special pickups It came with a Fender gig bag but I already had a case that fits Tele's so I was covered there. // 8

Sound: I love this guitar, I play mostly blues and 60's rock and this guitar is great. I run it through a couple effects into a Marshal JVM210 half stack. It sounds great and has that classic Tele twang that the Standard mexican teles I've played lack. It has a beautiful clean sound, especially when both pickups are on, and has a great overdrive sound as well. I've cranked up the gain and it sounds heavy enough for a lot of metal (but that is through a Marshall half-stack.) // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The tele was actually set up quite nicely. I've seen five or six other American special teles and mine has a very pretty flamed maple neck that's not on the others, so I guess I got lucky with that. It came set up with 9's and I've since put 11's on it and it's great. I've had it for several months and had no flaws. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I play live some, and this guitar works fine for that. The hardware is great: the tuners are superb. The strap buttons seem very solid, they haven't been loose at all, and the strap I use has really tough leather on the ends: its definitely not coming off. // 8

Overall Impression: This is a great tele. The only thing I would change about it is that I would like to have a bigsby, but I can certainly live without one. If it was stolen, I'd get another one for sure. I've played for close to 4 years now and my other guitar is a Highway 1 Strat. This blows it out of the water. // 8

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overall: 8.6
American Special Telecaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 900

Purchased from: guitar shop

Features: This guitar has the Standard Telecaster features, with greasebucket wiring, which basically means one master tone pot that rolls off the highs. Got this in a sunburst which is done quite well. Comes with gig bag and a bunch of little leaflets, allen key for truss rod and a polishing cloth. // 9

Sound: You can get some really great tones out of this thing, from that classic Telecaster bite to something alot fatter. With a bit of gain you can get some great Jimmy Page tones, as well as a nice rock and blues sound. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The set up was pretty standard, and the pickups are not noisy at all. The neck finish is extremely comfortable with a satin finish. I give this a 7 because of the body finish. I have no problem with the 3 peice body, however, when looking from the right angle, you can clearly see two ridges in the finish along the joint line, like the wood pieces are different thicknesses. Once more, the finish looks like it has not been buffed properly, a little bit Orange peely, I am very pleased with the sunburst but I'm not too happy about the clear coats. // 6

Reliability & Durability: The tele's simple hardware looks tough and like it will last. havn't gigged it but use it with a strap alot and everything holds up fine no problems here. // 10

Overall Impression: I play alot of rock, classic rock, blues etc, this fis the bill. The finish problem is a bit anoying but as a guitar its superb and comfortable to play however I would like to see more finishes available on this model as I think the only other one is black. // 9

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overall: 9.4
American Special Telecaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 900

Purchased from: Amazon

Features: American made guitar. 22 frets fat neck. C type maple. Jumbo frets. Wouldn't mind if the neck was a little thinner but its not that big a problem. Alder body - don't know what its specialty is... But its not bad sounding at all. Poly urethane finish-sounds a little crappy but is not bad looking. Has a nice traditional type Bridge saddle. I've had no problems so far, supposedly they are supposed to be difficult customers. Its been with me around 8 months with regular to heavy use. Nice Bridge pickup sounds, fat-twangy and ballsy. The middle position is a little on the thinner side though no complains. The neck pickup I think is a little softer than the bridge. You can lift the pickup to solve that problem if needed. The tuners are great. Strings stay in tune for a long time. THE CASE IS SUPER UGLY! Very cheap but I don't really care about a case. // 9

Sound: I play rock'n'roll, blues and songwriting stuff so this guitar is perfect. I use single units. Jim Dunlop GCB 95 Wah Wah, Boss Blues Driver, Tech 21 boost RVB, MXR/CAE line driver, Voodoo Lab Tremolo, Roger Mayer Voodoo Blues. But rarely all of these together. Maybe 2-3 pedals max at a time though a Roland Blues Cube 60 amp. The guitar sounds best without any pedals. But with pedals on its awesome too. The Drive kicks the noise from pickups a little bit, nothing devastating though. The neck pick up is nice and buttery warm and the Bridge pickup snarls like a good Telecaster should. The middle position is pretty cool too for those muddy waters type of sounds with slide. You can get nice tones if you fool around with the tone pot, the range is MASSIVE. Normally I don't care that much though the possibility is there if you want. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The action was perfect when I got it. No need to do anything. The big problem was it came with these wimpy 9's and I immediately got rid of them. With 10's this guitar sounds great. Everything was in place. Intonation is great. Couldn't see any flaws really and was pretty happy about that! I gave it 9 and not 10 cos I had to change the strings immediately. These should come with 10's. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This is my 2nd Tele, (first one was a MIM) nothing happens to these made-for-war guitars, besides a beaten Tele looks way cooler than a shiny new one. The brass saddles are changing colour with oxidization but it looks cool and dosent affect the guitar. I think I can depend on it though its wiser to always have a back up guitar (my Gibson ES-339 is always there) poly urethane finish is slightly depressing to hear. I wish it was nitro-cellulose but in aint. The body changed colour since I got it, its become yellower, which I like! (very little sunlight needed for that). // 10

Overall Impression: This is a great match for me and the style I play - rock'n'roll, blues and stuff like that. I had a Les Paul (which is my real love) but this one is a close second. Infact, now I love both equally! I have played for 11 years in 2 bands. Writing/composing/jamming /singing/playing solo after solo. I have an ES-339 Gibson which is a pretty insane guitar too, but this Tele is now my main guitar. I would get this guitar again though I really wish it has a rosewood fingerboard option! It's definitely much better than the highway series telecasters and in my opinion better than some of the Fender Standard Telecaster models I tried out before getting this. Just to Drive home the point... I REALLY WISH IT HAD A ROSEWOOD FINGERBOARD OPTION! // 9

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overall: 8.8
American Special Telecaster Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 700

Purchased from: Central Music- Welland

Features: No need to repeat what has already been said about it's features. Alder body; maple neck/fretboard; nice brown sunburst type finish; black pickguard. Came with a gig bag. Never been a fan of the traditional 3-barrel saddle/bridge set-up but so far it's been fine, tunes up well and stays in tune. Jumbo frets kinda put me off somewhat, at first, but they are not an issue at all. I love the neck on this Tele. It's got that classic Fender Telecaster look, feel and sound that hasn't been improved on very much since the early 50's. They don't need to. // 9

Sound: This Tele suits me and my playing style just fine.I play classic rock from the 60's and 70's. I strive for the classic Tele tones/sounds I've come to know and love over the years. Keith Richards, Steve Cropper, Albert Collins, Jimmy Page, Waylon Jennings and too many to name. I run this Telecaster straight into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp. I have some effects pedals but very rarely use them. Some say the pickups are too hot. I don't agree. They are just fine for what I want them to do. I mainly switch back and forth from clean to overdrive channels. This guitar does this very well. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought this Tele used but it's only 2 years old so how used can it be? No dings or scratches to speak of. I noodled around on it for week then took it to my guitar tech for proprer set-up/new strings. This proved to be a good move because now it plays "like butta". I've been playing a very long time so I know exactly what I want set-up and feel-wise. My guitar tech said it was very easy to work on and didn't require much tinkering - to me, that's a sign of a good quality guitar. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I plan on putting this Telecaster through it's paces over the next few months but I'm not anticipating any issues. It will share the load with my Gibson Les Paul and my '91 Fender American Standard Strat. I would use it if it were my only guitar but I have many guitars so I don't have to. The true test will be live, on stage with my band. If it doesn't cut it there, I probably won't have it for long. Wait and see. // 8

Overall Impression: I've been playing Fenders for 28 years. I own more Gibsons than Fenders. My other Fender is a '91 American Standard Strat that I bought in '94. This is my fourth Telecaster in that time. When I found it, I was not really looking for a new Telecaster but it just spoke to me so I bought it and I have no regrets. I've always had a Telecaster in my arsenal. They are, to me, the quintessential Rock'n'roll guitar. If it got stolen would I buy another one? Maybe. I compared this Tele with the road worn series, Hwy 1 series and the American standard series. All very nice guitars. This Tele is used and the others did not have anything more or better that would justify paying the full sticker price. I know me and chances are, it won't be my last telecaster. Right now, I can't put this one down. // 9

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