Vintage Style for a Modern Era: The Fender Vintera Series
With era-correct pickups, classic colors and other coveted features from the '50s, '60s and '70s, these instruments have all the sound and style of the decades that defined them.
By Mike Duffy
There is no doubt that Fender has an iconic history that runs through nearly seven decades.
And to celebrate the innovations Fender has created throughout their beginnings in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, the new Vintera Series provides proper tribute.
The Vintera Series models feature authentic specs from decades past, such as period-correct neck shapes, new pickups with decade-specific tones and a wider breadth of vintage colors, including: Mocha, Fiesta Red, Seafoam Green, Inca Silver, Burgundy Mist and Ice Blue Metallic.
For players who want the mojo of the past matched to contemporary features, the Vintera Series also includes modified versions of Fender's most popular electric guitars and basses.
“The Vintera series celebrates the different vintage eras of Fender with the fundamental design of the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Precision Bass remaining largely the same, but with each decade assuming its own unique feature sets,” said Justin Norvell, Fender's Executive Vice President of Product. “Depending on your feature preferences, bands you love and the era that you grew up in, each of these decades has a different appeal in terms of sound, colors and pickups.”
It starts with the 1950s.
The '50s was a pivotal era in American innovation. The decade also marked the unveiling of the Telecaster in 1951. Initially intended to service swing and dance band players, the solid-body workhorse would soon cross over into R&B, country and a new style known as rock 'n’ roll. That same year, Fender’s Precision Bass introduced frets, electrification and a strange double-cutaway body to what had always been an upright, fretless instrument. And in 1954, the Stratocaster’s revolutionary three-pickup configuration and space-aged contoured body shocked the world.
These instruments quickly gained popularity among artists who fell in love with the plucky twang and tight bass of the Telecaster’s pickups; others explored the Stratocaster’s sleek neck and revolutionary synchronized tremolo or the low-end capabilities of the Precision Bass. Fender made an indelible imprint not only on the sounds of the '50s, but also the style — just as a Fiesta Red T-Bird became an American status symbol, so too was a Fiesta Red Tele or Seafoam Green Strat.
The Vintera Series continues into the '60s, some of the most creatively vibrant, if also turbulent and transformational, years in modern history. At the beginning of the decade, rock and roll was in decline in the states, but electric guitar and bass thrived in genres like surf rock and Motown. But things changed with the British Invasion as rock resurfaced and artists were inspired to use guitar in new ways–from Keith Richards’ five-string open G tunings on his Telecaster, to Bob Dylan’s shocking electric turn on a Stratocaster at the Newport Folk Festival, to Jimi Hendrix’s acrobatic tremolo dive bombs on his beloved Strat. Fender also expanded its color palette in the '60s to include psychedelic finishes like Burgundy Mist and Ice Blue Metallic.
Meanwhile, the music of the 1970s was a bridge between '60s counter-culturalism and '80s decadence. Rock was undergoing a renaissance—becoming bigger, louder and more uninhibited. The guitar – and those who played it – followed suit, branching out into even more adventurous worlds as punk, funk and disco started stirring. Stalwarts like the Jazz Bass got a makeover with block inlays, a bound fingerboard, narrower neck shape and a pickup moved closer to the bridge; the Telecaster and Stratocaster gained upgrades like humbucking pickups, five-way switches and fresh '70s finishes like Mocha; and the biting sound and sleek offset shape of the Jaguar and Jazzmaster found a new legion of devotees in the world of post-punk.
With models ranging from the Stratocaster to the Telecaster to the Precision Bass to the Jazz Bass, the Vintera Series collects all of this rich history into a new line that is perfect for modern players.