Hands-On Review:Fender® Stratacoustics™ & Telecoustics™
The best of all worlds in heritage thinline packages
Most electric guitarists I know own at least one dreadnought. Many have an acoustic/electric dreadnought. I’ll bet all of them have wished their dreadnought neck was as easy to play as their relatively thin electric fret-board. I know I’m preaching to the choir when I say it’s just plain easier to play chords and lightning fast solos on an electric Strat® or Tele® fretboard. So that’s exactly what the Fender® design team did when they designed their Stratacoustic™ and Telecoustic™. Both of these acoustic/electric's come with a bolt-on maple neck with rosewood fretboard, just like their electric cousins.
I’ve played Telecasters® since my brother gave me his old guitar when I was 14 years old. I’ve gone through a few since, but I know the Tele® fretboard with my eyes closed. It’s almost a part of me. I also play a dreadnought now and then, but have never developed even a casual attachment to its “feel.” Maybe I’m just attracted to the Tele®’s electricity. I think it’s more of a chemistry thing. Either way, I believe these Fender®’s are the coolest acoustic/electric's I’ve ever played.
Thinline design and fiberglass body
The first time I took these Fenders® out of the box I was impressed. They have a straightforward, very cool, no-nonsense look. Both guitars look like their namesakes, just in a thinline-body style with a tilted elliptical soundhole. Both guitars are also made from a state-of-the-art one-piece fiberglass body and a solid spruce top. Yep, you heard right. A fiberglass body.
Since the introduction of the first steel-string acoustic guitars, materials, body shapes and hardware have constantly changed. This 100-year development jamboree yielded such wonderful fruit as the archtop jazz guitar, the dreadnought and jumbo flat tops, resophonic, bowl-back, acoustic/electric styles, graphite designs, and now a fiberglass thinline acoustic-electric.
Why fiberglass? First, it is incredibly strong, ultra-lightweight, and it delivers clear, articulated tone. The fiberglass actually creates a powerful thinline body chamber that enhances the sound while allowing the solid spruce top’s rich, resonant flavor to come through strong. And the fiberglass body reduces feedback when stage sound pressure levels drive the guitar body with excess vibration.
Solid spruce top for natural tone A guitar’s top tonewood is the most important contributor to the guitar’s overall sound, and Fender® engineers have equipped these unique guitars with the best. Both the Stratacoustic™ and Telecoustic™ boast solid spruce tops for the fullest sonic potential. Both can ring with sweet sustain or deliver deep, thundering bass, and they look good, too. For those of you who think Fender® only makes awesome electric's, think again. Fender® produces a full line of acoustic guitars that stand up to the best out there.
It’s Fender®’s acoustic engineering that gives these acoustic/electric's their trademark tone. But it’s their extreme comfort and cool vibe that make them so much fun to play. I took the Telecoustic™ to a jam at a friend’s studio and we spent half the night talking about this neat Fender® package with the twisted soundhole and the featherweight fiberglass body. Everybody there played it acoustic for a while, and everybody loved its sound and feel as they played all kinds of styles – from mellow leads to slappin’ punchy rhythms.
Fender® didn’t become a legend in electric music by skimping on pickups and these acoustic/ electric's are no exception. The Telecoustic™ and the Stratacoustic™ both come equipped with high-quality electronics that deliver a strong, natural sound. Built-in piezo pickups crank out big chunks of tone and capture all the nuances of acoustic playing styles. And onboard EQ makes it easy to tailor its tone as you play your music. Try to find that feature on an electric solid body.
When I plugged the Telecoustic™ in and let it rip, it really ripped. Very electric, with killer sound. I plugged into a chorus pedal and wove a deep tapestry of shimmering major chords. Next I checked out some layered finger picking. I played for more than an hour without stopping and the Telecoustic™ was so comfortable I could have gone another hour easy. It’s simply fun to play. A strong and fast maple neck gives it a familiar, friendly solid body feel. Solid spruce top gives it sweet acoustic tone. And a fiberglass body makes it incredibly comfortable. Pretty cool package.
The new Fender® Telecoustic™ and Stratacoustic™ acoustic/electric's are irresistibly easy to play and responsive to all playing styles. And Fender® fans will agree, they are some of the best-looking acoustic/electric designs ever. What more could you ask for? Musician’s Friend offers them at the best price you’ll find anywhere. Call today and you’ll be playing yours soon.
Features & Specifications