July 16, 2013 in Gear Reviews

2013 Fender Custom Shop Models

DSC_8439In 1987, Fender branched out to create the Fender Custom Shop in an attempt to take guitar craftsmanship to another level. The Fender Custom Shop produces special-order guitars for customers through its Custom Shop dealer network. They also create limited-edition guitars and amplifiers and serve as the “test kitchen” for new Fender products.

The Fender Custom Shop has its enormously talented master craftsmen busy at their Fullerton, California headquarters. This year, the so-called “Dream Factory” proudly releases its 2013 collection, a special set of guitars and basses that are exquisitely and meticulously crafted to embody exactly what the Custom Shop stands for, the very best that Fender has to offer. These models … Continue Reading

May 22, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Upgrade Your Telecaster Pickups

Fender Custom Shop Nocaster PickupsOne of the first, and easiest upgrades to any electric guitar is usually the pickups. Pickups not only determine the quality of sound produced, they also help the player create the right feel of sound. There are many different types of pickups, and just as guitarists choose different kinds of guitars for different genres of music, various pickups can also be used to create different types of music.

Telecaster pickups, for example, can be upgraded, replaced or combined to fit the kind of music being played. They are mainly used for playing country, rock, blues and jazz. Picking the right type of pickups can … Continue Reading

May 19, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Fender Mustang Floor

Mustang FloorTake the front end, amp models and effecs models from a Mustang Amp and put them into a floor unit with an expression pedal, LCD display and 9 foot switches and you’ve got the new Mustang Floor. With a $199.99 street price ($399.99 MSRP) this bundle of goodness suits a variety of needs. Only one of which is a multi-effects unit. The Mustang Floor is also a modeling preamp with low-impedance speaker-emulated outputs for running direct to a PA system, a modeling preamp with line-level outputs for use with a power amp and speakers, a silent practice system with stereo headphone output and auxiliary input perfect for playing along with an iPod … Continue Reading

May 17, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Squier Strat Guitar with USB & iOS Connectivity

Squier Strat with USBWe’re sure it won’t be long before guitars with USB connectors and on-board ADACs (Analog to Digital Audio Converter) will be the norm. But that day isn’t here just yet. There are a handful of such guitars out there. But here’s a real surprise, Fender is selling one from their Squier brand and it’s under $200 and it’s available on the Apple website. Perhaps it’s available in your local Apple store, too. We don’t know.

So, what is it? It’s an Asian-sourced Squier Strat that is pretty much your typical low-cost Squier product but it’s got a built in ADAC that converts the output of the pickups to … Continue Reading

May 16, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Fender Acoustic Custom Shop

At the beginning of 2013 Fender opened the Acoustic Custom Shop in New Hartford, Conn. The site isn’t new, Fender has built their new Custom Shop into the KMC Music plant where Guild guitars and Ovation guitars are also built and it has been used to build other special model guitars for FMIC over the years. But now one corner of it is an official FENDER Acoustic Custom Shop. Which is something new and different — but when you think about it it makes perfect sense in a brand extension sort of way.

Here’s a video of some of the work that goes on there.

For many years Fender’s acoustic guitar line was not taken very seriously. It was composed mainly of affordable but … Continue Reading

May 16, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Fender Mustang Amps V 2.0

Mustangv1-v2OK, so it’s been a couple of months since the ver. 2.0 Mustang Amps were released and it’s time we started doing some coverage of these revisions here. As a Mustang III owner, I personally, think this is one of the better low-cost Fender Amps. I mean, while we really love the tube goodness in the Super Champ SD we also find the upper level Mustangs extremely versatile to use at home, in practice, and at smaller gigs. So, what’s the ver. 2.0 Mustang got that the original model was missing?

Well, the most obvious changes, (see photos) besides newer (cheesier?) graphics, covering (v1 models had carbon fiber-looking vinyl and v2 … Continue Reading

May 15, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Fender American Vintage Series Features

Ever since the first reissues left the then new FMIC factory in 1985 Fender has spent more and more time trying to get the various “reissue” guitars and basses really right. What started as a Tele here and a Strat there is now a complete series of guitars the American Vintage Series.

Here, VP of Fender Guitars, Justin Norvell explains some of the Vintage Series features and what makes them special.

May 14, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Fender Cabronita Tele Thinline in action

Earlier this week we told you about some new Fender guitars and basses for Spring. One of the more unique guitars in the bunch was the Fender Cabronita Tele Thinline. Now, we’ve got the new Fender Cabronita Tele Thinline in action in this video demo. This new Classic Player model comes in three finishes: White Blonde, 2-Color Sunburst and Shoreline Gold. For more product details, visit http://fender.com/series/classic-player/cabronita-telecaster-thinline/.

May 11, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Eric Johnson Compares his ’57 Strat to a new ’59 Reissue

You be the judge – according to Eric the new Fender American Vintage ’59 Reissue Strat sounds, feels and plays like his original 1957 Strat that’s famous for all those silky smooth EJ tones we’ve come to know over all these years. Let us know what you think via the comments below the video.

Maybe in the hands of Eric Johnson all Strats sound great? Could it be that “tone is in the hands?” But there is no doubt that the new Fender American Vintage ’59 Strat is a mighty fine example of Fender’s current crop of reissue guitars. Available everywhere for about $2,300 street price you can pick one up and do your best comparison for yourself.

Buy an American Vintage ’59 Stratocaster … Continue Reading

May 7, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Upgrade Your Stratocaster Pickups

change strat pickupsOne of the easiest ways to improve the sound of your Fender Stratocaster is to upgrade the pickups. Stratocasters are famous for their signature look of three single coil pickups, but these single coil pickups can have a humming sound that you may not like. Some Stratocasters have their middle pickup wound backwards in order to act as a humbucker. In order to combat this humming noise, Fender players have the option of upgrading to more advanced pickups.

Deciding to upgrade to better pickups is only the first step. Fender offers an extensive collection of pickups that each offer slightly different sound and action. Each of the pickup sets listed below can be purchased new for around $200. The … Continue Reading