Fender's new American Original Series is set to take over the role of Fender’s American Vintage Series. The new series includes a vintage take on popular models like the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Precision Bass, and Jazz Bass.
The new models have designs rooted in the classic look of Fenders from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. With the newly designed Strats and Teles, the guitars in the American Original lineup have the feel of a vintage Fender with updated playability for modern guitarists.
Fender American Original vs. American Vintage
Since the American Original series will be taking over for its predecessor in the American Vintage series, it’s only natural that comparisons will be made. While the two lineups have a common goal of replicating the look and style of classic Fender guitars, they go about doing so in different ways.
One of the biggest differences between the American Original and American Vintage comes down to the amount of deviation from the original designs. Since first being introduced in 1982, the American Vintage Series guitars were made to replicate specific legendary electric guitars and basses from Fender’s historic collection.
The American Original series is set to replicate similar celebrated guitars, but instead of being exact replicas, the new lineup takes the best features and guitars of each decade, and adds the most desired features into one single model.
So while the American Vintage series took one specific guitar and recreated it for modern guitarists, Fender’s American Original series takes all the guitars from one decade and molds them into one model to form a collection of “best-of-the-decade” models.
Major Changes With the Fender American Original Series
Pure Vintage Pickups
The largest praise from the Fender American Original series revolves around Fender’s choice to include Pure Vintage pickups. Outside of buying a vintage Fender guitar, the Pure Vintage Pickups provide players the most accurate replication of sounds from the guitars in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s.
From the authentic tone to the period-correct materials and construction, the Pure Vintage pickups are already receiving high praise from guitarists. The pickups align with the vintage construction and use genuine original-era cloth wiring to help provide a historically accurate tone.
The pickups feature enamel-coated magnet wiring with Alnico-5 magnets, delivering the classic tones and enhancing dynamics.
With all these features, the Pure Vintage pickups help guitarist capture the style and sounds of the past.
9.5” Radius vs. 7.25”
An interesting choice for the Fender American Original series came from Fender’s decision to use a modern 9.5” fretboard radius over the true vintage 7.25” circle radius.
Before the 1970s, almost all Fender fretboards used a 7.25” radius. This smaller radius would cause higher register strings to ‘fret out’ as they were bent.
From the ‘70s onward, string bending and guitar customization became increasingly popular, and the use of flatter fretboards shifted into the mainstream.
Fender seems to have come to the conclusion, that while a 7.25” radius would be true to the first Fender designs, the modern 9.5” radius is simply a much more in-demand feature.
The 9.5” radius will bring an updated convenience to the playability of the American Original series, accommodating today’s standards.
Fender American Original Telecasters
When it was first introduced in 1951, the Telecaster was a groundbreaking achievement - and for good reason. The original Telecaster was incredibly well-built, affordable, and had a design that still resonates with guitarists today.
Fender is taking the versatile and sleek Telecaster and creating a historically accurate tribute that will feature the highly praised specs and stylish features that were seen in the original 1950s and 1960s models.
American Original '50s Telecaster
The American Original ‘50s Telecaster uses Pure Vintage ‘52 single-coil pickups to capture the warmth of the Telecasters from the past.
Unlike the vintage ‘50s Telecasters, the American Original model has a flatter 9.5” radius maple fretboard combined with its U-shaped neck. To effectively mix vintage features with modern ‘player’ functionality, the new Telecasters use vintage-correct hardware with modern conveniences.
The Fender American Original '50s Telecaster is available in both right- and left-handed models.
American Original '60s Telecaster
With the start of the 1960s, Fender began offering rosewood fretboards with Telecaster models. The American Original ‘60s Telecaster follows this design, along with an alder body with lacquer finish.
The American Original ‘60 Tele takes a page from its ancestor by incorporating a set of Pure Vintage ‘64 single-coil pickups, along with a C-profile neck and its own standard 9.5” radius fretboard.
Fender American Original Stratocasters
The original Fender Stratocaster is a historic guitar, virtually synonymous with rock and roll itself. When introduced in 1954, the Strat redefined what an electric guitar was and has since become a household name across the world.
American Original '50s Stratocaster
The new Fender American Original ‘50s Stratocasters take an iconic style from the ‘50s and update it for the modern era. With three Pure Vintage ‘59 single-coil Stratocaster pickups, the American Original ‘50s models are made to be a true nod to the past.
The American Original ‘50s Stratocaster featuring a maple fretboard, a thick soft V-neck shape, and a full lacquer finish. A key difference from the original ‘50s Strat is the American Original’s 9.5” radius fingerboard (versus the original 7.25” radius), making it a little easier to play.
The Fender Original '50s Stratocaster is available in both right- and left-handed models.
Check out the Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster in Sunburst and the American Original in White Blonde.
American Original '60s Stratocaster
The 1960s brought a decade of learning for Fender and new refinements to their Strats. For those who are fans of the slight tweaks, the American Original ‘60s Stratocasters are for you. The ‘60s model features a thick C-neck shape, 9.5” radius fingerboard, and three Pure Vintage ‘65 single-coil Stratocaster pickups.
Like the 50’s version, the Fender Original '60s Stratocaster is available in both right- and left-handed models.
Check out the Fender American Original '60s Stratocaster in Sunburst.
Fender American Original Jazzmaster & Jaguar
At the start of the 60’s, Fender introduced the Jazzmaster and Jaguar into their growing selection of guitar models. The new American Original series takes these two models and updates them for the modern musician.
With period-correct pickups and designs, modern guitarists can enjoy the classic feel and style of these smooth and timeless guitars.
American Original '60s Jazzmaster
With the Jazzmaster name, Fender originally marketed this guitar towards jazz musicians, but quickly found guitarists of all genres flocking to it. The most notable adoption of the Jazzmaster came from musicians expressing themselves in surf rock, punk, and indie rock.
The American Original ‘60s Jazzmaster recreates the original style of the innovative series with even more modern features. Featuring a rosewood fretboard with a 9.5” radius, the ‘60s Jazzmaster steps into the modern decade while still keeping its distinct vintage characteristics with two Pure Vintage ‘65 single-coil pickups.
American Original '60s Jaguar
Like the Jazzmaster, the Fender Jaguar initially found popularity with the indie rockers and alternative guitarists. Unlike the Jazzmaster, the Jaguar found fandom through its shorter scale and smooth sound. The American Original ‘60s Jaguar uses this classic design along with two Pure Vintage ‘62 single-coil pickups to create the perfect touch of nostalgia.
With a rosewood fretboard, a ‘60s-style C-shaped neck, and 9.5” radius fretboard, the Jaguar throwback has the look and style of the original with slight changes for modern players.
Check out the American Original ‘60s Jaguar in Sunburst.
Fender American Original Precision Bass
When first introduced, the Fender Precision Bass quickly gained widespread adoption - one of the first electric bass guitars to do so. The model continues to be a bestseller today, so it's only natural that Fender decided to go back to its roots with the Fender American Original Precision Bass models.
Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, the Precision Bass went through many changes. Fender has taken the best features from all these different models and incorporated them into their American Original ‘50s and American Original ‘60s Precision Bass guitars.
American Original ‘50s Precision Bass
The best-of-the-decade version of Fender’s Bass guitars starts with the American Original ‘50s Precision Bass. As a tribute to the 1951 guitar that started it all, Fender has given the updated model an all-maple fretboard and a single Pure Vintage ‘58 split-coil P Bass pickup.
Like other American Original guitars, the ‘50s Precision Bass has a more modern 9.5” radius fretboard, but with a C-shaped neck profile.
Check out the American Original ‘50s Precision Bass in White Blonde.
American Original ‘60s Precision Bass
Following up on the foundation set by the ‘50s Precision Bass, the ‘60s version was reskinned and given simple tweaks. While still perfect for funk and some classic rock, the American Original ‘60s Precision Bass has a more modern sound.
The American Original ‘60s Precision Bass differs from its ‘50s counterpart by incorporating a thick 1963 C-shaped neck, a rosewood fretboard, and a single Pure Vintage ‘63 split-coil pickup.
Fender American Original Jazz Bass
The original Jazz Bass helped introduce the bass guitar as a forefront instrument, becoming a foundation for funk, reggae, blues, and jazz fusion. Fender took their previous bass guitars, redesigned the neck and added an additional single coil pickup to give bass players the ability for more flexibility and dexterous playing.
The American Original Jazz Bass guitars take these inspirations and add slight tweaks to appeal to modern playing styles.
American Original ‘60s Jazz Bass
As one of the more popular bass models of all time, the Jazz Bass has seen wide adoption since the original 1960’s model. Fender took all the highly regarded features of the ‘60s Jazz Bass and boiled them down into the American Original ‘60s Jazz Bass.
With two Pure Vintage ‘64 single coil Jazz Bass pickups and a rosewood fretboard, the American Original ‘60s Jazz Bass holds true to the early incarnation of Fender’s rich bass guitar.
Check out the American Original ‘60s Jazz Bass in Sunburst.
American Original ‘70s Jazz Bass
Throughout the 1970s, as Fender began to introduce more evolved Jazz Bass versions, with smoother tone and a bit of treble, the ‘70s Jazz Bass found its home with bassists looking to express themselves with emerging music genres.
The newly released model comes stock with a maple fretboard, ash body, and gloss urethane finish. The American Original ‘70s Jazz Bass harkens back to its predecessor with a thick ‘70s-style U-shaped neck profile and two Pure Vintage ‘75 single-coil Jazz Bass pickups.
The reintroduction of these fan-favorite Fender styles will be popular among guitarists that want to get their hands on old classic electric designs, without having to spend top dollar for true 50’s, 60’s, and ‘70s Fenders.
With the updated features, playability will be more in line with what modern guitarists expect from a new guitar. The flatter 9.5” radius, common among the majority of Fender guitars, adheres to accepted modern standards, helping to make bending notes easier for those that find the early models a little too difficult to play.
Fender also offers a wide variety of vintage and classic colors to choose from, making the American Original Series one of the more beautiful collections to look at.
Guitarists looking for iconic guitar looks that are easy to play, will find the American Original Series is the perfect balance between classic style and modern improvements.