2015 Fender Custom Shop Really Relic Telecaster

In Guitars by admin

A really reliced Tele…

Sometimes, the folks at the Fender Custom Shop create a relic that is entirely believeable as an old road horse guitar. This is one of those…            

There are plenty of Fender relic guitars to be had, but once in a while a genuine relic appears out of no where ready to be played and further flogged by its new owner — someone like you perhaps…  We had seen this guitar before, or something like it, maybe once in twenty years— perhaps fifteen years ago. Once in a while the crew at Fender contrives to create a heavily worn relic that looks to have oh, maybe 60 years of hard thrashin’ on it, like this one. It isn’t damaged exactly, but the abundant worn streaks, heavy finish checking and the ambered up fingerboard complete with sweat stains surrounding the frets creates a look that is legitimately old, worn and a little beat. You could even call it a beater… You may feel differently, but we really like these very rare Custom Shop guitars for their character and also their comparative rarity. You just don’t see this particular style of tumbledown antique Telecaster every day, and it goes so well with torn and frayed boot cut jeans, sueded up cow hide boots and a good flannel shirt. It is a look, and we like it.

But that’s not all to like about this Custom Shop beater… At six pounds and change it is a true featherweight, further cementing your appreciation for it hanging on your shoulder as if it weren’t there at all. Yet it possesses a blustery, ripping tone that belies its lightness. The neck is a solid C shape with a subtle hint of a V and the medium jumbo frets are neither too tall or too low — just right for easy string bends, and oh, you will be bending them… The brass saddles are burnished and worn with no rust, thank you Fender, realistically aged and the knobs are equally well-worn with a slightly duller patina that conveys the look of having been twirled for decades. The pickups appear suitably old as well with light but realistic wear. Only the white pickguard has escaped the yellowing, chips and scrapes that you might find on an old guitar, and that’s OK with us. The neck feel on this guitar is righteous, and despite its light weight it feels nicely balanced in hand and hanging on a strap. This guitar also seems to inspire the kind of tasty arpeggios and urgent, cutting riffs that make a song really move you, or your feet at least. It’s a relic worthy of a steamy dance hall in Dimebox, Texas or Crescent, Oklahoma, born from the sultry twang of Bakersfield…


Now there are lots of different Tele tones to be experienced, some very bright and spanky, others less so to varying degrees, and some pickups seem more loud and powerful than others, too. It’s what makes the experience of experiencing different guitars so fascinating isn’t it? You never know quite what you are going to get any time you pick up an unfamiliar guitar. What fun. Well, this Telecaster is pure, old school country, bright, cutting… we won’t say shrill, but it is wiry and sharp, yet not brittle, but more in the style of an old lap steel with a naked treble character that sounds as old as dirt. We dig it a lot. It is a legit country guitar with a nekkid tone reminiscent of the 50’s and all the great country music that decade produced. In that sense, this guitar is entirely unique given our deep experience with Fender Telecasters — none of them have sounded like this. The bridge pickup doesn’t really kick your amp into heavy distortion like some Tele pickups can, and that’s fine. It’s plenty loud enough, just not blustery and thick. Old school country is what it is.

The neck pickup is warm and lush with very good string definition — it lacks the lush archtop vibe of our Lindy Fralin neck pickup in the ivory Tele we recently reviewed, but it is a fine sounding pickup with excellent clarity, deep low end and… this is the kicker — gorgeous top end treble tones that are surprisingly bright and spanky for a neck pickup. The top three strings are as bright and cheerful as some bridge pickups. We can’t say we have heard that before in a Tele neck pickup, ever. And of course the sound of both pickups combined is the perfect rhythm tone, and a good mix for breezy solos as well. What this guitar oozes from it’s battered ash body is character — tons of it. No, it ain’t no rock guitar if yer lookin’ for thick mids and sumthin’ to light up a Marshall, but played through our Blues Deluxe this guitar is entirely worthy of being permanently parked at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Yes, it is. You could most definitely tear off a jaunty rendition of Dwight Yoakum’s “Guitars, Cadillacs & Hillbilly Music” complete with Pete Anderson’s trippy Tele solo quite nicely, thank you very much. Or maybe you’re feelin a little melancholy, in the mood for Gary Stewart’s sole number one hit “She’s Actin’ Single, I’m Drinking Doubles...” (my heart is breaking, like tiny bubbles…) Well, hell, you can do it all with the relic, relic Tele. Yes you can. This is a damn fine guitar. One of a kind… A keeper… Now ya’ll Quest forth… TQ