NAMM: Fender American Professional Series launches with 16 models
Last week we covered the new Squier Offset series, but now there’s even bigger news coming from the Fender camp. The company is launching the new flagship Fender American Professional Series at NAMM next Thursday. The electric and bass guitar range has a whopping 16 models, so there’s surely something for every Fender aficionado.
The new models are: Stratocaster, Stratocaster Left-Hand, Stratocaster HSS ShawBucker, Stratocaster HH ShawBucker, Telecaster, Telecaster Left-Hand, Telecaster Deluxe ShawBucker, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Jazz Bass, Jazz Bass Left-Hand, Jazz Bass V, Jazz Bass Fretless, Precision Bass, Precision Bass Left-Hand and Precision Bass V.
The price range is $1,399.99 – $1,599.99 USD. Fender state they are available at dealers now, as well as via the Fender website (new electrics here, bass models here). Trawling through that many models is a bit of a task so we’ve broken down the most notable features and changes below.
Fender American Professional: Vintage vibe with modern features
The “handcrafted” US series is designed to mix the best of classic Fender designs with all the advantages of modern engineering. All the new electrics have new pick-ups, a new neck Deep C neck profile, treble bleed circuits and “narrow-tall” frets for easier string bending. The three new colour options are Sonic Gray, Antique Olive and Mystic Seafoam.
Fender have already put the new axes in the hands of artists, including Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, US indie rockers Local Natives and rapper/producer Mac Miller. I didn’t even know the latter was a guitarist, but then again I’m not much of a hip hop guy… Presumably he’s much better at it than fellow rapper-turned-guitarist Lil Wayne.
Jazzmaster and Jaguars the star of Fender Professional line-up
Anyway, onto the new guitars. The new Jazzmaster ($1,499.99) and Jaguar ($1,499.99) releases are the most notable. Fender have been really pushing their offset guitar designs recently, which perhaps has something to do with the indie rock revival and the accompanying love for vintage designs.
These ain’t your daddy’s Fenders though. The new Jazzmaster and Jag feature fresh V-Mod single coil pick-ups, which have a “hot, vintage-informed tone”. They achieve this via mixing alnico magnet types. Fender have also redesigned the tremolo and bridge systems with a screw-in arm and brass saddles. The latter stabilises the strings and adds a “touch of sonic zip” to the tone.
The American Professional Stratocasters (standard and left-handed) also have V-Mod pick-ups (single coil) and are priced at $1,399.99-$1,499.99. Fender’s Stratocaster HH Shawbucker model has a pair of “warm, rich-sounding” ShawBucker humbuckers. The HSS Shawbucker Strat has a single ShawBucker complemented by a pair of V-Mod single-coil pickups. You can pick up the HH ShawBucker for $1,399.99 while the HSS ShawBucker is priced at $1,399.99-$1,499.99.
The American Professional Telecasters (standard and left-handed) feature V-Mod single-coils and will set you back $1,399.99-$1,499.99. They have redesigned bridges with three compensated brass barrel saddles. The Telecaster Deluxe ShawBucker has a pair of Shawbuckers and cost $1,399.99-$1,499.99.
Fender American Professional basses get new pick-ups
Now, onto the four-string options. All the new Fender American Professional Series basses have redesigned tuning machines that provide increased sustain and tuning stability, Posiflex graphite support rods across the neck and V-Mod pick-ups with a blend of alnico magnet types.
All the new American Professional Jazz Bass models have single coil pick-ups, a slim modern C-neck profile and- except for the fretless- narrow-tall frets. The standard, left-handed and fretless Jazz Bass cost $1,499.99. There’s also a Jazz Bass V for $1,599.99.
The American Professional Precision, Precision Left-Handed version and Precision V have split-coil pick-ups and a ’63 P Bass neck profile. The standard and left-handed models come in at $1,449.99 while the V will set you back $1,549.99.
We’ll have more NAMM coverage coming this month, so keep your eyes peeled. Most notably this week we’ll be publishing an interview with NAMM performer and shovel-guitar extraordinaire Justin Johnson.