When it comes to expensive guitars, Fender always impress with their innovation, consistency and – in today’s case – ethical sourcing of materials. More on this in a second, but iconic American brand promise a lot with the 2017 Limited Edition American Professional Telecaster Deluxe – it’s modern, it’s reliable and it sounds great. Does it deliver on these promises? Let’s find out…
Starting with the woods and we have to commend Fender who crafts the body of this guitar using Honduran mahogany recovered from the forest floor having being torn down by tropical Hurricane Mitch – a unique wood to say the least! This is cut into the classic Telecaster single-cutaway body shape and is covered with a very cool Silverburst finish. Bolted onto this is a sleek mahogany neck, which features Fender’s new ‘Deep C’ profile, which becomes chunkier as you get closer to the body, allowing for a more comfortable playing experience – especially for lead players.
This neck is capped with a rosewood fretboard and 22 ‘narrow tall’ frets – another new introduction from Fender – which are tall and slim, to allow for a good grip on the strings and to make string bending a breeze. Ultimately it performs like an American-made should and feels very much like the high-end instrument it is.
Fender shakes things up in the hardware department too, bypassing the single-coils to give this beauty a set of humbuckers. Not just any old humbuckers, but a pair of ShawBuckers at the bridge (2T) and neck (1T). These Tim Shaw-designed humbuckers are voiced for their specific positions, leading to an accurate and dynamic tone. The controls consist of a three-way selector switch, two tone controls and two volume knobs, which feature Fender’s treble bleed circuit, keeping clarity in the high end when reducing the volume and gain.
Unlike some Teles from yesteryear, this modern model features a hardtail six-saddle bridge for solid tuning stability, especially when paired with Fender’s chrome tuners and a genuine bone nut. It also comes with a very good deluxe hardshell case for ample protection when storing and transporting this baby.
This limited-edition Tele just sounds brilliant and very musical. It offers a very rich and natural tone, with plenty of the classic Tele bite, while the use of mahogany across the guitar adds extra warmth. The two ShawBuckers add a little extra heat and meat than usual, making it a more versatile instrument – suitable for everything from blues to punk rock.
This high-end guitar doesn’t do a lot of shouting and screaming in terms of design, but it does the important things well – a solid American build, reliable hardware and an overall delightful modern Tele tone. For the performer who dabbles in a bit of everything, this versatile Telecaster could prove the idea stage partner.