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Is a fat Telecaster right for you?


This is a type of Telecaster that seems like the ultimate Tele, and for some it might be.

Above is a Fender American Performer Telecaster Hum. This is an attempt by Fender to make the ultimate "workhorse" Telecaster.

Before getting into that, I'll explain what a fat Telecaster actually is.

Fat does not refer to the body nor neck thickness but rather the pickups in the guitar. If there is a humbucker pickup at the neck position, that's what makes it "fat".

I own two Telecaster type guitars. One has the traditional overwound single-coil at the bridge and the mini single at the neck, which you can listen to here if you like. The other is a fat Tele with an overwound single-coil at the bridge and a humbucker pickup at the neck, and you can listen to me playing that one here.

Then there is the Fender American Performer Telecaster Hum. This is a fat Tele and the Hum in the name refers to the humbucker pickup at the neck. However, this guitar also has a fair amount of fancy dan electronics in it. The bridge pickup is a newer design by Fender that they call the Yosemite, and the neck humbucker is something they call the Double Tap. Also, there is a push-pull potentiometer to split the humbucker to a single-coil. Also also, there is what Fender calls a Greasebucket tone circuit that allows you to roll off treble without increasing bass frequencies.

The Hum is the do-it-all Tele. It has both the vintage and modern Tele tones all nicely packaged in one guitar, and does do without the sound "mudding out" anywhere...

...but not everybody can afford the Hum. In fact, most people can't.

This is where we get into more affordable options, examining common Telecaster complaints, and figuring out whether having a humbucker in the neck position is actually a good idea or not.

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Published 2021 Jan 21

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