Fender American Special Telecaster Review

The American Special Telecaster can be considered a revamp of the Standard Telecaster. It’s a modern take on the classic tone. It presents some interesting new features that improve on the older model.
Why is it special? Mainly because it has a bit more pop to its sound and it has more quality of life options added. The versatility with the genres it can now cover is clearly what Fender had in mind when releasing this product on the market.

We’ve prepared a walkthrough of the most important features you should familiarize yourself with. Some things have not changed much but certain areas have been handled in a completely different way.
Build and design

The solid-wood design makes for a very durable 6-string guitar, and the use of maple is nothing new for Fender. The rounded shape of the older models has also been used on the American Special Telecaster.

Interestingly enough, there aren’t many changes to the original design. The American Special Telecaster is still a beefy looking guitar that weighs about 11 pounds and features a 25.5-inch scale. The neck has 22 frets even though it could have easily been made with 24.

The 9.5 neck radius provides you with enough curvature to make rhythmic sections easy to play and more enjoyable. If you are looking for a guitar that can be played for hours at a time, this can be a good fit.

We can appreciate that the new model doesn’t differ much in design and saves the improvements for the electronic and tone departments. After all, the build of the standard telecaster was never an issue in the past.

Experienced guitar players know that bends are always easy to sustain on Fender guitars. The American Special Telecaster makes use of the new tone adjustments, balanced neck radius, and more powerful pickups. As such, it allows even beginners to bend notes with little effort.

Pickups

Single coil pickups are the bread and butter of the American Special Telecaster tone. The Texas Special pickups have the potential for a more powerful output. They can accommodate overdrive and distortion better than previous models.
The bridge pickup, in particular, can allow you to play very crisp sounds when paired with a decent amp. You can stay in the CAGED system all day long or play some fast riffs, and it will feel like using two different instruments.

Electronics

The Greasebucket tone circuit is one of the features that really puts the “special” in the American Special Telecaster. This new tone knob is unique to this model and impacts the guitar’s versatility both on and off the stage.

The way it can adjust and balance high frequencies without affecting the low frequencies is revolutionary for Fender. This new level of control might just give your sound the edge you were looking for.

Tone

Fender has been in the business of making quality products for decades. The American Special Telecaster still offers the trademark southern twang. If you’re into chicken picking, this is still the best way to go about it.

This model uses the new electronic tone adjustments to push the potential past its previous limitations. While it’s true that bands like Led Zeppelin used the standard telecaster back in the day, the American Special Telecaster can now do a better job in this hard rock, heavy metal genre.

What genres does it cover?

Unlike its predecessor, the American Special Telecaster was made to blend in any mix of country, blues, jazz, rock, or pop. With the new pickups being more powerful, a crisper tone can be achieved with ease.

It was usually the case that most telecasters were used for clean rhythms and soloing with a bit of drive. Now, Fender is really taking on more than ever before. With bands like Rage Against the Machine and Blink 182 adopting this guitar model, it’s clear that there are very few things that the American Special Telecaster can’t handle.

You might also enjoy the fact that even when distortion is used, you can still hear that trademark Fender chime. It doesn’t just fade into the background or get covered entirely. It still has a strong presence which can help you create a cool and unique sound for your band.

American Special Telecaster vs. Standard Telecaster

As far as the battle between the new model and the older one, there shouldn’t really be one, at least in our opinion. Both guitars are big and heavy yet easy to play. The smoothness of the neck is the same, so there are no differences in handling them.

The big improvements made for the American Special Telecaster in tone adjustment and higher output pickups are great to have but not mandatory. If you don’t plan on writing heavy metal or true hard rock pieces, then the standard telecaster will server you just fine.

The older model is still one of the most popular, and for the specific country, blues, and rock genres, it doesn’t need an upgrade. Pricewise, the American Special Telecaster can be worth your time and investment if you’re trying to cover more musical genres. If you’re also looking for extra features or just want to see Fender guitars in a whole new light, it can help with that, too.

Final words

The American Special Telecaster lives up to its name. This is an overall new approach for Fender, yet it still manages to maintain the classic look and the trademark country twang. The famous chord chime is still there and with the same clarity as always.

The new and unique Greasebucket tone circuit is interesting because it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for Fender guitars. Musical genres previously not accessible can now be tackled. The control over the high and low frequencies can give you more freedom in creating unique sounds.

All in all, this guitar may look the same and sound the same as the standard telecaster at first, but there are more things you can customize than you previously could. It is an improvement, and as subtle as it is, we feel that it is just the first sign of even more innovations to come.