Few guitars carry extra historic weight than the Fender Telecaster. With its compact physique and brash, incisive twang, the Telecaster—first launched by Fender within the 1950s—performed a pivotal function within the evolution of nation music, electrical blues, and, most of all, rock and roll. Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, and Joe Strummer are all Tele guys. And when Bob Dylan mounted his first tour as an electrical act, he did it with a Telecaster round his neck.
But if the Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster had been round when Bob was breaking hearts and blowing minds again in ’66, he would have been capable of play each the acoustic and electrical parts of his live performance on the identical guitar.
With its spherical sound gap and naturally resonant physique, the Acoustasonic performs and seems like an acoustic guitar. But contained in the instrument is an array of electronics that lets the participant dial in all kinds of sounds; when amplified, the Acoustasonic can tackle the tonal character of various types of acoustic guitar in addition to solid-body and hollow-body electrics.
You can see one pickup positioned subsequent to the bridge within the picture above. Hidden contained in the physique is a three-piece system designed by Fender with the parents at Fishman, an organization well-known for its acoustic guitar pickups. (A 20-hour battery, which you cost through a USB port subsequent to the cable jack, powers the pickups.) The Acoustasonic additionally has two wood knobs and a selector swap. On a traditional Telecaster, the selector swap would enable the participant to swap between pickups, turning one on and the opposite off. But on the Acoustasonic, that swap enables you to scroll by a collection of digitally modeled tones that mimic totally different guitar sorts.
Flip the swap ahead to get the forceful bass of a giant, spruce-top dreadnought acoustic. Move it into the center to seek out the fingerstyle-friendly midrange tones of a small-bodied mahogany guitar, or the propulsive drive you’d get from a flat-top acoustic with a sizzling pickup in it. Push the selector swap all the best way again and you may even make the factor sound fairly near an electrical guitar.
Each of the 5 positions on the selector swap actives two distinct tones, and that is the place the knobs come into play. That second knob, the one closest to the tail of the guitar, toggles between the 2 sounds you have chosen utilizing the swap. Rock all of it the best way ahead to get the primary sound, rock all of it the best way again to get the second sound. Twisting the knob to any place between the 2 sounds blends them collectively. So if you need 71 p.c of sound A and 29 p.c of sound B, you are able to do that. (The knob closest to your palms nonetheless controls the quantity such as you’d anticipate.)
So how does it sound? Anybody who performs an acoustic guitar on stage with a band goes to adore it. Most of the selectable tones are shiny and vigorous, with a number of punch and glassy harmonics. The greatest ones reply with a heat, percussive thwack if you strum with a choose. The mellower, folky sounds of a real hollow-body acoustic guitar are harder to dial in. But that driving sound you get if you match a full-size acoustic guitar with a pickup and plug it into an incredible classic amp—this guitar can try this sound.
The skill to mix the assorted sounds collectively is the Acoustasonic’s greatest function. Not solely does it give the instrument an amazing sonic palette, however I discovered probably the most fascinating stuff tends to occur not with the mix knob dialed all the best way to 1 aspect or the opposite, however someplace within the center.
Purists will scoff on the Acoustasonic as a soulless digital abomination, and that is high-quality. This form of 21st-century machine is rarely going to be for everybody. I’ll say that the texture of the instrument is great. It’s arrange like an acoustic guitar (full with a wound G string), however the small Tele physique and slim neck make it a lot simpler to noodle round on than your typical large field. Still, it is meant to be plugged in. It has the character of an acoustic guitar if you strum it unplugged, nevertheless it does not come near filling a room or drawing forth rivers of human tears the best way a real-deal acoustic does.
It’s the identical on the opposite finish. The “electric” voices within the Acoustasonic sound nothing like an precise Telecaster, however they do make it sound extra like an electrical guitar than an acoustic guitar—a formidable feat anyway.
The concept is that when you’re an artist who treasures sonic selection, you possibly can simply purchase considered one of these guitars (which lists for $2,000 by the best way) and play all of it evening as a substitute of switching guitars between each track. I might argue that individuals who swap guitars a number of instances throughout a present are cool. That’s a really cool transfer, pulling out some shiny classic showpiece for this track, then one other for that track. The Acoustasonic negates that cool issue. But since you possibly can’t purchase cool, why not simply purchase comfort?