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With all the popularity of Stratocaster, many people tend to forget that Telecaster was actually the first one in line. This model is actually the first solid body electric guitar that ever hit the market.
The shape and look of a Telecaster became timeless, and is one of the more popular models even to this day. With that said, Fender is known for introducing a limited edition model of their guitars from time to time. These instruments are usually pretty different from the main production models, which only makes them more attractive.
Spalted maple Telecaster is one such limited edition model that really left us wanting more. The guitar is gorgeous to say the least, and the spalted maple look definitely suits it.
Today we are going to take a closer look at this Tele and see what makes it different, if not better than the standard one.
Is it all in the looks, or is there something more?
The first thing you notice when you pick up this guitar is the body finish. Not only the spalted maple texture, but the way it was achieved. This Telecaster was built by Fender’s top luthiers who achieved the finish by following some pretty tedious procedures.
We are talking hand rubbing the oil into the wood, fine shaping the body also by hand and more. The whole Artisan series, which this particular Telecaster belongs to, features guitars that underwent the same level of craftsmanship.
The result is impressive to say the least. One could say that this is among the prettiest Telecasters ever made. At least the official ones. Once again, Fender’s custom shop delivered on point.
These guys definitely know how to make a good guitar, and more importantly, how to give an older design a brand new look that actually fits it.
Below the spalted maple finish hides an alder body. This combination definitely suits the Telecaster in general, and makes this one sing a bit louder. However, the body is not the only thing that is different on this particular model. The neck is a one piece roasted maple neck with a polished maple fretboard.
As for the hardware, you get gold RSD type bridge along with gold anodized pick guard and gold tuners. Needless to say, Fender really did a number on this guitar, and we like it.
What makes the whole thing really exciting are the pickups. There are two 1958 Telecaster single coils that were hand wound for that perfect tone. These come with a standard three way switch, and standard controls in general. It’s a simple guitar, just like any other Telecaster. Only this time it comes in a very stylish suit and packing some serious heat.
Spalted maple Telecaster comes with an authenticity certificate and a very sleek black case. Fender really went all in, and delivered a complete package that elevates this guitar to a whole new level. Artisan series is by far one of the most beautiful limited runs Fender’s custom shop ever gave us.
No matter how pretty the guitar is, it is still meant to be played. The sound you get is pretty much what you can expect from the 1958 style Tele pups. The SS configuration does them justice, and you can tune in a whole bunch of rich blues or rock tones.
If you are willing to go the extra mile, with some effort you can dial in a really jazzy sound that you can rarely get on a solid body guitar. If there’s one Telecaster that is great for jazz, it’s this one. Everything on the guitar works flawlessly.
The neck is very playable, especially considering it’s a large V style unit with narrow jumbo frets. However, that maple fretboard is a bliss to play. You can be as fast as you need to on this guitar, and that is something everyone can appreciate regardless of the flashy appearance. This goes without saying, but the vintage style tuners really hold the tuning well. It’s standard Fender quality no matter which part of the guitar you look at.
What we like
When it comes to electric guitars, Telecasters hold a very special place. However, this one goes beyond that and falls within a more elite category. Spalted maple Telecaster from Artisan series is a real jewel.
Fender outdid them selves in all aspects when they designed and delivered this model to the market. It’s a masterpiece that is worthy of being framed and hanged on the wall, but also one that can be a real workhorse should you need it to.
What we don’t like
Hardcore Fender aficionados would probably manage to find some marginal flaw in this guitar. As for us, we definitely can’t. This Telecaster’s only fault lies within its price which is exclusive for most. But what else would you expect from Fender’s custom shop.
All in all
Telecasters in general are definitely one of the most legendary guitars in the world. When you take an instrument with such a status, and give it a very specific facelift, you get what we see here with this spalted maple Telecaster. It’s pure excellence combined with ultimate functionality.
The guitar is absolutely beautiful both in terms of appearances and performance. Spalted maple gives you that organic vibe that you definitely won’t see on many Telecasters these days. Combined with gold hardware, it’s a pure success in terms of aesthetics.
As far as we know, Fender custom shop will produce these guitars throughout the end of the year. Whether or not we will get to see them past that point is still up for discussion.
With that said, if you are looking for a great Telecaster and money is not an issue, this one is definitely the one that should be on the top of your list. If you do decide to get it, it will be the little black dress in your guitar rack. That’s a very fitting description.