Fender Jim Root Telecaster review

  • £699
  • $1499.99
The Jim Root Telecaster.

MusicRadar Verdict

It's a Tele, Jim, but not as we know it.


  • +

    It's a cool twist on the standard Tele vibe.


  • -

    But there's a lack of Tele snap and tweaking options.

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Let's have some introductions. Staring out from the bloodshot eyeholes of a jester mask and standing 6'6" in his stocking feet, Slipknot's Jim Root is officially the last guitarist you'd want to meet in the proverbial dark alley.

The Fender Telecaster is altogether more respectable. Pushing 60, this venerable bare-bones workhorse has traditionally been far more popular with rockers, bluesmen and punks than the horn-flicking denizens of the metal fraternity.

With that in mind, TG was surprised to hear, back in 2004, that Root was plotting a signature Tele based on his own Flat Head model. But should you maggots cough up £699 for it?

Root has equipped his Tele with a spec that will even intrigue Slipknot haters. There's the mahogany body in place of the usual ash or alder; twin EMG pickups where you'd typically find stock singlecoils; and locking tuners, a single volume knob and a flat black finish that stands out against the lacquer-coated competition.

It all adds up to a guitar that demands a second glance, even if you thought The Subliminal Verses was shit. "I wanted to design this guitar so that even if you don't like us at all, you'll still think it's great," Root confirms. "It doesn't have Slipknot plastered all over it. It just has everything that players want."

Is this a Tele we see before us? The snub-nosed headstock and iconic body outline might be the same as in 1950, but Root has played fast and loose with the rest of Fender's blueprint. Pick this baby up and you'll notice a marked weight increase over stock Teles due to the density of the mahogany. Grip the neck and you'll find yourself fretting like a demon due to the C-profile and 12-inch radius board.

The tone could be a little divisive. Telecaster purists will argue that this model is defined by its snap 'n' pop, and there's none of that here, with EMG's 60 and 81 units specialising in fat, thick filth, the mahogany lending further warmth to chugging rhythm parts, and the lack of a tone control meaning you can't bump up the treble.

But let's not get hung up on what Teles are 'supposed' to sound like. So it ain't traditional. Make no mistake - this Tele rocks like a bastard. So will you.

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