I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.
Sitting in my basement, I strummed a full power chord in an acoustic guitar but what came out of the amp sounded exactly like a Fender Stratocaster. You sort of look down and wonder what is happening. The hollow-body acoustic is made from mahogany and spruce and, when it’s not connected to an amp, has a warm and inviting tone.
As a guitar player for some 30-odd years or more (who’s counting those years in high school playing Pink Floyd cover songs), I haven’t ever played something so versatile and unique.
I’m talking about the Fender Acoustasonic Strat, of course. It’s the successor to the similar Fender Acoustasonic Tele model and has the same shape-shifting electronics. You can adjust your tone with a few quick flips of the knobs. It’s a bit hard to explain what’s really happening because you have to hear it for yourself, but my basic summary is that you can emulate the sound of an acoustic, an electric, or a combination of the two.
I started out playing acoustic guitar in high school. A friend of mine had one mounted in his living room. His mom thought it looked like a cool ornament and it barely went into tune. From there, we started a grunge rock band, something like Nirvana meets Pink Floyd. I used to own a Fender Strat and bought a Tele shortly after college. I’ve also owned a Rickenbacker, a Taylor, and a few other models. What was so cool about playing the Acoustasonic Strat is that I was able to emulate a near approximation of all of those guitars. I currently own a small body Ibanez I use for short work breaks during the day playing a few lead parts.
I found settings that emulated all of those guitars, including the warm sound from that Taylor I once owned and donated to a school a few years ago. I punched up the settings for a brighter electric sound that reminded me of that Start. It helped that Fender also let me borrow a Fender Mustang GTX50 amp as well. I have to say, I got lost in some jam sessions. The amp has one setting that I combined with the Acoustasonic Strat emulation to mimic U2 and re-taught myself a few songs from the Joshua Tree album. Later that same day, I even tried to figure out a few songs from Achtung Baby as well and some of the more recent U2 songs.
I really believe this is the most high-tech guitar I’ve played, partly because you can mix-and-match so many settings on the guitar itself and with the amp. For one session, I modeled a small hollow-body Martin sound (think: classic country without much sustain) and then switched over to a much richer and fuller acoustic sound. I can imagine a real guitar player recording in a studio having more flexibility with the tones and not having to switch between a bunch of different instruments. You can find plenty of videos on YouTube showing musicians experimenting with all of those sounds. Here’s a cool one to check out:
So who would like this guitar the most? Is it worth $2,000? I would say anyone like me who is really into guitars and enjoys playing for fun and to take a break, but definitely musicians who want the flexibility of quickly switching tones and emulating other guitars. I love how high-tech this model is and would recommend it for anyone serious about their guitars. It’s worth it.