Telecoustic review by Fender

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.3 (71 votes)
Fender: Telecoustic

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.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    nose heavey huh? darn. i would play it live alot so cant have that. i really like the idea of acoustic sound with tele look. shame
    vis guitar has a gr8 feel and a lovely finish
    DazF wrote: this is a great guitar with style and a good sound!
    I'm old school. Thirty years ago, I used a Les Paul, 1000 watts and a 6X12 cabinet. Now, I use a 15 watt VOX Pathfinder and a Fender Telecoustic. Whatever venue I play, the PA carries the room. The guitar's 4 band EQ creates whatever mood I'm after, and the whole package weighs less than 20 pounds. Who could ask for more?
    The place i work has the jag version of this, and the tele version. The tele version have is just horrid for whatever reason. The action is terrible. The jag version is great, go figure.
    you can only truly comment badly on the guitar if you own one and i own one and it is a great guitar to just crash on the sofa with, its light-weight and has an awesome sound its one of those guitars people see and say "wow where did you get that from" i love it
    I love this guitar! For a blues groove, it does everything I want. The feedback is low too. It also looks cool. I bought it from a guy on craigslist for $160 and I prefer it over my Stratocaster and my Stratocoustic.
    bob smith
    I bought one about four years ago. Had to make some major mods to get it to work the way I wanted. First, I had to pull off the neck and shim it because the people in Fxxxer's factory in chin-a don't know how to make or adjust guitars. The strings at the end of the neck (closest to the bridge) were almost 3/4" above the fret wires. Second, I had to put in a replacement plastic bridge modded to specifically bring the intonation closer to neutral. Third, the balance of the instrument is crappy. Let go of the neck and it drops like a rock. Regretably, there's nothing I can do about this - short of attaching a lead bar to the inside of the body to achieve a neutral balance. But this would also increase the weight so I just deal with it. Fourth, the equalizer has 4 post controls. I had to cut down the volume post control so it was lower than the other controls. Without this mod, it's too easy to accidentally bump the volume control when you're trying to adjust the equalizer controls. Fifth, I put on Ernie Ball Slinky strings (blue package) because I can easily bend them almost three tones higher. I have a cotton shop towel devoted exclusively to wiping and polishing this instrument. I use lemon pledge in a spray can. Makes the guitar "smooth" to play as well as looking great. After all the fixes that were needed, it's now on the border of being a fairly decent guitar that I use frequently. The equalizer produces a limited, but acceptable range of tones. Remember, this instrument only has one pizeo pickup so don't expect too much. If you're looking for a Grand Canyon Wide range of pickup tones for your passive pickups, you should consider the products that offers.