Our pick of the month’s most delectable, wallet-bothering new gear
Fender Performer Series £999 to £1,049
Q&A What is it?
The first range-wide overhaul of Fender’s entry-level US-built electrics in a decade – and it’s a beauty. The new American Performers replace the American Special line of simple-butfunctional electrics with an all-new range of guitars in vibey colours, with new pickups and other custom-esque features.
What are the highlights of the new range?
There are nine new guitars and basses in the range, in an attractive range of custom colours – but we particularly like the look of the American Performer Telecaster Hum (pictured, right) with a new DoubleTap humbucker at the neck and an also-new Yosemite single coil at the bridge. It’s available in Surf Green, Aubergine, Vintage White and Three-Colour Sunburst finishes for £999.
Anything good for Strat fans in the range?
Of course. The American Performer Stratocaster features three new-design Yosemite single coils and has a Hendrixstyle large headstock and transition logo, plus Fender’s Greasebucket tone circuit. Contrary to the name, it adds clarity – see ‘Jargon Crunching’, right. Go figure... The AP Strat is available in Honey Burst and Arctic White finishes for £999. There’s also an American Performer HSS Strat, with a DoubleTap humbucker at the bridge, in Aubergine and Three-Colour Sunburst finish options.
What about offsets and student models?
Fender would be foolhardy to ignore its currently on-trend offset designs and, accordingly, there’s a Mustang that comes in four finish options, including the rather Custom Shop-looking copper-like ‘Penny’. There’s also an American Performer Jazzmaster with a Strat-style vibrato and simplified tone and volume controls, plus Yosemite single coils with shellac potting. The Jazzmaster costs a little more than the rest of the range at £1,049. There is no Jaguar in the range as yet, however, which is a shame.
What can I get for a bit more cash?
The general vibe of the range is ‘updated vintage’, so you could alternately look at Fender’s contemporary-spec American Professional range, which streets at about £1,200 for an Am-Pro Strat, or its excellent American Original reissue line, which comes in at just under £1,500 for a 60s Strat.
What can I get for a bit less cash?
Fender recently introduced Mexican-built Player electrics in a variety of vintage-tinged models. They are very decent quality and come in cool custom-style finishes at around £550.