That Fender had a signature Telecaster in the works for Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis might not be one of the worst-kept secrets ever, but that's just because gear product launch history is written in secrets unearthed by forum detectives and bungling retailer whoopsidaisies.
Surprise or not, it's nice to be able to say – officially – that white smoke has issued forth from Fender HQ, the J Mascis Signature Telecaster has been unveiled and it is one cool electric guitar. It's blue and sparkly and should be in stores from August.
The Tele is inspired by Mascis' '58 top-loader, which is to say that you load the strings through holes in the bridge rather than running them through ferrules on the rear of the body, making for a slinkier feel and easier bending.
It is the sort of power-move that such six-string superpowers as Jimmy Page used to deploy on his Telecaster, and was a feature of Teles at that time, as experimentation led to augmentation of the familiar ashtray-style bridge.
Despite actively seeking alternatives for their production line models, Fender has found a slab of ash for the body, which has a maple neck bolted-on to it in the time-honoured style, and issues the Mascis Tele with some custom-wound signature single-coils.
That neck is carved into a custom C-profile and topped with a 9.5" radius maple fingerboard and 21 jumbo frets. The pickups are controlled by a three-way selector switch, and the knurled flat-top volume and tone controls.
Elsewhere, you've got a few touches we have seen on similarly high-end Mexican-built signature models such as the Chrissie Hynde Telecaster, with Road Worn lacquer on the neck and matching hardware. The mirrored chrome pickguard is another nice touch, though in pictures it looks more pristine than the Hynde Tele.
The J Mascis Signature Telecaster ships with a deluxe gig-bag. Its finish is called Bottle Rocket Blue Flake, which would make a great name for a song. All this will set you back £1,299 / $1,349.99 / €1,449. See Fender for more details.
[Fuzz pedals sold separately.]