Fender has announced its American Vintage II range of electric guitars and bass guitars, an all-new catalog of instruments that harks back to a handful of exceptional production years from the Big F’s history.
Specifically, the Telecaster cohort contains models based on the single-cuts Fender dropped in the years ‘51, ‘63, ‘72, ‘75 and ‘77, while the Strat section sets its sights on ‘57, ‘61 and ‘73-inspired models.
Completing the roundup is a ‘54 and ‘60 Precision Bass, a ‘66 Jazz Bass and a 1966 Jazzmaster.
Notably, each individual model vows to be a near-like-for-like recreation of its flagship inspiration, with Fender pulling out all the stops to harness its heritage through period-accurate appointments, revived pickups and faithful functional specs.
Highlights from the overall drop include the return of the revered CuNiFe Wide-Ranging humbuckers of the ‘72, ‘75 and ‘77 Telecaster models – replacing the cosmetically enhanced regular humbuckers that are found on similar models – which are joined by nitrocellulose lacquer finishes, vintage-style neck profiles and hardware, and “heirloom quality, year-specific pickups”.
Justin Norvell, Executive Vice President of Product of Fender, commented, “The iconic models in the American Vintage II Series are a near 1:1 comparison with their original predecessors. Today they are built with precise, modern manufacturing processes that weren’t available in the past.
“These original guitars and basses have long been coveted by avid players and vintage enthusiasts around the world for their aesthetic and tone that inspired some of the greatest music and most-identifiable guitar and bass lines of all time.”
For a thorough breakdown of the whole American Vintage II range, cast your gaze below.
Fender American Vintage II Stratocasters
Leading the Stratocaster range is the '57 model ($2,049-$2,249), which pays homage to a model that was only three years old at that point in history. Specific appointments include an alder or ash body, a one-piece maple neck with a V-shaped profile and 7.25" radius maple fingerboard, and 21 vintage tall frets.
It also comes equipped with Pure Vintage '57 single-coils, a Pure Vintage synchronized tremolo with bent steel saddles and a single-ply pickguard.
Three throw-back finishes are available: Seafoam Green, Two-Color Sunburst and Vintage Blonde, as well as a left-handed version.
The '61 model ($2,099), meanwhile, is mostly the same as the above, though exclusively features an alder body, which is paired with a C-shape maple neck. As it's the '60s, a rosewood fretboard is also introduced to the mix, though maintains its period-accurate 7.25" radius.
Other '60s specs include a three-ply pickguard, Pure Vintage '61 single-coils and Fender Deluxe tuners. The standard Strat control layout is also utilized for the American Vintage II '61 Strat, which is available in Olympic White, Three-Color Sunburst and Fiesta Red.
There's a Strat for the '50s, '60s and '70s, with the '73 ($2,279) double-cut reverting back to an ash body and introducing the bullet truss rod, three-bolt neck plate and oversized headstock. Functional appointments include a C-shape maple neck, 7.25" 'board radius, either maple or rosewood fingerboards and vintage-style F-stamped tuning machines.
Again, a more period-accurate tone is the goal for the Pure Vintage '73 single-coils, which are wired to a five-way position switch, two tone controls and a master volume parameter.
The '73 Strat is available in Mocha, Lake Placid Blue and Aged Natural.
Fender American Vintage II Telecasters
Paying homage to one of the first electric guitars ever produced, the '51 American Vintage II Tele ($2,249) is a tribute to the Big F's flagship blackguard Telecaster, sporting an ash body and a one-piece maple neck that features a U-shaped profile.
A vintage 7.25" radius is included, and shares the fretboard with 21 vintage tall frets and black dot inlays. Other specs include Pure Vintage '51 single-coils, a three-saddle bridge with brass saddles and Fender Deluxe tuners. It's also available as a left-handed version.
Just as the original '63 Tele introduced new tonewood combinations, the American Vintage II version ($2,049-$2,249) introduces a round-laminated rosewood fretboard and a choice of either alder or mahogany bodies.
Some specs are retained from the previous model, such as the 7.25" radius, 21 vintage tall frets and dot inlays, while updated appointments include a three-saddle bridge with threaded steel barrel saddles and, of course, Pure Vintage '63 single-coils.
The '63 Tele arrives in Three-Color Sunburst, Crimson Red Transparent and Surf Green.
The only Thinline Telecaster of the drop, the '72 American Vintage II model ($2,399) miraculously revives authentic CuNiFe Wide-Range humbuckers for the first time, replacing the regular humbuckers that are usually employed on modern throw-back Thinlines.
Elsewhere, the impressively spec'd American Vintage II model features a semi-hollow ash body, and calls upon a C-shaped maple neck, 7.25"-radius maple fretboard and a Pure Vintage six-saddle string-through body hardtail bridge.
Aged Natural, Three-Color Sunburst and Lake Placid Blue are on the agenda for the American Vintage II '72 Thinline Telecaster.
Another CuNiFe-equipped model is the '75 Tele Deluxe ($2,299). Sporting many of the same specs as its predecessor, the Deluxe returns to a solidbody alder design and introduces a larger Strat-style headstock to proceedings.
Its fingerboard is also a bit flatter – 9.5", to be precise – and is adorned with 21 medium jumbo frets. In the mid-'70s, the Deluxe also introduced a Les Paul-style control layout, which swapped out the regular Tele circuit for two volume knobs, two tone parameters and a three-way toggle switch on the upper bout.
The souped-up single-cut arrives in Three-Color Sunburst, Black and Mocha.
In a bid to give players the best of both worlds, the original Telecaster Custom paired the CuNiFe humbucker with a bridge single-coils to provide classic Tele twangs and more modern tones.
The American Vintage II version of the '77 Tele Custom ($2,199) does the same, retaining the authentic Wide-Range humbucker and placing it alongside a Pure Vintage '77 single-coil.
Otherwise, it's mostly the same as the '75 Deluxe, reviving the expanded control circuit and C-shape maple neck, though reverting back to the smaller Telecaster headstock.
Colors on tap include Wine, Black and Olympic White.
Fender American Vintage II Jazzmaster
Nothing too complicated here: the American Vintage II '66 Jazzmaster ($2,399) features an alder body, C-shaped maple neck and a bound round-lam rosewood fretboard, which sports block inlays, 21 tall frets and a vintage 7.25" radius.
Pure Vintage '66 Jazzmaster pickups are present, as is a patented floating tremolo – complete with tremolo lock button and push-in tremolo arm – and an adjustable bridge with threaded saddles.
The '66 Jazzmaster arrives in Three-Color Sunburst, Lake Placid Blue and Dakota Red, the latter of two also flash color-matched headstocks.
Fender American Vintage II Precision and Jazz Basses
Paying homage to one of the first electric bass guitars, the American Vintage II '54 Precision Bass ($2,249) flashes the classic smaller headstock, as well as the sole single-coil – replicated here by the Pure Vintage '54 pickup – and thumb rest.
In term of build, the ash body is paired with a maple neck, 7.25"-radius maple fingerboard and 20 vintage tall frets. Other appropriate appointments include the Pure Vintage two-saddle Precision Bass bridge with fiber saddles.
A more updated version of the above, the '60 Precision Bass ($2,099) switches to an alder body, and expands the electronic department with a Pure Vintage '60 Split-Coil pickup. The larger headstock is also present, as is a four-saddle bridge with threaded steel saddles and a 7.25"-radius rosewood 'board.
Some more colors are also available, such as Daphne Blue, Three-Color Sunburst and Black.
Last but not least is the American Vintage II '66 Jazz Bass ($2,299), which remains faithful to its iconic inspiration. On the spec sheet, there is room for an alder body and U-shaped maple neck, which is topped with a bound round-lam rosewood fretboard.
A pair of Pure Vintage '66 single-coils headline the pickup department on the '66 Jazz Bass, which is available in Three-Color Sunburst, Olympic White and Seafoam Green, as well as a left-handed version.
To find out more about the American Vintage II range, head over to Fender.