Sound — 6
I'm a blues player, converted from '80s-style hair metal. I play direct through a Vintage Fender Twin and a 3-year old Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Plugged in, it has a very nice acoustic-electric piezo sound, a bit thin compared to a deeper-bodied guitar, but the tone can easily be customized with the on-board controls. The best sound-shaping control on the guitar is the contour control. It's basically just a tone control, but once you set the three EQ sliders, the contour gives you a pretty nice range from biting to smoothed-out jazz. The pickup is very quiet, I've never had a feedback problem with it, but then again that's what piezo's are for. Generally it has a typically trebly, bright Fender sound to it. Unplugged is mostly where my complaints are with this model. In a room with a dreadnought or other traditionally deep-bodied acoustic guitar, the Telecoustic's thinline body just cannot produce enough volume to compete. It is easily drowned out by any other acoustic guitar, which is a shame because it does have a thin but very nice-sounding tone to it, acoustically, which was a bit surprising. Others have mentioned this, but both the Telecoustic and Stratacoustic are not well balanced at all. The neck and head are substantially heavier than the body, which makes it a little awkward to play standing up.
Overall Impression — 6
I'm a blues player, and for a piezo-sounding solo or the occasional slide work, this is an average value. I started out playing electric Washburns and BC Rich's (I started learning during the late '80s), but as I slowly transitioned to the blues, I began aquiring more traditional equipment. So out went the Warlocks and Randalls, in came the Fenders. I am almost and exclusive Fender player, but I also own an Epiphone Les Paul and several acoustics, including an Ibanez Artwood 100 and an ancient Harmony. The Telecoustic is definately style over substance, though. It looks cool, and it doesn't play or sound bad, it just doesn't play or sound exceptionally good, either. The thin acoustic sound is too low-volume to play acoustically with anything other than another Telecoustic or Stratacoustic. I bought it because I wanted a low-cost acoustic-electric and I liked the look of the Telecaster, so I got really excited when they introduced these models and ordered one right away. I was not necessarily disappointed with it when I got it, but I was not enthralled either. This was actually the guitar that convinced me to go to an actual store and play instruments before buying them, but I guess I was just young and foolish at the time. I would probably pass on this guitar if I were interested in another acoustic-electric, but if you just love the look of your electric Fender and want it in an acoustic, this is the one for you, but just be aware that there are much better values in the acoustic-electric pantheon for only a $100 or so more.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Straight from the factory the action is a bit higher than a standard electric Telecaster, maybe 1/10" or so, but it still plays pretty fast for an acoustic, which is why I was interested in it in the first place. The finish in unremarkable, mine is Fender Inca Silver, which looks nice, but nothing spectacular about it. Overall quality is generally good.