Fender’s concept for their Classic Player series of guitars was to have three of their Master builders; Dennis Galuzka, Gregory Fessler, and Chris Fleming compile a “dream list” of specs for each of the guitars in the series. No part, option, or modification was off limits for this project. What the trio came up with was a series of great, player-friendly, affordable guitars with a blend of old, new, and different features. Let’s take a closer look at the Chris Fleming-designed Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster.
“Customized ’50s-style” is the best description of the Classic Player Baja Telecaster. Traditional features coexist with an intricate, sophisticated, and useful pickup switching system on this Chris Fleming inspiration. The ash body has a single-ply parchment pickguard and a 3-saddle, string-through-body Tele bridge with brass saddles to provide maximum twang. The maple neck features a soft “V” profile for that classic, chunky Tele feel. Medium jumbo frets and a 9.5″ radius offer easy string bending. Shown here in Blonde, the other finish option available is 2-Color Sunburst. There’s a vintage-style Broadcaster pickup in the bridge position and a Twisted Tele in the neck position, the combination proving to be perfect for the incredibly versatile switching options available on the Baja Telecaster.
In order to create all six of Chris Fleming’s pickup combinations but still retain a “stock” look, a 4-way blade pickup selector was installed in place of the standard Tele 3-way and the Baja Tele’s S1 circuit is activated by pushing the volume knob. With the S1 switch in the “off” position, the first three positions of the 4-way switch are just like a regular Tele: bridge, bridge and neck in parallel, and neck. The fourth position puts the neck and bridge pickups in series, yielding a fatter tone with more output and “humbucker-like” qualities. With the S1 switch engaged, the 4-way selector operates as as such: 1) bridge, 2) bridge and neck in parallel and out-of-phase, 3) neck, 4) bridge and neck in series and out-of-phase.
Adding three extra sounds to an already-great-sounding guitar, without adding a pickup or active electronics is quite an achievement. The Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster does it with classic Tele, looks, feel and tone: at a player-friendly price.