Not only were 12-stringed guitars played by the Beach Boys, the Byrds and the Velvet Underground, but – perhaps most famously – Jimmy Page used one on Led Zeppelin’s timeless classic “Stairway to Heaven.”
Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton ... you could add countless other big-time guitarists who have picked up these wonderfully chime-y models over the years.
Despite their popularity, Fender hasn't really produced a 12-string electric guitar since 2013, although there are several acoustic versions available.
That is, until now. The new Alternate Reality Electric XII harkens back to Fender's 1960's era with its otherworldly "hockey stick" headstock, pair of powerful split single-coil pickups and vintage finishes.
First introduced in June of 1965, just as the Byrds’ jangly “Mr. Tambourine Man” single and album were topping the charts and ushering in the folk-rock boom (Gene Clark played a Firemist Gold prototype model when the Byrds played the song on the May 11, 1965, episode of NBC’s Hullabaloo), the Electric XII was a smartly designed, well-built and entirely new instrument.
An offset body like its Jaguar and Jazzmaster cousins and the striking "hockey stick" headstock (which was also featured on Fender’s Shenandoah and Villager acoustic 12-string models in summer 1965) gave the Electric XII a look that stood out from the rest and helped them gain quite the cult following.
"Over the years, it was always a treat to pop into a vintage guitar shop and see a vintage Electric XII on the wall," said Eugene Edwards, guitarist for Dwight Yoakam. "They’re hard to find. Good news: We’re making the Electric XII again."
The Alternate Reality Series mines Fender's past to offer unique and eclectic instruments, like the Electric XII, to the modern player.
Watch Edwards put the Electric XII throuhg the paces in the video above and shop the Alternate Reality Electric XII here.
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