In 1982 Fender released the American Vintage Reissue Series. In an era when quality control was in a major slump, these three guitars and two basses not only brought a significant facelift to Fender's offerings, but also spearheaded a wave of other builders to follow suit. Today the market for classic recreations is huge, and the options are growing.
This year Fender has overhauled the AVRI Series from head to toe, incorporating new models, improving finish quality, neck dimensions, pickup accuracy and overall fit and finish. Hundreds of hours were spent examining, measuring, weighing, x-raying and listening to fine vintage examples to hone in on the nuance and feel of the originals. The new models show definite refinement and address some shortcomings over the previous models offered. We will cover a number of improvements that has made an all ready successful offering of instruments even more inspiring and a better value. To truly appreciate the upgrades and new models available we will discuss some complaints of their predecessors, how they were addressed and reincarnated.
One of the first guitars Fender reissued was the 1957 Stratocaster, bringing back original 50's era contours and finish techniques. An overall nice instrument, but left a little to be desired in areas which led many players to modifications and upgrades. Some of the most common complaints we heard were the relatively thin sounding pickups, the sticky feel to the thick lacquer finishes and the too skinny necks. The new '56 Stratocaster is one of two maple neck Strats now offered. This guitar has huge acoustic resonance and sustain thanks to its beefier medium soft V profile neck and thin lacquer finish. The level of attention to detail has increased dramatically with tastefully rolled fingerboard edges and beautiful fret dressing, making this guitar a joy to play. Based on era specific materials and winding patterns, the newly redesigned pickups faithfully capture the breath and dimension from over 50 years ago.
The '52 Telecaster is no newcomer to the Fender's AVRI Series, but the updated treatment will be a breath of fresh air to Tele fanatics. The previous orange-y lacquered, twig-necked Butterscotch Teles were a far cry from the original ash and maple powerhouses. The newly re-worked '52 Tele is certainly something wonderful to behold and again, addresses some common issues. These lighter weight counterparts are very well balanced with a great, chunky vintage feel to the neck. Rolled fingerboard edges are again a welcomed change for comfort and playability. New period correct output pickups translate the natural warmth and sparkle these guitars are famous for... not thin and brittle. Modern wiring comes standard in the new '52 Telecaster, so no cap swaps or rewiring is needed for full functionality (a welcome change for us shop techs!). This model has quickly become a favorite around our shop.
The '65 Jazzmaster is another fresh model, taking the place of the previously offered '62 Jazzmaster. This CBS era model has a fatter, bound neck with a slightly more dramatic taper from the nut to the heal. New pickups wound to strict 1965 specifications accurately capture the mellow but articulate vibe that made the original a smash hit. The CBS era logo, pearl dot fret board inlays and Fender Amplifier control knobs all add to the CBS era flair. These guitars have a noticeably more solid feel than their previous offset counterparts.
Fender's new AVRI bass offerings will have even the most scrutinizing rhythm section smiling. Based on the previous '57 AVRI Precision Bass, the new '58 P-Bass packs a serious low end punch. With its re-voiced '58 split coil pickup, clarity and warmth are greatly enhanced. Sustain and growl are unmatched thanks to the fat, solid maple neck generating great resonance transfer to the body and back again. And if their was any question, the anodized gold pick-guard leaves no mystery to its late 50's heritage.
In the early-mid 1960's there was no question that Fender was king of bass in from recording studios to stages. Played by virtually every notable session player and live performer, and for good reason. The '64 AVRI Jazz Bass encompasses much of why they were and continue to be so successful. Representing the last year before the CBS changes were made, this bass features original clay dot fret markers and headstock decal. The slimmer neck carve and narrower nut width make this an incredibly fast playing bass and coaxes a stronger top end than its P brother.
These are just a few of our favorites from Fender's American Vintage Reissue Series and we invite you to come take a look at the rest of the models in the series. We are delighted to offer historically accurate reproductions that are truly a great value from the working musician to the selective collector.