NAMM 2008: Fender Unveils New American Standard Series
Fender officially unveiled its highly anticipated American Standard Series instruments during a kickoff event on Jan. 17 at the 2008 NAMM music products trade show in Anaheim, Calif. The American Standard Series, heralded by Fender’s new “Make History” campaign, comprises the flagship—or workhorse—models of Fender electric guitars and basses.
At a morning press conference, Fender’s Justin Norvell, marketing manager for electric guitars, and Jay Piccirillo, marketing manager for bass products, formally introduced the latest refined versions of the four classic instruments for which Fender has been most famous for well more than half a century—the Stratocaster®, Telecaster®, Precision Bass® and Jazz Bass® guitars.
The instruments are “worthy heirs of their revered ancestors,” Norvell told the audience at the event, which was also highlighted by a video presentation on the new American Standard Series featuring a diverse array of Fender artists including Jeff Beck, Billy Corgan, John Mayer, Pete Wentz and many others.
“We’ve all played many guitars and basses, and some were better than others—some just have the magic,” Piccirillo said. “So we set out on a journey; asking ourselves, ‘What makes a great Strat® great?’ We stripped these instruments back to blank bodies and wood, and tested individual specs one at a time—alloys of bridge blocks, saddle material, neck and body finishes; rebuilding them from the ground up. We left no tonal stone unturned. These experiments helped us distill the recipe.”
Norvell went on to explain that these instruments haven’t merely been given a new coat of paint and trotted out as new and improved; rather, they explained how each instrument was carefully revised with “player-centric” refinements such as new bridge designs and neck treatments, thinner finish undercoats that improve resonance, new molded cases and other improvements.
“Every generation has artists that made a sharp turn in a new musical direction,” Norvell said. “At the forefront of all of those evolutions was Fender. Fender is ready for the next batch of players who will be creating and discovering that next sound. This new American Standard product offering sets the tee up for that to happen. Your musical heroes have made sonic history on our instruments for years; now, we’re asking artists today, ‘Are you ready to make history?’”
The new American Standard line includes right- and left-handed versions of each of the four classic instruments, plus a humbucking pickup Stratocaster model, five-string versions of both basses and a fretless version of the Jazz Bass.