Fender 50’s Telecaster review
No doubt plenty of these will be sold on their looks alone, but a guitar is only as good as the sound it makes. So it will come as a relief to many prospective buyers that the Road Worn series are no furniture instruments – they’re players.
Fender 50’s Telecaster has plenty of grunt and muscle when put through an overdriven amp, and serves up the throaty rock roar that’s made it such a favourite through the ages. Clean it up and the country sparkle is there, alongside the warm rhythm tones you’d expect. All in all, it’s a classic Telecaster.
Fender 50’s Telecaster has all the usual tones you’d hope to find, from the percussive bell-like chime of the neck pickup through to the wiry, nasty spite of the bridge when used in anger and combined with overdrive. The sounds are good, although lacking a little in depth, and would be perfectly acceptable in most situations where you’d normally use a Strat. The star, though, has to be the ’60s Strat which has an airy, breathy, open tone that sounds a lot more like the vintage guitar it pretends to be. Maybe it’s the piece of wood the body’s made out of or the effect of the rosewood board, but whatever it is the result is one fabulous-sounding guitar.
Build: Ash body (on blonde, alder on two-colour sunburst), maple neck, 21 narrow-jumbo frets on maple fingerboard, single-ply scratchplate, Ping machineheads, vintage-style three-saddle strings-through-body bridge
Electrics: Two Tex-Mex Tele single-coil pickups, three-way switch, master volume and tone controls
Scale length: 648mm/25.5″
12th fret 52mm
Depth of neck:
First fret 24mm
12th fret 25mm
Action as supplied:
12th fret treble 2mm
12th fret bass 3mm
Fender 50’s Telecaster Verdict
Let’s admit it we’d all rather have a guitar we’d reliced ourselves through years of hard gigging, but thanks to the thick polyester finishes of the last 30 years or so, the only way that’s going to happen is if you attack your guitar with a pickaxe every night. Escalating costs in the vintage market also mean that to most of us a real knocked-about guitar is simply not an option. All praise to Fender, then, for coming out with affordable models that look good, play nicely, and sound great. At nearly 900 these guitars are not cheap. They sit between the USA-made Highways with their naturally quick-wearing nitro finishes and the USA Standards with their superior quality but those are a different beast entirely. When you strap one of these on, they seem to make you play differently. You want to attack them more, unafraid of damaging them. And they respond with the road-warrior spirit that they set out to emulate. Sure, they’re not real, but after a few minutes you forget that and just get on with playing. In all honesty, who wants a shiny new guitar when you could have one that looks like this? I’m sold