This new line of American-made electric basses and guitars draw inspiration from some of the iconic guitar makers’ most successful and genre-defining models from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. With the introduction of these 11 models, Fender seeks to satisfy a wide range of musicians and their tastes, combining the classicism of the original Fender with the modernity of 21st-century engineering. The American Original Series serves as a new standard bearer in the Fender family, as it replaces the American Vintage Series first introduced in 1982.
All American Original electric guitars and basses are both designed and handcrafted in Corona, California. And while the aesthetic may be entirely classic, the playability and performance of these instruments enjoy the benefits of modern technology, including new fingerboard radii and switching.
“We have evolved the inherent playability of the necks to align more with today’s player preferences and the way music is made,” Norvell told us. “Experienced guitarists can feel minute changes (to the thousandth of an inch) to the neck profile, fretboard radius and fret height — and these instruments optimize that for today’s player.”
The American Original ’50s Stratocaster, for example, boasts ’59 single-coil pickups that are as period-correct as possible, with Formvar-coated coil wire, cloth-covered output wires, fiber bobbins, and AlNiCo 5 magnets. But new to the Stratocaster is a “Soft V” neck profile for better chording, and a 9.5-inch-radius fingerboard for improved playability.
Then, there’s the American Original ’50s Telecaster, the guitar that laid the foundation for country and blues, with today’s twist. Fender has added modern feel and pickup switching to the classic guitar, but has kept vintage-tall frets, original-era body radii, and a lacquer finish that promises to let the wood “breathe” with resonant tone. Bass players, on the other hand, can enjoy a classic Precision Bass from the ‘50s or ‘70s, or a ‘60s Jazz Bass, with improved playability but with period-correct pickups and vintage-style hardware.
Ultimately, Norvell said, “An instrument is less like a list of specs, and more like a recipe, in that the craftsmanship- the way it all comes together is greater than the sum of its parts. We have been working for over 70 years to continuously refine that recipe to contemporary perfection.”
The American Original electric guitars and basses are priced from $1,800 to $2,100, and are available in 13 classic Fender colors.
- Rare Leica camera designed by Andy Summers of The Police has matching guitar
- Volkswagen Type 20 concept wraps modern tech in a classic shape
- The best guitar tuner apps
- Fender’s new guitar pedals are a smooth and stylish step toward shred city
- The Plex Winamp-inspired music player is a modern take on a desktop classic