Fender has long held a reputation as one of the leading guitar-makers in the world. And, everyone knows that Fender guitars are high-quality with their own special sound and tone. The companies guitars are also distinct in their appearance.
Ever since Fender burst onto the scene in the 1950s with the introduction of the original Telecaster (first called the Broadcaster), Fender has continued to add new guitars to their family. Often times, Fender will take an existing model and give it some new features that reinvigorate and modernize a particular guitar.
One of the new members in the Fender family is a modern take on one of the most iconic electric guitars ever made.
Fender is proud to present the Modern Player Telecaster Plus
This guitar takes the classic design of 1950s Telecasters and adds some up-to-date features that make it a unique combination of old and new. But, rest assured the Modern Player Telecaster Plus is in every way a Fender.
The sound, style, and soul of this guitar keep with the traditions Fender has laid down, providing you with solid performance, great sound, and playability, as well as being affordable.
With the Modern Player Telecaster Plus, you will find a guitar that is steeped in tradition but also has some unconventional modern features which place this guitar in a category all of its own.
The Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus is not your average Telecaster. For one thing, this guitar doesn’t have the same amount of twang that normally defines the Telecaster sound. There is still twang, but it is more subdued. Instead, this Telecaster is designed in such a way that it offers ultra-versatility, comfort, and ease-of-play.
We invite you to join us as we take an in-depth look at one of Fender’s newest additions to a long line of superb electric guitars.
When the Telecaster was first introduced in 1952, it was the world’s first commercially available solid-body electric guitar. It was a game-changer as far as sonic amplification is concerned. The original Telecasters used pine to build the body. The Modern Player Telecaster Plus retains the vintage body design and wood.
Made from a solid piece of pine, the Modern Player Telecaster is a solid-body that harkens back to its vintage roots. Pine was used to make the early Telecasters in part due to its abundance, and also due to it being very easy to work with.
Nowadays, however, solid pine body guitars are the exception rather than the rule. While there are surely some reasons for the decline in using this wood for guitars, none of them have to do with the tone and sound.
Bright and airy…
In fact, pine has a rather unique character to it. The tone is similar in many ways to alder. It is bright and airy, almost to the point of being transparent. It allows for the tone of the strings to flow easily through the body, unaltered, and uninterrupted. This, in turn, adds warmth to the tone and helps to clarify the mid-range and low-end tones, while keeping the high-end bright.
Another interesting aspect of pine is that it is quite light in weight. This means it is more comfortable to handle and play. And, also easy to form and mold into the vintage shape of a Telecaster body.
Doesn’t weigh a ton…
One benefit is that you get a solid-body electric guitar that doesn’t weigh a ton, and will put less strain on your shoulders and back when playing for extended periods of time. The drawback is that pine is more prone to dents and dings.
The bottom line on a solid pine guitar is that it is lightweight, the tones are warm, bright and airy, and it costs less to make than mahogany or maple solid-body guitars.
Easily the most important part of a solid-body electric guitar, the neck determines so much about how the guitar will sound.
The Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus features a solid, single-piece of maple for the neck. Hard, sturdy, and strong the maple neck gives you spank and snap that combines with the warm transparency of the pine body that helps to recreate the timeless sound of a Telecaster.
A lovely gloss finish…
Maple doesn’t take too well to dyes, so in the tradition of the earliest Telecasters, the Modern Player neck is finished in a lovely gloss. One of the great things about a Gloss finish is that way that it wears over time. After enough mileage, the Gloss finish starts to thin, and the feel and appearance are more similar to a satin finish.
This neck is smooth and sleek. It offers excellent playability and fast action. The Modern Player neck keeps in line with vintage Telecaster necks by employing the standard 9.5-inch radius or “C-shaped” neck.
The C-shaped neck design means greater comfort because it is contoured to a human palm. This design further enhances playability because the neck is not tapered at the headstock. Like all vintage Telecaster necks, this one is actually the thickest at the headstock.
There are two distinct advantages to this neck construction…
First, by being thickest at the headstock, it makes this a great guitar for the inexperienced guitar player because it helps to strengthen muscles in the hand needed for chords. Beginners often find tapered necks too cramped to learn basic chord structures.
Secondly, this design provides better overall weight balance between the head and the tail. Holding this guitar, you will feel the balance right away. This also means that you know it can take some heavy use and still hold its intonation.
Since maple helps to bring out the spank and snap that Telecasters are famous for, there is no fretboard made from another wood glued onto the neck. That single, solid piece of maple makes up the neck and the fretboard. The result is more bite and resonance in the tone, plus the pine body, you can also expect some great sustain.
The Modern Player Telecaster neck is almost exactly the same as its forbearers.
Most people, even those who don’t play guitar, can recognize the “Ashtray” bridge that adorned classic Telecasters. It’s iconic, unique, and impossible not to notice. And it is here that we depart from the vintage design and add in something new.
The Modern Player Telecaster features a modern Stratocaster Bridge. Unlike the classic Ashtray Bridge with three barrel saddles, the Stratocaster Bridge features six individual saddles that work to give you precise tuning and greater flexibility in the action of each string.
The modern Stratocaster Bridge utilizes String-thru-the-Body loading, which means more sustain and tension at the bridge. More tension at the bridge is what helps to bring out the “Tele Twang.”
This where things take a big turn. Vintage Telecasters featured two single-coil pickups specifically made for Telecasters. The Modern Player makes a big departure from the past by offering three different pickups to shape and craft a colossal amount tone and sound diversity.
Sitting at the neck position is the classic Soap-bar Telecaster pickup complete with chrome casing. This pickup gives you all of the warm, bluesy Telecaster lead and rhythm tones with that little bit of honk and pop.
Quite a modern twist…
The Modern player features a standard Strat single-coil middle position pickup. Quite a modern twist since Telecasters typically never have a middle position pickup. With the Strat pickup, you now have the ability to punch out some gnarly mid-range bite.
Finally, the biggest alteration the Modern Player Telecaster has to offer is the humbucking bridge pickup. Fender isn’t known for using humbuckers, with a few exceptions. Even rarer is to find a humbucker on a Telecaster.
The HSS humbucker doesn’t have quite the same twang as standard Telecaster bridge pickups, but it offers a wider range of tone possibilities. You will get warmth and plenty of bite. The real advantage is that the HHS pickup allows you to play as heavy as you want without clipping or loss of definition.
A mini-toggle coil-split switch…
Another interesting aspect is that the HSS pickup has a mini-toggle coil-split switch that lets you broaden your sound capabilities to impressive levels.
With the combination of three different pickups, you have five different positions to choose from. The range of sounds and tones offered by this set up is what gives this guitar its name; Modern Player.
You can dial in pretty much any kind of sound you want. Mellow, muted, moody blues and jazz to barking, biting, and brilliant screaming high-end solos, this guitar can do it all.
Final Thoughts on the Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus
For those who are looking to get the unmistakable tone and sound of a vintage Telecaster, this guitar won’t be quite what you are after.
For those who are looking for something that can expand your sound potential, is easy to play, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg the Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus will leave you rocking and rolling with delight for years to come.
This guitar is just as ideal for beginners as it is for professionals. Fender has never messed around with inferior products, and the Modern Player Telecaster has already claimed its place among the legendary guitars of the Fender family tree.
Forged in the fires of traditional and legacy, but schooled in the most advanced modern applications of amplification, the sounds this Telecaster can muster are definitely unique.
Where will these vintage and modern features take you?
Only one way to find out…