Armed with blistering guitar chops, incisive lyrics and a powerful voice, Grammy Award-winner Jason Isbell has emerged as a leading face of the Americana movement. His vintage-inspired signature Telecaster offers truly custom appointments with the playability, comfort and tone befitting this groundbreaking artist.
Designed by Fender pickup guru Tim Shaw, Jason’s custom pickups boast vintage-style parts wound hot with a touch of sparkle for the best of both Tele and Strat sounds.
With vintage-inspired feel and tone, this maple neck offers snap and excellent playability when paired with a warm 7.25”-radius rosewood fingerboard.
A vintage look and tapered sides provide extra comfort and fit perfectly with the solid brass barrel saddles to preserve true Telecaster tones.
Whether it’s his early work with seminal alt-country band Drive-By Truckers or his current tenure fronting The 400 Unit, Jason Isbell is known as one of the most influential songwriters and guitarists leading the charge for Americana music around the world.
The four-time Grammy Award winner started playing music growing up in Alabama, as he spent a lot of time with his musician uncle and grandfather, the latter of whom was a Pentecostal preacher who performed in his church and enlisted a young Isbell to join in on various instruments during the worship ceremonies.
When Isbell finally got his hands on an electric guitar when he was 8 years old — a gift from his uncle — it didn’t take long for him to get hooked, and soon thereafter, he was seeking out other like-minded friends to jam.
“I definitely liked the feel and the sound of something that had been played before,” Isbell said of his first electric guitar. “I get to have this piece of art, which wasn’t created as a piece of art. It was created as a tool. But, I get to use it to make more art.”
As Isbell got more comfortable with the guitar, he began to hone the expressive and genre-defying style he’s known for now — seemingly influenced as much by David Gilmour and Mark Knopfler as it is Chet Atkins and Merle Haggard. It’s something he’s still working on to this day, too.
“There was a time early on, like a lot of players, I felt like I had something to prove,” Isbell said. “Then after that, I had to learn how to play with a band. Then I had to learn how to accompany a bunch of singers, then I had to learn how to accompany myself.
“Now, there’s a balance I’m always trying to find between playing the guitar alot in order to satisfy my own desire to play the guitar and serving the songs.”
It seemed inevitable that Isbell would eventually align with Fender for a signature model, and his new namesake Telecaster fits everything he’s learned about the classic workhorse over the years.
The vintage-inspired instrument features a double-bound ‘59-style Telecaster Custom body, mid-’60s “C”-shaped maple neck with a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard and custom Jason Isbell pickups designed by tone guru Tim Shaw, bringing stunning style to match its pristine tone.
“I honestly think the Telecaster is probably the best guitar design of all time,” he said. “I just don't know if I’ve ever played one that, if it was appropriately set up, didn’t sound good. I could always find a good tone on a Telecaster.
“I hope that this guitar is one that I could see in a lot of different levels of players’ hands. I get excited when I see a famous guitar player playing something I’ve been involved with, but I also get excited when I see a 13-year-old on Instagram playing it.”