Fender’s American Vintage II range promises vintage-correct guitars without the vintage price tags

The guitars are spec’d out down to the screws holding the pickguards in place.

Fender American Vintage 2

Image: Fender

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After a couple of rumours, Fender’s new American Vintage II range is officially here. The range of Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters, Precision Basses and Jazz Basses promise as-new vintage specifications without the price tag of a real vintage Fender.

The 12-guitar range spans classic Fender models from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Let’s dive into the details and take a trip through time.

1951 Telecaster

This Telecaster is based on the very first guitars to bear that name – they were initially called Broadcasters, however a cease-and-desist from Gretsch (who at the time made a drumkit called the Broadkaster) stripped them of their name to create the so-called ‘Nocasters’. Inspired by the rise of Television, the Telecaster name was chosen.

Notable specs include an ash body, and a one-piece U-shaped maple neck finished in gloss nitrocellulose lacquer with a 7.25-inch radius fretboard with vintage-tall frets.

Priced at £2,099

1954 Precision Bass

This is a very old-school P-bass indeed: there’s no split-coil hum-cancelling pickup as you would find on later models, instead there’s a single single-coil in the middle position. Other notable specifications include a two-saddle pickup and an old-school oversized Tele headstock.

Priced at £2,249

1957 Stratocaster

This early strat features Pure Vintage electronics and hardware throughout, all recreating the specs you’d see on a 1957 Strat. The one-piece maple neck has a vintage-correct 7.25-inch radius and black dot inlays.

The body is either Ash or Alder depending on your choice of finish.

Priced at £1,999-2,099


1960 Precision Bass

This precision bass might look a little more familiar than the 1954 version: here we have the split-coil pickup that became associated with the model, as well as a slab rosewood fretboard, clay dot inlays and a chunky C-shaped maple neck.

Priced at £2,099

1961 Stratocaster

For the 1960s the Stratocaster also sees the addition of a Slab Rosewood fingerboard, as well as a medium C-shaped neck and a set of Pure Vintage pickups wound to 1961 specifications.

Priced at £2,049

1963 Telecaster

This Tele has the most dramatic tonewood shift of the guitars so far: its three-colour sunburst and Surf Green iterations both feature an alder body, while the Crimson Red Transparent finish is over a mahogany body. This change is coupled, like the other early-60s instruments, with a move to a rosewood ‘board – however round-laminated rather than slab. The old-school 7.25-inch radius remains, as do the vintage-tall frets.

Priced at £2,049-2,149

1966 Jazz Bass

This Jazz Bass has all the bells and whistles that made it a premium instrument at the time. It comes with white neck binding, pearl dots, two volume controls with master tone, and a matching painted headstock for a strikingly cool look.

Priced at £2,149

1966 Jazzmaster

This incredibly cool Jazzmaster (pictured up top) features a number of additional specifications found on 1966 units. The standard old-school rhythm circuit switching and floating vibrato are featured, as well as white neck binding, pearl block inlays and single-line “Fender Deluxe” tuners. Custom Colour iterations also feature a matching painted headstock.

Priced at £2,249

1972 Telecaster Thinline

The harder rock sounds of the 1970s prompted Fender to move to humbuckers, and the semi-hollow Telecaster thinline was the first of its guitars to feature them. Most notable here (and for the other wide-range humbuckers found in the range) is the inclusion of CuNiFe magnets in the pickups: this idiosyncratic alloy was used exclusively in vintage Fender wide-range humbuckers until production of it was recently restarted by Fender for vintage reissues.

Priced at £2,249

1973 Stratocaster

The 70s strat has perhaps one defining feature: its big, chunky headstock, with dual-string trees and a bullet truss rod adjustment nut. Electronics and hardware are as they were in 1973, and finishes include Mocha, Lake Placid Blue and Aged Natural.

Priced at £2,149

1975 Telecaster Deluxe

Here we come to Fender’s answer to the Les Paul: a dual-humbucker solidbody, again fitted with two CuNiFe wide-range humbuckers. Notably, this is the only instrument on the list to feature a flatter 9.5-inch radius rather than 7.25-inches. There’s also a three-bolt neck-plate, and a more modern six-saddle bridge.

Priced at £2,149

1977 Telecaster Custom

The most recent instrument in the range, the 1977 Telecaster Custom strikes a balance between an old-school Tele and a Deluxe, with a Wide Range humbucking pickup in the neck position and a Pure Vintage ‘77 single-coil Tele pickup in the bridge position.

Priced at £2,049

Find out more about the range over at fender.com.

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