Fender American Special Telecaster Vs Standard (2023 Edition)

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If you’re curious about the difference between the Fender American Special Telecaster vs standard, this is the post for you!

Things Aren’t Simple With Fender Guitars

Sure, we all remember Fender for Stratocasters and Telecasters. But things aren’t that simple. In the beginning, we had these two basic models. But things changed over the years.

Fender slowly began introducing various iterations of both Strats and Teles. Although the body shape and most of the main features remained, some stuff has changed.

The company brought in new variants while getting rid of the old ones. Essentially, they made things more interesting for the consumers.

At this point, Fender has a bunch of Telecaster variants. They go from the affordable Player series up to the American Ultra Luxe and some even more expensive variants.

Fender American Special Telecaster

Fender American Special Telecaster Electric Guitar

The American Special Telecaster is a model that came to be sometime around 2010. I’m not completely certain about the year when Fender introduced it. The particular model was manufactured up to 2018.

For the most part, this was a traditional Telecaster. The only notable difference was the inclusion of 22 frets. These were jumbo-sized frets mounted onto a fretboard with a radius of 9.5 inches.

The finish was polyurethane and had a somewhat vintage-ish look. This was accompanied by another old-school feature, the traditional Telecaster bridge. That’s the one with three saddles.

The powerhouse of this instrument was the pair of Fender’s Texas Special pickups. These single-coils are, in my opinion, the secret behind the ultimate Fender tone. They’ve got the jangle and they’ve got the power with those tight bottom-ends.

Then we also have deluxe staggered tuning machines. They’re pretty reliable but they kind of stand out from the instrument’s vintage-ish vibe.

Nonetheless, this is a pretty awesome guitar. It’s something that classic Telecaster lovers will prefer.

Once American Special Telecaster was done, Fender replaced these with the American Performer Telecaster series.

Fender American Standard Telecaster

Fender American Standard Telecaster Demo

The American Standard Telecaster was available around the same time. From what I know, they came to the market in 2008, replacing the American Series. They were available up until 2016.

After that, Fender introduced American Professional as sort of a replacement for these series. And after that, we got the American Professional II. These are about the same tier in today’s standards. 

The Standard was very similar to the Special, with a few differences. The most notable one was the bridge. Here we had a standard Fender 6-saddle formation. Of course, it also had the large plate that goes around the bridge pickup. However, it also came with embedded Fender logos in every saddle.

The finish on this one was a bit different. It was thinner compared to the Special Telecaster. This gives the instrument a bit of a different feel. It’s not better or worse, it just comes down to what you prefer. I like this type of finish more as it feels less slippery.

The guitar also comes with American Tele single-coils. They’re pretty much stock Fender pickups. They aren’t anything too extravagant, but they’re still pretty great.

I should also point out that American Standard has medium-jumbo frets and hand-rolled fretboard edges. This can give it a bit of a smoother feel.

Fender American Special Telecaster Vs Standard: What You Should Know

Before I get any further into this, bear in mind that both of these models are no longer available. Fender discontinued both.

Getting them isn’t impossible. However, my personal opinion is that there’s no need to bother. You have so many options to choose from these days.

And, as I mentioned, these series are just different iterations of the classic models. Fender technically continued them with some other series. And they’re as good as Special and Standard, if not better. But that’s just my take.

However, if you’re really up for getting one, let’s take a closer look at these two options. After all, there are some differences that we should point out.

First, they certainly have different hardware. And while the tuning machines aren’t that different, the bridges are. The American Special Telecaster has that vintage bridge. Meanwhile, the American Standard Tele comes with a modern 6-saddle one.

Then, there are jumbo frets on the American Special Tele. The Standard comes with medium-jumbo ones. However, the Standard also has smoother fretboard edges, which gives it a different feel.

Finally, there are the pickups. The Special has Texas Specials, which are, in my opinion, superior. They work well with any tube amp. They have that additional bite and push that drives the tubes into warm and overdriven territories.

There’s also a price difference. The Special is just slightly cheaper. But if you happen to find either of these, the difference isn’t that much of a deal.

Which One Should I Get and Which is Better?

As for the final decision? Well, it’s hard for me to make the final judgment. But for me, the Standard is a better choice. 

The perfect Tele, in my opinion, would be the combination of the two. In all honesty, I don’t like traditional vintage Tele bridges, like the one the Special Tele has. However, this one comes with Texas Special pickups. And, what’s more, it has jumbo frets.

On the other hand, the Standard has a regular 6-saddle bridge. There’s also that thinner finish which I prefer. Medium-jumbo frets are okay, but I’d swap the pickups for Texas Specials. And, finally, I’d swap the frets for larger ones. Then I’d have a guitar that feels smoother and works better for my needs.

But, in the end, it all comes down to what you prefer.  

Fender American Special Vs Standard: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you think through the differences between these models and which is best for you.

And if you want to read more about Fender on this blog, check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

2 Responses

  1. Robert Bruce says:

    Just got a Tele special w/ a 1963 record picup in bridge along with original Texas special picup; I had a friend who had a 50’s or early 60’s + I found the special to play very similar to his older Tele.I freaked when he told me he’d sold it.I find the Tele special to be refreshing in both sound + playability. A real deal for that price. The record has more balls but still a Tele eq!! Thru my mesaboogie dualrect, it’s wild yet controllable, I’m extremely satisfied!!

  2. Robert Bruce says:

    Have Kramer, Ibanez, stratocaster for sale at reasonable prices if anyone is interested thankyou kindly

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