Many of us grew up dreaming of owning a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster. These time-honoured classics are everywhere, from the smallest studio to the largest stage.
But in the same way that Prince wowed his audience with his one-of-a-kind cloud guitar, some of us yearn to stand out from the crowd of Strat, Tele and Les Paul players. If you’re looking to stray from the beaten path, head towards some of Fender’s more unique creations from their Custom Shop or Limited Edition releases.
At the NAMM Show last year, Fender raised a few eyebrows when they announced an extremely limited run of unusual instruments. They called this limited edition series the Parallel Universe – an amalgamation of Fender’s timeless guitars to create “otherworldly” hybrids. Fender have dropped a model every month from April to December 2018.
We take a look at some of these unique models that have gotten heads turning and musicians talking.
The first of the Parallel Universe series, this Strat-Tele Hybrid appears to be the archetype for the entire lineup. It’s straightforward – a Stratocaster configuration on a Telecaster body – and it represents the ethos of the models to be released after. Inspired by a similar model produced by Fender Senior Master Builder and Custom Shop Director Chris Fleming in 2006, the Strat-Tele Hybrid is loaded with three Custom Shop ’69 Aged Strat pickups along with ergonomic touches like body contours for more Strat familiarities.
Jazzmaster meets Telecaster in this hybrid creation. Fender have taken an ash Telecaster body and slapped on the engine of a Jazzmaster. From the tremolo tailpiece and bridge assembly to the Pure Vintage ’65 single-coil pickups, this Jazz-Telecaster offers a tone unlike any other. Whether it’s surf rock or grunge you play, this free-spirited guitar will throw its unique take on it.
The term “Whiteguard” was used as a moniker for the Telecaster when Fender swapped the black pickguard for a white one in 1956. Today, the familiar translucent blonde finish and white pickguard have found their way onto a Stratocaster body and is affectionately named the Whiteguard Stratocaster. It is essentially a vintage styled Tele with an ash Strat body, combining the twangy snarl from the Custom Shop ’51 Nocaster pickups with the ergonomics of a Strat body.
Fender launched the highly successful Thinline Telecaster in 1968, featuring a semi-hollow body with a single f-hole. This Telecaster Thinline Super Deluxe takes it up a notch, with an aesthetic that reminded us of a certain classic hollow-body rockabilly guitar. Retaining all the elegance and flair from the original Thinline, the Super Deluxe features two TV Jones pickups for that trademark punch and bite.
At first glance, this American Elite Nashville Telecaster doesn’t seem particularly different from the OG. But while it may not deviate aesthetically, it packs a surprise punch with its tone. This highly unusual three-pickup configuration is a twist on the Nashville Tele’s triple single-coil layout. Swapping the bridge single-coil and ashtray bridge for the brilliant ShawBucker humbucking pickup, and moving the slanted single-coil into the middle position, this guitar is a supercharged Telecaster armed with a myriad of tonal options.
Head down to Swee Lee and check these amazing hybrid guitars for yourself. Plug them in and you might just find yourself in another universe!