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Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster - 2-tone Sunburst with Maple Fingerboard Reviews

5.0 stars based on 28 customer reviews
Questions about the Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster - 2-tone Sunburst with Maple Fingerboard?

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  • from New Hampshire May 25, 2017Music Background:
    Pro-gigging guitarist

    Awesome Guitar

    I love this guitar. My wife gave me this tele for our anniversary. I've been playing a 99 Fender Strat and a 94 LP Custom for the past fifteen years. I'd wanted to try something new and stumbled across this bad boy while reading Tele forums. To be honest I'd never heard the Winery Dogs or any of Richie's solo material prior to becoming interested in the guitar. I am now a HUGE Richie fan. His solo material is amazing. Just caught my first Richie show in Bethlehem PA last week.

    The guitar: It's HEAVY! Feels heavier than my 94 Les Paul to be honest. I have a healthy leather strap and strap locks for it.
    I love the comfort cut in the back. Why aren't all Tele's made with that?
    Finish is beautiful. Impeccable quality.

    I really love the super fat neck. I have long fingers so it works pretty well for me. I'm so used to it now I'm wondering if there is a way to get a similar neck on my strat without ruining the balance of it. It feel really good in my hands.

    Pickups: Love the Chopper T and Twang King combo. The chopper T has enough bite to do many styles of music really well. The Twang King is a hidden jewel in my opinion. It's very versatile.

    I had some work done on the tele almost immediately. I constantly use my tone knobs on my LP's and strats and felt like not including them was a major oversight. Richie might be able to get away with it because he's playing Marshalls and Cornfields but I can't with a Fender HRD. So my tech guy modified the parallel/series switch to be a push pull that engages the series option no matter what position I'm in (instead of only the middle position as originally specified.) The switch also acts as a master tone control for all four positions (including series boost.) I really like the mids bump I get when I switch from parallel to series. It's perfect for making my leads jump out into the mix.

    I'm really, really happy with this guitar. SO much so I've barely touched my LP or strat in the past year. I still bring a backup to gigs but I haven't busted a string on this tele yet.

  • from April 23, 2017


    Just got mine today. 10/10 two thumbs up. Such a joy to play. My other guitars are a vintage strat and an Ibanez 8 string but this tele is going to be a welcomed addition! Incredible tone and playability and I haven't even had my guitar tech set it up yet. Bravo Fender and Ritchie!

  • from Louisiana April 22, 2017

    Kotzen Tele

    This is hands down the best guitar Ive ever owned. I was very nervous about the 12" radius neck but my playing has improved tremendously because of the neck action and feel. The tone and playability of this entire piece is unmatched. Running through a Fender Blues Deville amp with nearly the exact setup as Richie runs with the RK5 Fly rig and wah pedal. Fellow musicians have picked my guitar up to play it and they all agree its one of the best feeling guitars they have ever tried.

  • from April 13, 2017

    Just buy it

    Love the sound and especially it's huge neck. I'm selling all of my other guitars after having this for 2-3 weeks cuz I just realized how much difference a thicker neck makes playability wise for me!

  • from Morristown, NJ April 12, 2016


    Love the neck. Love the frets. Love the pickups. Love the look. This is the best Tele I own....and I have a lot of em.

  • from Chicago March 8, 2016

    Just Right for Large Hands

    Best Fender I have ever owned but perhaps not the optimal choice for those with small hands. Maybe they should consider a Deluxe or Elite Tele. Substantial but comfortable (for me) neck, much like my Custom Shop '57 Les Paul reissue. Great tone. Sweetwater's Ted Hunter prevented me from making a really dumb mistake by ordering what was actually a soft gig bag. He found me a genuine Fender case for about the same price. I was so pleased that I bought an amp and several effects pedals from Ted shortly thereafter. Thank you Ted and thank you Sweetwater.

  • from Barker, NY January 26, 2016

    LOVE this guitar

    Just received the guitar from Sweetwater. Could not be happier, it was even tuned! This guitar apart from being aesthetically beautiful, may be one of the most comfortable and playable guitars I ever picked up. Recommend to anyone who likes Fender and Gibsons. The 12" radius fretboard is a dream! It is the perfect marriage of all the best aspects of a Les Paul and a tele. Thanks again to Nathan Wall (and Sweetwater) for the OUTSTANDING customer service.

  • from United States July 31, 2015

    Richie Kotzen Telecaster

    Another winner from Fender and Sweetwater. Beautifully designed and sweet playing guitar plus Sweetwater service, what more could you hope for. Thank you guys for everything.

  • from United States February 28, 2015Music Background:
    guitar, bass and piano

    Fender Richie Kotzen Tele

    Normally very reluctant to buy w/o playing in person 1st, but these guitars are not real common: FANTASTIC guitar, esp for my needs. It sounds very good in all pup positions. I play totally clean with only a touch of amp reverb. Definitely a 'Tele' even with the strong parallel pup mode (nice).

    Execution of build quality is top notch from nut, fret work, neck/bridge alignment, etc. I'm not a real flame maple or gold hardware etc. fan (utilitarian looks for me!) but the appearance is very tasteful. (bought it for how it sounds/plays/neck/quality!!)
    In the best die hard Tele player tradition I will put in a tone pot sometime, but the lack one is NOT a criticism. I highly recommend this guitar. Thank you, Stuart.

  • from Walls, MS August 25, 2014Music Background:
    guitar lover and player

    Tele HEAVEN

    Someone said "not your daddies tele" and man is that right on !! I have been looking for a tele for a while and I found it !! Craftmanship is a ten, the tones are unreal--4 distinct sounds that you will use--pickups are perfect, I just love it !!! I was a bit worried about having it shipped to me, but the Sweetwater staff did a first rate job--NO PROBLEMS !!! The photo gallery at Sweetwater is the best I have seen on-line--but the photos do not do this ax justice !!! Kudos to my guy Mark Stein for making everything go so eazy !!! Sweetwater gets all my biz !!!

  • from Fort Smith, AR August 5, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist, playing for about 9 years

    Incredible guitar!

    I bought this guitar mostly because I'm a huge fan of Richie's and I wanted a Tele that looks and sounds classic but plays like a modern hot-rodded guitar. This guitar is just that and more!

    All of the pictures don't do this guitar's looks justice. It is a beautiful looking guitar! Not only that, but it plays like a dream.

    A lot of people would read that it has a large neck and be turned away by that. Even though it does have bigger neck, it is still the most comfortable neck I've ever played. The flatter fretboard radius and larger frets allow you to have a low action and still pull off huge bends all across the neck.

    The comfort cuts, like on a Strat, are also very nice.

    The DiMarzio pickups sound amazing! The Chopper T is a really versatile pickup. On clean and lower gain settings, it has a lot of classic Tele twang but has more bottom end to it and when you crank up the gain, it really has a great searing lead tone to it, but at the same time has some twang. The Twang King sounds great too and has a nice bluesy tone to it. It's a true single coil, so it does hum a little bit when using gain, but you hardly notice it. Using both pickups at the same time is sounds great too and this guitar gives you an extra sound with the series/parallel switch. This guitar sounds so good, you won't miss having a tone knob!

    Sorry for the long-winded review, but there aren't enough words to describe how incredible this guitar is. Also the service from Sweetwater is great and they set up the guitar beautifully. It is definitely worth the money and it's great for playing much more than just Richie's songs on! I highly recommend it!

  • from MI, United States July 9, 2014Music Background:
    Longtime guitarist , songwriter

    Fender Kotzen Telecaster

    Top notch guitar in all respects, compares with my Custom Shop Tele. Richie has designed a great combination and Fender Japan has executed it perfectly. My only complaint is that this guitar deserves for a hardshell case to be included. They are on lesser Fenders. Sweetwater service and follow up was excellent in all regards. Highly recommended. top .

  • from Jamestown, TN June 14, 2014Music Background:
    Pro musician and singer. Pastor

    Perfect doesn't do it justice!

    Absolutely amazing. Not only the best Tele I've ever played or heard, but the best guitar I've ever played...period! Finally, a fat necked guitar with Fender stability and tuning. Dimarzio is the Uber-Pickup company in my opinion, and these are no different, absolute tonal perfection and balance. Played mine today for the first time with my band, and the drummer just smiled and twice he stopped to comment on the amazing tone of this machine. Hats off to two of my favorite people, Richie Kotzen for creating this guitar design, and to Kurt from Sweetwater for being my personal gear rockstar! Thanks again guys, you never disappoint. Sweetwater is in a league all it's own when it comes to gear, cost, and customer satisfaction.

  • from Pensacola,FL May 31, 2014Music Background:
    Punk, Rock, Country

    Kotzen Telecaster

    Great guitar from top to bottom! I haven't had it long, but it has become my go-to guitar. A WIDE variety of tones at your fingertips! Get it!

  • from Henderson, Tn. May 28, 2014Music Background:

    Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster

    I have owned and played Telecasters for many years and the Richie Kotzen Tele is the best one I have had the pleasure to play.It has one of the most beautiful flame maple bodies and a real slick and fast neck. Just a real pleasure to play. This was my first purchase from Sweetwater and it want be my last. Sean put me on to this guitar and he was dead on with hid description. Everything was first class!

  • from Chula Vista, CA May 22, 2014Music Background:
    rock bands for 25 years


    This guitar is amazing. First, it's probably the best looking guitar I've seen, especially up close. I just got today so I haven't had a lot of time to play and test it out. The fat neck is the first thing that will throw you but it quickly feels comfortable and is easier to play than you might think. I have a couple of other telecasters, a strat, '78 Les Paul and a couple others. I think this will become my main guitar. I was lucky enough find a 'demo' model on here for a few bucks less so I jumped on it. You can't even tell it's been played. Just all around great.

  • from Chester Springs, PA April 16, 2014Music Background:
    30 years playing. In bands 20 years ago, now, just for fun!

    Incredible Guitar

    First, I'll start by saying that I'd only owned a few old school Kramers, Peavey Wolfgang, and a Gibson BFG Les Paul and had never even played a Fender.

    My Sweetwater Sales Engineer Josh Estock was telling me about the Kotzen Telecaster since I mentioned wanting to play something different. I still play mostly hard rock music but was looking to branch out.

    Wow, what a terrific guitar! It was ready to rock right out of the box and looks so much better than in the pictures with the gold hardware.

    It sounds killer!! The neck pick up has an incredible tone....made me want to play differently than I had......out of my comfort zone. The bridge pick up can really scream too when pushed and string bending is done with ease. The Rotary series/parallel switch gives you a few more tonal varieties too.

    So to sum it up, this is a great addition to my now growing collection of guitars. I'm off Monday & Tuesday, my wife is at work, my son at school, and I usually line up 3 of my 16 guitars in their stands to play those days. I play other days too...but this is crank it up time! The Kotzen is always out, and hogs up most of the playing time!!!

    Check this guitar out and if you don't already have a Sales Engineer, ask for Josh. His advice has been invaluable!

  • from Houston, Texas February 10, 2014Music Background:
    Serious collector and half way decent musician

    Great Guitar

    This guitar has a wide range of tones. Takes a little time to coax the different sounds out of it by once you get your to the set up and the phase switch it is killer. Sounds best through my tweed champ!

    Also really appreciate the work put into the guitar by Sweetwater before shipment. I did not have to make any modifications or tweaks to the guitar before playing

  • from Sacramento, CA January 16, 2014Music Background:
    Garage player. Hobbyist/Hack that just likes to play

    This is a great guitar!! I couldn't be happier

    I recently purchased this Richie Kotzen telecaster through Sweetwater and before leaving any revues for such purchases, I allow a cooling down period of what I call the 'honeymoon' stage. It's only been a month, but I can tell potential buyers that this is a great guitar. The quality is top notch. Though it is made it Japan, it DOES NOT take away from the quality build, parts, playability or overall enjoyment. In fact, it probably keeps the price down because this is a stunning guitar to look at. The brown sunburst with the gold hardware is gorgeous!!

    Now for some of the specifics of why I am so pleased with this guitar. I have typically been hesitant to get a guitar with a bigger/thicker neck than what I am used to, mainly a typical stratocaster c-shape. I love the neck on this guitar. It is comfortable, even with my smaller hands with snausage sized fingers. In fact, I seem to play cleaner with the bigger neck and the super sized frets are awesome too. The guitar is very resonant, which I really look for in a guitar. Let's face it, we all want to get in that groove zone with the good vibrations of a resonant guitar. The thicker neck, I believe plays a big part in this.
    As far as tone is concerned, this Richie Kotzen telecaster is very versatile. You can get the classic tele twang to a more modern rock sound. A very unique instrument indeed. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the comfort cuts which looks to be something that Fender is doing more of with their Telecasters, are a nice touch too. This one is a Keeper. Thank you Sweetwater for giving my option of guitars with a selection to choose from and individually listing their weights and pictures to choose.

  • from New Orleans, LA December 29, 2013Music Background:

    Best Telecaster I've Ever Seen Or Played

    Looks: Well, if you were purchasing a tele to present to a King - this would be the model. The Japanese craftsmanship in this telecaster is flawless. Everything's very simple, just as any tele should be - but the fit and finish and the colors on this are amazing. Don't tell your wife not to worry, that you only spent around $500 dollars on it - she'll tell you that you are a damn liar. This is an elegant, luxurious and well made guitar and even an untrained eye will recognize that fact,

    Playability: What makes this telecaster special to me are the chunky neck and jumbo frets which make the guitar so much more comfortable to me to play for long periods of time, The "comfort cuts" in the body are just a godsend - and make the guitar feel like it's a part of your body. I don't think I'll ever be able to purchase another telecaster that doesn't have these cuts and I may have to retrofit my other telecasters with them.

    Sound: Wow. I thought, based on Richie Kotzen's playing, that I might be getting a guitar with JUST a full overdriven sound. Nope - this thing is full of traditional country twang if you want it. If you don't - just dial up the amp and you get that raunchy overdriven sound that Kotzen is famous for. This is absolutely stunning to me - and I really wonder if anyone would ever need more than JUST this guitar - it seems to do everything from country to jazz to hard rock. Big thumbs up to the series / parallel switch that adds a new dimension to the sound of the two pickups when switched on simultaneously. There's no tone control. Honestly - a lot of is tele players never used it anyway and it's certainly not missed on this guitar.

    Overall - a great guitar ... buy it from Sweetwater - you won't have a better buying experience anywhere else I guarantee!

  • from san luis obispo california. November 16, 2013Music Background:
    pro guitarist

    completely satisfied

    I purchased my RK tele from sweetwater about a year ago. Had to wait awhile for it to arrive from japan. But man was it worth it. I have had straits, both vintage, u.s.a. american deluxe etc.this tele falls somewhere between deluxe and custom shop. And that's no ****.! It is absolutely precisely precious. Its smooth , fat, chimey. Chunky. If you can't get behind this beauty. Well you've got a real problem. The neck is fat, way fat. I have small hands and I love its playability. no problems. I just got rid of a USA charvel San dim as, and a Ernie ball music man Steve Morse. Butyou won't see this beauty going aanywhere. Nuffsaid.

  • from Corpus Christi, Texas May 2, 2013Music Background:

    Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster

    This is "the" Telecaster. Neck, body, pickups and sound. It is all perfect and what a Tele should be. Tight neck pocket, thick and playable neck with beautiful fret work. Tele tone that is what a Telecaster should sound like thanks to the Dimarzio pickups, maple top and ash body. Craftsmanship and sound comprise the best Tele I have ever owned from both a sound and build standpoint. Richie Kotzen knew what he was doing when he designed this guitar.

  • from Edinburg, Texas January 26, 2017Music Background:
    Texas Country,,

    Richie Tele,,

    Been playing professionally for 35 years.. Absolutely love my new Richie Tele,, my first time purchasing a guitar online.. These boys know their business, keeped it short, simple, and to the point, very positive experience.. Love the fat, bightty sound,, Ready for the stage.. just can't believe did NOT include a case.. thanks again,

  • from New York City August 19, 2016

    Great Value!

    Great guitar! I always loved Telecasters; but, I prefer a more substantial neck to suit my large hands. This guitar gives me that! I also think that the larger neck may improve the tone! You get both the classic Telecaster sound and a little more aggressive sound by including the Humbucking pickup. As far as looks, it is the coolest looking telecaster that I've seen. You won't find a better guitar out there without spending substantially more money. So glad that this guitar is part of my collection!

  • from Texas April 22, 2016Music Background:
    Singer, songwriter, guitarist, studio musician

    Amazing Telecaster

    I love this guitar.
    I have been shopping for a telecaster for over a year, but everyone I played seemed to have a neck built for a 10 year old with tiny little fingers.

    My main guitars have always been Les Pauls and SGs, so I am used to a more hefty neck. I wanted the tele sound but didnt want the tiny neck.
    As I shopped around, it seemed that I would have to have a guitar custom made with my neck specs...
    Then I read about the Kotzen tele, I played one at a local music store and was instantly a fan.
    The neck feels perfectly nice and fat with a wide fret board, goes very well with the large gauge strings that I prefer (12-52).

    Pickups are awesome, Chopper T is not too gainy and cleans up amazingly with the volume control.
    Twang King sounds like butter!
    Series Parallel switch is a great Idea since I really don't use the tone control that much anyway.

    This guitar will get plenty of use in my sessions and personal recordings as well as live.
    Well worth 1500.00

  • from NW Indiana December 2, 2015

    Incredible Tone machine

    If you want the traditional Tele sound, you don't want this guitar. It sounds nothing like a Tele, or a Srat, or any Gibson I've ever owned. It is as unique as a Unicorn. This guitar is very versatile with regard to the different tones it produces. Which is great, I own an American made Strat (H, S,S configuration), I own an American Tele, I own a Gibson, LP. Why would I want something that does what I already have? This Tele is made in Japan and it is as good as any American made Fender I have ever played. Top notch craftsmanship. The size of the neck may be the only thing one needs to really consider. It is fatter than any guitar I've ever played before. It does take some getting used to. For me, that took about 5 hours playing time. Not an issue any longer. Bottom line, if you are looking for something that sounds different than anything else out there, this is for you! If you are looking for another Tele, save your money and buy a traditional Tele. Me, I love this guitar, and once you get used to the neck you will too.

  • from Virginia February 2, 2014Music Background:
    Part time Musician

    A killer Telecaster - "Tone Monster"

    This is just a great looking, sounding, and playing Telecaster. This may become my main guitar.
    It has obvious great looks with sunburst finish and gold hardware and the back cut of body is incredibly comfortable when playing for hours. Super quality and attention to detail for the price.

    This guitar is a tone monster, with an incredibly fat sound as well as the sparkle of a normal Tele.The neck pickup gets a great hollow sound ala Jimi Hendrix but with more depth and definition.

    The tone control which switches to a midrange and more definitive tone is just amazing when soloing and really cuts through, like a violin on steroids......Sounds way beyond the typical Tele.

    If I could change anything I would have a separate switch for this mode. I would still like to have the tone knob to fully rotate in all pickup selections. I believe Richie Kotzen now has a similar modification on his latest guitars.

    Biggest surprise is the neck. It is big and fat but amazingly easy to play.
    I have been a fan of the vintage soft V necks and some of the modern C necks that Fender makes.
    The Kotzen neck much bigger and beefier, but I can play this guitar much longer without hand fatigue than my other favorite guitars.

    It feels really good and the fat neck really adds to the overall sound and tone. You can feel it.
    The big neck and ash body make this a truly unique Telecaster and a truly unique Guitar overall.
    This guitar comes with a gig bag (my only complaint) . This guitar deserves a hardshell case and I bought one from Sweetwater .

    The overall price for a guitar of this quality is worth it and I feel lucky to own it. Fender is making better guitars than ever. Of Course Sweetwater service is the best.

  • from N. IL December 30, 2013Music Background:

    Not your daddy's Tele

    Beefier neck than most standard Teles, this guitar plays wonderfully with jusy a slight lowering of action (any guitar I've ever bought from Sweetwater has needed this). Anyway, aside from that it is an absolute tone monster with the Dimarzios installed. The mid boost in middle position is very tonally useful (selected by tone knob) and the belly route cut is a nice option, too. All in all a joy to play, and as usual it is nice to pick between tops and weights on SW's site. Happy camper.

Questions about the Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster - 2-tone Sunburst with Maple Fingerboard?

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