Versatile by Design: Episode Three. Voicing & Design
Fender product design experts and Fishman head Larry Fishman break down the technology behind the American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster
By Mike Duffy
One of the most unique aspects of the American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster is the sheer amount of acoustic and electric voices it achieves.
The driving force behind the shape-shifting sounds of this instrument is the Acoustic Engine, a revolutionary piece of technology designed through a partnership with Fender and acoustic amplification pioneers Fishman.
A relationship that goes back over three decades between Fender Vice President of Research and Design Brian Swerdfege, Fender Chief Engineer (and all-around pickup guru) Tim Shaw and Fishman President Larry Fishman helped make the Acoustasonic Jazzmaster magic happen.
“The call to Larry was an easy one,” said Swerdfeger. “(On) his first call back, he was like, ‘Are you nuts? This’ll never work.’
“And I said, ‘Awesome, are you in?’”
What happened next was a months-long process to bring the American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster - and all the sonic possibilities it offers - to life, meshing the Acoustic Engine circuitry with Shaw’s specially voiced Shawbucker pickup and the Stringed Instrument Resonance System (SIRS) soundhole inlay to ensure optimal performance in any setting.
“The (designers) painstakingly tuned this guitar, from the bracing to the soundhole port, to have the right resonant qualities,” said Fishman. “We never had to fight the instrument to make the electronics work.”
Ask any musician who has tested the American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster, and they would agree that everything works in harmony. As such, New York City-based multi-instrumentalist Vagabon was featured on Fender’s Versatile By Design video series to offer her opinion after a lengthy demo.
“I’m excited about this because so much of my music ranged from fuzzy, overdriven electric guitar to an acoustic guitar,” she said in the video above. “By just switching between all these different pickups, I can have my electric (guitar) give me the true sound of an acoustic … not like an ‘acoustic/electric,’ necessarily, but changing between the sounds that an electric guitar will give me and a full-bodied acoustic guitar.”
To learn more about the American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster, click here.