Classic Models Rebooted
Hailing from Corona, California, the Fender American Performer series completes the collective efforts of Fender’s hardworking team to ensure that their American models exceed the demands of the today’s musicians. What started with the American Elites before sweeping through the Professionals, Originals, and now Performers, is Fender’s continuing journey to craft instruments of the highest quality for everyone to appreciate.
The evolution of Fender’s popular American Special series has borne the American Performer series. In a nod to Fender’s roots, classic models abound with the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, Mustang, Precision Bass, Jazz Bass, and Mustang Bass all featuring. However, these aren’t re-releases of classic models, Fender’s product design team have gone back to the drawing board. Every model infuses innovative features ranging from freshly conceived pickups to vintage-inspired hardware. New colours and finishes permeate the range to excite and delight.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Fender have generously included a deluxe gig bag with every model!
Fender Yosemite pickups
Fender have an enviable record when it comes to pickup design, and the sound of their new Yosemite pickups is music to our ears (sorry but I had to). The philosophy behind the Yosemite pickups is to establish an “American Performer” sound, whilst upholding the character of each individual model.
Making a departure from the usual Alnico 2 and 5 magnets, Fender elected to use Alnico 4 rod magnets in most of their single-coil Yosemite pickups. The benefits of Alnico 4 are greater power than the Alnico 2 and less bite than Alnico 5, combining raw intensity with smooth warmth. Whether you’re reining things in or attacking the strings, these beauties clean up a treat but aren’t afraid to let loose either. Taking inspiration from the past, the shellac-dipped – rather than wax – Yosemite pickup coils suppress feedback and noise.
Tim Shaw does it again
Tim Shaw, Fender’s Chief Engineer and all-round pickup design legend, was pivotal in the creation of the DoubleTap humbuckers, which feature in the Stratocaster HSS and Telecaster Hum models. Expertly executed to maximise tonal versatility, the DoubleTaps offer the best of both worlds with full-bodied humbucking power by the bucket-load and searing single-coil clarity. Best of all, the DoubleTaps enable you to flick between humbucker and single-coil setups without any loss of volume.
Greasebucket tone control circuitry might not be new, but it is a welcome addition to American Performer model. When dialling back the highs with a standard tone control there can be a dip in gain, which can cause your tone to sound muddied or muffled – not the best. The Greasebucket maintains gain even when you dial back the highs, upholding tonal clarity for a bold and brash energy.
Classic-style, modern performance
In another tip of the cap to the past, Fender reached back into the past in designing their new ClassicGear tuners. But how could they make them even more durable than their modern counterparts? By anchoring them with a nut of the front of the headstock, rather than using small screws on the rear. Using this method Fender bolstered stability to give the tuners an impressive 18:1 gear ratio. Smooth attenuation is yours, as is the ability to rock out to your heart’s content. The ClassicGear tuners reside on late-’60s/’70s styled headstocks featuring Bob Perine-designed logo. Enlarged Strat’ headstocks standout to make the all-new American Performer series readily identifiable.
Fender American Performer Series Stratocaster and Telecaster
As well as the standard pickup configurations that we’d expect to see on Strats – trio of single-coils – and Teles – pair of single-coils -, there’s a couple of other options to get stuck into: the Strat’ HSS and the Tele’ Hum. The DoubleTap offers the ability to split the coils and expand your tonal arsenal to include the mighty punch of a humbucker along with the brittle contrast of a single-coil.
Fender American Performer Series Jazzmaster and Mustang
Unlike other Jazzmasters, the American Performer series model doesn’t have the intricate tone-shaping circuitry we’re used to seeing. Instead we’re offered a streamlined workhorse that features a pair of Yosemite single-coils, which are specially calibrated for a balanced output no matter what the switch position. The control layout comprises a three-way pickup selector switch, a master volume knob and a master Greasebucket tone knob – simple yet highly effective. Another break from the norm for the American Performer Jazzmaster is the inclusion of a 6-saddle vintage-style synchronized tremolo. Normally associated with a Strat’ setup, the tremolo provides seamless control whilst optimising intonation and sustain.
The American Performer Mustang vintage-modern bridge and tremolo system stands up to rigorous playing better than ever before. New and improved tremolo hardware allows you to suffuse your tone with vibrato, safe in the knowledge that tuning stability will be upheld with precision. Paired with the Mustang’s short-scale 24-inch length, this is a confident player that is perfect for tearing it up on stage with (not only that but check out that sweet Penny finish!).
Fender American Performer Series Precision and Jazz Basses
There’s nothing quite like striding out on stage with a Precision Bass or Jazz Bass in your hands. The American Performer balances comfort, playability and style to perfection.
The P/J pickup set on the Precision Bass pairs the expansive tonal range of the Precision Bass split-coil pickup in the middle position and the rumbling thunder of the Jazz Bass bridge pickup. Whatever style of music you’re taking on, you can sashay through the groove with ease.
When it comes to the Jazz Bass, a pair of Alnico 5 magnet-driven and Formvar-coated wiring wound JB single-coils do all the hard work so that you don’t have to. We could easily sink into hyperbole here, but let’s just say that to play one is to fall in love on the spot. Get down!
Fender American Performer Series Mustang Bass
Last but by no means least is the American Performer Mustang Bass, which offers a high-octane, high-performance instrument that can keep pace with you throughout the most demanding of performances. Don’t let the short-scale fool you, this dynamic performer can hold its own on stage. Rock out and rock hard in style!
Our resident expert Tom Quayle puts the American Performer Telecaster through its paces, and check out that stunning Penny finish!
If you need any advice you can speak to one of our in-store Specialists who will happily guide you through the new Fender American Performer series, just pop into your nearest Dawsons’ store. You can also call our Customer Service Team on 01925 582420 with any questions you may have.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.