Fender harks back to the ‘60s and ‘70s with overhauled and upgraded California Series acoustics – complete with period-accurate specs and aesthetics

After launching its California Streetwoods collection of electric guitars, Fender has now turned its attention to its acoustic guitar portfolio, announcing new 12 additions to its California Series.

As well as arriving with some fairly tempting price tags and alluring finish options, the Big F has also leafed through the history book for a handful of California Vintage models – models that hark back to acoustics Leo Fender and Roger Rossmeisl created back in the ‘60s.

As such, these Vintage variants of the Malibu, King and Palomino each come equipped with period-accurate specs and aesthetics from the ‘60s and ‘70s, as well as some notable functional and practical upgrades, including V-shape necks, block inlays, narrow string spacing and shorter scale lengths.

These are joined by a handful of other updated Standard, Player and Special formats, including Redondo, Malibu, Newporter, Villager and Monterey models.

To find out more about each model, cast your gaze below.

Fender Redondo Player and Special

Fender California Series Redondo Player

Fender California Series Redondo Player in Candy Apple Red (Image credit: Fender)

In no particular order, Fender has debuted two new dreadnought-sized Redondos – the $449 Player and $749 Special.

The more affordable Player offers a solid spruce top, and sapele back and sides, which have been formed into a single-cut body shape. X bracing, Fishman Flex electronics and a suite of colors – Lake Placid Blue, Candy Apple Red, Sunburst and Natural – are also available.

Fender California Series Redondo Special

Fender California Series Redondo Special in Honey Burst (Image credit: Fender)

On the other hand, the Special offers no cutaway, and drafts in okoume for its top, back and sides, but otherwise takes cues from the Player: Fishman Flex Body electronics and a 25.5” scale length are just some of the retained features.

Colors on tap here include Natural and Honey Burst.

Fender Malibu Player, Special and Vintage

Fender California Series Malibu Player

Fender California Series Malibu Player in Olympic White (Image credit: Fender)

Three parlor-sized Malibus – Player ($449), Special ($749) and Vintage ($899) versions – have also been thrown into the mix. Universal appointments include Fishman electronics and a short 24” scale length, as well as vintage-style tuners.

Fender California Series Malibu Special

Fender California Series Malibu Special in Honeyburst (Image credit: Fender)

Model-specific specs on the Player include a solid spruce top and sapele back and sides, while the Special once again opts for okoume alternatives. The period-accurate Vintage, on the other hand, is slightly dressed up, with a bound fingerboard, block inlays and Fishman Sonitone Plus electronics – as opposed to the Flex system – making the cut.

Fender California Series Malibu Vintage

Fender California Series Malibu Vintage in Black (Image credit: Fender)

The Malibu Vintage also has a slightly different build: the Sitka spruce top lines up alongside solid ovangkol back and sides, all of which houses a Performance-X bracing pattern. There's also a V neck profile and 25" scale length.

Each model also offers different aesthetics: Sunburst, Olympic White, Natural and Fiesta Red for the Player; Natural and Honey Burst for the Special; and Aged Natural and Black for the Vintage.

Fender Newporter Player and Special

Fender California Series Newporter Player

Fender California Series Newporter Player in Sunburst (Image credit: Fender)

Two auditorium-sized Newporter models join the crop. The $449 Player is available in Sunburst, Tidepool, Natural and Surf Green, and features a solid spruce top, sapele back and sides, and a C-shape neck. Fishman Flex electronics can be found under the hood.

Fender California Series Newporter Special

Fender California Series Newporter Special in Honey Burst (Image credit: Fender)

The more premium $749 Newporter Special is another okoume-fitted take on the above, arriving in Honey Burst and Natural, but otherwise with all the same bells and whistles – including Fishman electronics, a 25.5” scale length and a C-shape neck profile.

Fender Monterey Standard

Fender California Series Monterey Standard

Fender California Series Monterey Standard in Black (Image credit: Fender)

Just the one Monterey Standard for this drop, with the $379 Concert body-shaped beauty boasting an all-laminated sapele body, a walnut bridge, sapele neck, walnut bridge and Fishman Presys Plus pickup system. Nothing too flashy here with the finishes: Natural and Black Top.

Fender Villager 12-string

Fender California Series Villager 12-string

Fender California Series Villager 12-string in Aged Natural (Image credit: Fender)

The only 12-string of the new-for-2023 California collection, the $599 Villager 12-String features a non-cutaway Newporter-sized body – composed from a solid spruce top, and sapele back and sides – a ‘60s-inspired hockey stick headstock and the Fishman Flex preamp system.

Fender Palomino Vintage

Fender California Series Palomino Vintage

Fender California Series Palomino Vintage in Sienna Sunburst (Image credit: Fender)

The penultimate Vintage model, the Palomino Vintage, arrives with a period-correct auditorium body shape composed from a solid Sitka spruce top and solid ovangkol back and sides. Some flashier features arrive in the form of a bound fretboard, block inlays and a choice of Aged Natural or Sienna Sunburst colorways.

It’s also worth mentioning the V-profile neck, tilt-back headstock, and Fishman Sonitone plus electronics with an undersaddle piezo.

Fender King Vintage

Fender California Series King Vintage

Fender California Series King Vintage in Mojave Burst (Image credit: Fender)

Fender’s final six-string of its 2023 California Series drop is the King Vintage – a $899 dreadnought-style model with a solid Sitka spruce top, solid ovangkol back and sides and an ergonomic V-profile neck.

Under the hood, it houses Performance-X bracing, which lines up alongside the Fishman Sonitone Plus system. Available in Mojave Burst or Aged Natural, the King Vintage also offers a 25.5” scale length, vintage-style tuners and block inlays.

Fender Kingman Bass

Fender California Series Kingman Bass

Fender California Series Kingman Bass in Shaded Edge Burst (Image credit: Fender)

There’s something for bassists, too: the single-cut Kingman Bass – which weighs in at $599 – is constructed from a spruce top with sapele back and sides, and pairs a Nato Jazz Bass neck with a 30” scale length. Block inlays, Fishman’s Presys+ pickup and a Shaded Edge Burst finish are also on the spec sheet.

To find out more about each model, head over to Fender.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.