Introducing the Fender Ultra series

Now, this is probably gonna sound like an advertorial but it’s not: I’m just really excited about these guitars and I can’t hide how psyched I am.

So.

Fender has been on a big overhaul binge lately, re-examining their guitar lines from top to bottom, leading to things like the Vintera series (which replaces the old Standards) and the American Original line. A little while back the American Deluxe series was reimagined as the Elite but now that line has been replaced by what I can only describe after a media preview participated in last week as the ultimate iteration of high-end Fender guitars for the modern player. 

If you’ve ever thought to yourself ‘I like Fenders but I wish they had the kind of high-end playability features of, say, a Charvel or a Suhr,’ well, that’s what the American Deluxe and then the Elite series have been and you’ve been totally sleeping on it! But the Ultra series takes this to a whole new level, re-examining and redesigning everything about the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, P Bass and Jazz Bass to meet the standards of pro players. The neck joints are super-comfortable with unprecedented upper fret access; the necks have a new shape – a ‘Modern D’ which is the same depth as Fender’s classic C shape but with higher, squarer shoulders which ultimately make it feel smaller and easier to get your thumb around for those Hendrix chords; there’s a new satin neck finish formulation that will have you gliding all over the fretboard with ease; redesigned fifth-generation noiseless pickups including a hotter pair of single coils just for the HSS model Stratocaster; gorgeous new finishes… it just goes on and on. 

The press release is below which will take you through all the details, but what really excites me about the Ultra line – apart from the blue HSS Strat and the Mocha Burst Tele – is the overhaul to the Jazzmaster. New noiseless pickups and that super-fast neck mean we’re going to hear sounds and techniques coming out of a Jazzmaster that we’ve never heard before. Traditional Jazzmaster players are going to find the playing experience opened right up for them, while players who might not have considered a Jazzmaster in the past because of their playability are now going to discover tones and textures that they haven’t used before, without the limitations a more traditional Jazzmaster might place on their playing. 

So here are my favourites from each of the model/finish combos, followed by the press release.

Stratocaster HSS in Cobra Blue
Naturally there’s a SSS Stratocaster as well but this is pretty dang hot, especially when you see how the finish catches the light. The image at the top of this story will give you more of an idea of how Cobra Blue really looks.

Telecaster in Mocha Burst
Again you’re not really gonna get a full appreciation of this colour until you see it reacting to an environment, but once you do you’ll fall in love.

Jazzmaster in Ultraburst
All the Jazzmasters look great in their respective colours but Ultraburst is like the perfect Fender three-colour sunburst.

Precision Bass in Aged Natural
Fender has added a slight tint to this finish so it looks like a natural bass that’s done some livin’, minus any kind of relic treatment.

Jazz Bass in Texas Tea
Another colour that looks different depending on the lighting and viewing angle. From a distance it might look black but once you move it around you’re gonna see all sorts of interesting shades coming at you.

Jazz Bass V in Plasma Red Burst
I mean… just look at it! Isn’t that just one of the finest-lookin’ Jazz Basses you’ve ever seen?

FENDER® LAUNCHES NEW AMERICAN ULTRA SERIES INTRODUCING STATE-OF-THE-ART ENGINEERING, ELECTRIC GUITAR DESIGN OF THE FUTURE

American Ultra Delivers Industry Firsts: The Only “Modern D” Neck For Guitar and Bass, New Body Contours and Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage and Hot Pickups For Enhanced Playability

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (November 5, 2019) — Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the launch of the American Ultra Series, the most-advanced modern guitar from Fender. An evolution of American Elite – Fender’s premier electric series that launched in January 2016 – the Ultra Series boasts all-new modern features, state-of-the-art craftsmanship and nuanced design. Luxurious, sleek and cutting-edge, this series sets a new industry standard for precision, performance and feel with Ultra Noiseless pickups and Fender’s fastest-playing necks. Created for a wide range of today’s highly-skilled modern artists, session and working guitarists, this series also offers a new body design and contours – a pivotal moment in Fender history, decades since the last significant alteration to the iconic Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster body shapes.

Since 1946, Fender has embraced artist and player feedback as the core driver of its process, leading to decades of subtle yet crucial innovations. These thoughtful changes in design and technology can’t always be seen by the naked eye, but are meaningful to artists who crave products that evolve with the times. As younger players create new sounds, meld existing genres and push the limits of what a guitar can do, Fender products also continue to evolve.

“The American Ultra Series is our most advanced series of guitars and basses for discerning players who demand the ultimate playing experience in precision, performance and tone,” said Justin Norvell, EVP of Product at Fender. “Blending state-of-the-art engineering and nuanced design to provide a high-performance experience for today’s player, American Ultra is the next chapter in Fender’s legacy of cutting-edge innovation. American Ultra has truly been decades in the making and is a result of our tireless commitment to meet the needs of today’s working and touring guitar players looking for a modern feel and tone.”

Inspired by Fender’s never-ending pursuit to equip players with the best tools to create, record and perform music, American Ultra is Fender’s most advanced series of instruments – providing the ultimate in precision, performance and tone. The series answers the call from discerning players looking for modern advancements to help them create at the highest level. One of these elevated features is the all-new “Modern D” neck with a compound-radius fingerboard, smooth American Ultra satin back finish and extremely rolled edges. The result is a neck that’s slim and fast – yet ergonomic and comfortable – for blazing solos and easy comping without sacrificing tone and resonance. Other key features include:

New body contours: For next level comfort and playability, Fender redesigned the body contours of its most iconic models for the first time in decades. New back body curves offer hours of gigging comfort while a super-sculpted neck heel gives players unparalleled access to the upper register of the fingerboard, resulting in better accessibility and comfort. 

Noiseless pickups: American Ultra instruments feature two types of innovative new noiseless pickups: Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage pickups deliver authentic Fender single-coil sound – without hum. Ultra Noiseless™ Hot pickups offer modern performance and classic tone so you can launch your amp into overdrive. 

HiMass™ bridge: With lots of metal, lots of mass and a cool modern look, the HiMass bridge on American Ultra basses delivers serious sustain, precise intonation and rock-solid tuning stability. 

Double Tap Humbucker: The American Ultra HSS Strat features a brand-new Double Tap Humbucker with an overwound coil to ensure matched volume between pickups in coil split mode.

Redesigned preamp with active/passive switching: A redesigned preamp on American Ultra basses features three bands of active boost/cut for sweeter highs, focused mids and lots more usable bass. For a more traditional tone, the redesigned pickups can also be used in passive mode. 

New colours: American Ultra instruments are available in a variety of colours, including: Cobra Blue, Mocha Burst, Texas Tea, Arctic Pearl, Aged Natural, Plasma Red Burst and Ultraburst.

Advanced electronics: All American Ultra guitars feature a treble-bleed circuit to preserve high-end response at any volume – plus advanced wiring options that activate different high-performance features depending on the model.

Models include (Australian recommended retail prices): 

American Ultra Stratocaster® – $3,899.00

American Ultra Stratocaster® HSS – $3,899.00

American Ultra Telecaster® – $3,899.00

American Ultra Precision Bass® – $3,899.00

American Ultra Jazzmaster® – $4,099.00

American Ultra Jazz Bass® – $4,099.00

American Ultra Jazz Bass® V – $4,299.00

For detailed specs, additional information on new Fender products or to find a retail partner near you, visit www.Fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

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ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION:

Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) – whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH® and Charvel® – follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest-quality instruments and digital experiences across genres. Since 2015, Fender’s digital arm has introduced a new ecosystem of products and interactive experiences to accompany players at every stage of their musical journey. This includes innovative apps and learning platforms designed to complement Fender guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals, accessories and pro-audio gear, and inspire players through an immersive musical experience. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of musical expression for all players, from beginners to history-making legends.

Hero Of The Underground: Fender Celebrates 60 Years Of Jazzmaster® Innovation

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (May 9, 2018— Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the 60th anniversary celebration of Fender’s most creative and expressive model: the Jazzmaster. A hero of the underground, the Jazzmaster has been adopted by generations of artists looking for unique sonic qualities and combinations, unlocking genre defying sound that lives on today within music and culture.
In 1958, Fender introduced the Jazzmaster as the top-of-the-line electric guitar for jazz musicians; later the sound and easily modifiable style attracted counterculture and misfit players, including aficionados of surf guitar – who rarely hesitated to personalize their instruments and make a sound of their own. Over the past 60 years, players across genres have wielded Jazzmaster guitars – from J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) and Elvis Costello to Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age), Chelsea Wolfe, Jim Root (Slipknot), Chris Stapleton, Portugal. The Man and The War on Drugs. A cult classic today, the Jazzmaster still is the core tool for contemporary artists and innovative players continuing pushing the creative boundaries of music.
To celebrate the 60th anniversary occasion, Fender is releasing highly collectible iterations of the beloved Jazzmaster, including three, limited edition models in select colors: the Limited Edition 60th Anniversary ’58 Jazzmaster, Triple Jazzmaster and Classic Jazzmaster.
“The Jazzmaster is the little engine that could,” said Justin Norvell, SVP, Fender Products. “It didn’t follow its original destiny to be a jazz guitar, but found a niche on the creative cutting edge and maintains significant popularity today as we celebrate its 60th anniversary. Whether it’s surf, ‘90s punk rock or alternative music, the Jazzmaster has remained the guitar of choice, pushing music forward into uncharted territory.”

The original ‘58 Jazzmaster boasted a revolutionary offset waist, distinctive-sounding pickups, a flexible rhythm/lead circuit and was the first Fender guitar to sport a rosewood fingerboard. An homage to the original prototype of this ground-breaking guitar, the 60th Anniversary ‘58 Jazzmaster accurately recreates the bold and distinctive look and feel of the original 1958 prototype, giving players a taste of the Jazzmaster in its original form. The Limited Edition 60th Anniversary ’58 Jazzmaster is offered in 2-Color Sunburst. 
The Triple Jazzmaster features a modern, triple-pickup and is an homage to the mod ethos that permeates Jazzmaster player circles. Combining authentic looks and uniquely flexible wiring – the guitar also features brand-new humbucking pickups from pickup guru Tim Shaw for a guitar that’s ready to rip it up on stage and off. The Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Triple Jazzmaster is offered in Daphne Blue.
Classic Jazzmaster updates the classic 1966 model with features that modern, creative players are sure to appreciate. This model is a reproduction of the 1966 Jazzmaster, which at the time, was updated with the following features: bound neck, block inlays, and as a special aesthetic touch, a slick-looking matching painted headstock. These stylish visual cues—as well as the rich, multi-dimensional sound—made this one of the most sought-after Jazzmaster models. The Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Classic Jazzmaster is offered in Daphne Blue, Black, Vintage Blonde, and Fiesta Red. 

The 60th anniversary Jazzmaster models are available at local dealers and on www.Fender.com on the below dates; models include: 

o    Available Now: Limited Edition 60th Anniversary ‘58 Jazzmaster – $2,299.99    

o    Available September 2018: Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Triple Jazzmaster –  $1,999.99 and Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Classic Jazzmaster – $1,199.99. 

To learn more about Fender’s 60th Anniversary Jazzmaster models and for product descriptions of each model, click here. For series product images, click here.  

For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

  

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ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION: 

Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC), whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH® and Charvel®, follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest quality instruments and musical solutions across genres. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of music through electric and acoustic guitars, amplifiers, pro audio, accessories and digital products that inspire and enable musical expression at every stage, from beginners to history-making legends. 

 

Troy Van Leeuwen’s New Fender Custom Shop Double-neck Jazzmaster

TVLAcrossIs there anything cooler than the double neck? No. Jimmy Page knows it, Eddie Van Halen knows it, David St Hubbins knows it, and Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens Of The Stone Age knows it. Check out Troy’s monstrous new Fender Custom Shop double-neck Jazzmaster, which features 6 and 12-string necks, and there’s a great video about the guitar’s creation, which you can see below. It starts with the beginning of the process back in mid 2013, follows through to the delivery of the finished beast. And there’s plenty more info about it in this article over at the Fender website.

Read More …

NAMM 2014: Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster

Jim RootFor 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.

Thanks to Guitar Noize for the heads-up on this one!  Read More …

New Fender American Vintage Series guitars!

One of my favourite guitars in my personal collection is my Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster Reissue, a real workhorse of a guitar which does an incredible job of capturing the vibe of a’62 Strat. It’s a very soulful axe with plenty of personality. And as a fan of 60s Strats in general and the fatter logo in particular, I’m super-stoked that Fender has beefed up the American Vintage Series offering with a bunch of all-new models, including a ’65 Stratocaster with the very logo that sends me into conniptions. One of these in sunburst is now riding very high on my wish list.
Here’s the press release and plenty of pics.

The very first Fiesta Red Fender ever

Recently while at the Fender factory and Visitor Center in Corona, California I stumbled upon this little beauty: the very first Fiesta Red Fender guitar ever. It’s a 1957 Jazzmaster prototype, and not only was this the first Fiesta Red guitar, this very guitar was also the first ever Fender to feature a custom colour. And if that doesn’t make it historic enough, Fender’s George Fullerton later added an experimental neck with a round-laminated fretboard made of lacquer-coated black vulcanised fiber – the same stuff used to make pickup bobbins.

 

Here’s some more info on the guitar from Fender.

 

We get so used to thinking of guitars as these commodities, mass-produced items that you can see half a dozen of lined up at your local store. But stuff like this particular Jazzmaster, and like visiting the Fender factory in general, reminds me that each one is a unique instrument with tonal properties particular to the individual pieces of wood, the individual trees, that they were made from. And then when you think that before this instrument was made there was no such thing as a Fiesta Red Fender, and that this is the actual first one to ever feature this finish – it all just makes it hit home that little bit harder, the history of this wonderful instrument that we all (if you’re reading this site) use to express ourselves.

NEWS: Fender announces Sonic Youth signature Jazzmasters

Cool news for Sonic Youth fans. I see that while it’s very trendy to have Thurston Moore write a foreword for your book, Fender has gone all out and had him write a whole zine. Collectoriffic!

Fender Announces Sonic Youth Signature Jazzmaster® Guitars

Sonic pioneers Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo design heavily modified guitars in conjunction with latest studio release …

Hot on the heels of their latest critically acclaimed album, The Eternal, Sonic Youth has teamed up with Fender to create two of the most highly anticipated guitars in recent memory—the Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo signature Jazzmaster guitars, which will be available beginning July 1.

Moore and Ranaldo, canonized as two of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine in 2003, make up two-fifths of one of the most respected and influential bands in recent memory. Moore and Ranaldo have been playing Fender instruments for the lion’s share of their careers, to the point where the simple image of a Jazzmaster guitar creates an instant free-associative connection with the band. In celebration of 2008’s 50th Anniversary of the Jazzmaster, Fender had been connecting and talking to all of the icons of the instrument, and a dialogue struck up with Lee and Thurston that led to the design and creation of Fender’s latest signature model additions.

“When Fender came to us with an offer to make signature models of our Jazzmaster guitars we jumped at the chance,” Moore and Ranaldo said. “These are the guitars that have defined the sound of Sonic Youth for more than 20 years. Although we love all guitars, Jazzmasters are the ones we’ve modified and perfected for our uses over the years. With massive input from our great road crew, we’ve come up with a Thurston Jazzmaster and Lee ‘Jazzblaster’ that fully reflect the current state of the guitars we play in 2009. In fact, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on these axes—the prototypes of our Fender models have already been thrust into action during the recording of our latest album, The Eternal, and have already begun to acquire the scrapes and scars of live performance. These guitars rock Sonic-style!”

Moore and Ranaldo have always modified their Jazzmaster guitars—removing all extraneous controls—simplifying and stripping them back to their essence, leaving just a three-way switch and volume knob. In many ways, these two instruments are similar, yet in almost every major way (pickups, bridges, frets) they are totally different. Both guitars have alder bodies, “C”-shaped maple necks with rosewood fingerboards, American Vintage Jazzmaster tremolos and black anodized aluminum pickguards. Moore’s Jazzmaster features Seymour Duncan® Antiquity II for Jazzmaster pickups, an Adjusto-Matic™ bridge and 21 jumbo frets, and is available in Forest Green Transparent satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish with satin black painted headstock. Ranaldo’s guitar features re-voiced wide range humbucking pickups, Mustang®-style bridge and 21 vintage frets, and is available in Sapphire Blue Transparent satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish with satin black painted headstock.

Each Sonic Youth Jazzmaster guitar comes with a custom sticker sheet and a full-color 24-page indie rock ’zine containing photos, set lists, tuning charts, illustrations, tech info and extensive interviews. Designed and laid out largely by Ranaldo himself, this is the definitive insider’s guide to all things Jazzmaster in the world of Sonic Youth.

Sonic Youth came together in 1981 and quickly became a fixture in New York City’s No Wave art and music scene. Over the years, they have released several monumental albums, including Sonic Youth (1982), Daydream Nation (1988), Goo (1990), Dirty (1992) and Murray Street (2002), and have influenced legions of bands all over the world. Known as much for their hardcore ethos and DIY work ethic as their signature lo-fi noise explorations and radical playing styles and techniques, they have been able to achieve recognition and success, all while staying true to their original values and vision.

“We were stoked to have the opportunity to create something together, and the resultant instruments are spot-on at evoking the essence of their unique styles and preferences,” said Justin Norvell, marketing director for Fender electric guitars. “These guitars went through pretty rigorous R&D—the guys and their techs were incredibly hands-on throughout the whole process. When they were home we took their original guitars apart, re-voiced pickups against their vintage guitars, and more. When they were out on tour, we traded countless late-night e-mails, making adjustments based on their road performance. In the end we are all extremely happy with the results, and we believe that Sonic Youth fans all over the world will be as well.”

For more information on the Sonic Youth guitars, the band and a free mp3 download of new single “Sacred Trickster,” visit www.fender.com/sonicyouth.

Photo by Eric Baecht

SPARKLY GUITAR WEEK: Day 7 – Fender J Mascis Jazzmaster

The final entry in Sparkly Guitar Week is the Fender J Mascis signature Jazzmaster. Mascis rose to prominence as the leader of Dinosaur Jr, and can always be relied upon for fuzzed out freakage. 
Fun fact: This one time, I was wearing my Dinosaur Jr shirt, which has a picture of Mascis’s bulldog on it. I was strolling along Acland St in St Kilda and I saw this dude walking towards me, staring at my shirt. I thought “That dude looks like J Mascis.” Then I got to work and read the paper. In the entertainment section was a photo of the same dude from Acland St. It was J Mascis, in town to do a solo gig. A-doy. 

To honor the sonic legacy of alt/indie rock founding father J Mascis, Fender is supremely psyched to unveil the sparkling-new J Mascis Jazzmaster guitar.

Mascis took the instrument to a new place with his feedback-drenched, distortion-laden band, Dinosaur Jr. This new signature model pays affectionately ear-splitting homage to Mascis, giving the instrument a modern makeover for fans who’ve been clamoring for such a model for years.

With its stunning and unusual Purple Sparkle polyester finish, matching headcap and gold anodized pickguard, the guitar features mods requested by Mascis himself—including an Adjusto-Matic bridge, reinforced tremolo arm housing and a satin-finished neck. The Dinosaur roar comes from dual vintage reissue pickups and the barrage of controls the Jazzmaster has always been known for—a three-position toggle switch with volume and tone knobs and, for this model, a two-position slide switch with volume and tone controls configured as a “lead tone circuit” (up) and a “rhythm tone circuit” (down).

Available beginning in July 2007, the J Mascis Jazzmaster is literally a sparkling new addition to the Fender lineup, in celebration of the adventurous and continuing sonic contributions of the man who has been the model’s constant champion for nearly 25 years now.

HERE’S one on eBay or you can see more HERE. Or you can get one HERE at Music123.