By Daniel Corey
Day 1 of NAMM down!
For those who don’t know, NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants, which holds conventions twice a year in Anaheim and Nashville. Basically, all of the manufacturers of musical equipment come out and show off their wares, and there is much fun to be had.
I spent some time in the Fender showroom Thursday, and here’s a little of what they had to offer.
First up, Fender’s big announcement for the show is the American Acoustasonic Stratocaster.
Last year, Fender released the Acoustasonic Telecaster, which I am a huge fan of. The Strat seems nice, too, though I didn’t get a chance to plug it in and fully test it out.
Besides having a Strat-like body, it did have something of a different feel in the string tension across the fingerboard. That was my initial impression, anyway. I hope to learn more about it soon. What I can tell you for sure, though, is that it feels great on the fingertips, and plays beautifully. The Acoustasonic brand really does deliver on giving you a hybrid acoustic/electric experience of play.
A beautiful red Saleen 1 sports car was parked just outside of the showroom, displayed alongside Master Builder Ron Thorn’s new Saleen 1 Stratocaster. I had met Ron before at the Fender Custom Shop Road Show in Hollywood, and he is a nice guy with an unbelievable gift for creating extremely unique instruments.
Fender had several different collections hanging for attendees to check out, including their new American Ultra line. The Ultras have replaced the American Elites as the top-line production model.
I first had a chance to sample the American Ultra Tele while visiting Wunjo Guitars in London, and they play beautifully. This was my first time seeing one with Butterscotch Blonde finish and black body binding, which I particularly like.
Next up, I spent some time gawking at the beautiful Parallel Universe line. The PU guitars are hybrid pairings of iconic Fender models.
Being a sucker for Thinline Telecasters, I particularly loved the look of the Parallel Universe Tele Magico, with its Transparent Daphne Blue finish and Gold Foil pickups.
And you can’t beat the Troublemaker. This Olympic White Troublemaker Tele Deluxe looked quite fetching with its bound Mahogany body, Olympic White finish and gold humbucking pickups.
The most unexpected find in the Fender room was the Coronation Stratocaster, built by Yuriy Shishkov. Inspired by the Coronation Easter Egg created by Faberge in 1897, the insured value of this guitar is $1.2 million. My question is: will anybody actually dare play this instrument???
Finally, I had a chance to chat with Master Builder Carlos Lopez about his Eric Johnson Virginia Stratocaster and Cadillac Smoke Metallic Acoustasonic Telecaster. I’ll have a detailed interview with Carlos posted in the next few days, so be on the lookout. For now, just know that the guitars are beautiful, and Carlos is a super-nice guy.
More to come from NAMM soon! I’ll get content up as quickly as I can, so stay tuned!
For more info about Fender guitars, visit their website at https://www.fender.com.