When Roberto Baldwin wrote concerning the Fender Acoustasonic Telecaster for Engadget again in January of 2019 he mentioned, “This is a seriously impressive instrument that will more than likely win over skeptics once they start playing.” Well, confession, I’m a skeptic. Something about an acoustic guitar, formed like an electrical guitar, loaded with a bunch of electronics (which might be presupposed to make it sound extra acoustic) simply appears… insane.
Well, a couple of weeks in the past Fender despatched over its new Acoustasonic Jazzmaster and I attempted to method it with an open thoughts. And, whereas I wouldn’t say I’m a convert, I’ve a greater appreciation for what the corporate is making an attempt to perform.
Let’s begin with one factor that Fender has gained me over on — the design. In images, the Acoustasonic sequence seems virtually cartoonish. Up shut, although, I have to admit that the Jazzmaster in ocean turquoise is form of a stunner. What would possibly look toy-like on a web site, in actuality comes off as playful, however not low cost.
It doesn’t simply look good although, the Acoustasonic feels nice. The supplies are clearly premium. The satin end on the wooden is wonderful and the mahogany neck is clean and strong. This will not be an entry-level guitar. But that needs to be apparent the second you see the $2,000 price ticket.
The most essential factor although, is the way it sounds. And that is the place issues get just a little difficult. Not as a result of the Acoustasonic sounds dangerous (it doesn’t), however you might want to set your expectations correctly. It’s finest to consider it as an acoustic first, that may sometimes pinch hit for an electrical guitar.
Unplugged, the Acoustasonic sounds acoustic-ish. It’s not fairly as loud as a real acoustic and it lacks the depth, however it’s acquired extra occurring than an electrical hollowbody. The undeniable fact that it’s not as loud as a daily acoustic guitar is definitely a professional when you ask me. While I nonetheless wouldn’t strum this with all my would possibly in the midst of the night time, it’s quiet sufficient that I can run scales and work on my (atrocious) finger-plucking even after everybody has gone to mattress. Being smaller and quieter than my acoustics make the Acoustasonic an awesome, however extraordinarily dear sofa guitar.
But, the true level is to plug within the Acoustasonic and make the most of the three totally different pickups. There’s a Fender Acoustasonic humbucker within the bridge place, then an undersaddle transducer and an “Acoustasonic Enhancer” from Fishman. Those will be mixed in numerous methods utilizing the onboard DSP to create numerous electrical and acoustic tones.
With the fiveway change all the best way again to the bridge you get Fender electrical tones. The knob closest to the tail is the “mod” management and it blends between two totally different sounds. The sounds fluctuate barely from mannequin to mannequin. On the Jazzmaster the primary setting is a semi-clean Fender electrical and an overdriven one. Now, I’ve at all times wished a Jazzmaster so I used to be fairly excited to tear some Dinosaur Jr riffs when this confirmed up, however I’ve acquired to say — it doesn’t fairly sound like a Jazzmaster. With the mod knob rolled all the best way again it delivers generically sparkly Fender clear sounds. Not dangerous, however it’s not fairly what I consider once I assume “Jazzmaster.” And the overdriven sound is kind of brittle sounding.
Both of the electrical modes additionally sit oddly with dust pedals. I can’t fairly put my finger on it, however they simply don’t reply the best way you’d count on another electrical guitar to. They didn’t sound dangerous, however they didn’t sound proper, if that is sensible? The clear electrical does pair nice with huge reverbs and delays, although.
(A fast be aware on the demos: They’re all recorded direct into an audio interface with no extra therapy.)
One different factor to notice: The Acoustasonic comes fitted with acoustic strings. This delivers a extra genuine acoustic sound, however it additionally means it doesn’t play like an electrical. Bends particularly are going to be problematic.
The second place on the pickup selector offers you a Lo-fi Piezo and Lo-fi Piezo “crunch” sound. This might be going to be essentially the most divisive setting on all the guitar. The sound of a piezo pickup in an acoustic guitar may be very particular and many individuals detest it, however personally I feel it may be deployed to nice impact. This place with only a trace of the crunch blended in was certainly one of my favourite tones. It has a gritty high quality that works rather well for banging out Neutral Milk Hotel covers.
From right here the sounds get far more convincingly and historically acoustic. The third place blends the physique sensor with an emulation of a Rosewood Auditorium which is a traditional, vivid all function acoustic tone. As somebody who doesn’t play loads of acoustic I discovered myself gravitating in direction of this selection loads, just because it sounds good virtually it doesn’t matter what you play.
The fourth place goes between a Mahogany Jumbo sound and a Mahogany Small Body, the previous being full and bassy and loud, whereas the latter works higher for delicate finger plucking. As we’ve established, I’m not an awesome finger plucker, however I discovered that midway between the 2 softened simply sufficient of my heavy handed enjoying to make Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” really feel proper.
Lastly, in place 5 you’ve gotten a Rosewood Dreadnought and a Mahogany Slope Shoulder. The former is nice for giant booming chords and may be very wealthy. The Slope Shoulder although, was a contact too vivid for me, and virtually felt tinny.
All of the sounds right here usually are not equal. And I think most individuals will discover one or two that fulfill most of their wants. The emulations aren’t 100-percent correct, both. There’s a resonance and a maintain that even my low cost $200 Fender acoustic electrical has that the Acoustasonic can’t fairly seize. And they don’t have fairly the identical dynamic vary as an actual acoustic. Live, with a full band enjoying by a PA it wouldn’t be noticeable. But in a quieter, extra intimate setting, the variations begin to come into focus.
Still, the Acoustasonic is a remarkably versatile instrument. It covers loads of floor and also you’d in all probability want to purchase eight totally different guitars to recreate each tone right here. Fender is pushing boundaries in a approach that few different guitar makers are. But, I nonetheless don’t know that I may ever rationalize shelling out $2,000 for one. But possibly if the costs come right down to the sub $1,000 vary I’d contemplate it.