The legendary Leo Fender started what is now known as the Fender Musical Instruments Company way back in 1946, making 2021 the 75th anniversary of the inception of what has become one of the biggest musical instrument producers in history. Alongside its US-made counterparts – a celebratory range that seeks to carry the torch and push forward as Fender do – this new Mexican- made 75th Anniversary series seeks to pay homage to Fender themselves and acknowledge them for what they are: some of the most iconic electric guitars in history.
Both of these Diamond Jubilee guitars are refined versions of the distinctive, groundbreaking models that have come before them, with both the Telecaster and Stratocaster being wielded by many of the greatest musicians of our past, present and almost certainly the future. These guitars offer great playability and classic Fender sound and specifications, as well as classy engraved neck plate and a deluxe gig bag. These Anniversary models prove that even after 75 years and with such an endless list of body shapes, electronic circuits, models and construction materials coming and going within the industry, Fender is sticking to their roots, and still, they’re coming up strong.
In true Fender fashion, the 75th Anniversary Stratocaster is an alder-bodied instrument, complete with a gloss polyester Diamond Anniversary finish – a subtle champagne-leaning silver that’s incredibly pleasant to look at. The pickguard is black, but the pickups and controls are a creamy parchment colour that’s offset really nicely against the maple fretboard – another hint at the Strat’s earliest history, as rosewood was only introduced in the very late ‘50s and early ‘60s (depending on who you ask).
The pickups are Vintage Style single-coils controlled by a five- way switch, while the neck features a Modern “C” shape which sits nicely in the palm. Surprisingly, this neck handles like more of a vintage C or D shape, while also feeling modern without erring too much to the side of a modern Super- Strat shape. The pickups offer everything you need and expect from a Strat, from a bright bridge position to a warm, compressed neck position and everything in between, with positions two and four get you that out-of-phase spank and articulation, whole the master volume and dual tone controls help to refine the five positions even further.
The legacy of Fender’s original electric guitar is also commemorated in the form of the 75th Anniversary Telecaster, again with a maple neck and fretboard with its Diamond Anniversary- finished alder body. This time, however, Fender have loaded the guitar with Vintage Style ‘50s single-coil pickup in the bridge and neck positions, harking back to the instrument’s earliest days in the country, rock ‘n roll and blues scenes that would go on to change the world.
The neck, a maple assembly with a 25.5” scale length, is fixed to the body with a special edition 75th Anniversary engraved neck plate that matches every instrument in the range. The Telecaster features a Modern “C” shape as well, offering classic Fender feel with a modern slimness that is somehow familiar while feeling new and inspiring.
The ‘50s style single-coil in the bridge position offers bright, articulate tones for chords, whereas the neck position offers slightly warmer and cleaner tones, ideal for thick leads or jazzier playing styles, and of course, there’s that gloriously funky middle position. When pushed, both pickups handle distortion and grit with ease: the driven neck pickup just begs for indie licks or Midwestern emo riffing, while the screaming hot bridge pickup proves to be a mean companion for chugging rhythms and hot blues leads.
The Anniversary Telecaster has just as much twang and bite as you want from a Tele, with the Block Steel Saddles assisting the string tones to resonate through the string-through bod, with those said strings being suspended by a synthetic bone nut and pulled to tension by standard Fender sealed tuners.
Of course, Fender are a company known for consistently pushing the envelope, but it’s also nice to look back at what they’ve created and remember how these instruments have influenced modern music. While many specs seem similar, the songs and styles that they inspire couldn’t be more different, and the entire 75th Anniversary range demonstrates that.
The single-cut spank of the Telecaster has proved to be pivotal to the development of contemporary music and the sparkle of the sleek-contoured Stratocaster even more so. These new Anniversary models uphold the unparalleled legacy of both instruments by giving players what they want – classic, authentic recreations of the tools their heroes used to carve out their own niche in pop culture.
Sure, you could make do with just about any Stratocaster or Telecaster in the Fender catalogue, but hey: 75 years is a long time. It’s a milestone worth celebrating, and with guitars that feel and sound
as good as these two do, you’d be crazy not to give one a go. Plus, that Diamond Anniversary finish is sure not to be repeated!
Head to Fender to find out more about the Diamond 75th Anniversary range.
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