Fender has just announced its new American Original Series, which refreshes many of the brand’s most popular models. The new range is all about recreating classics from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Fender has included something for everyone here, but has the US giant missed the chance to create something a bit more special? Here’s the low-down on all the new models.
Designed in Corona, California this new, all-American set of guitars is based on classic instruments from Fender’s history. Including left-handed models, there are 12 models in the new range. By melding vintage stylings and modern features, Fender is looking to combine the best of both worlds, like modern fretboard radii matched with vintage tall frets.
With models offered in Aztec Gold, White Blonde, 2-Colour Sunburst, Olympic White, Candy Apple Red, 3-Color Sunburst, Butterscotch Blonde, Fiesta Red, Lake Placid Blue, Surf Green, Ocean Turquoise, Natural and Black finishes, there are some really nice classic vintage colours to choose from, but they are only available on certain models.
We are also getting new ’50s Stratocaster (available Left-Handed), ’60s Stratocaster (available Left-Handed), ’50s Telecaster (available Left-Handed), ’60s Jaguar, ’60s Jazzmaster, ’50s Precision, ’60s Jazz Bass,‘60s Precision Bass and ‘70s Jazz Bass. Fender have cooked up something for everyone and I appreciate that you can order some of these models in left-handed versions, just a pity they didn’t make all of them available in this format.
American Original ’50s Stratocaster
Each of the ’50s Stratocaster models comes with a maple fretboard with a soft-V neck profile and 9.5″ radius. White Blonde, 2-Color Sunburst or Aztec Gold nitro finishes will be available.
Pickup-wise they all come factory fitted with a set of ‘59 single coil units.
RRP – GBP 1609 comes in a vintage style hard case and are available left-handed
American Original ‘50s Telecaster
This nice 1950s style Telecaster will be available in Butterscotch Blonde. It’s got a nice, chunky “U”-shaped maple neck profile with a 9.5″ radius. Pickup wise they come loaded with a set of Pure Vintage ’52 single-coil pickups.
RRP – GBP 1549 comes in a vintage style hard case and are available left-handed
American Original ‘60s Stratocaster
This time we get a nice ’60s correct rosewood fretboard and with matching ’60s C- profile neck, again with a more modern 9.5″ radius.
The pickups are Pure Vintage ‘65 single-coil units and the model is available in either 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic White and Candy Apple Red.
RRP – GBP 1639 comes in a vintage style hard case and are available left-handed
American Original ‘60s Telecaster
Again, this one features a rosewood fretboard – as you would expect from a ’60s styled Telecaster – and a matching period correct C-profile. Pure Vintage ’64 single-coil Telecaster pickups are being featured here, which should be in keeping with the ’60s vibe of this guitar.
Available in 3-Color Sunburst, Lake Placid Blue and Fiesta Red.
RRP – GBP 1659 comes in a vintage style hard case
American Original ‘60s Jazzmaster
This 1960s-style Jazzmaster is loaded with Pure Vintage ’65 Jazzmaster single-coil pickups and available in 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic White and Ocean Turquoise.
RRP – GBP 1649
American Original ‘60s Jaguar
This time we have a Jaguar with Pure Vintage ’62 Jaguar single-coil pickups, available in 3-Color Sunburst, Surf Green and Candy Apple Red.
RRP – GBP 1639
American Original ‘50s Precision Bass
Available in either White Blonde and a 2-Colour Sunburst, this 1950s-style P-Bass looks pretty sweet and comes loaded with a single Pure Vintage ’58 P Bass split-coil pickup.
RRP – GBP 1699 inc vintage-style hardshell case.
American Original ‘60s Jazz Bass
This time you can choose between either 3-Colour Sunburst, Olympic White or Candy Apple Red. These models all come with rosewood fretboards and are loaded with Pure Vintage ’64 Jazz Bass single-coil pickups.
RRP- GBP 1739 inc vintage-style hardshell case.
American Original ‘60s Precision Bass
A nice thick “1963 C”-shaped neck profile is part of the charm of this model, which comes loaded with a single Pure Vintage ’63 P Bass split-coil pickup.
This time you can choose between either a 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic White and Lake Placid Blue finishes, with the latter being my favourite of the three.
American Original ‘70s Jazz Bass
With a cool maple fretboard and block inlays, the ’70s version of the Jazz Bass looks great in my opinion and is available in 3-Color Sunburst, Black and Natural finishes. Loaded with Pure Vintage ’74 Jazz Bass single-coil pickups and with a nice chunky U profile neck, I can see this one being popular with many players.
RRP – GBP 1879 inc vintage-style hardshell case.
Too Expensive, too safe?
Without actually trying out any of these new models I can only say that on paper they all look good. But for me, the UK pricing is way too high and I would probably want a better deal than the RRPs listed.
It’s all a bit too safe and, well, dull for my personal tastes. I feel the price is around £400-500 too much across the board. Yes, there are a few nice ones in here, but most of them are the same old rehashes of classics, with a few modern tweaks. With so many great guitars on offer from around the world these from companies whose quality is on par with Fender, I would shop around before I dropped the best part of two grand on one of these.
I do like some of the colours Fender has chosen here, but I’m annoyed you only get certain models available in left-handed versions. It seems a bit archaic – surely you just re-program the CNC machine? For me, the American Original Series is close, but no cigar!
These models are launching just ahead of the NAMM Show next week, so keep an eye on Fender’s main page for more details soon.