Some of my favorite guitars are the ones that have a story behind them.
In June 2012 I was lucky enough to travel to Corona California and visit the Fender guitar factory. My visit included a factory tour, as well as a chance to get some hands-on time with the all-new American Vintage series. As if this wasn’t enough, my trip provided one more opportunity…
Every guitar player dreams of custom-designing their own personal ultimate guitar. If you could choose the exact body, the exact neck, and the exact electronics, what would you come up with? I had the opportunity to do just that.
Presenting the Fender American Design Experience:
Both of these guitars were created specifically for the Twelfth Fret, based on my selections at the Fender factory. The bodies and necks were hand-selected by me, based on their weight, resonance, feel, and beautiful looks. I also selected the electronics and hardware based on creating guitars that would be as versatile as they are full of character.
Let’s take a closer look at each instument:
Fender Twelfth Fret American Design Stratocaster #1
I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of a vintage car. It’s no wonder that this metallic pastel blue Strat body instantly grabbed my attention. The lightweight alder construction was resonant and lively, while the subtle sparkle of the finish perfectly accentuates the gentle curves and contours of the guitar.
While browsing through necks, I stumbled across a stunning flame-maple strat neck based on the “Fender Select” series specifications. With its modern “C” shape profile, 9.5″-14″ compound fingerboard radius, 22 frets, gloss-finished maple fingerboard with a satin-finish on the back of the neck, the Select series offers the best of the best in playability and comfort. Plus it has the looks to match the metallic blue body.
When it came time to choose electronics and hardware, I decided to go with the best-of-the-best. I firmly believe that Fender’s American Deluxe series are some of the finest factory made guitars in the world, due in no small part to the excellent functionality and tonal range. So I went with American Deluxe series hardware and electronics across the board. A set of N3 Strat pickups deliver classic fender chime and bite, without the classic 60-cycle hum. The S-1 switch expands the range of pickup settings, giving the player even more versatility than a standard Strat. 6 Chrome-plated brass saddles offer vibrant resonance, accurate intonation, and a comfortable profile. Deluxe locking tuners make string-changes a snap and decrease string stretching and slipping (thus improving the guitar’s ability to stay in tune).
Now that the guitar has been completed and shipped to us, I’m pleased to report that it plays and sounds better than I’d even hoped it would. It chimes and sparkles with all the crystal clear bell tones a Strat player could ever ask for, yet has the guts to dive into more aggressive rock tones with ease, thanks to the added tonal variety allowed by the S-1 switch.
The Fender Twelfth Fret American Design Strat #1 is a true workhorse guitar, built from hand-chosen components and the finest hardware features available. It sells for $1599 including hardshell case.
Fender Twelfth Fret American Design Telecaster #1 - SOLD
With the Stratocaster design finalized, I decided that I needed to create a “sister guitar” to go along with it. So I went to work creating a Telecaster that would match the Strat in terms of both looks and functionality. I thought it would be difficult to choose a Tele body that looked as nice as the metallic blue strat body I’d already found. How wrong I was.
This Tele body made my jaw drop the moment I spotted it. Built from a nice set of swamp ash, this body features a translucent metallic crimson finish. The result is an eye-catching sparkle (similar to the Strat) with the beautiful Ash wood grain softly soaking through. The body also features a Strat-style belly contour, as is now a standard feature on many American made Telecasters.
Once I had the body chosen, designing the rest of the guitar was easy. I found a gorgeous Fender Select series Tele neck with a flame-maple wood grain that easily equaled the Strat neck I’d chosen earlier. Running with my concept of creating a “sister guitar” I elected to use American Deluxe series hardware and electronics on the Tele as well; N3 Telecaster pickups, locking tuners, chrome-plated brass saddles, and the Tele variation of the S-1 selector switch.
The guitar turned out beautifully. With a slightly higher density and string-through-body design, it has more punch and bark than its Stratocaster counterpart. The Fender Twelfth Fret American Design Telecaster #1 is the ultimate modern Tele, and it sells for $1699. w/ hardshell case.
- Nevin Douglas
Twelfth Fret Guitar Shop