Last month, Fender launched its third Acoustasonic hybrid acoustic, and we got to play with the Jazzmaster and interview the company’s R&D chief. Now Master Builder Ron Thorn has given the Custom Shop treatment to the guitar, and it’s a beaut.
The Acoustasonic guitars take bits of acoustic instrument design and combine them with electric guitar playability and feel, while throwing in some digital signal processing as well. The result is a comfortable, easy to use and immensely playable guitar that can be used unplugged or plugged in, and comes with a number of voices cooked in.
The first model in the series rocked a Telecaster shape and was released in 2019, and was followed a year later by the Acoustasonic Stratocaster. And this year Fender introduced the “rowdy sister” offset to the family, the Acoustasonic Jazzmaster.
This model comes packing 10 distinct voices, with a Mod knob used to blend between pairs for many more tonal possibilities. Most of these are pretty decent sounding acoustic emulations but the included humbucker pickup also adds an electric growl to the tone library.
The Jazzmaster body shape and choice of five colors certainly makes this guitar stand out from the crowd, but we wouldn’t describe it as beautiful or stunning or droolworthy. But such things simply roll off the tongue when faced with the first Master Built Acoustasonic – The Trees variant from Ron Thorn.
“Like all Master Builders, we’ve all come across a special piece of wood or two and stash it away in our work areas, waiting for the right opportunity to turn it into a unique guitar,” said Thorn. “In this case it was three special pieces of wood.”
Thorn describes this build as being the pinnacle of his career, and sees him using Stradivarius spruce for the body back and sides, which is made from an uprooted tree in the “musical woods” of the Italian Alps where Antonio Stradavri hand-picked the trees what would be crafted into the famous stringed instruments.
The contrasting top is bookmatched mahogany from a tree that was felled in 1965 but landed in a ravine, and attempts to retrieve it were subsequently abandoned. The tree was rediscovered some years later by a sawmill owner and split into four sections for removal.
“Throughout the 80s and 90s, a number of boutique acoustic guitar builders started using this wood, and by the turn of the century ‘The Tree’, as it had been dubbed, had hit mythological status for both its beauty and tone,” Thorn explained.
The Custom Shop Master Builder managed to acquire a top and has had it hidden away for two years.
The neck comes from his personal tonewood stash, selecting a quarter-sawn sinker mahogany neck blank that’s been waiting for its moment in the spotlight for more than 15 years. The finished 25.5-inch scale neck is topped by an ebony fingerboard with leaf inlays made of various types of exotic wood.
Other notable design points include four-ply wood purfling around the body top and the sound hole, a wood insert on the pickup, mahogany backplates, and even the Fender logo on the headstock is fashioned from wood, in this case spruce.
The one-off Prestige Series Acoustasonic Jazzmaster guitar in violin burst finish has been sold to Thomann Music.
Source: Fender Custom Shop