2021 Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster review: Tonal versatility at your fingertips

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The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is the latest addition to Fender’s new Acoustasonic line of guitars. The company started the Acoustasonic line at a hefty price, but this model scales back a few things making it more attainable for many.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

These Fender guitars are an entirely different beast. Built with acoustic and electric players in mind, the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster can do things other guitars just can’t. But these slick new features are both fantastic and frustrating. There is no doubt the Acoustasonic line is impressive, but it’s certainly not going to appeal to everyone. Read on for my thoughts and the full review.

Specifications

The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster has the following features and specifications:

  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Body Top: Solid A Sitka Spruce
  • Body Finish: Polyester Satin Matte
  • Body Color: Shadow Burst (Also available in: Brushed Black, Butterscotch Blonde, and Arctic White)
  • Body Shape: Modified Telecaster
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Finish: Satin Urethane
  • Neck Shape: Modern “Deep C”
  • Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12″ (305 mm)
  • Number of Frets: 22
  • Fret Size: Narrow Tall
  • Nut Material: Graph Tech® TUSQ®
  • Nut Width: 1.6875″ (42.86 mm)
  • Inlays: White Dot
  • Pickups: 2-pickup configuration: Under-Saddle Piezo/N4 Magnetic
  • Controls: Master Volume, “Blend” Knob, 3-Way Switch
  • Bridge: Modern Asymmetrical
  • Bridge Pins: GraphTech Tusq®
  • Hardware Finish: Chrome
  • Tuning Machines: Fender® Standard Cast/Sealed Staggered
  • Strings: Fender® Dura-Tone® 860CL Coated Phosphor Bronze (.011-.052 Gauges), PN 0730860405

What’s In The Box

  • Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster
  • Deluxe 1225 Gig Bag
  • Adjustment tools
  • Manuals and Documentation

Design

2021 Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster review
Beautiful Shadow Burst finish

The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is an interesting guitar. It has the Telecaster body shape with the width about the same but the height from strap button to headstock being slightly taller by about a 1/2-inch. This is interesting because the Telecaster is a 25.5″ scale length, as is the Acoustasonic.

The first thing I noticed about the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster was its paint job. Our review unit came in Shadow Burst, and other options are available. The guitar’s top is the only painted part; the rest is natural wood coated in a satin urethane finish.

Fender used mahogany for the body with a solid A-grade Sitka spruce top. The neck is also mahogany, and the fretboard is rosewood with white dot inlays. It would have been nice to see some pearl or abalone for the inlays to give it a premium acoustic guitar vibe. These inlays are fine, but I think nicer ones would have made the guitar pop more.

The nut is Graph Tech TUSQ, an excellent choice. The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster also has bridge pins made from Graph Tech TUSQ, a premium upgrade for sure. Fender doesn’t say what the bridge is made of, but it appears to be ebony. The controls are also made of wood; again, the type is not disclosed, but they are beautiful.

The 3-way switch has a plastic tip; again, one made of wood may have given the guitar a whole other vibe. The soundhole is shallow, but this guitar is super thin, so that is expected. The rosette around the soundhole is basic, and it would have been nice to see more flair there.

2021 Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster review
Back of the guitar houses the 9V battery

The back of the guitar has the traditional cutouts for the control cavity and the pickup cavity. Both of these are covered with metal cavity covers. Here’s another area I think Fender could have made this even more special. If they made those cavity covers from some sort of dark wood. The pickup cavity also houses the 9V battery for the electronics.

That 9V battery is one of the key differences between the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster and its more costly older brother. That one has a rechargeable battery you can charge via USB-C. The neckplate is also metal and has Fender’s logo embossed on it, the serial number, and made in Mexico.

The neck has the classic skunk stripe, and the tuning machines are Fender’s standard tuners. No lockers and no upgrades there. The modern deep C-shaped neck feels slightly chunky, and the fretboard radius is 12″. One string tree holds the high E and B strings down for tuning stability. The Fender logo is burned into the headstock and looks classy.

The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster comes with the same deluxe gig bag its older brother comes with, and at this price point, it’s an excellent addition. I still think Fender should provide a hardshell for the more costly version, but that’s neither here nor there in this instance. The bag has excellent corner drop protection along with excellent padding inside and out. The neck brace inside the case is also a great addition as it will hold the neck of the guitar in place, keeping your instrument safe.

Overall, the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster feels like a Telecaster but so much lighter. The materials used are premium, and everything feels good to the touch. I don’t feel much difference between the more expensive version and this one.

Out Of Box Setup

One thing to note, especially if you’re an electric or acoustic player who doesn’t play your counterparts guitar, is that the action on this guitar is neither acoustic nor electric focused. The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster action sits somewhere in between the two.

I think Fender’s goal with the Acoustasonic is to make acoustic tones more accessible to the electric player who’s not too keen on actually playing an acoustic guitar. The action here is probably set lower than most acoustic players are used to and slightly higher than most electric players are used to. Of course, you can adjust this at any time to suit your needs.

2021 Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster review
The action is higher than an electric but lower than most acoustics

The strings are also acoustic guitar strings, so they are slightly heavier than most electric players are used to; it comes strung with Fender Dura-Tone .011-.052 Phosphor Bronze strings. I’ve been running .095’s on my electrics, and I think most electric players probably run anything between .08’s and .010’s.

I play electric and acoustic, so the action felt good to me. The fretboard radius is 12″, which may be a bit flatter than some electric players are used to, but it is right in my wheelhouse. The modern Deep C neck profile is a bit chunky but comfortable.

Overall, Fender did an excellent job setting this guitar up before sending it out. Hopefully, retail versions will be just as good as our review unit.

Sound/Playability

The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster has some unique sound characteristics. Of course, you can play it as you would any acoustic without plugging in. I found that this is an excellent guitar for fiddling around without too much ambient volume disturbing others in the house. But the sound unplugged is thin, and I wouldn’t recommend gigging without plugging this in.

The whole party changes once you plug the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster into an amp. The knob closest to the pickup is the volume and controls the guitar’s overall output. The knob closest to the bridge is the blend knob and selects or blends between the A & B voicings of the selector.

2021 Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster review
The sound hole is shallow and the unplugged sound is thin

The voice selector, which looks like a pickup selector, selects one of three voice parts. The blend knob allows you to blend A and B voicings. The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster electronics are tuned to deliver some distinct sounds that create a natural acoustic guitar sound. I’ve listed the possibilities below:

  • Positon 3A: Delivers a mahogany small body short scale based on an iconic pre-war design. This model offers plenty of warm, dry, and vibrant mid-frequencies with a focused sound and tight low end.
  • Position 3B: Delivers a rosewood dreadnought balanced across the spectrum with crisp highs and balanced low end; this is the classic American acoustic sound.
  • Position 2A: Delivers a lo-fi clean tone that uses the unaffected sound of the under-saddle pickup to create a unique lo-fi tone.
  • Position 2B: Delivers a lo-fi-crunch that adds dirt to the sound of the under-saddle pickup to replicate the sound of double-tracking an electric and acoustic guitar.
  • Position 1A: Delivers a Noiseless Tele Pickup that produces that classic Fender Tele tone via the Tim Shaw-designed Noiseless pickup.
  • Position 1B: Delivers a Fat Noiseless Tele Pickup that turns up the power to produce searing Tele tones.

As mentioned before, using the blend knob will switch between positions or, even better, blend positions creating new tones to explore.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster does its job. I would advise you to have a good amp when using this guitar. I tried playing it through a cheapo small amp, and the amp really will make a difference. If you buy this guitar and expect glorious sounds playing on a cheap amp, you will be disappointed, but that’s with most guitars anyway.

2021 Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster review
The Fender logo is etched into the mahogany headstock

The playability is also excellent. I like the 12″ fretboard radius, and the deep C neck profile was acceptable; I would have preferred a thinner C profile, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. As I mentioned, the action was at a good height for my taste, and the fretwork is also excellent. No fret sprout and no grit in the frets made it play like butter.

Overall, Fender gives you a lot of tonal versatility with the Acoustasonic. The playability is excellent, and the overall package is impressive.

Price/Value

The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is priced at US$1,199.99, which is significantly less than its older sibling. One of the issues many had with the first one was the price, nearly US$2,000. Fender was able to get the price down by changing out the rechargeable system for a 9V system and making these in Mexico.

I think the value is there, and I think the price is fair, though I think more people would snap this up at a US$999 price point.

Wrap Up

I don’t think the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is for everyone. I believe every guitar player should at least play on one to check it out. They are a lot of fun, but I think it’s a narrow line of players looking for something like this.

Many players will probably opt to buy a decent electric and decent acoustic for around the same price. You can get a very nice Fender Squire for under US$500 and then pick up a Fender acoustic for around the same, and you’ll have two excellent guitars.

Still, the market is there for a guitar like the Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster, and I think players looking at the more expensive one can be happy with this one.

Last Updated on February 21, 2022.

Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster

US$1,199.99

Design

9.0/10

Out Of Box Setup

9.0/10

Sound/Playability

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Unique design that suits both electric and acoustic players
  • Huge range of tonal options
  • Great build quality
  • Sounds great plugged in
  • Comfortable to play and electric players will love this

Needs work

  • Sounds thin when not plugged in
  • Some players may prefer buying an acoustic and an electric separately, this isn't for everyone
Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster Feature Image Techaeris
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