NAMM 2018: Fender reveals Parallel Universe Series + Eric Johnson Strat

The good news from Fender keeps rolling in with the reveal of the stunning Parallel Universe series plus the Eric Johnson signature Stratocaster Thinline. We’ll pass you over to Fender for the full story…

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Hollywood, Calif. (January 25, 2018) — Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today debuted its 2018 electric guitar and bass offerings at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, Calif. Catering to a diverse set of players across genres, new additions include: the American Original Series – a vintage-style line for up-and-coming and established guitar and bass players; an innovative Artist Signature Series model from venerable guitarist Eric Johnson; the limited edition Parallel Universe Collection; as well as new American Special guitar colourways.

“From the American Original Series and Parallel Universe Collection to the Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster Thinline artist signature series model – there’s a solid offering for avid guitar players in 2018,” said Justin Norvell, SVP Fender Products. “American Original Series speaks to that player who loves vintage-inspired design and tone.

On the other end of the spectrum is Parallel Universe, which celebrates the modular nature of Fender guitars, splicing together DNA from various Fender models to create off-the-wall hybrids. On the artist side, we’re excited to have worked with Eric Johnson–one of the most talented guitar players on the planet–to create the first semi-hollow Stratocaster. He’s known for having the most detailed, critical standards for his instruments–and the quality and care is apparent in his second artist signature series model with us.”

Launched January 2018, the American Original Series is Fender’s new line of American-made electric basses and guitars inspired by Fender’s most-successful ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s models. Replacing the American Vintage Series first introduced in 1982, this new line (£1,549-£1,879) boasts 13 models, 30 SKUs in 13 colours. Whether you’re a gigging musician, lover of vintage-style design or collector–this new series marries what players have always loved about the originals with modern enhancements, elevated playability and best-in-class performance.

Launching February 20, 2018–the Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster Thinline (£2,019) is the first semi-hollow Strat that combines custom chambers with a traditional Stratocaster arm and body contours. In 2015, Johnson approached Fender to co-design a lightweight, resonant instrument that combined the tones of his favorite semi-hollow body guitars and his Stratocaster.

What resulted was an R&D tour de force featuring a custom-chambered body finished with nitrocellulose lacquer, as well as three single-coil Stratocaster pickups specially voiced to meet Johnson’s specifications and mounted to the semi-hollow, two-piece alder body with countersunk screws for even more vibration transfer.

Other features include a comfortable “’57 Soft V”-shaped quartersawn maple neck with a 12”-radius maple fingerboard and 21 medium-jumbo frets; a vintage-style tremolo with silver-painted block; ’57-style string recesses; a thin headstock with vintage-style staggered tuning machines; ’57-style parchment pickguard and an “ashtray” bridge cover.

For a full product description, click here; and product images, click here.
Available beginning April 2018, the limited-edition and highly collectible Parallel Universe Collection (£1,609 each) features hybrid pairings of Fender’s notable guitar and bass models; they celebrate the brand’s continued innovation and the tremendous modular capabilities of Fender instruments.

The Strat-Tele Hybrid (launching April 2018) features the traditional Tele® body with professional touches like three Custom Shop ’69 Aged Strat® pickups, a Strat synchronized tremolo bridge and comfort contours.The Elite Nashville Telecaster® HSS (launching May 2018) is a supercharged American Elite Telecaster. It features a direct mounted ShawBucker™ humbucking bridge pickup, along with pair of Pure Vintage ’64 Tele pickups in the middle position and neck positions–the beloved configuration of many Nashville players.
The Jazz Tele® (launching June 2018) has a vintage-inspired sound, modern feel and sensational aesthetics powered by a pair of American Vintage ’65 single-coil Jazzmaster pickups–marrying the best of the Jazzmaster and Telecaster guitars.
The Troublemaker Tele® (launching July 2018) features a bound mahogany body with a maple top, custom Cabronita pickguard and lacquer finish–all powered by a pair of ShawBucker 1T and 2T humbucking pickups.
The Tele® Thinline Super Deluxe (launching August 2018) pairs rich-sounding TV Jones® Classic pickups and familiar controls with a twist to Fender’s semi-hollow Tele design.
The Whiteguard Strat® (launching September 2018) combines the biting twang of a Telecaster® with the sleek, ergonomic contours of a Strat.
The Jaguar® Strat® (launching October 2018) takes visual cues from the Jaguar; its agile switching system is melded with Strat electronics to create a uniquely powerful hybrid system.
The Meteora (launching November 2018) features a sleek new limited-edition offset body shape. With both Jazzmaster and Telecaster guitar features, The Meteora is distinctly Fender.
The ’51 Telecaster® PJ Bass (launching December 2018) combines elements from the Precision and Jazz Bass models with a 34”-scale Telecaster bass maple neck with an American Vintage “’63 P Bass”-shaped profile.
New to Winter NAMM are three new colours for Fender’s American Special electric guitars, including Fiesta Red, Sherwood Green Metallic and Walnut. Starting at £969, models include:

  • American Special Stratocaster® HSS, Maple Fingerboard, Fiesta Red
  • American Special Telecaster®, Rosewood Fingerboard, Sherwood Green Metallic
  • American Special Stratocaster, Maple Fingerboard, Walnut

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