Fender cranked out many new guitar models for 2015, but when it comes to guitar amps, they weren’t so prolific. Rather than introduce new ones, they’ve chosen to update two solid performers from the stable. So if you’re jonesing for more tones, check these out:
First is the Hot Rod DeVille ML 212:
The “ML” stands for Michael Landau, a solo artist, world-class sideman, session master and “players’ player.” Landau has used a two-amp Hot Rod DeVille-and-stomp-box setup on stage for years; the ML model is based on the Fender Hot Rod DeVille III, with tube circuitry and 60-watt output, two 12” speakers, spring reverb and an effects loop. The ML incorporates volume-switching and boost capabilities, with three channels (normal, drive, more drive). It features 3 x 12AX7 tubes, 2 x 6L6 power tubes, and a solid state rectifier.
Check out this video to see what the ML is capable of:
The Hot Rod DeVille ML 212 will be available in mid-March with an MSRP is $1,099.99.
The second update is the Blues Jr. LTD, with a lacquered tweed covering and a vintage-voiced 12″ Jensen speaker. Its tones are generated by an all-tube signal path using a pair of EL84 output tubes and 3 – 12AX7 preamp tubes, pumping out 15 watts. The LTD also features reverb, flexible controls, and a FAT switch for mid boost.
MSRP: $579.99 Available Late March
So there you have it: a couple of new amps to ponder. For more information on these amps, head to Fender.
By the looks of their new lineup, it’s a safe bet the Fender Custom Shop team put in some serious overtime getting ready for 2015 NAMM. There are many models to consider; study them wisely because it’s hard to justify more than one $5000 guitar a year, right?
First out of the gate is the 2015 American Custom Telecaster. It takes a double-bound early-’60s classic and “decks it out” with hand-wired Twisted Tele single-coil pickups, along the Greasebucket tone circuit, which rolls off highs without reducing gain.
Plus an AAA flame maple neck with a “large C” profile, maple or dark rosewood “slab” fingerboard, bone nut, 22 narrow jumbo frets, three way pickup switch, and Elite chrome tuners. Available NOS finishes include Two-Color Sunburst:
Faded Lake Placid Blue
The 2015 American Custom Telecaster FM has the same configuration, rosewood or maple fingerboard, but comes in NOS Violin burst:
And NOS Honey Burst
The 2015 Postmodern Journeyman Telecaster is a contemporary take on the classic Tele. It features a lightweight ash body with a contoured heel, a quartersawn maple neck with a ’60s “C” profile, a fast compound-radius (9.5”-12”) “round-laminated” maple or rosewood fingerboard, dual Twisted Tele pickups, the Greasebucket, a Custom Shop RSD bridge, American Vintage tuning machines, Schaller strap locks and Fender “F” logo engraved neck plate.
It’s available in either NOS or relic finishes in black:
Aged White Blonde:
The 1960 Relic Telecaster Custom has an alder body, three-color chocolate sunburst relic finish with dark plum sides, along with top and back binding. Pickups are Twisted Teles; the quartersawn maple neck has an early-’60s “oval C” profile. Plus a three-way pickup switch, three-ply mint green pickguard, American Vintage Telecaster bridge with threaded saddles, and American Vintage tuning machines.
The 1952 Heavy Relic Telecaster is an “authentic evocation of Fender’s first workhorse guitar,” along with some upgraded features, like Nocaster pickups with three-way switching, the Greasebucket, a maple neck with a Nocaster “U” profile, single-ply parchment pick guard, ’52 Telecaster bridge with brass saddles, and American Vintage tuning machines.
Available in Black, Blonde, and two-color sunburst:
The 1963 Relic Telecaster features dual American Vintage Telecaster pickups with three-way switching, the Greasebucket, a quartersawn maple neck with a mid-’60s “oval C” profile, 9.5”-radius “round-laminated” rosewood fingerboard with 21 narrow jumbo frets, three-ply mint green pickguard, American Vintage Telecaster bridge with threaded saddles, and American Vintage tuning machines.
Available in Olympic White, Blue Ice Metallic, and three-color sunburst:
The Limited Edition Caballo Tono (“tone horse”) gets its horsepower from a TV Jones Classic in the neck, and a hand-wound Texas Tele pickup in the bridge, along with the Greasebucket circuit.
Other features: quarter sawn AAA flame maple neck with a highly-worn heavy Relic treatment, 9.5”-radius maple fingerboard with 21 narrow jumbo frets, distinctive Cabronita pickguard and reverse control plate (pickup switch placed behind control knobs), Custom Shop RSD bridge, Sperzel tuning machines with pearl buttons, and Schaller strap locks.
Check it out here:
Last but not least is the Limited Edition 1955 Relic Esquire with Tele conversion kit. It features a hand-wound ’55 Telecaster single-coil bridge pickup with staggered/beveled pole pieces; if one pickup ain’t enough, the included conversion kit contains a ’55 Telecaster single-coil neck pickup, pickguard and control assembly .
Other features: a quartersawn maple neck with “soft V” profile and highly-worn Heavy Relic treatment on the back, a ’55 Telecaster bridge with ¼” steel saddles, American Vintage tuning machines and a Custom Shop Limited Edition neck plate. It’s available in two-color sunburst or Dirty White Blonde:
Phew. What a list of guitars. Take you’re pick: they’re all going to be awesome. For more, head to the Fender Custom Shop.
Wham, bam, thank you NAMM. Fender is introducing a bevy of Teles at 2015 NAMM, and there’s something here that should appeal to just about anyone. They won’t all be available immediately, but you can’t start fantasizing right now. And as we all know, there’s no bigger turn-on than new guitar smell!
The Limited Edition American Standard Telecaster HH is decked out with pearl block fingerboard inlays and dual Twin Head Vintage humbucking pickups. Available May 1, 2015.
If you’re in to different finishes, the Limited Edition Sandblasted Ash Telecaster is right up you alley. After the transparent finish is applied, the ash body is literally sandblasted, allowing the black grain-filler coat to peek out from the top coat. It comes with American Standard single-coil Telecaster pickups, and a Greasebucket tone circuit, to roll off highs without adding bass. Available in Sapphire blue:
And Crimson Red:
The news from NAMM is still coming out fast and furious. We’ll update these models with photos ASAP:
The original Gibson Flying V was made out of Korina, a tough-as-nails wood with great tone, but considered a real pain when it comes to building. That hasn’t stopped Fender with its Limited Edition American Vintage ’52 Telecaster Korina. Pickups on this bad boy are ’52 Telecaster single-coils. Available November 2, 2015.
The Limited Edition American Vintage Hot Rod ’50s Tele Reclaimed Redwood is made from—you guessed it—reclaimed old-growth redwood. It’s loaded with a humbucking neck pickup and a single coil in the bridge. Available September 1, 2015.
The Limited Edition American Standard Double-Cut Telecaster is designed for easy access to all frets. The ash body is outfitted with a Custom Shop Twisted single-coil neck pickup and a vintage-style Custom Shop single-coil Telecaster pickup. This butterscotch blonde beauty will be available on July 1, 2015.
The Limited Edition American Standard Offset Telecaster is based on a model originally conceived in the Custom Shop. This Tele/Jazzmaster hybrid features an offset body, Custom shop Twisted single-coil neck pickup and a vintage-style Custom Shop single-coil Telecaster pickup.
So there you have it—start counting your pennies or dropping subtle hints about your upcoming birthday, because chances are you’re going to want to put one of these new Teles in your (much) deserving hands, right?
For more information, head to Fender.
Perfection has an ugly side, as Phil Sylvester can attest. Dreaming of becoming a “big-time serious jazzer,” he enrolled at Berklee College of Music, but it wasn’t a smooth ride. “I learned so much about theory and technique that my standards were beyond my ears and my hands,” Phil recalls. “I felt like everything I was playing was terrible. I froze and put away my guitar for 15 years.”
During that time, Phil attended grad school for Architecture, where a drawing instructor had a profound impact. “He showed me a whole other model of learning: instead of trying to do it right the first time, learn what really matters by making a whole lot of mistakes,” Phil remembers. “He got me really comfortable developing skills through experimentation rather than through trying to be perfectionistic.”
Phil soon “jumped ship” and became a full-time visual artist. By 1996, his medium had become guitar. As you can see, his are a bit different.
“In my case, if I get into the typical guitar-building territory, with extremely fine craft tolerances, I tense up, and my perfectionism kicks in, so I have to actually build in that it’s not going to be that way,” Phil says. “It’s going to have scars and saw marks and all kinds of disruptions and inconsistencies.”
As it turns out, the modern masters of the art world used the same method. Phil brings up Matisse as an example: “His paintings seem really clean and beautiful, but when you get up close to them, they’re brushy and loose.” So what is Phil’s process? “I build it, then tear it down, rebuild it, tear it down, and rebuild it until it works the way I want. You rework the thing to its highest standard. Picasso would do that over and over again. That’s how his paintings got so good.”
But don’t think these guitars are just museum pieces. “As wacky as they look,” he says, “I am spending as much if not more time on how they sound and how they play.” Consider the Pheo Sfogliatella:
The body is built with pre-CBS Fender lap steel swamp ash. It breaks down small enough to carry on a plane.
“One of the keys to this guitar’s great sound is how the wings are attached to the body core,” Phil says. “They attach via long dove tail joints, pulled tight by springs to guarantee the strongest direct wood to wood contact at the joint. The springs also contribute some of the reverb-y sizzle that Strat tremolos create.”
The bridge pickup is a Red Volkaert favorite—the O.C. Duff Plank’ster. In the neck, a Vox Strat copy made in England. “I’m almost hesitant to talk about them because they’ll be too hard to find,” Phil says. “I’ve found six of them over the years. They are phenomenal.”
All of his guitars have gone to players, including studio musicians. “What I am pursuing is pretty conservative,” Phil says. “I’m really interested in why the golden age electrics of Gibson and Fender sounded so great.” He admits that it is a never-ending quest: “I’m still trying to build the best guitars in the world. I’m not saying they are that, but that’s what I’m shooting for.”