At this year’s NAMM convention in Anaheim, California, Guitar Messenger was invited to an exclusive media event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster. Ivan Chopik had the opportunity to speak with Fender product specialists Allen Abbassi and Stephen Jackson about Fender’s Past/Present/Future theme for the Stratocaster and get an up-close look at some of the new 60th Anniversary models. We also had a chance to meet with Lynn Robison of the Fender Music Foundation for a closeup look at a custom Stratocaster designed for pop star Bruno Mars.
The Stratocaster guitar’s formative years come back to electrifying life with the limited-edition 60th Anniversary American Vintage 1954 Stratocaster. This special guitar honors the Stratocaster’s very first model year as an “excitingly new instrument” with a tone “as new and different as tomorrow,” and is reverently crafted with a rich selection of features, appointments and accessories.
60TH ANNIVERSARY AMERICAN VINTAGE 1954 STRATOCASTER®
The two-piece ash body features a side seam and a flash-coat lacquer finish in the guitar’s original 2-Color Sunburst. The one-piece maple neck has a comfortable 1954 profile and date stamp just below the truss rod adjustment nut, topped by a 7.25”-radius fingerboard with rolled edges and 21 vintage frets. Three new 1954 single-coil Stratocaster pickups deliver a singing original-era voice, with five-way switching complemented by an included optional three-way switch for original wiring. The guitar also features a single-ply white pickguard and white polystyrene control knobs, bone nut and round string tree, American Vintage synchronized tremolo bridge with six “patent pending” saddles, vintage tuners and nickel-chrome hardware.
Special extras and accessories include a vintage-design single-stitch center-pocket tweed case; replica polishing cloth, cable, black leather strap and bridge cover; extra tremolo springs (two), and reproduction 1954 paperwork. Each guitar will come with a 1954 Anniversary Strat® Certificate and the first 54 of the run will feature a special 60th anniversary “1st 54” engraved neck plate. Available only during 2014 in a limited edition of 1,954 guitars.
Celebrate the diamond anniversary of the world’s greatest electric guitar with the 60th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster and 60th Anniversary Classic Player ’50s Stratocaster. Both are contemporary takes on the original-era Stratocaster, updated with modern features and appointments that combine the best of the past with the best of today.
60TH ANNIVERSARY CLASSIC PLAYER ’50S STRATOCASTER®
This model features a distinctively classic ’50s-era combination of a Desert Sand gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish with gold hardware and a gold anodized aluminum pickguard. Other premium features include an alder body; maple neck with “soft V” profile, gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish and vintage-style heel-end truss rod adjustment; maple fingerboard with 9.5″ radius and 21 medium jumbo frets; three American Vintage Strat single-coil pickups with five-way switching; aged white control knobs; two-point synchronized tremolo bridge with vintage-style stamped steel saddles; and vintage-style locking tuners. Pro series hardshell tweed case and special commemorative book included.
60TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE STRATOCASTER®
Available in 2014 only, Fender’s 60th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster is a beautifully crafted U.S.-made instrument that celebrates six decades of the world’s greatest electric guitar. Fine features and appointments include an ash body with a comfortably contoured heel, three special-design 1954 single-coil Strat® pickups, a compound-radius fingerboard, gold hardware, custom-engraved neck plate and headstock ingot, and a beautiful 2-Color Sunburst gloss finish.
Other premium features include a maple neck with modern “C” profile and satin finish, maple fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and black pearloid inlays, Micro-Tilt™ neck adjustment mechanism, five-way pickup switching and “no-load” tone control for middle and bridge pickups, two-point synchronized tremolo bridge with vintage-style stamped steel saddles, and deluxe tuners with white pearloid buttons. Includes vintage-style tweed case with embroidered 60th anniversary logo, strap and strap locks, cable, polishing cloth and special commemorative book.
SQUIER® 60TH ANNIVERSARY CLASSIC VIBE ’50S STRATOCASTER®
2014 marks the diamond jubilee of the Stratocaster, but you’ll strike pure gold when you get your hands on Squier’s 60th Anniversary Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster. The instrument celebrates six decades of the world’s greatest electric guitar with a truly gilded model featuring an Aztec Gold gloss finish and gold hardware.
Other features include a maple neck with a comfortable “modern C” profile, 9.5″-radius maple fingerboard with 21 medium jumbo frets, three custom vintage-style single-coil Stratocaster pickups with five-way switching, three-ply parchment pickguard, vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge with six saddles, and vintage-style tuners.
The Stratocaster guitars of the future are here. Fender’s Fishman® TriplePlay Stratocaster HSS, Deluxe Stratocaster HSS Plus Top with iOS Connectivity, and American Deluxe Strat® Plus and Deluxe Strat® Plus HSS all use built-in state-of-the-art technology to give you thrilling new Stratocaster playing experiences that usher the world’s greatest electric guitar into a bright and bold new era.
DELUXE STRATOCASTER® HSS PLUS TOP WITH IOS CONNECTIVITY
The Deluxe Stratocaster® HSS Plus Top guitar with IOS Connectivity lets you expand the sonic possibilities of the world’s greatest electric guitar by plugging it straight into iOS devices such as your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® or computer—with no need for any external devices—for easy recording, editing, monitoring and more. Along with all its other great features, you get superior signal-to-noise ratio and remarkable dynamic range for an exciting and truly state-of-the-art playing experience.
The guitar’s built-in USB audio interface is what does the trick. You can always play it as a great-sounding standard HSS Stratocaster, but the USB output and 1/8” stereo headphone output on the side of the lower bout deliver a whole other world of sonic versatility and creativity. Use the included USB mini-B to Lighting™ cable to connect the guitar directly to your iPhone®, iPad® or iPod®, or use the included USB mini-B to USB Type A cable to connect directly to your Mac or PC (a custom USB mini-B to MFi 30-pin cable for connection to older iPhone®, iPad® and iPod® models is sold separately).
And to top it all off, it’s a gorgeous guitar with a beautiful flame maple top in a choice of Aged Cherry Burst or Tobacco Sunburst gloss finishes. Other features include a maple neck with “modern C” profile and gloss finish, maple or rosewood fingerboard with 9.5″ radius and 22 medium jumbo frets, single-coil neck and middle pickups, humbucking bridge pickup, five-way switching and three white plastic control knobs (master volume, master tone, headphone volume), three-ply parchment pickguard and vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge with six saddles.
FENDER® FISHMAN® TRIPLEPLAY STRATOCASTER® HSS
Fender’s Fishman® TriplePlay Stratocaster® HSS guitar uses state-of-the-art built-in digital technology to give you a thrilling new playing experience in which you can emulate other instruments with ease and create a world of all-new sounds. It’s a phenomenal leap forward in the evolution of the world’s greatest electric guitar. Check out our conversation with Fender specialist Stephen Jackson to get an inside look at this unique guitar and some of the sounds it can produce:
With its potent tonal combination of Vintage Noiseless™ single-coil Stratocaster neck and middle pickups and a powerful Seymour Duncan® Pearly Gates™ humbucking bridge pickup, it’s a fine instrument in the conventional manner. But two other ultra-modern performance features launch this re-imagined Stratocaster into a brilliantly exciting future.
Engage the built-in Fishman® TriplePlay system, which wirelessly transmits MIDI data to your computer to create virtually unlimited sounds with a wealth of performance, composing and recording features. The Fishman hex pickup, TriplePlay D-pad controller and MIDI volume control are all built into the front of the guitar, with the TriplePlay wireless controller built into the back. The wireless controller transmits the signal from the hex pickup to the included USB transceiver, which plugs into your computer (a handy clip on the back of the headstock holds the transceiver when not in use). For charging the unit, a power supply and micro-USB cable that connects to the TriplePlay wireless controller are included.
Also, the mini-USB output on the side of the lower bout digitally transmits the audio signals from the three Stratocaster pickups to your computer using the included USB cable. The adjacent 1/8” output jack lets you monitor the proceedings with headphones and has its own volume control on the front of the guitar.
Once the signal reaches your computer—from the TriplePlay system or from the mini-USB output—all the software you need to record, edit and play back your sounds comes in an included USB flash drive that contains Fishman® TriplePlay, IK Multimedia SampleTank 2.5 and AmpliTube Custom Shop, and Native Instruments Komplete Elements (additional software such as Notion Progression and PreSonus Studio One® Artist available for free download with product registration).
The guitar also features a maple neck with “modern C” profile and satin finish, rosewood fingerboard with a 9.5” radius and 22 medium jumbo frets, standard master volume control and ¼” output jack, standard five-way pickup switching, three-ply parchment pickguard, and vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge with six saddles. Available in Black and Three-color Sunburst gloss finishes. Deluxe gig bag included.
Executive Director Lynn Robison of the Fender Music Foundation showed us a very special Stratocaster which was made for Bruno Mars for use in his ‘Gorilla’ music video and the Super Bowl half time show. Visit FenderMusicFoundation.org for more information.
Fender had easily one of the most impressive and expansive booths at the NAMM 2014 show. In addition to Fender, it was also home to companies like Jackson, Charvel, and EVH to name a few. Join us for a quick flight through the booth:
[Special thanks to Chris Dingman and Alexander Pierce for their fantastic video work!]