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Phil O'Keefe

The new American Performer series from Fender...

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They were just announced today.

 

 

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https://www.harmonycentral.com/news/...es-from-fender

 

I was on a conference call last week where they were introduced to the press and demoed... as a big fan of the shortscale offsets, I was really excited to hear that they're making a USA-built, non-custom shop Mustang for the first time since 1982...

 

We have a couple of the new American Performer series guitars incoming, so stay tuned for the HC Reviews...

 

 

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I was just on the MF site, checking on the SDOTD, then took a moment to look at their promo and the models for this new "Performer Series". I remembered seeing you'd started a thread on this topic, so I circled back here.

Like you, the Mustang was the first to catch my eye since I also could not recall a recent American made version of the Mustang. That said, I'd be a bit happier if they'd preserved the original phase switching config, but I'm sure this version has it's performance advantages.

But while it's cool to see a more affordable offering of American Series offsets, I have to say that I'll also mourn the passing of the former "American Special" series of Strats and Telecasters. I own an American Special Telecaster and it's a favorite of mine; very resonant. I was able to get that guitar for $710 new (I think they were asking about $800 when they first came out) but I've been seeing the price increases So $1,100 isn't quite the affordable entry price they used to have, but in particular I thought that their inclusion of the Texas Special pickups (which are faves of mine) made the Specials quite the bargain. I'm naturally curious what the Performer "Yosemite" pickups will sound like. But if I were looking for a Strat or Tele in the entry price range, I think I'd be looking for a deal on an American Special before they're all gone.

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I was just on the MF site, checking on the SDOTD, then took a moment to look at their promo and the models for this new "Performer Series". I remembered seeing you'd started a thread on this topic, so I circled back here.

Like you, the Mustang was the first to catch my eye since I also could not recall a recent American made version of the Mustang. That said, I'd be a bit happier if they'd preserved the original phase switching config, but I'm sure this version has it's performance advantages.

 

We'll see. I still haven't played one yet, but supposedly they're going to send me a Mustang to review. I own an original '71, so it will be easy to do direct comparisons. Apparently they updated the bridge and vibrato on the new one, which was one of the weaker areas of the originals.

 

As far as the original slide switches, I kind of like them too, but apparently a lot of people HATE them. There's really only one additional sound you can get from the switches (two different switch position combinations essentially result in the exact same sound - both pickups together, running out of phase), and not all that many people seem to like / use that sound. You can swap out the volume or tone control with one equipped with a push / pull DPDT switch and get that same both pickups / out of phase setting with the new Mustangs if it's really important. A lot of players mod old Mustangs and pull the old switches and replace them with a three-way toggle and new pickguard - it's a fairly common mod on those old guitars.

 

But while it's cool to see a more affordable offering of American Series offsets, I have to say that I'll also mourn the passing of the former "American Special" series of Strats and Telecasters. I own an American Special Telecaster and it's a favorite of mine; very resonant. I was able to get that guitar for $710 new (I think they were asking about $800 when they first came out) but I've been seeing the price increases So $1,100 isn't quite the affordable entry price they used to have, but in particular I thought that their inclusion of the Texas Special pickups (which are faves of mine) made the Specials quite the bargain. I'm naturally curious what the Performer "Yosemite" pickups will sound like. But if I were looking for a Strat or Tele in the entry price range, I think I'd be looking for a deal on an American Special before they're all gone.

 

The jury is still out on the new Yosemite pickups. They played demos on the press announcement conference call, but IMO the audio wasn't good enough to make any judgements. From what I was told, the new pickups use various different AlNiCo magnets (II's, IV's...) depending on the pickup and guitar, and they were designed by Tim Shaw, who has designed pickups for Gibson and Fender, and IMO, he knows his stuff...

 

 

[video=youtube;TqXNxac-2AQ]

 

 

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Besides the new pickups and the Mustang switch change, a couple of other things I'm curious about is how people are going to react to the satin finishes - not all of the colors are satin, but some of them are, such as the Sonic Blue on the Mustang in the picture in the OP. Also, the decision to use a Strat-style tremolo on the Jazzmaster is one that I think is going to be unpopular with some players - maybe not the folks who have never played a JM before, but the died-in-the-wool JM lovers are probably not going to be very happy about it. In Fender's defense, they do have a point - the traditional JM bridge / vibrato can be the source of a lot of player frustration...

 

 

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Ah, Tim Shaw makes some good stuff. I have a Longboard Strat that has his HB in the bridge. It's great sounding rock'n roll p'up that works well on a Strat. (I kinda wished I'd foregone the kitschy Longboard version and had simply got a Strat w a trem and split-able version of the Shawbucker.)

 

Just remembered I have Shaw designed p'ups in my most recent Am Professional SSS Strat as well. It's an ash bodied Sienna Burst, so the ash makes it a little hard to A/B those pickups against my alder strats, but they certainly don't seem to be lacking in any means.

 

Regarding the Mustangs, I've got a MIJ version from 2010 in Dakota Red, so I'm good to go. But just looking back at my list, I see I had to pay $810 for that MIJ Mustang back in 2010, so paying 11 Benjamins for a MIA in 2019 sounds like a pretty good deal; plus I agree, that a lot of players will prefer the updated features. I indeed find the "out-of-phase" mode to have limited functionality, BUT with a good measure of OD, that setting starts to get pretty cool.' IIRC, it creates a more spatial tone that seems a bit more 3-D.

 

Regarding the JM, I hadn't noticed that Strat trem until you mention it. Yeah, I think the classic JM bridge is nice to have on a Jazzmaster. I find that although they seem a bit odd if one is familiar with a Strat trem, the JM's trem seems to make it a tad bit easier to use the trem in more subtle nuances.

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I agree that the original Jazzmaster vibrato is far easier to be subtle with... much more so than a Mustang or even Strat vibrato IMO. The downside of course is the original saddles and the relative lack of string down pressure at the bridge. Loose and rattling saddles and strings that pop out of the saddles with heavy strumming are very common complaints with the original design, which I suspect is why Fender decided to just avoid those issues entirely by going with a Strat style bridge.

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I love the larger 70's style headstock on the Strat. For some reason' date=' IMO, it looks more majestic than the smaller headstock.[/quote']

 

When I was starting out in the ‘70s, large was all you could get new, so of course everyone loved the smaller ones that you could only get on the used / vintage instruments. Larger headstocks have grown on me a bit since then, but I still prefer the smaller ones on a Strat. On a Mustang, anything but a large one looks out of place IMO.

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When I was starting out in the ‘70s, large was all you could get new, so of course, everyone loved the smaller ones that you could only get on the used / vintage instruments. Larger headstocks have grown on me a bit since then, but I still prefer the smaller ones on a Strat. On a Mustang, anything but a large one looks out of place IMO.

 

#Me too

 

Here's my first strat purchased used in 1980 for 300 bucks. It's was made in 1976

I have 4 strats all together.

 

Blackie an Am Standard, I think it has the swimming pool cut out. That was my bar brawler.

57 RI I bought in 1984 in NYC.

A 62 RI I bought in the mid 80's I ruined the finish on the back by leaving a leather strap on the guitar. :facepalm:

and the 76 strat.

 

Turns out I'm more of a tele guy.:D

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
I was just on the MF site, checking on the SDOTD, then took a moment to look at their promo and the models for this new "Performer Series". I remembered seeing you'd started a thread on this topic, so I circled back here.

Like you, the Mustang was the first to catch my eye since I also could not recall a recent American made version of the Mustang. That said, I'd be a bit happier if they'd preserved the original phase switching config, but I'm sure this version has it's performance advantages.

But while it's cool to see a more affordable offering of American Series offsets, I have to say that I'll also mourn the passing of the former "American Special" series of Strats and Telecasters. I own an American Special Telecaster and it's a favorite of mine; very resonant. I was able to get that guitar for $710 new (I think they were asking about $800 when they first came out) but I've been seeing the price increases So $1,100 isn't quite the affordable entry price they used to have, but in particular I thought that their inclusion of the Texas Special pickups (which are faves of mine) made the Specials quite the bargain. I'm naturally curious what the Performer "Yosemite" pickups will sound like. But if I were looking for a Strat or Tele in the entry price range, I think I'd be looking for a deal on an American Special before they're all gone.

 

Yeah, the American Specials are great. I recently bought one and I love it. The Texas Specials still get that Tele thing, but they push everything a little harder than my old American Standard Tele did.

 

I'm going to get a '52 Reissue and have that as my traditional old school Tele, and then put a 4 way switch on the Special and have that as the rock/blues Tele.

 

It's all I really need. Well, and a Les Paul, gotta have one guitar with humbuckers. :lol:

 

Edited by Daryl Flynn

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Nice Strats Mikeo! :philthumb:

 

Is the '62 RI American or Japanese?

 

I don't think your first Strat is a '76 though... the serial number dates to '74.

 

https://www.guitarinsite.nl/serienummers-fender_eng.php

 

https://www.guitardaterproject.org/fender.aspx

 

American on the 62 RI Strat

 

I have actually never looked up the serial number in the 3 tone sunburst, good to know.

 

 

 

The only MIJ Fender I have is a 62 RI tele. It's my fav grab and go, and has plenty of fret wear after 33 years. They say the Japanese Strats and Teles are even closer than the American ones to being the real thing. IDK

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"DCP_1125.JPG","data-attachmentid":32435906}[/ATTACH]

 

Here's the 52 RI I got in NYC back in 83. There is no V on the serial number.

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"DCP_1123.JPG","data-attachmentid":32435907}[/ATTACH][ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"DCP_1124.JPG","data-attachmentid":32435908}[/ATTACH]

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Very nice Teles! I've seen the MIJ before... didn't you post a pic of it in my bound Tele thread?

 

Is the neck really thin on the red AVRI Strat, with a C-shaped profile?

 

 

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Very nice Teles! I've seen the MIJ before... didn't you post a pic of it in my bound Tele thread?

 

Is the neck really thin on the red AVRI Strat, with a C-shaped profile?

 

 

yes it is, it's really slick for smaller paws like mine.

 

The 62 Tele RI has a little fatter neck.

 

I think the guitar I have with the thickest neck is a ES-135. My 135 has 57 classics, as opposed to the P100's.

 

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I’ve got 57 classics in my 2013 SG Standard... I love those pickups!

 

I’ve got smaller paws too... those Fender Fullerton AVRI’s have really comfortable necks on them - at least all the ones I’ve tried have been like that.

 

If you ever think about selling yours, please let me know....

 

 

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Yeah, the American Specials are great. I recently bought one and I love it. The Texas Specials still get that Tele thing, but they push everything a little harder than my old American Standard Tele did.

 

I'm going to get a '52 Reissue and have that as my traditional old school Tele, and then put a 4 way switch on the Special and have that as the rock/blues Tele.

 

It's all I really need. Well, and a Les Paul, gotta have one guitar with humbuckers. :lol:

 

Yeah, you should get a '52 RI, they are a particularly great sounding Tele. At least mine is. It's got the deepest sounding tones of any of my Tele's but I had a harder time putting down my Am Spc. Tele. The '52 I have is stock wired so that you do not get the B+N pickup selection without installing the included mod kit. But where most Ash bodied guitars sound more "toppy" to me, that '52 is deeper sounding. I got lucky and found mine new for $800 from a ma 'n pa store. It just hadn't sold, so they were blowing it out. Lucky me. The other thing that was a bit troubling is that I read that they did a nitro finish over the top of a thin poly finish. Assuming that was correct, I noticed that I was getting the "tacky" feel nitro without the fabled benefit. But regardless of those internet philosophies, it does indeed sound great. Mine was bought somewhere around the beginning of the 2000s, so I imagine their may have been some slight tweaks to the manufacturing since I picked up one. Happy hunting!

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