BY JORDAN WAGNER
Guitarists are a finicky bunch. We argue endlessly about
things like solid-state versus tube amps, digital modeling
versus actual tubes, true-bypass pedals versus not, and
directional cables versus standard models, etc. The list
goes on and on. Most of the aforementioned clashes take
place between electric guitarists, but acoustic players certainly have their sticky points, too. One thing they’ll usually
agree on is a skepticism about modeling in any form.
Personally, I’ve long been against acoustic simulation. I’ve
just never come across a pedal or software emulation that
really gets close enough for my tastes. My hang-ups aren’t
just about the tonal discrepancies, they’re also about the
differences in feel. The vibrations from a nice jumbo make
me play differently than when I play an electric guitar. But
taking an acoustic onto a loud stage with a full band presents a lot of challenges—they’re difficult to amplify without
getting a lot of feedback, and then there’s the issue of
switching between acoustic and electric tones within a
single song. Gigging guitarists who primarily play electric
have been searching after ways to avoid both these issues
and having to take their acoustic treasures—which are
often more susceptible to damage than their electric counterparts—out on the road.
So, as the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
At least that’s what Fender seems to be saying with their
new Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster. Only in this case,
Fender is literally joining the two ideas together. The
Acoustasonic combines several acoustic and electric traits,
with the intent of delivering convincing acoustic and electric tones that you can use either individually or together.
My first impression after picking up the Acoustasonic Tele
was that it’s very light, despite being made of ash—which
tends to be a weightier tone wood. Fender has chambered
the body and inserted a center block made of spruce,
which lightens the load. Spruce is, of course, perhaps the
preeminent tonewood for acoustic guitar tops. It’s rather
lightweight and has powerful projection qualities. The
sunburst-finished body is topped with a rosewood bridge
shaped roughly like a Tele’s standard bridge assembly.
Taking sustain issues into consideration, Fender designed