Koa Telecaster review by Fender

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (49 votes)
Fender: Koa Telecaster
1

Price paid: $ 900

Purchased from: Zaks Electronics

Sound — 9
I bought this guitar to get some great rhythmn sounds in the style of The Smiths, Graham Coxon, The Killers etc, typical indie/alternative rock music. This Telecaster is perfect for this music and sounds wonderful. I am running it through a Laney MXD65 amp and using the amps inbuilt effects (great chorus) and also a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver pedal and also a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor pedal. The pickups hum a fair bit (as noticed by another reviewer for the Lite Ash Special Edition Tele) but I can live with it. Great for a clean bright sound and distortion can be added to beef things up a bit.

Overall Impression — 9
This guitar makes me smile not only when I look at it (its gorgeous)but also when I play it, as it sounds fantastic. It suits my style of rock, blues, alternative and I imagine it would be perfect for anything other than metal. As a rhythmn guitar for my style this would be hard to beat. I also own a Yamaha AES820 which I also love and is which is perfect for heavier rock stuff. If it was nicked or lost I would want another one, and at these prices that would be achievable. The only thing I don't like is that when soloing my pick hits the pickguard as there is less gap between the strings and the guitar body compared to my Yamaha, but this is a personal thing and I would not want to end this review on a sour note. The Koa Telecaster is great. Well done Fender.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I would imagine that this guitar would withstand live playing, although it would not be my style to jump around like Billie Joe or swing the thing around my head. Everything seems solid enough although only time will tell. I would not gig with this alone, as that would be foolish, plus I would always have another guitar ready for heavier, lead stuff.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar came set up perfectly for me, apart from the 9 gauge strings which I immediately changed for a set of 10's. No adjustment was required after making this change. No fret buzz or anything. The finish is excellent and the hardware all perfect. No complaints at all.

Features — 9
The Special Edition Koa Telecaster guitar marks the first time that Fender has used exotic and highly sought-after koa wood outside our Custom Shop models. The instrument features a koa veneer atop a basswood body with a Light burst rosewood finish, modern C-shaped birds-eye maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro pickups, vintage-style bridge with three brass saddles, and pearl pickguard and dot inlays.

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    InTiMiDaToR
    i own this guitar. its amazing. nice sound and all, only problem no tremolo bar (whammy bar) but i don't really need it and if i ever do i can always add one . I don't get it why people say this guitar cant play metal. i use it to play any song u can imagine and they all sound excellent through this guitar.
    Kipyt
    Prog_On wrote: Wondering what a shredder can do with a Tele??? Go listen to Richie Kotzen and ull buy this guitar and never put it down. Beautiful guitar
    I just took your advice, wow that guy is good, I have this guitar in the review, I wish I could play like that with it. Haha. Niceee. You gave me a new favorite guitarist
    Prog_On
    Wondering what a shredder can do with a Tele??? Go listen to Richie Kotzen and ull buy this guitar and never put it down. Beautiful guitar
    jpgr1987
    I am really considering this guitar since I can't afford some of my top choices at the moment and I need something for my college course asap. I really need to know if this guitar is suitable for me, I play some country style rhythms on clean, mild overdrive/distortion at times but also some prog rock kind of stuff with an Echo pedal and Wah etc.
    timi_hendrix
    It's nice, but a koa veneer? That makes very little difference to the sound... and teles aren't supposed to be made out of basswood. It's not right, I tell ye. It's still absolutely gorgeous. But the "koa" thing is misleading.
    Dave2210
    ^ I agree. Even though I'm into shred and hard heavy rock (aswell as quiter music) the Telecaster has always been my favourite guitar... too bad I don't own one yet.
    slashnduff4eva
    i have a tele but it doesnt compare to this lavleh thing. i find they're great for blues sort of chunky stuff
    telecaster2351
    I love tele's, own two, and they do my music for me (metal, rock, punk) beautiful guitar, love it, nice one fender
    Leo_Watkins
    i love teles, and i want this guitar. give it a black scratchplate, and give it to johnny greenwood!
    mrsbutterworth
    I'm not a Tele fan at all, but even I can appreciate the beauty in this little puppy!The price is right!
    RythmicTension
    jpgr1987 wrote: I am really considering this guitar since I can't afford some of my top choices at the moment and I need something for my college course asap. I really need to know if this guitar is suitable for me, I play some country style rhythms on clean, mild overdrive/distortion at times but also some prog rock kind of stuff with an Echo pedal and Wah etc.
    This is perfect for you. Or at least this style of instrument