Guitar Review: Fender FSR American Standard Hand Stained Ash Telecaster

I have been a very lucky boy in receiving a Fender FSR American Hand Stained Ash Telecaster to review and it is one of the rarest and luxurious guitars I’ve ever played. This beauty was dispatched from Fender’s world famous Corona facility along with its 250 brothers and made their way to specialist dealers across the world.

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FSR actually stands for Factory Short Run so you can imagine how chuffed I am to be sitting here playing it. It’s not as expensive as you’d think although, despite it’s exclusivity, especially when you consider that as long as it stays in good nick, then it’s guaranteed to at least retain or improve upon its original value.

But I’m not here to talk about investments; I’m here to review this awesome guitar, so I’ll start with its rather distinct appearance.

As I’m sure you’ve already noticed from the images, the guitar has a very pretty hand stained ash construction.

How Durable Is This Baby?

The change from traditional Alder to Ash isn’t actually that strange, legendary Beatles guitarist George Harrison played an Ash Telecaster, as did many guitarists from that era.

The hand-rubbed stained lacquer finish on the other hand is much more unfamiliar, although it’s a mystery why. The Matte finish will actually improve with age and good ol’ fashioned wear and tear will only benefit the guitar.

The translucent finish was chosen to emphasize, rather than cover the Ash’s naturally dramatic grain that gives it this fantastic appearance, but also means that no two models are exactly the same.

The Fender FSR hand stained Tele is available in two finishes, The Mahogany Stain version, which has a Maple fretboard and the Win Red Stain model that has a Rosewood fretboard. So if you were to purchase this guitar then it would come down to a matter of preference.

The Action

I personally played the maple fretboard and it was a little sticky at first, but that started wearing off after a bit of playing so that’s not to much of a problem.

I’ve always found Rosewood better for shredding but this is hardly a shredding guitar. Again, that comes down to opinion. Either way, both versions come with a satin back and contrasting chrome hardware that looks really cool.

What's It Sound Like?

I honestly wasn’t expecting such a dramatic change in tone because of the transition of Alder to Ash wood. The dense wood produces really bright and hard sounds, but it really comes into its element when cutting and produces wonderfully distorted tones.

It is equipped with two American Standard Tele Single Coil pickups, which are wired through a single volume and no-load tone control via a 3-way selector switch that delivers that classic Tele Twang.

At the bottom end of the scale it produces really broad and firm lows with bright, pleasant highs at the other end. I play a variety of genres of music and I put the guitar through its paces, but it’s just incredibly versatile. Unless you intend on playing heavy metal, then rest assured this Telecaster can handle it.

My Final Judgement

Not only is this the best looking guitar I’ve ever played but it’s also the most
complete, in terms of sound, construction, playability and the rest.

If you’re looking for a new guitar and you’ve got a bit money saved up then this FSR Hand Stained Ash Telecaster is definitely worth sacrificing this year’s holiday for.

Steve Williams is a guest writer on He has been playing the guitar for over 10 years and has been brought up surrounded by music and various instruments.

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