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NAMM 2019: The Fender American Performer Series has arrived, and it's ready to take performance to the next level

Fender Performer Series
Fender Performer Series

NAMM 2019: The Fender American Performer Series has arrived, and it’s ready to take performance to the next level

The Fender Performer Series is a new range of guitars and basses for 2019, created in Fender's Californian factory and designed to provide powerful live sound with maximum playability.

Fender Performer Series

Coming straight out of Fender’s Corona factory in California is the brand-new American Performer Series. Debuting at the 2019 NAMM show, this new collection replaces the American Special range and offers both affordability and quality for professional musicians.

Fender has gone back in time with the American Performer range, reproducing some of its most iconic models and instilling in them the style and sound that made them so popular in the first place. But, while the looks and sounds of these guitars may be traditional, each model has been loaded with modern enhancements to ensure perfect playability and a sound that is tailor-made for the stage.

These player-focussed instruments are the ideal entry point into the USA-made Fender family. They provide all the elements of a classic Fender guitar, updated with contemporary touches and modern specifications to deliver the very best of old and new.

Back to its Roots

The long and illustrious Fender story began in California, 1946. In the subsequent decades of becoming one of the world's iconic guitar manufacturers, Fender has flown far beyond its nest, producing instruments in Mexico, Japan, India, and beyond. While now a worldwide operation, Fender's true heart and home lies in California, and it is from here where the American Performer series is borne.

Produced in the flagship Corona factory, these new models take inspiration from the complete line-up of iconic Fender instruments. The Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Telecaster, Mustang, Precision Bass, Jazz Bass, and Mustang Bass have all been revisited, combining vintage style and feel with modern playability and sound quality.

Brand-New Yosemite Pickups & Modern Electronics

The link between California and the Fender American Performer series doesn’t just end with the factory of production; each guitar is fitted with Fender’s brand-new Yosemite-system pickups.

Named after the expansive Californian national park, Yosemite pickups deliver the same expansive sound as their namesake implies, designed for "rich, expressive tones" with "dynamic sounds ideal for any musical situation".  The pickups include flat-staggered pole pieces to enhance volume, along with a shellac coating to help control & reduce feedback. Despite this coating, the coils are still able to 'breathe', ensuring they maintain a pure and natural sound.

Elsewhere, the humbucker-equipped Performer Series guitars feature a patent-applied-for DoubleTap humbucker with push-pull circuitry. This clever new design combines both single-coil and humbucker voices and creates a balanced volume level when switching between the two modes.

Many of the Performer Series guitars also feature Fender's Greasebucket tone circuit to ensure an even treble roll-off without adding bass frequencies. Make no mistake, with their multiple tapping and switching options, the Yosemite pickup systems offer a versatile range of tones to enhance the traditional sounds of these guitars. This sonic power and clarity is just yet another example Fender's commitment to providing the optimum live instrument.

Built for the Professional Musician

It’s evident from the modern specifications of the Performer Series that performance is a key consideration with this new range.

Fender has sought to provide comfort and ease-of-playing by fitting every American Performer model with a modern “C”-shaped maple neck. Now adopted by Fender as the go-to, modern neck profile, this ergonomic design is the ideal mid-point between thin and wide profiles, offering both comfort and ease-of-access over the entire fingerboard. Each guitar is loaded with jumbo frets for enhanced string control, while a modern 9.5" radius gives the ideal balance for ease of soloing and chordal comfort.

This modern playing specification is offered in juxtaposition to vintage-style tremolos, reflecting the very mantra of the Performer Series - blending modern features with classic designs.

Each model is sold ready to gig, complete with its own deluxe Fender gig bag. Find out more about the distinctive qualities of each guitar below.

American Performer Stratocaster

Where else to start than with Fender’s most iconic guitar? Each of the American Performer Stratocasters features a balance of traditional looks and tones with modern playability and electronics. A vintage-style 6-saddle tremolo provides the classic look and sound of a traditional Stratocaster. The guitars are differentiated by pickup configurations and fingerboard types.

Available with both maple and rosewood fretboards, players can choose between the sharper, bright tones of maple, as seen in the Fender American Performer Stratocaster MN, Satin Lake Placid Blue, or the warmth and richness offered by rosewood in the Fender American Performer Stratocaster RW, Arctic White.

There are also two pickup options. The two aforementioned models are equipped with a trio of the brand-new Yosemite single-coil pickups, featuring feedback-controlling shellac coatings and flat-staggered pole pieces for power and balance.

Fender American Performer Stratocaster RW, Arctic White
Fender American Performer Stratocaster MN, Satin Lake Placid Blue

For something a little different, there are HSS options such as the American Performer Stratocaster HSS MN, Black. As well as the two Yosemite single coils, these guitars are fitted with a DoubleTap humbucker at the bridge position. This patent-applied-for pickup provides classic, full humbucking tones, alongside a single-coil tone when split using a push-pull tone control.

The PowerTap pickup design ensures that there is no drop in volume when switching between the humbucker/single-coil modes, and lets you decide whether you want full humbucking voice or the raw sound of three single-coil pickups. With an additional Greasebucket circuit and a modern playing specification, this is the Stratocaster designed to meet all the needs of the modern performer.

American Performer Telecaster

The American Performer Telecaster also comes with a variety of different options to choose from. Like the Strat, you can choose between maple or rosewood fingerboards, and SS or SH pickup configurations. The humbucker-equipped models also feature a coil-tap with a revolutionary matched-volume between the two voices, so you can perfectly balance your single-coil and humbucker levels.

Fender American Performer Telecaster HS RW, Aubergine
Fender American Performer Telecaster HS RW, Satin Surf Green

Each of the American Performer Telecasters has a classic 3-Saddle Strings-Thru-Body Tele Bridge. This traditional design enhances sustain, making every note ring for longer and creating the ideal guitar to play singing lead lines and solos with. A GreaseBucket Tone Circuit in the American Performer Telecaster HS RW, Aubergine and Satin Surf Green models gives clarity at any pitch, allowing for treble tones to be rolled off without adding unwanted bass.

American Performer Jazzmaster

With the American Performer Jazzmaster, Fender has reimagined one of its most well-loved, cult-classic guitars. The same tremolo system as the American Performer Stratocaster has been employed, adding an expressive tremolo edge to a wonderfully rich-sounding guitar. A rosewood fingerboard adds gorgeous depth and richness, maintaining a full voice at any point along the guitar’s neck. Fender has combined this with classic Jazzmaster style; the distinctive, offset body finished in a number of striking colours, such as Satin Lake Placid Blue and Penny.

The American Performer modern specifications (jumbo frets, 9.5" radius, Yosemite pickups, satin-finished neck) all ensure a thoroughly professional and modern feel to this classic guitar.

American Performer Mustang

Fender American Performer Jazzmaster, Penny

The Mustang has long been a rock icon. Kurt Cobain and John Frusciante are just two of the big names to have used one in their music. The American Performer Mustangs feature the same modern playing specifications as the rest of the American Performer series and are fitted with tailor-made tremolo systems. Aesthetically, these tremolos add a unique touch to a set of guitars that achieve unparalleled levels of coolness. Take a look at the Vintage White and Satin Sonic Blue models to see just how breath-taking the Mustang can be.

American Performer Mustang Bass

Fender American Performer Mustang Bass, Aubergine

Like its six-string brother, the American Performer Mustang Bass brings awesome coolness and style. Each bass is fitted with a shimmering, aged-white pearloid pickguard. This will add an unmistakable shine to the instrument, making it stand out beneath stage lights. With the American Performer Mustang in Aubergine, you can see how dazzlingly eye-catching this bass can be.

Designed to offer the maximum in playability, this guitar's shortened 30” scale length makes it easier to get to grips across the entire fretboard. An extremely accessible bass, it’s perfect for players of any ability, and will allow for rapid movement from the bottom to the top of the scale.

American Performer Jazz Bass

Fender American Performer Jazz Bass RW, 3-Tone Sunburst

Fender appears to have set out to make this the bass for any style. They’ve fitted it with a unique pair of differentiated Yosemite pickups. Sharpness and brightness come from the single-coil Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge position. Blended with the depth and punch provided by the split P Bass pickup, this combination creates an all-conquering tonal range that can handle any genre. And boy do they look good. Have a glance at the brilliant Arctic White model to see a bass that oozes quality, in every department.

When you consider the modern playing specification that adorns the entire Performer Series, you can be sure that the American Performer Precision Bass is built to perform.

American Performer Precision Bass


Their coolest yet. One can’t help but feel that it’s nigh on impossible to improve on the classic Precision Bass. This is an instrument that’s been perfectly suited to its purpose for decades. It’s seen jazz and funk legends such as Marcus Miller, Jaco Pastorious, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Sly and the Family Stone use it in their music. However, this American Performer Precision Bass, seen here in 3-Tone Sunburst, brings more depth and coolness than ever before into the P Bass design.

A classic alder body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard offers no surprises: it's an all-time classic combination. When you add the modern American Performer specifications into the mix, the result is truly the best of old and new. This is a modern take on a classic design, perfect for contemporary players needing a classic tone.  

Everything a Performer Needs, and More…

As you’ve seen, Fender has focussed on the specific needs of performers when crafting the American Performer Series. At every possible turn, playability has been maximised, sound quality has been enhanced, and playing comfort has been provided. Taking classic tonewood combinations, body styles, and pickup configurations, Fender has added a raft of modern touches to bring these instruments thoroughly up to date. Not to mention the fact that every single one of these new models has its own individual aura of coolness and style.

If ever you’re in doubt as to why Fenders are seen as the crème-de-la-crème of guitars, then look no further than the American Performer Series.  Five minutes with any one of these USA-made guitars will be long enough to show you why Fender are the best in the business when it comes to providing professional-level instruments that are perfect for the stage.

American Performers. Vital additions to any self-respecting guitarist’s collection.

Fender Performer Series

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By Jack Davies

Posted on 4 Dec 2018 00:00 to category : Instruments News

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