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Fender Vintera - Vintage Mojo For The Modern Era

by Dale Gardner. Posted on 2019-06-24 16:55:06

Fender launch Vintera - a new series of guitars and basses with an eye on Fender's rich heritage with all the vintage appointments you'd expect, but at a very accessible price. The range replaces the old Classic, Road Worn and Baja models.

Built in Mexico, the new Fender Vintera series reimagines and consolidates the old Classic series which hosted the Classic Player, Road Worn and Baja models. Vintera points, aims and fires straight at their golden eras of guitar manufacturing with the hopes of building a guitar with all the mojo of those iconic years at a genuinely salivating price point.

Each pickup in this series has been custom designed by legendary pickup engineer, Tim Shaw by meticulously listening to and studying original vintage era pickups, with the goal being to retain the same tonal character that made those guitar so iconic. More than any other aspect of the new Vintera instruments, the re-voicing of the pickups while maintaining the integrity of their respective eras is what Fender put at the forefront. Every pickup is built specifically for that particular era and model, including everything from the Alnico magnet type, wire type, coatings and windings to the pole piece designs.

"Each pickup is voiced for the instrument, for the period, and for position. Era-specific magnets, wire and winding specs for each decade were all part of the equation" - Tim Shaw, Fender Chief Engineer/Guitars

Simplified, the series is split into three decade categories - 50s, 60s and 70s along with selected "Modified" versions of models that add tasteful, contemporary appointments to compliment the vintage vibe. All Vintera models ship with a deluxe Fender gig bag as standard - a nice addition to keep that new axe safe and snug.

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Vintera '50s

What better place to start than the birth of rock 'n' roll and the electrification of music as we know it. The 1950s saw the meteoric rise of Fender and the explosion of a whole new musical landscape, of which the sound was defined, in part, by Fender's latest creations - the Telecaster, Stratocaster and Precision Bass. The Vintera '50s models have all the benchmarks of those original designs including maple fingerboards, single-ply pickguards, original '50s pickup voicings, classic solid colour finishes, original headstock designs and Fender "spaghetti" logos. Let's take a look at each model -

Vintera '50s Telecaster

"For guitarists who love this instrument’s original-era tone, look and feel, the Vintera series ’50s Telecaster epitomizes the guitar in the decade of its debut. With unmistakable early style and snap, authentic single-ply pick guard, maple fingerboard and classic colors from the decade, the Vintera ’50s Telecaster looks, feels and plays like the “Fender guitar that started it all."

Available in Sonic Blue, 2-Color Sunburst and Fiesta Red

Vintera '50s Telecaster Modified

"For players who long for a vintage Telecaster with modern appointments, meet the Vintera ‘50s Telecaster Modified. Blending classic looks with a modern neck profile and fingerboard radius, hotter pickups and updated electronics—this guitar offers unprecedented power for the price. For modern Fender tone we included a pair of Custom Shop pickups, kicking things up a bit with a vintage-style bridge pickup and fat sounding Twisted Tele neck pickup. Twangy and articulate, they have the crisp, snarling sound that put Fender on the musical map."

This model is essentially the replacement of the popular Baja Telecaster models. Available in Butterscotch Blonde, Daphne Blue and Surf Green

Vintera '50s Stratocaster

"For players who want the style and sound of Fender’s golden era, we created the Vintera ‘50s Stratocaster. Equipped with the coveted features that defined the decade—including period-accurate neck profile and hardware, along with re-voiced pickups—this guitar has all of the chime and articulation that made the Stratocaster a legend."

Available in Sea Foam Green, Sonic Blue and White Blonde (Ash)

Vintera '50s Stratocaster Modified

"For players who appreciate the mojo of the past matched to contemporary features, we created the Vintera ’50s Stratocaster Modified. Blending classic looks with a modern neck profile and fingerboard radius, hotter pickups and updated electronics, this guitar packs a surprising amount of power under the hood. A contemporary, two-point synchronized tremolo with vintage-style bent-steel saddles offers rocksolid performance and tuning stability. The S-1™ switch adds the neck pickup in positions 1 and 2, unlocking even more tonal variety. Other features include vintage-style locking tuning machines, vintage-style strap buttons and chrome hardware."

Available in 2-Color Sunburst and Daphne Blue

Vintera '50s Precision Bass

"For players who want the style and sound of Fender’s golden era, we created the Vintera ‘50s Precision Bass. Equipped with the coveted features that defined the decade—including period-accurate neck profile and playing feel, along with a re-voiced pickup—this bass has all of the punchy tone that made the P Bass® famous."

Available in Dakota Red, Sea Foam Green and Vintage Blonde (Ash)

Vintera '60s

With the '50s birthing rock 'n' roll guitar music, the progression of youth culture in the '60s laid the foundations for some of the most influential music ever made and with it, Fender guitars at every step. Vintera '60s models offer those evolved '60s features including multi-ply pickguards, '60s pickup voicings, pau ferro (rosewood replacement) fingerboards, metallic colour finishes, original headstock designs with Fender "spaghetti" or Bob Perine Logo.

Some of you may be aware that at the end of the '50s and into the 60's, Fenders began using rosewood fingerboards as maple 'boards really showed player wear. In the modern age, CITES regulations made moving rosewood around the world expensive, time-consuming and much less common and it doesn't make sense for Fender to add all that cost on to these models that are intended to be competitively priced. Instead, these models have a Pau Ferro fingerboard, which does a superb job of retaining a very similar tone and look without compromise. Let's take a look at the models -

Vintera '60s Telecaster Bigsby

"Celebrating one of the first aftermarket accessories developed specifically for Fender guitars, the Vintera ‘60s Telecaster Bigsby is a real gem! Equipped with the coveted features that defined the decade—including period accurate neck profile, re-voiced pickups and cool-looking Bigsby tremolo—this guitar has all of the growl and twang that made the Telecaster famous, plus the legendary vibrato system. The Vintera ‘60s single-coil Telecaster pickups sound true to the originals – twangy and articulate, they have the crisp, snarling tone that put Fender on the map."

Available in 3-Color Sunburst and White Blonde (Ash)

Vintera '60s Telecaster Modified

"For the players who want classic Fender vibe and contemporary features, we present the Vintera ‘60s Telecaster Modified. Blending classic looks with a modern neck profile and fingerboard radius, hotter pickups and updated electronics—this guitar packs a surprising amount of power under the hood. For modern Fender tone we recreated the pair of ‘60s single-coil Telecaster pickups then kicked things up a bit by increasing the output. Twangy and articulate, they have the power you need for any style of music. Series wiring makes this Tele sound fat, like a humbucking pickup, while the S-1™ switch puts the pickups out of phase with each other for a cool “strangled” tone."

Much like the '50s Tele Modified, the '60's version shares the same Baja Tele pickup functionality, just with '60s flavour with a Pau Ferro board and different neck profile. Available in Lake Placid Blue and Sea Foam Green

Vintera '60s Stratocaster

"For players who want the style and sound of Fender’s golden era, we created the Vintera ‘60s Stratocaster. Equipped with the coveted features that defined the decade—including period-accurate neck profile and playing feel, along with re-voiced pickups—this guitar has all of the chime and articulation that made the Stratocaster a legend. For authentic, vintage-style tone we recreated the trio of single-coil Stratocaster pickups to sound more like the originals. Crystalline and bell-like, they have the crisp, articulate tone that put Fender on the map!"

Available in 3-Color Sunburst, Ice Blue Metallic and Surf Green

Vintera '60s Stratocaster Modified

"For players who appreciate the mojo of the past matched to contemporary features, we created the Vintera ‘60s Stratocaster Modified. Blending classic looks with a modern neck profile and fingerboard radius, hotter pickups and updated electronics, this guitar packs a surprising amount of power under the hood. For modern Fender tone we re-voiced the trio of single-coil Stratocaster pickups, kicking things up a bit by increasing the output for more girth and gain. Thick-sounding, yet articulate, they have the power you need for any style of music."

Available in Burgundy Mist and Olympic White

Vintera '60s Jazzmaster

"Leo Fender envisioned the Jazzmaster as the guitar for the professional session musician. Over the years the Jazzmaster has found a home among a variety of musicians and genres of music; from big bands, to punk rock, to alternative, to country and back again. The Jazzmaster player knows that they have found their guitar of choice the first time they play one. Though born in 1958, the ’60s is the decade where the Jazzmaster hit its stride. The Vintera edition is outfitted with all the upgraded features that defined that decade of it’s life."

Available in Olympic White and Ice Blue Metallic (Matching Painted Headstock)

Vintera '60s Jazzmaster Modified

"For players who appreciate the mojo of the past matched to contemporary features, we created the Vintera ‘60s Jazzmaster Modified. Blending classic looks with a modern neck profile and fingerboard radius, hotter pickups and updated electronics—this guitar packs a surprising amount of power under the hood. For modern Fender tone we re-voiced the pair of single-coil Jazzmaster pickups, kicking things up a bit by increasing the output. The warm, smooth-sounding neck pickup is balanced by the bright, cutting bridge pickup."

Available in 3-Color Sunburst and Surf Green

Vintera '60s Jaguar

"Born in the 1960s (1962 to be exact), the Jaguar was considered Fender’s high water mark in design and sound. The American Original ’60s Jaguar embodies that spirit. Surf’s up! For players who want the style and sound of Fender’s golden era, we created the Vintera ‘60s Jaguar. Equipped with the coveted features that defined the decade—including period-accurate neck profile and playing feel, along with recreated vintage-style pickups—this guitar has all of the “round”, yet bold, tone that made the Jaguar a legend."

Available in 3-Color Sunburst and Ocean Turquoise

Vintera '60s Jaguar Modified

"For players who appreciate the mojo of Fender’s golden era matched to contemporary features, we created the Vintera ‘60s Jaguar Modified. Blending classic looks with a modern neck profile and fingerboard radius, hotter pickups and updated electronics—this guitar packs a surprising amount of power under the hood. The Vintera ’60s Jaguar Modified sports a new modified rhythm circuit. Coil-splitting has been integrated in the two wheels on the upper bout. To crank out giant-sized tone from this short-scale wonder, we loaded it up with a pair of high-output Atomic™ humbucking pickups. They have the power to easily drive a tube amp into luscious overdrive, while retaining the articulate sound that made Fender famous."

Available in Surf Green and 3-Color Sunburst

Vintera '60s Mustang

"For players who crave the style and sound of Fender’s golden era, we created the Vintera ‘60s Mustang. Equipped with the coveted features that defined the decade—including period-accurate neck profile and playing feel, along with re-voiced pickups—this guitar has all of the punch and style that made the Mustang a legend!"

Available in Lake Placid Blue, Sea Foam Green and 3-Color Sunburst

Vintera '60s Jazz Bass

"For players who fantasize about owning a vintage 1960s Jazz Bass the Vintera ‘60s Jazz Bass will hit the spot. For authentic, original-era tone and growl the pair of single-coil Jazz Bass pickups have been re-voiced to sound more true to the originals, which were used on so many classic albums. Gritty and growling, they have the tone that made the J Bass popular."

Available in Firemist Gold, Daphne Blue and 3-Color Sunburst

Vintera '60s Mustang Bass

"Originally intended as a student bass the Mustang Bass has come a long from it’s original incarnation. Most notably, the pickups in the Vintera ‘60s Mustang Bass have never been this powerful! Incorporating the most popular Mustang features, a period-accurate neck profile, and re-voiced pickups—this bass has all of the seismic tone that made the Mustang Bass a legend. For authentic Fender tone Tim Shaw and team re-engineered the split-coil ‘60s Mustang Bass pickups developing a voice that sings and growls like the original."

Available in 3-Color Sunburst, Fiesta Red and Sea Foam Green

Vintera '70s

The 1970s was the decade that music that got really creative, with wild genres like prog rock, punk, funk, glam, disco and the rest all emerging from the ashes left over from the musical explosion of the '60s. And yes, Fender instruments were still everywhere and just as radical as the music! In the Vintera '70s lineup, we're greeted with familiar appointments of the era such as new pickguard designs, "bullet" truss rods, natural wood finishes, humbucking pickup configurations and headstock designs with the Fender Bob Perine Logo.

Of particular note are the Tim Shaw re-voiced Wide-Range humbuckers which give the '70s Tele a thick, yet clean tone in all positions and its "Wide-Range" design is built to bring out the lows for a bold sound. Let's delve into the models -

Vintera '70s Telecaster Deluxe

"Synonymous with Fender’s golden era – the Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Deluxe is equipped with the coveted features that defined a decade of Teles with bite. Tim Shaw and team re-voiced the pair of Wide-Range humbucking pickups to sound like the originals, and then some – bold and thick these new pickups have that punchy Tele Deluxe tone that’s inspired musicians for over forty years."

Available in 3-Color Sunburst, Mocha and Vintage Blonde

Vintera '70s Telecaster Custom

"Nothing else sounds like the Telecaster® Custom – the combination of a vintage-style single-coil bridge pickup with a fat-sounding Wide Range humbucking neck pickup has made this model one of the most sought-after vintage Telecasters. With the Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Custom Fender has added some beef to the traditional Tele® bite. The pickups have been voiced and designed to sound more like the ‘70s originals."

Available in Black, Fiesta Red and Sonic Blue

Vintera '70s Telecaster Thinline

"To make use of wood stocks that exceeded acceptable weight limits, Fender introduces a Roger Rossmeisl designed semi-hollow body version of the Telecaster, replete with a new curvaceous pickguard and “F” hole, the ever popular Tele Thinline debuted in 1972. The Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Thinline sports a pair of Tim Shaw re-voiced Wide Range humbucking pickups to sound true to the ‘70s originals. This semi-hollow body Telecaster has always been in high demand."

Available in Aged Natural, Candy Apple Red and Vintage Blonde

Vintera '70s Stratocaster

"The Vintera ‘70s Stratocaster is equipped with the coveted features that defined that decade — period-accurate neck profile and playing feel, re-voiced pickups, natural finishes – all the chime and articulation that made the Stratocaster a legend. For authentic Fender tone we recreated the trio of ‘70s single-coil Stratocaster pickups to sound true to the originals. Flat-staggered pole pieces (an authentic ’70s element) create a balanced string-to-string response. Crystalline and bell-like, they have the crisp, articulate sound that make Fender so versatile."

Available in Aged Natural, Mocha and Sienna Sunburst

Vintera '70s Jazz Bass

"For players who want the style and sound of the Fender’s golden era, we created the Vintera ‘70s Jazz Bass. Equipped with the coveted features that defined the decade—including period-accurate neck profile and playing feel, along with re-voiced pickups—this bass has all the growl that made the J Bass® famous. For authentic tone we re-voiced the pair of single-coil Jazz Bass pickups to sound more like the originals. Gritty and growling, they have the tone that made the J Bass popular."

Available in Inca Silver, Aged Natural and Aged Natural (Ash)

A Fresh Take - Iconic Fenders Built for the Modern Era

So there it is, much like their premium counterparts - the Californian-built "American Original" series; Vintera gives us Fender classics but this time at a more accessible price point - specifically, circa £700-900ish depending on the model. Vintera looks to the best of Fender's golden era decades should delight the purists among you, whereas those looking for classic tone with modern upgrades can be impressed with the myriad of tasteful twists in the alternative "Modern" models.

More than anything, the attention to detail shown in these new models, and in particular the all-new Tim Shaw designed pickups, elevate Vintera to another level. Going to the extent of each pickup being re-voiced from the ground up for every instrument, period and position down to the wire coating - and for models made in Mexico. It really feels like Fender took their time with these models to get them just right. Beyond vintage mojo charm; it feels like there's genuine heart and soul in every Vintera model.

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By Dale Gardner for Reidys. Posted on 2019-06-24 16:55:06