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What guitar do you most associate with heavy metal music? Ask 100 people that question and most probably wouldn’t say a Fender Telecaster. Well the Jim Root Artists series Telecaster from Fender sets out to prove that it can hang with the head bangers and is built for some serious heavy riffing, lightning fast leads and powerful tone.
When Slipknot and Stone Sour guitarist, Jim Root, got the chance to design his own Telecaster, he basically took all the specs that he loved from the Flat Head HH Telecaster and changed the design to suit his own tastes.
Just like the Flat Head, this Tele comes with active EMG pickups (an EMG-81 at the bridge and an EMG-60 at the neck), all black hardware, a hardtail bridge, a single volume knob, 3-way pickup selector and a 12″ fretboard radius.
There are some major differences between the two, however. The older Flat Head HH Teles used alder for their body wood, had a single color finish with no pick guard, featured an ebony fretboard and were probably most identifiable by their single, skull and crossbones inlay at the 12th fret. To contrast, the Jim Root series uses mahogany for a body wood, which is usually associated with deeper, richer tones and better sustain, and offers some different finish and fretboard wood combinations.
The flat white finish on the Jim Root Telecaster comes with a black pick guard, maple neck and an ebony fretboard. The flat black finish comes with a white pick guard and an all maple neck. Both fretboard types come with Fender’s standard dot inlays.
The Jim Root Telecaster is no doubt one of the most metal guitars that Fender makes today, probably only second to the Jim Root signature Stratocaster And both guitars seem to get consistently positive reviews on retail sites, so Fender is clearly doing something right with this series.
Perhaps one of the coolest thing about this guitar is that Jim Root actually uses it, loves it and plays it a lot. That’s not necessarily true of other signature guitars. In this short interview, Jim tells us that his signature Tele is “one of the best sounding guitars I have” and can be heard on Slipknot’s album All Hope is Gone and Stone Sour’s album Audio Secrecy.
One thing to keep in mind though, if you are in the market for the Jim Root sound is that this Telecaster is actually made in Mexico. This was undoubtedly a conscience decision by Fender to keep costs low, making the guitar more affordable. Being that this guitar is an artist series, guitarists can probably still expect high quality construction and playability but unfortunately, owners of this awesome ax do not get piece of mind from reading “Made in the U.S.A.” on the back of the headstock. You’ll have to spring for the Jim Root Stratocaster to get that.
Available Colors: Flat Black; Flat White
Pickups: EMG-60, Neck; EMG-81, Bridge
Tuners: Fender Locking Tuning Machines
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Neck Wood: Maple
Fingerboard Wood: Ebony or Maple
Neck Shape: Modern “C”
Shape Scale Length: 25.5″
Body Wood: Mohogany
Controls: Master Volume, 3-Way Selector