- Ultimate Guide to Fender Electric Guitars
Founded by Leo Fender in 1946, the eponymous American musical instrument company rose to prominence in the ‘50s with its Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitar models. Setting the precedent for many, the DNA of these iconic Fender instruments can be found in the majority electric guitars that you’ll come across today - a testament to the brand’s influence and legacy.
Historical significance aside, Fender’s appeal has grown exponentially in more recent times, in part to their huge catalogue that includes not only electric guitars, but basses, acoustics, pedals, amplifiers and accessories too. With such a large product selection though, the prospect of browsing through Fender’s gear might therefore feel quite daunting, especially when it comes to their electric guitar offerings.
To help you shop more easily, we’ve broken down Fender’s entire electric guitar selection range-by-range. Starting with their affordable Player series, we make our way through all of Fender’s USA lines and finish with their premium Custom Shop instruments. By the end of this guide - you’ll be a bonafide Fender nerd!
The Fender Range
Fender Player Series Guitars
Introduced in 2018, the Player series is Fender’s most affordable electric guitar range. While the instruments manufactured by Fender’s sub-brand Squier are cheaper, the guitars from the Player series are still relatively attainable and sit at around the £500 - £700 mark. With a better fit and finish as well as superior electronics and hardware, you also get the legendary Fender logo on the headstock!
All models from the Player series are built at Fender’s Ensenada factory in Mexico. This is why you may hear the Player series referred to as the “made in Mexico” or “MIM” range. Although Fender has produced Mexican-made guitars since the ‘90s, the Player series was considered as the biggest revamp of its best-selling South American range in its history.
A number of key improvements were made, which included newly-designed pickups, smooth satin-finished necks, fresh colours, synchronised tremolos (Strats only) and 22 frets as standard across the entire range. With these subtle yet noticeable changes, Fender’s Player series guitars now meet the standards of modern musicians who seek both versatility and performance in equal measure.
Features aside, the Fender Player series also encompasses more models than previous Mexican-made ranges. You’ll find various Strats and Teles, some with traditional features and others with contemporary appointments like Floyd Rose tremolo systems and humbucker pickups, as well as popular offsets like Jaguars, Mustangs and Duo Sonics. And almost 40 years after their discontinuation, Fender’s long-missed Lead models made a return in 2020 to bolster the ever-growing Player series.
Fender Player Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender Vintera Series Guitars
The Vintera series is perfect for guitarists who prefer time-honoured, vintage-style Fender guitars without the premium price tags. Launched in 2019 as a direct replacement for the longstanding Classic range, the Vintera series is far more diverse than its predecessor and features a great selection of ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s-inspired Fender electric guitars.
There are plenty of Strats, Teles, Jazzmasters, Jaguars and Mustangs propping up the Vintera lineup, but hidden gems like the Bigsby-equipped ‘60s Telecaster and the ‘70s Tele Deluxe make this series far more than just a “usual suspects” Fender range.
Nostalgia is definitely the name of the game when it comes to the Vintera series. These instruments not only come equipped with vintage-voiced pickups that recapture the tones of old, but also sport tinted necks with era-specific profiles and rounded 7.25” fingerboard radiuses. A generous array of time-accurate colours are available too, including old-school favourites like Surf Green, Sonic Blue, Vintage Blonde and Fiesta Red.
But if you’d prefer a Fender Vintera guitar with a modern twist, go for one of the ‘Modified’ models. Installed with hotter pickups and featuring “Modern C”-shaped necks with medium-jumbo frets, these strike the perfect balance between old and new.
Much like the Player series, all of Fender’s Vintera guitars are made in Mexico. However, you’ll find that these are slightly more expensive; ranging between £700 - £900 depending on the model. However, a genuine Fender for under £1,000 is still great bang for the buck, and the Vintera series boasts arguably some of the coolest guitars the company currently makes!
Fender Vintera Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender American Performer Guitars
Fender’s Mexican-made guitars are great value-for-money, but some players just have to have that “Made In USA” text on the headstock. So, if you’re after a genuine Corona-crafted Fender guitar that won’t break the bank, look no further than the American Performer Series!
With almost all electric guitars from this no-frills range available for just under £1,000, this makes them the most affordable US-made guitars currently offered by Fender.
For a bit of context, the American Performer series was introduced in late 2018 and replaced Fender’s popular American Special lineup. However, Fender didn’t reinvent the wheel when it launched its American Performer series, but rather improved the existing formula left by the older Special range and modernised the models with some small yet noteworthy updates.
All American Performer guitars come equipped with Fender’s Yosemite and DoubleTap pickups, which were introduced with the launch of the series. Designed to cover a lot of tonal ground, these pickups give players plenty of room to craft their ideal sounds. Satin-finished necks as standard was another minor yet thoughtful improvement, meaning that these guitars offer a very smooth and playable feel.
Unlike some of Fender’s other series’, the American Performer range is relatively modest and sports a small but purposeful lineup. You’ll find some of Fender’s long-established designs in the range, including Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters and Mustangs.
Fender American Performer Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender American Professional Series Guitars
Vintage-inspired instruments made for contemporary guitarists. That’s the Fender American Pro II series in a nutshell. Capturing the essence of the Fender models of old, these guitars truly keep Fender’s heritage alive in the 21st century with time-honoured specifications.
The American Pro II line introduced in 2020 made a number of changes to the Original series. Ash wood is now only available in extremely limited quantities, so Fender made the decision to move all ash production guitars to roasted pine – which is in a way a throwback to the very original prototypes of 1940s Fender guitars.
The range features some brand new sleek finishes, with a nod to Fender guitars throughout the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Single coil neck pickups are now mounted with the scratch plate, so you no longer have to remove the plate to adjust the height. Both Tele and Strat bridges are now far smoother and lower in profile to make these guitars easier to play than ever. Same goes for the drag-resistant ‘Super-Natural’ satin urethane neck featuring more pronounced roll edges and recessed heel joint for the classiest playability.
V-Mod II pickups are further refined, full and give you a slightly brighter tonality. There’s also a push/push pot on the Strat to combine both bridge and neck pickups.
Fender American Professional Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender American Original Series Guitars
Vintage-inspired instruments made for contemporary guitarists. That’s the Fender American Original series in a nutshell. Capturing the essence of the Fender models of old, these guitars truly keep Fender’s heritage alive in the 21st Century, with their time-honoured specifications and nostalgic colours.
Breaking cover in early 2018, the American Original series has proven to be one of Fender’s most popular. Authentic and genuine, these models give today’s players a taste of what Fender’s original ‘50s instruments were like; those made during the golden age of guitar design. However, you don’t have to put up with eye-watering vintage guitar price tags, as these instruments come in at just between £1,500 - £1,700.
With period-accurate pickups that are constructed using traditional techniques and materials, Fender American Original models project truly spellbinding tones. And with era-specific neck profiles, including the famous “Soft-V” shape, their authentic feel will take you back in time to the formative years of rock ‘n’ roll music. But the coolest thing about these guitars? They’re finished in nitrocellulose, meaning that they sound beautifully resonant and will, perhaps more importantly, wear and age gloriously over time!
Fender American Original Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender American Ultra Series Guitars
Launched in late 2019, the American Ultra series encompasses some of the most technically-advanced and forward-thinking guitars that Fender has ever made. Replacing the short-lived American Elite range, instruments from the Ultra series are made explicitly for modern musicians who seek premium performance, precision and tone. There’s a reason why these are currently Fender’s top-of-the-range production models!
Instruments from the American Ultra lineup sport a number of unique features that you simply won’t find on other Fender guitars, and are considered by familiar Fender fans as quite a big departure. Fitted with the latest versions of Fender’s ‘Ultra Noiseless’ pickups, these promise powerful tones without producing any of the annoying hiss that commonly afflicts traditional Fender single-coils. These guitars also sport the sophisticated ‘S-1’ switch (discreetly built into their volume knobs), which unlocks even more pickup combinations.
Versatile electronics aside, American Ultra guitars provide a feel that is practically unmatched by any other models in the Fender catalogue. With “Modern D”-shaped, satin-finished necks that are fitted with medium-jumbo frets, these instruments give you a super-fast and controllable feel, boosted even more by their ergonomic compound radius fingerboards with smoothly rolled edges. And with tapered neck heels, you can effortlessly access their upper frets too!
Like we said, these are the most expensive guitars made by Fender, with the exception of those produced by the Custom Shop division. Creeping towards the £2,000 mark, these guitars certainly cost a pretty penny, but they’re worth it. At the moment, the Fender American Ultra electric guitar range features Strats, Teles and Jazzmasters.
Fender American Ultra Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender Acoustasonic Guitars
Fender’s American Acoustasonic guitars are potential game-changers. Launched at the 2019 NAMM Show, these modern hybrids merge forgiving electric guitar playability with glorious acoustic tone. Designed for contemporary musicians who seek ultimate versatility from a single instrument, the Acoustasonic series already has many plaudits.
Currently, the Fender American Acoustasonic range is split into two, with Stratocaster and Telecaster shapes available. Both powered by a revolutionary Fender/Fishman-designed acoustic engine, this system beautifully optimises and modifies their natural sounds to deliver a curated collection of acoustic voices; almost indistinguishable from their real, full-sized acoustic guitar counterparts. Effortlessly imitate the sounds of dreadnought, jumbo and parlour acoustic guitars - completely on the fly.
But even with that technology, you still may be wondering: “how do Fender Acoustasonic guitars sound like real acoustics when they have much smaller body shapes?” Well, with Fender’s ‘Stringed Instrument Resonance System’ and their innovative ‘Transverse’ bracing, these features help them achieve the harmonic breadth that you’d expect from traditional acoustic guitars. The combination of this system and their smaller body designs means that feedback is greatly reduced too, which is a problem that afflicts most electro-acoustic guitars. Not to mention, a compact body makes them far more comfortable to play as well!
Fundamentally, these hybrid instruments allow you to seamlessly change from convincing acoustic sounds to plugged-in electric tones - quite literally at the flick of a switch. Both the Strat and Tele-shaped Acoustasonic guitars are fitted with an ‘N4’ magnetic single-coil, which allows you to attain those classic, spanky Fender electric tones. And whereas the Acoustasonic Tele boasts a single electric voice, the Strat-shaped version has three electric sounds on tap, making it a more viable choice for electric-orientated guitarists.
Fender American Acoustasonic Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender Parallel Universe Series Guitars
Fender’s flagship guitar designs are etched into the pages of music history. But for some players, their models may just be a little bit too “mainstream” for their tastes. To cater for guitarists who seek out-of-the-ordinary instruments, Fender created the Parallel Universe series. Featuring a bunch of unique, wacky and mismatched wonders - these American-made guitars make the “wrong” right!
First introduced in 2018, the Parallel Universe series is mostly comprised of instruments that combine the features of several different Fender guitars, to ultimately form something new. Throwing conventional Strat and Tele designs out of the window, these unusual hybrids guitars sport unconventional pickup configurations, offbeat hardware appointments and even take inspiration from instruments manufactured by other guitar brands.
From Jazzmaster-tremolo-equipped Strats with block inlays to double-bound, Bigbsy-fitted Teles featuring trios of humbuckers; the Parallel Universe encompasses a bunch of oddball models that are sure to grab some onstage attention. Most Parallel Universe models are also limited to just a single year of production too, so they’re almost guaranteed to become highly sought-after collectables in the future!Shop Fender Parallel Universe Series Guitars!
Fender Artist Series Guitars
High-profile musicians from all over the world use Fender guitars, including legendary names and professional touring/session players. With hundreds of guitarists on Fender’s current endorsee roster, some of the most loyal and renowned Fender users, both past and present, have been graced with their own Artist models.
Almost all Fender signature guitars are designed collaboratively, often with direct input from the artists themselves. Most of these are heavily-modified versions of existing Fender models which feature aftermarket pickups, non-typical hardware and unique finishes favoured by the musician.
However, the Fender Artist series also encompasses the detailed replicas that the Custom Shop division builds, usually of iconic instruments synonymous with certain rock legends. Going to painstaking levels of detail, some of the luthiers even analyse the original instruments with lasers in order to accurately measure their neck profiles!
Ultimately, the Fender Artist series allows fans to buy the same guitars that their heroes use, or at least ones that are extremely similar. Some of the biggest names with their own Fender signature guitars include Eric Johnson, Johnny Marr, Jim Root (Slipknot), Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), Jim Adkins (Jimmy Eat World) and Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes).Shop Fender Artist Series Guitars!
Fender FSR Series Guitars
Love Fender guitars with a unique twist? Well, you’ll love their FSR/Limited Edition models! Slightly more reserved than their zany Parallel Universe series counterparts, Fender FSR guitars are often based on existing models but come in unique one-off colour schemes or are made from rare, unconventional tonewoods.
Typically limited to just a few hundred examples, Andertons Music Co. works closely with Fender to ensure that we always have a great selection of these rare FSR guitars. But sometimes, we even collaboratively design FSR models with Fender - which they’ll make exclusively for us!
Apart from encompassing a bunch of super-cool and unique instruments, the beauty of the Fender FSR series is that it caters for most price-points, and is spread across multiple Fender ranges. For example, Fender makes FSR guitars for its affordable Mexican-made Player and Vintera series, but occasionally releases Corona-crafted FSR instruments for its USA lines. However, some of the coolest FSR guitars are those made by Fender’s Japanese factory, and many musicians specifically seek out Fender’s “MIJ” instruments for their quality.
Fender Limited Edition Series on Andertons T.V.
Fender Custom Shop Guitars
If you’re a premium guitar aficionado, an instrument from the Fender Custom Shop will easily satisfy your cravings. Only the most stunning examples of electric guitar excellence are built by the Fender Custom Shop, so whether you’re a cunning collector or a hardworking musician looking for a once-in-a-lifetime purchase; this is where you’ll find only the finest guitars built by the legendary American brand.
Fender’s Custom Shop division employs a select group of “master builders”, who are based at a special wing in Fender’s main Corona manufacturing facility. This very exclusive club of highly-experienced luthiers are tasked with producing custom-ordered instruments for retailers, clients and artists. Using only the best tonewoods and materials available, these guitars are also equipped with hand-wired pickups which are made using traditional, time-honoured methods.
Essentially, if you want your dream Fender guitar to become a reality, then the Custom Shop is where they’ll make it. Any instrument made by this elite division is a labour of love, built to last an entire lifetime.
Fender Custom Shop Master Builder on Andertons T.V.
Want To Learn More?
For more information on Fender products, check out our related articles:
- Ultimate guide to Fender Stratocasters
- Ultimate guide to Fender Telecasters
- Ultimate guide to Fender amps
- Ultimate guide to Fender acoustic guitars
- What Are Fender FSR Series Guitars
- Fender Jazz Bass vs. Precision Bass