Perhaps slightly overshadowed by the Stratocaster at times the mighty Telecaster is one serious tonal beast. Able to provide jangly rock, clean picking, warm round chords and bright rhythm and blues flavours amongst its arsenal it is a guitar that any budding axe slinger should acquaint themselves at some stage.
Boasting a combination of classic Fender know how and some modern stylings the American Performer series of instruments seem to have created much interest in the music community. With colours such as Penny and Satin Sonic Blue the Tele is next on the agenda.
Is it Copper? Light Brown? Bronze? Nope, it’s Penny according to Fender. Whatever the name I was greeted by a glorious copper coloured sparkle that really stood out. Contrasting nicely to the light coloured maple neck and board the guitar has a bit of swagger without looking too over the top. Alder is the body wood of choice, maple is used for the 22 fret necks (with rosewood available as a fingerboard on some models). Jumbo sized fret wire seems to be the rage with a lot of manufacturers these days and the Performer Tele follows suit, whist the radius is a middle ground 9.5” and the profile being described as a Modern C shape. Fender’s own Yosemite pickups can again be seen on board this Tele along with ClassicGear machine heads, a vintage styled 3 saddle bridge and a Greasebucket tone system as part of the controls.
Tuning seemed great on the American Performer Tele. It’s not always the way with a guitar straight out of the box but this example felt good, stayed in tune and looked the goods all around. Front pickup position gives you warm round tones for jazz and smokey blues with the tone pot rolled back. Open it up and you get a great jangle that can do rock and pop with lots of cut and clarity. Middle position is often underutilised on T style guitars but I find it great for chirpy chords and lead lines that need something slightly different in the tone department. Switch to the bridge and you’ve got bite that works well with clean tones and distortion. Country, pop, rock, heavier styles, funk and plenty more are all fair game on a Tele in my books.
I really dig the American Performer series. Fender have gotten the price right and are offering some new features that add that modern touch but don’t stray too far from the tried and tested classics.
Hits and Misses
Combination of vintage and modern looks and features
Great price point and mix of tones
Maybe a case instead of a gig bag?