Kingfish’s first-ever Fender signature model itself comes as no surprise – as one of today’s standout bluesmen, the Grammy winner has been hugely influential in the guitar world for quite some time now, and as such the release of a signature electric guitar was just a question of when, not if.
What’s also unsurprising is the format the six-string has taken: the Telecaster Deluxe blueprint has been heavily favored by Kingfish of late, with the guitarist playing what looks to be a prototype of his new signature model during a number of high-profile performances.
As for the guitar itself, it bears a striking resemblance to the existing American Professional II Telecaster Deluxe, though features a handful of significant alterations. Chief among them, of course, are the humbuckers.
The Kingfish Signature Humbucking Pickups have been custom-wound for “velvety lows, punchy mids and a snarling low-end”. They will also be available as a separate set, and were designed in an effort to “inspire players of all genres”.
Said Justin Norvell, Executive Vice President of Product, FMIC, “Modeled to emulate a ‘50s sound, the two custom pickup sets were built for growling, overdriven blues-rock, delivering deep, shimmering and dynamic tone.”
Further signature-specific specs include the appointment of an adjusto-matic bridge and solid tailpiece – which replace the conventional three-saddle top-load/string-through Tele bridge – and the neck profile, which is a V-shaped, rather than a Deep-C, profile.
In terms of aesthetics, the guitar sports a sparkly Mississippi Night colorway – a souped-up version of the current Dark Night finish that pays tribute to the “deep night skies Kingfish would often marvel at while growing up in Clarksdale, Mississippi”.
At its core, the Kingfish Telecaster Deluxe features an alder body, roasted maple neck and 12”-radius rosewood fingerboard, as well as a 25.5” scale length, 21 frets, a bone nut and white pearloid dot inlays.
Atop the three-ply pickguard sits the three-way pickup selector switch, as well as the conventional Tele Deluxe control layout comprising two volume controls and two tone parameters.
Neat Kingfish touches include a custom engraved neck plate, Kingfish’s seal and signature on the rear of the headstock and “K” Crown logos on the chrome pickup covers.
Of his new signature, Kingfish said, “The Kingfish Telecaster Deluxe guitar gives me a sense of comfort when I’m playing across genres; everything from blues to smooth rock, it’s all about versatility.
“For me, it is important for people to play other genres,” he added. “One of my favorite features on the Tele are my signature pickups because they’re a solid option for players in all genres. Being a blues player is a beautiful thing, but it’s about more than that.
“I’ve always been into heavy tones from my influences like Gary Moore and various blues players like Freddie King. I hope this Tele inspires players of all genres to dig in and rock out.”
To celebrate the launch of the guitar, Fender has also dropped a Kingfish edition of its Fender Signature Sessions series, which charts the bluesman’s career and the creation of his new signature six-string.
The Kingfish Telecaster Deluxe is available now for $1,999.
For more information, head over to Fender.