I’ve had my Acoustasonic Telecaster for just over a month now. How am I getting on with it? Here’s my personal experience so far …
It’s Been On A Podcast
If you want to hear for yourself what it sounds like, go and have a listen to Episode 4 of the AStrings podcast. Andrew and Adam do a great job of discussing it, who it’s for, and what it’s good for.
You should subscribe to the podcast anyways. You won’t find a friendlier guitar shop here in the UK. (They’re my local shop, and I’m a very happy repeat customer of theirs.)
I’m Using It At Rehearsals
I bought it to be a gigging instrument. I wouldn’t have bought one otherwise. It’s replaced my Taylor T5z as my main fake-acoustic guitar.
Tess (our vocalist) loves the live sound of the Acoustasonic through the Acus One 8 acoustic amp. Hopefully people’ll love the sound of it when we gig it too. I’m quietly confident.
Use A Good Amp
I think the amp choice is important to get the very best out of it.
Most of the YouTube demos that I’ve seen have used Fishman acoustic amps, Fender acoustic amps, Boss acoustic amps, or gone DI into PAs of one kind or another. To my ears, the Acus One 8 is a noticeable improvement over all of those amps. That holds true for electro-acoustic guitars, and it’s just as true for the Acoustasonic Tele.
As for the YouTube demos where they run the Acoustasonic Tele through an electric guitar amp … just don’t.
The Unplugged Sound Isn’t A Positive
Acoustically, it’s loud. It also sounds horrible unplugged, and at rehearsals we ended up cranking the amp a bit to drown out its own natural sound. That ended up being too loud for Tess (our vocalist) to sing over without help.
I think we’d all be happier if version 2 of the Acoustasonic was as quiet as a regular Tele when unplugged.
I’ve Settled On Two Sounds
The guitar offers 10 different positions for sound. (I’m not sure they’re actually 10 different sounds, but that’s for another day). I run the ‘mod knob’ about halfway, and switch between position 4 for strumming, and position 3 for finger picking.
It’s good that there’s other sounds in there. That’ll help other people playing through other amps.
I’m not sure the electric pickup’ll get much use though.
There’s Been A Couple Of Issues
It’s the very first edition of the instrument, and I got one of the first 10 in the country. Of course there’s going to be problems.
First off, if anything at all is loose on the guitar, it’s unusable. Anything rattling at all causes the onboard Fishman modelling to break down into a harmonic mess. And, unfortunately, I’ve had things come loose on mine. Repeatedly. I’m hoping that I’ve managed to tighten everything up by now, and that it isn’t being shaken loose from simply playing the guitar.
If it is the natural vibration from playing that’s making the pickups and knobs come loose, that’ll be a fundamental flaw.
Secondly, the neck is a little too unfinished. The neck feels like I’m holding MDF, and that’s not a good feeling at all. My fretting hand feels like it’s been Imhotep’d by the end of a couple hours of playing.
In between rehearsals, I’ve started reaching for a Strat or regular Tele instead to practice on, because of the neck. The string spacing is close enough that going back to electric Fenders isn’t an issue at all.
I’m going to find something to treat the neck before we start gigging. Crimson Guitars will almost certainly sell some kind of oil or finishing product that’ll sort it out.
The Launch Pricing Has Left A Bad Taste
At the time of writing, the Acoustasonic Tele is being advertised for around £150 less than what I paid for it. The catch is that it’s out of stock everywhere, with no date for when the next batch will arrive. And at least I actually have one in my possession.
Still, that’s a big price drop within 1 month.
I almost titled this blog post “Fender, You Owe Me Some Money”. It’s left a bad taste.
Now, there is a growing problem here in the UK of retailers advertising out-of-stock items at reduced prices, just to game the Google rankings. It’s unethical, but it doesn’t seem to actually be illegal atm. So, it could be that. And if it is, it would be great to see Fender quietly have a word with their dealers over it.
If Fender really have dropped the retail price, then it’d be nice to see Fender to offer some sort of gesture to the folks who supported them when all the YouTubers at NAMM were dismissing the Acoustasonic Tele.
I paid full launch price for it because I had an immediate need for it. I don’t regret that. It’s much better choice for gigging than using my Taylor T5z. Precisely because it isn’t a better guitar than my T5z.
It’s A Working Instrument
It’s a guitar for someone who prefers to play electric guitars, is gigging or recording, and who needs acoustic sounds. If anything happened to it at a gig, I’d feel the financial pain, but (out-of-stock issues aside) I wouldn’t be losing a unique instrument.
All the tone comes from the onboard Fishman modelling unit. That makes it an eminently replaceable guitar (financial pain aside).
If you’re someone who hunts out the best sounding examples of guitars, that might seem to be a real negative. It’s not, and this guitar probably isn’t for you.
It’s exactly what you want from a gigging guitar.
I’ll write another blog post about the guitar once it’s seen a couple of gigs.