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Étrange Telecaster - Avis Fender J5 Telecaster

John 5 is a great player and I like much of the stuff he does but I do not know what Fender was thinking when they decided it was a good idea to put out a signature guitar based on his personal Telecaster. The John5 Tele has many nice features but with all of them together I find it hard to believe there are many Tele players looking for all these same features as John5. The guitar has a bound ash body and a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. It has an oversized headstock which is beveled out on the face of it to make behind the nut bends easier. John5 is noted for his behind the nut bend technique. On the oversized headstock you have 3x3 tuners like you would get on a Gibson. The neck has 22 medium jumbo frets. The pickguard is chrome and so is all of the hardware. It has a Fender Enforcer pickup in the bridge position and a Twisted Tele single coil pickup in the neck position. The guitar has a volume control for each pickup there is no tone control. It has a 3-way Gibson style toggle pickup selector where it would be on a Gibson.


The guitar plays as nice as any Telecaster. The Frets are a good size so you can get some good bends going. The fretboard is flatter than what you would get on a vintage telecaster. The headstock is pretty ungainly. It is the size of an old Fender 12 string headstock but it only has 6 strings. There is lots of room for behind the nut bends but I like most people am not that advanced of a country player so I probably wont ever do that technique. Compared with a normal Telecaster headstock there is plenty of room on the normal one to do those bends so I do not really see what the need is for a headstock twice the size is. I have seen John5 doing behind the nut bends on normal Telecaster headstocks so it doesnt seem like much of a problem to him. The chrome pickguard is cool at first but 5 seconds later it is covered in fingerprints and makes your guitar seem really dirty. Two master volumes and no tone control is something I like. I do not use the tone control much. I usually leave it wide open. Removing it from your guitars circuitry can help improve your tone a little bit. I would rather have a normal tone knob or no tone knob not some crazy inbetween crap like you get on some Gretsch guitars where they give you a tone switch and let you pick between two. I am not a big fan of ashtray bridges either. They usually have some sharp ends that can poke your hand. One think pictures cannot show you is how heavy this guitar is. It feels like you are playing a Les Paul.


This guitar is crazy hot for a Telecaster. The pickups are super powerful and give you a really bright Telecaster sound. John5 plays his Tele with a lot of gain and has a really bright sound. With the bright humbucker you can kinda get the bright tele sound but without the noise a single coil would give you. I am not a huge can of the high gain bright sound thing but for what this guitar is made for it does it well.


I think the market for a signature model like this is pretty small. People who normally play Telecasters want a real Telecaster with single coils and whatnot. People who play metal are not going to want a Telecaster to begin with. I think Fender should have just made John 5 his own guitars and left it at that. I do not really think he has that much of a following. If you are one of the few people who want a metal Telecaster with a Chrome pickguard, a huge headstock and a single coil in the neck position this guitar is for you.