For ages, many guitarists have wished for an acoustic guitar that felt like an electric guitar when they play it. Others have wished that they wouldn’t have to carry so many guitars to get a full sound palette for their music.
With the Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster, Fender aims to fulfill those wishes. It may seem impossible, but it looks like they may have found a solution. So, let’ see how well they’ve managed to achieve this dream that so many guitarists share.
Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster Physical Features
- Body material: Mahogany
- Scale length: 25.5” (648 mm)
- Neck: Mahogany Deep C-profile
- Fretboard: Ebony
- Frets: 22
- Nut width: 1.6875” (42.86 mm)
- Nut material: Graph Tech Tusq
- Bridge material: Ebony
- Pickups: Noiseless pickup, under-saddle piezo, acoustic enhancer
- Tuners: Fender Standard Sealed Staggered
The Acoustasonic Stratocaster consists of an ergonomic mahogany body with transverse bracing and a Sitka spruce top, plus a mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard. These tonewood choices help to maximize the sound and looks of the guitar.
What about the hardware? It has Fender Standard tuning machines in a staggered formation. The nut and bridge pins are Tusq, while the bridge and knobs are ebony like the fretboard. So, it’ all high-quality stuff.
Fender teamed up with Fishman to create their Stringed Instrument Resonance System, which is the core of the Acoustasonic Stratocaster’ power. It emulates a variety of different guitar types and tonewoods quite convincingly.
To feed the preamp the ideal signal, it also has a specific Acoustasonic Noiseless pickup system. It combines an under-saddle piezo pickup with an N4 magnetic one and an internal body sensor to capture a very full sound.
It’ got five distinct voicings, which you choose between with the Strat-style five-way selector switch. Each switch position also has two modes. That’ where the mod knob comes into play, as you use it to pick one or blend the two voices.
The Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster is available in five different finishes; Natural, Black, Sonic Blue, Dakota Red, and the classic Three-color Sunburst. Only the Spruce top has the chosen color. The rest is always natural, and the whole guitar has a luxurious satin finish.
How the Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster Plays
One of the central ideas behind the Fender Acoustasonic is to provide the power of acoustics with the convenience of classic Fender electrics. This model has the classic arm bevel and belly carve that make Stratocasters so comfortable for guitarists. It’ also light, which makes gigs much easier.
It’ got a gentle 12-inch fingerboard radius, which allows for both comfortable open chords and easy high-fret runs. The thin neck with its satin finish and narrow-tall frets provide a fast feel. The nut width is 1.6875 inches (42.86 millimeters,) which is ever-so-slightly wider than a typical Strat. If you’ve ever wished your dreadnought felt like a Strat, this might be the guitar for you.
Where do I begin? The Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster can sound like a typical dreadnought, auditorium, or concert acoustic guitar. You get 10 different voices which come in pairs, so you can blend the two voices of each pair. The way it lets you blend an acoustic tone with a classic Strat sound allows for a really full sound.
These voices range from mellow auditorium acoustics to slightly distorted blues and rock tones. If you play styles like blues, rock, pop, or country, this is like a complete guitar arsenal in one handy and stylish ax. Pair it with a good amp, and you’re all set.
The manual just calls the voices things like “Sitka Spruce Rosewood Concert with Slotted Headstock” and “Engelman Spruce Rosewood Dreadnought.” However, the various acoustic soundsseem to be modeled after popular guitars from major brands. It can sound very similar to some revered Gibson dreadnoughts, for example. While there is a subtle digital warble to some of the sounds, they’re very convincing and beautiful overall.
Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster VS Acoustasonic Telecaster
The 2020 Acoustasonic Stratocaster is based on the 2019 Acoustasonic Telecaster. The Telecaster has a slightly thicker body with less arm bevel and no belly carve. It only has three selector positions, for a total of six voicings. Also, the finishes are different. Other than that, they’re very similar. As usual, the Telecaster is a good choice if you want a simpler guitar, while the Stratocaster is better if you like versatility and edge.
As expected, it’ not a cheap guitar. However, the quality and versatility definitely justify the list price of $1,999.
Pros & Cons
So, what are the strengths and drawbacks of the Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster? Let’ summarize it.
- High build quality
- Amazing tonal versatility
- Smooth playability
- Rich sound
It’ a fun and very unique type of guitar that could change how we look at guitars in the future. If you want a really versatile guitar, an Acoustasonic Stratocaster is an ideal choice.
- Not a full-featured Strat
- Somewhat digital sound
Some guitarists may miss some classic Stratocaster features, like the tremolo bridge and tone knobs. And although Fender’ done a great job making a guitar that sounds like a variety of completely different guitars, the replications aren’t perfect. That’ just not possible yet, but the sounds are beautiful and convincing.
Final Thoughts on the Fender American Acoustasonic Stratocaster
This is, without a doubt, the beginning of a new chapter for electric guitars. Fender solved a lot of common problems and found a way to realize those wishes many of us always had but thought impossible. It’ an incredibly versatile, fun, and inspiring guitar that should be suitable for virtually all guitarists.
Fender Acoustasonic Stratocaster John Holloway Rating: 5 out of 5