Fender unveils the “electric guitar design of the future” with fast-playing American Ultra Series

Fender American Ultra Series electric guitars
(Image credit: Fender)

After a teaser campaign that set the guitar world alight, Fender has announced the American Ultra Series, which it’s touting as the “electric guitar design of the future”.

Continuing where 2016’s now-discontinued American Elite line-up left off, the American Ultra range boasts an impressive range of contemporary features.

Chief among these is redesigned body contours, with comfort-driven back body curves and, crucially, a sculpted neck heel for increased upper-fret access.

(Image credit: Fender)

On that note, the company has also seen fit to introduce a satin-finished ‘Modern D’ neck with 10-14” compound-radius fretboard, and “extremely” rolled edges, resulting in Fender’s fastest-playing necks yet.

The guitar giant has also re-voiced its Noiseless pickups to Ultra specs, available in Hot and Vintage configurations, while a treble-bleed circuit and “advanced wiring options” appear across the range via S-1 Switches.

There’s even an all-new, overwound Double Tap Humbucker on the HSS Strat, as well as Fender’s first-ever noiseless Jazzmaster pickups.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a new Fender launch without new finishes, which include Cobra Blue, Mocha Burst, Texas Tea, Arctic Pearl, Aged Natural, Plasma Red Burst and Ultraburst.

Other features include foil logos on the headstock, locking tuners, bone nuts and premium molded hardshell cases.

There are some nifty upgrades over the existing Elite range here, putting Fender firmly in competition with more boutique takes on its designs, while the addition of a Jazzmaster to the range is a guaranteed winner for lovers of hot-rodded offsets.

The American Ultra Series starts at $1,899 - here’s the skinny on the extra features you can find on each model, as well as those all-important finishes...

American Ultra Stratocaster


The American Ultra Strat is most notable for its ability to add in the neck pickup to any position across the Ultra Noiseless Vintage single coils - a feature that recently appeared on the American Performer Strat.

This high-end offering is available with a rosewood fingerboard in Arctic Pearl, Ultraburst, Plasma Red Burst and Aged Natural, while maple fingerboarded options are Ultraburst, Mocha Burst, Aged Natural, Plasma Red Burst, Texas Tea and Cobra Blue.

American Ultra Stratocaster HSS


This hard-rocking take on the new Strat offers Ultra Noiseless Hot single coils and an Ultra Hot Double Tap humbucker. The S-1 Switch activates Fender’s neat Double Tap feature, which splits the humbucker’s coils, but adds an extra wind to keep the volume consistent.

Rosewood fingerboard finishes include Cobra Blue, Ultraburst and Aged Natural. Maple fingerboard fans can opt for Texas Tea, Ultraburst, Plasma Red Burst or Arctic Pearl.

American Ultra Telecaster


As well as offering the most radical body contours yet seen on a Fender Tele, this model boasts Ultra Noiseless Vintage pickups, tweaked via a series-parallel S-1 Switch.

You can get it in Arctic Pearl, Ultraburst and Texas Tea with a rosewood fingerboard, or Ultraburst, Butterscotch Blonde, Mocha Burst, Plasma Red Burst and Cobra Blue with a maple fingerboard.

American Ultra Jazzmaster


Finally, a contemporary-spec’d Jazzmaster! Not only does this Ultra offset pack Fender’s first-ever noiseless Jazzmaster pickups (Ultra Noiseless Vintage single coils, since you asked), but it also offers series/parallel and phase circuits, which make it one of the most versatile factory-built offsets we can recall.

There are tone controls for neck and bridge, plus a master volume, which houses the S-1 Switch for that series/parallel switching.

The slide switch, meanwhile, activates the phase circuit, with one roller pot for neck pickup volume and one for the bridge pickup.

Ultraburst and Mocha Burst are your finishes for rosewood fingerboard models, while maple enthusiasts get the option of Mocha Burst, Plasma Red Burst and Cobra Blue.

More for info on all of the new models, head over to Fender.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.