Out with the old, in with the new—well, kinda. Fender’s new American Original series replaces the brand’s American Vintage series, but sticks to the successful formula of marrying iconic Fender models from the past century with modern features that enhance playability and comfort.
The series includes ten versions of the brand’s classic instruments: the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Precision Bass and Jazz Bass. The instruments are designed and hand-crafted in Corona, California, and are kept as period-accurate as possible, with the exception of updated switching and fretboard radii. So the models will appeal to professional musicians, lovers of time-honored designs and anyone else in-between.
Among these instruments, you can pick from 13 old-school colors, including Aztec Gold, White Blonde, Two-color Sunburst, Olympic White, Candy Apple Red, and Three-color Sunburst.
A Strat, Tele and P-Bass represent the pioneering decade that set the stage for all other Fender instruments to follow.
The Strat features wax-potted Pure Vintage ’59 single-coils that the company claims to be as accurate as possible, from the bobbins to the magnets used. While the guitar has a “Soft V” neck profile, its 9.5-inch-radius fretboard will be familiar to today’s players. The Butterscotch Blonde Tele sports a Pure Vintage ’52 single-coil—also adjusted for period-correctness—and a thick “U” neck profile. The P-Bass, on the other hand, has a Pure Vintage ’58 split-coil pickup.
All the ’50s instruments have maple fretboards, vintage-style hardware and lacquer finishes. And good news for lefties: The Strat and Tele come in left-handed models, too.
The ’50s Strat lists for $1,899 to $1,949, the ’50s Tele for $1,799, and the ’50s P-Bass for $1,899 to $1,949.
An American Original Jazzmaster, Jaguar and J-Bass join the previous trio in repping the swingin’ ’60s.
The ’60s Strat comes with wax-potted Pure Vintage ’65 single-coils, a thick “C” neck profile and a rosewood fretboard, while the Tele has Pure Vintage ’64 single-coils, a “C”-shaped neck, a rosewood fretboard and a double-bound body.
The offset guitars are similarly old-school in terms of their looks and tones. The Jazzmaster is armed with those wax-potted ’65 single-coils, and its shorter-scaled sibling—that’s Kurt Vile cradling one in the photo above—is equipped with a pair of wax-potted Pure Vintage ’62 single-coils. The latter also boasts original Jaguar circuitry, including the bass-cut ‘strangle’ switch.
Over on the lower frequencies, The P-Bass has a Pure Vintage ’63 split-coil pickup and “1963 C”-shaped neck, whereas the J-Bass has a pair of Pure Vintage ’64 single-coils and the slim “C” neck profile that laid the instrument’s claim to fame. Both basses have rosewood fretboards.
The ’60s Strat and P-Bass list for $1,949; the ’60s Tele, Jazzmaster and J-Bass for $1,999; and the ’60s Jaguar for $2,099.
Funk and disco were, in part, created by that Fender J-Bass, y’know, the one with the block inlays and maple fretboard. And that’s now being revived for the American Original series. It has two Pure Vintage ’74 single-coil pickups and a slim “U”-shaped neck, and all the vintage touches you’d expect.
The ’70s J-Bass lists for $2,099.
For more information, check out fender.com.