These day’s guitar manufactures seem bent on cherishing their illustrious past, we have the reissues or vintage versions from the likes of Gibson, Gretsch and Rickenbacker – Fender of course is no exception and it has produced many fine axes over the last 60 years. Continuing this theme the American Ash Telecaster is a modern spin on the classic 1952 model telecaster.
Differing from the standard alder Telecaster body, Ash bodies can vary in weight and tends to produce heavier guitars than other woods – this telecaster is no exception. This one’s based on the 52 model and it’s dimensions, the body is a great big slab of ash which feels as though you could drop it from the empire state and it’d stay in tune.
The American series comes with a maple neck with a 9.5” radius a 22 fret neck on a maple fingerboard. The neck has a vintage U shape and the frets are rolled at the edges resulting in a really nice guitar which plays easily from the off. As usual with tele’s they string through the bridge (in this instance chrome) the American Ash Telecaster features a steel bridge plate for greater sustain. Another common feature is the 6 brass saddles on the bridge to manage intonation – tuners are managed by Fender®/Schaller® Deluxe Staggered Cast/Sealed Tuning Machines which do a fine job as you’d come to expect.
Fender have opted for modern Vintage telecaster pickups here (the standard telecaster configuration) and it’s the usual single coil in the bridge and “lipstick” pickup in the neck. The pickups shouldn’t be confused with the noiseless pickups that Fender also offer as part of it’s modern range (they are fitted to the deluxe version though) – however the pickups fitted here are quiet enough and do their job well.
Telecaster’s tend to be one of those guitars that sit in a certain niche – sure these guitars can be versatile (after all guitarists from Prince to Springsteen have played these) but what you want from a Telecaster is that Tele sound – thin and wiry with a bit of bite – here the American Ash Telecaster delivers it in spades. Unlike some other telecasters the neck pickup isn’t at all muddy and offers a mellow smooth tone. Like country? For a classic telecaster tone try the middle position on the pickup selector switch and feel that classic honk. The bridge offers some clear articulation and suits finger pickers down to a tee with each note clearly articulated. Add a suitable valve amp and the pickups subtle nuances come through and deliver a fine warm tone.
Fender offer a couple of finish options here, there’s a “honey blonde” and sunburst finish available and they both feature a Polyurethane Finish – which sets of the body nicely – and does little to alter the tone – overall the finish here is particularly impressive, as you’d expect from fender and the guitar has a beautiful look to it.
With great sounds, coupled with the right looks the American Ash Telecaster is destined to be a classic telecaster.