Over the years, the good ol' Tele's iconic outline has appeared in numerous incarnations, but in this Telecoustic guise it's far removed from Leo Fender's original solidbody 'plank'.
This electro-acoustic vision appeared, along with the Stratacoustic, back in 2009; for 2014, Fender has expanded the Chinese-made 'coustic concept.
Our Standard model, available in black or walnut stain, is joined by the Plus (£394), which adds a micro-USB output and vintage-tinted gloss maple neck with a Sherwood Green top finish and matching headstock.
The Premier (£442) adds a Three-Colour Sunburst top from laminated flame maple, not spruce. The 2014 Stratacoustic mirrors these models, although the Plus is offered in Silver only.
Our review sample is a bit of an oddity. It follows the 2009 spec with a standard acoustic pin bridge - the 2014 version should have the inverted Fender 'Viking' bridge - and a white line around the oval soundhole, as opposed to the checkerboard pattern on Fender's website.
"As an in-front-of-the-TV noodler it's rather good, although it's hardly shred-friendly"
It does have the current-spec Fishman Isys III preamp mounted, oddly, on the lower bass-side bout, with volume, bass, mid and treble controls to tweak the Sonicore under-saddle pickup, plus an output-muting tuner.
While the electric-like maple neck could have come from numerous solidbody Teles, the body is different. The back and sides are made from moulded fibreglass, with a deeper-than-standard-Tele depth of 65mm (2.56 inches) at the rim.
It has an unusual matt black with gloss black speckled finish, while the top is more conventional: laminated spruce with solid spruce X-bracing. The top edge is cleanly bound with a white plastic that's left uncomfortably sharp-edged. We'd suggest scraping or sanding the edge under your right forearm.
We're not sure what the intended use of the Telecoustic is. It's more compact than an OM or dreadnought and light at 2.6kg. As an in-front-of-the-TV noodler it's rather good, although, as supplied, with an acoustic-like setup and 0.012-0.052 gauge strings, it's hardly shred-friendly.
Unplugged, it's more midrange-y acoustic archtop than modern acoustic, but if you enjoy playing jazz, blues or slide, you might find a friend here. Plugged in, you could get through an open-mic gig, but it's far from the most expansive electro sound.
While not an essential electro-acoustic, the Telecoustic is fun, compact and stage-ready - if you know how to shim a bolt-on neck - and it could be set up with lighter electric strings to be a fine player with archtop-like tonality. At 25 per cent less than the quoted SRP, it begins to make more sense.