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Fender Chrissie Hynde Telecaster review

The Pretenders leader's Tele recreated in all its Faded Ice Blue Metallic glory

Fender Chrissie Hynde Telecaster
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Our Verdict

Of all Fender's signature Teles in recent years, this might yet be the coolest, with the aged chrome mirror pickguard complementing that Faded Ice Blue Metallic Road Worn finish beautifully. Nicely voiced pickups and a quick and easy neck make it a lot of fun, too.

For

  • The finish is very cool.
  • Approachable neck.
  • Typically gutsy Tele tones.
  • Locking tuners and quality hardware.

Against

  • Has lots of competition in Fender's Mexican-built Vintera series.

The Fender Chrissie Hynde Telecaster is a Mexican-made replica of the 1965 model that The Pretenders vocalist/guitarist picked up in New York City at the turn of the 1980s. 

To match Hynde’s number one electric guitar, the 2021 model arrives in a Faded Ice Blue Metallic Road Worn lacquer finish. It looks the part, showing subtle checking and lived-in grime on the Road Worn hardware – most notably on the ferrules on the rear of the guitar, and the chrome mirror pickguard has some city miles on it. 

With the tuners and the knurled control knobs looking brand new, the effect doesn’t quite come off, but mismatched hardware on a gently aged guitar is a little like a bad haircut; nothing that time won’t fix. 

Fender Chrissie Hynde Telecaster

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

The pickup pairing is a custom-wound set of ’50s Tele single-coils to match those on Hynde’s guitar, with a three-way blade pickup selector switch, volume and tone controls.

There’s a set of Fender-branded locking tuners, and a vintage six steel-saddle bridge replacing the stock three-saddle bridges of the original 60s Telecasters in pursuit of better intonation.

Besides a monogrammed steel neck plate and chrome ’guard, the Chrissie Hynde Telecaster conforms to a relatively straightforward spec, with an old-school 7.25” radius rosewood fingerboard housing 21 vintage tall frets, 25.5” scale, alder body, and a bolt-on maple neck that’s carved in a shallow shape and described by Fender as a Custom Mid-60s C profile.

Hynde is a devout rhythm player, an auto-didact who developed a unique style playing unamplified, but there’s hardly any maple here to get in the way of the fleet-fingered.

Compared with a '50s Player Series Telecaster, the neck profile feels Charvel-esque – an almost impolite invitation to play lead. The rosewood ’board takes a little of the treble off but that bridge single-coil retains enough high-end vinegar to cut through. Rolling back the tone will thicken it up, and it’s always surprising how many tones you can get out of the Telecaster’s simple setup. 

At the neck it is bright and articulate, albeit with soothing midrange, while the mix position takes well to a clean tube amp and the gentle bounce of spring reverb. With blues, country, and rock at either end of the three-way selector, there’s a lot of room for manoeuvre. 

Both pickups clean up nicely when you roll the volume back. Some players might want a little more meat on the neck, but this is a fun '60s Telecaster with blue collar pizzazz courtesy of its Motor City-inspired finish.

Specs

  • PRICE: $1,399 / £1,249
  • ORIGIN: Mexico
  • BODY: Alder 
  • NECK: Maple (bolt-on)
  • SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
  • FRETBOARD: Rosewood, 184.1mm (7.25”) radius
  • FRETS: 21, Vintage Tall
  • NUT: 42mm, synthetic bone
  • PICKUPS: 2x Vintage-Style ’50s Single-Coil Tele
  • CONTROLS: 1x volume and 1x tone, 3-way blade selector switch
  • HARDWARE: 6-saddle strings-through-body Tele with stainless steel saddles, deluxe cast/sealed locking tuners with vintage-style button
  • FINISH: Faded Ice Blue Metallic Road Worn, Nitrocellulose Lacquer
  • CONTACT: Fender