PRESS RELEASE: Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced today the upcoming retirement of CEO Larry Thomas, effective May 31, 2014. Thomas was appointed to the FMIC Board of Directors in 2009 and later appointed CEO on Aug. 1, 2010. Current interim COO Scott Gilbertson will assume the role of interim CEO until the company completes its search for a successor. Gilbertson is a partner at TPG Growth and currently serves on the board of Fender Musical Instruments and has also served as interim COO since Oct. 2013. Previously, he held a variety of executive positions at leading companies including J.Crew, Under Armour and Bally International. Continue reading
PRESS RELEASE: The Fender Custom Shop is proud to introduce the two latest collections of handcrafted instruments, the Artisan Series and Master Designed Series. With the Artisan series, the Fender Custom Shop pulls out all the stops for high-end instruments of remarkable tone, look and feel. In a first for the Custom Shop and inspired by Master Built instruments created for the 2013 Tokyo Guitar Show, this series is built to spotlight fine woods with distinctive figures, hand-rubbed stains and gloss finishes. Team-built for a limited time only, Artisan series instruments are also outfitted with a wealth of special appointments and features that contribute to their striking sound and style. Continue reading
A while back, Gibson unveiled its Robot Guitar. It was a pretty cool instrument with self-tuning technology, although it was pretty fiddly and while it was impressive at the time, in retrospect the tuning time was a little longer than most players would like. It also had to be built into the guitar, required a unique tailpiece, tuners, internal processor and pot system to operate, and was a bit fiddly to use. The latest self-tuning system used by Gibson (called Min-ETune) was developed by Tronical, and it’s not just available on a bunch of different Gibson models: you can also buy it separately to install in the axe of your choice, and it’s available in a variety of three-a-side and six-a-side versions. That’s right, you can install this system on your Strat, your Ibanez RG, your Taylor acoustic, your Gibson Flying V, your D’Angelico jazzbox and a huge variety of other instruments. There are downloadable templates for you to figure out which of the many available models suits your guitar. Continue reading
Lemmie tell you a little bit about me. Whenever I’m feeling down, the best cure is to put on David Bowie’s “Modern Love” and just jam out on rhythm guitar along with Nile Rodgers. Nile is, of course, a hugely influential figure in popular music. Just think of the albums he’s had a hand in: Let’s Dance, Family Style, Like A Virgin, Original Sin, Cosmic Thing, Random Access Memories… and then of course there’s Chic and Sister Sledge, with whom Nile practically defined an entire genre and showed us what it really means to play the perfect part for the song. The Fender Custom Shop is paying tribute to Nile with a guitar that recreates the Hitmaker, the legendary Strat with which Nile has sprinkled musical gold dust over all sorts of tracks. It’s been a long time coming and here’s hoping that it leads to other more affordable versions too that tap into the same magic. Continue reading
Ahaha. This reminds me of a few years ago when I saw Eric Johnson live and he pulled out a beautiful 50s Gold Top Les Paul and said “Fender Custom Shop… you’d be surprised what they’ll build you for the right price.”
Yngwie Malmsteen is one of those players who are in the enviable position of being able to put their name on pretty much anything because fans trust them, trust their ears and trust their choices. And if they make a change, it’s more about the tone and the support than anything financial. Yngwie has more experience than most in putting gear through utterly devastating real-world testing – ever seen that dude chuck a guitar or consign one to the fiery pits of hell? – and he’s just lent his name to a series of Fender accessories (to go with his signature Strat and Seymour Duncan YJM Fury pickups, of course) including new strings, cables, a guitar bag (with leopard-print lining of course) a clip-on tuner and, most interesting of all, a new overdrive pedal which is an update of the design he has used previously. Compared to his old DOD YJM308 signature overdrive, this new one features increased gain. And it looks cool, of course. Here’s Fender’s press release. Continue reading
One of the coolest things from NAMM has got to be Fender’s new American Deluxe Strat Plus. Not just any Deluxe – this one features interchangeable ‘mod’ cards which let you perform modifications such as the ability to blend the neck pickup in with the bridge or middle, or different treble bleed values, or separate bass and treble rolloff controls in place of the regular tone controls. There are HSS and SSS versions, and although each of the current cards are passive, there’s space in the card slot for a 9v battery, which means there’s plenty of scope for future cards to add things like Clapton-style mid boosts and other fun stuff. Continue reading
Now here’s something interesting that will rile the traditionalists. Fender has unveiled the Fishman TriplePlay Stratocaster HSS, which combines a Fishman TriplePlay system – which wirelessly transmits MIDI data to your computer – along with traditional magnetic pickups. In this case those pickups are a pair of Fender Vintage Noiseless single coils and a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbucker. The guitar comes with a USB flash drive with Fishman® TriplePlay, IK Multimedia SampleTank 2.5 and AmpliTube Custom Shop, and Native Instruments Komplete Elements, while additional software such as Notion Progression and PreSonus Studio One Artist available for free download with product registration). Here’s a bunch more information from Fender’s website, followed by a video of the guitar in action. Continue reading
For a few years now, Slipknot/Stone Sour’s Jim Root has been appearing onstage with a Jazzmaster-based Fender kitted out with his preferred pickup combination of an EMG 81 in the bridge position and a 60 at the neck. Now, finally, you’ll be able to get your hands on one of your very own! The Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster is a very stripped-down take on what a Jazzmaster is: the pisition markers, chrome bridge, dual tone circuits and controls have been jettisoned, replaced by a hard-tail Stratocaster bridge, a master volume control and a 3-way pickup selector switch. The body is mahogany with a comfortable contoured neck heel, satin-finish maple neck with “modern C” profile and large headstock, compound-radius ebony fingerboard (12”-16”) with 22 jumbo frets, staggered deluxe locking tuners, black hardware and pickup bezels, and a Flat Black satin-nitro lacquer finish. Includes black tweed case with red plush interior, strap and strap locks, cable and polishing cloth.
On one hand, it feels like the Fender Stratocaster has always been there. On the other, there are still folks who quite clearly remember when these beautiful instruments were first released. Fact is, the Stratocaster has been around for 60 years as of 2014, and it’s a testament to the perfection of Leo Fender and co’s initial vision that you can still buy new Stratocasters right now that are very much like those first Strats. Even though the design has been refined and elaborated upon in the intervening six decades (and I defy anyone to play an American Deluxe Stratocaster and not be blow away by the quality and playability), those developments have never made the original 1954 Stratocaster blueprint obsolete. And so in 2014, Fender will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Stratocaster with six models celebrating the guitar’s past, present and future (including Strats with iOS connectivity!). You can read about them here. In the meantime, below is a great piece from Fender about the Stratocaster. And if you use Twitter, Instagram, Vine or Facebook, use the hashtag #STRAT60 to show how you’ve helped shape the past 60 years of music with your Fender Stratocaster.
Press Release: Fender’s Stratocaster is arguably the number-one instrument icon of the guitar world. When introduced in 1954, its offset space-age lines, contoured body, and three-pickup configuration set the music world on its ear—it was truly unlike any guitar that had come before. In the hands of the world’s most beloved players, the Stratocaster has since become a popular weapon of choice among rock, blues, jazz, and country players and, not coincidentally, is also one of the most copied electric guitars of all time. Continue reading
Press Release: Fender is proud to announce the ’68 Custom series amplifiers, which consist of the ’68 Custom Twin Reverb, ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb and ’68 Custom Princeton Reverb amps. 1968 was a transitional year for Fender amps, with tone that was still pure Fender, but a look that was brand new. With a silver-and-turquoise front panel and classy aluminum “drip edge” grille cloth trim, ’68 Custom amps pay tribute to the classic look, sound and performance of Fender’s late-‘60s “silver-face” amps, but feature a special twist. Both channels boast reverb and tremolo, and the “custom” channels have modified Bassman tone stacks that give modern players greater tonal flexibility with pedals. In addition, all models include custom-made Schumacher transformers (like the originals), tube-driven spring reverb and Celestion speakers, which deliver a more distinctively rock ‘n’ roll flavor. Continue reading