NAMM 2022: Fret-King previews its comprehensive 13-strong 2023 Collection of electric and bass guitars

Fret-King electric guitar
(Image credit: Fret-King)

NAMM 2022: This year’s NAMM may have officially ended, but that doesn’t mean the plentiful supply of six-string goodies and note-worthy gear drops has completely dried up.

Lucky for us, Fret-King is on hand to prolong the NAMM fever by previewing its mammoth 2023 Collection, which contains 13 fresh electric guitars and bass guitars.

In total, there are three types of electrics and a sole bass involved, with the guitars taking inspiration from some of the most iconic body shapes in guitar history – namely, the Les Paul, Telecaster and Stratocaster. An offset semi-hollow, the Elise, has also been introduced to the mix.

The inventively named Perception bass, meanwhile, aims to add a “contemporary twist” into tried-and-trusted four and five-string formats.

For each range, a number of model-specific colorways have also been introduced, including the ornate Tobacco Sunburst and Butterscotch and more modern Firenza Red and Laguna Blue.

Cast your gaze below for a full breakdown of Fret-King’s latest collection.

Fret-King Eclat

First up is a pair of unapologetically LP-style six-strings, the Eclat Custom and Eclat Standard. The former takes its inspiration from a classic ‘burst, and boasts a two-piece center-jointed mahogany body and flame maple cap, as well as a mahogany neck, Trapezoid-esque inlays, tune-o-matic-style bridge and Stop Bar tailpiece.

The Eclat Custom also comes loaded with custom-designed Alnico 5 Focusfield mini humbuckers, which are controlled by a versatile Varicoil control that progressively winds the selected pickup down to single-coil, as well as a Kill Switch-equipped volume pot.

It’s joined by the Eclat Standard, which features the same core build specs minus the flamed maple top. It also swaps out the hardware for a Wilkinson wraparound alternative and opts for a set of P-90-inspired Fret-King Soapstack pickups. The same versatile control circuit also makes the cut.

Fret-King Country Squire

Joining the above are a boatload of Tele-inspired Country Squire models. Our favorites include the vintage-esque Classic – flashing a Staggertwin neck humbucker and Tapped-Fifty bridge single-coil – and the HSH-equipped semi-hollow Semitone De Luxe, which boasts the Varicoil control for a wealth of tonal possibilities.

Perhaps the most eye-catching of the drop, though, is the Music Row. Featuring an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard, the Music Row is supercharged with a pair of Country Road single-coils in the neck position, a Dallas Special in the middle slot and a Tapped-Fifty in the bridge.

The latter also offers the now-familiar Varicoil control, which works to wind the pair of neck pickups from stacked to true single-coil.

Fret-King Elise

The offset Elise is available in two iterations – Custom and Custom with Vibrato. As the names would suggest, they’re both the same instrument at their core, featuring a chambered semi-hollow mahogany body, maple top, mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard.

Other appointments include a subtly extended cutaway for upper fret access, and a pair of Fret-King Fifty-Five pickups design by Trev Wilkinson. Unsurprisingly, the Varicoil control is called into action once again.

A Maestro Vibrola-style tailpiece, complete with the Fret-King crown logo, comes attached to the Vibrato version.

Fret-King Corona

The final six-string family of the drop is the Corona model, which wears its Stratocaster inspiration on its sleeve. Again, two options are available – Classic and Custom – with both sporting an alder body, maple neck and either a rosewood or maple fingerboard.

Where they differentiate is in the pickup department. The Classic offers a conventional HSS configuration, comprising two proprietary Vintage Sixty single-coils and a Fret-King Fifty-Five Wilkinson-designed humbucker.

The Custom, meanwhile, swaps out the single-coil combo for a Dallas Special middle single-coil, neck Soapstack P-90 and Fret-King Prizefighter bridge humbucker.

Owing to these deviations, the control circuits are also slightly different. While the Custom offers an “all pickups on” voice, as well as a handful of out-of-phase tones, the Classic features a five-way switch, master volume and tone parameters and a flexible Varicoil pot.

Fret-King Perception

Fret-King Perception Bass

(Image credit: Fret-King)

Concluding the collection is the Perception bass guitar. Arriving in four- and five-string versions, the model comprises an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard, and makes use of an impressive set of Aguilar 4SD-D1 pickups.

Elsewhere, the Perception sports an array of flexible control knobs – including a push/pull selector on the middle tone knob – as well as a Wilkinson WBBC bridge.

For more information about its 2023 Collection, head over to Fret-King's parent company, JHS.

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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.