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Old February 12th, 2011, 01:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why Do Fender Acoustics Have Such A Bad Reputation?

I've never tried one for more than a couple of minutes in a store but the ones I did try seemed OK to me so I was wondering why Fender acoustics have such a bad name. With all of the Fender love around here you'd think that some people would rate their acoustics a bit more highly than they do.

So what is it about Fender acoustics that have caused them to have such a bad reputation? Is it the materials? The build quality?

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Old February 12th, 2011, 01:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ever hear a good sounding one?
The 60's ones look cool.
Fender acoustics are like Martin electrics.
No bueno, IMO.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 01:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The original Fender acoustic series (Kingman, etc.) designed under Roger Rossmeisl had the customary Fender style detachable neck, and an internal tube running from the end of the neck to the lower bout where the strap button is.

I'm unsure when Fender introduced acoustics made using traditional construction, whether it was under CBS or FMIC, but according to sources I have read, the second era were imports. I would surmise that the Fender acoustics of traditional construction have similar sonic characteristics comparable to other conventional acoustic guitars.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 02:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like Fender acoustic guitars, and here in California at least, Fenders reputation seems to be doing just fine.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I bought one (a $300 model, I don't know what exactly) that was an A/E and I returned it. The intonation was off. I played another identical model, same problem. So I got an Ovation that I love for a little less. I played several Fender models that where in my price range, and none struck me as great nor awful. The one I had but returned had a great tone and playability, but the quality wasn't there
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Old February 12th, 2011, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Fender's history with acoustic guitars is rather like a multidecade series of examples of how not to enter a market.

Fender acoustics were never total junk, but they were also never great.

Let's hope things work out with Guild....


otoh, their brief foray into high end jazzboxes, the LTD series, is the stuff of legend, surviving LTDs command high dollar on the resale market.

imo, Fender always saw acoustics as a marketing vehicle, a means to an end, rather than an end in itself so their heart wasn't into it.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Acoustics have never really been integral to Fender's product line. I mean that have made some decent ones, but mostly they have been imports using laminated woods produced in some Asian factory under contract to Fender. I believe that nowadays they do some construction in Ensenada, but I'm not sure they make complete guitars there yet.

So, they are just more - typically Indonesian - imports, like many others. And unlike Gibson's classic J-45, SJ-200, Hummingbird, Dove, etc. Fender has no real tradition with acoustics.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 02:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have an old California series El Rio that I like. I like some of the old Fender accoustics. Most of their run of the mill stuff is just that. You could always get more guitar for less money if you knew what you were looking at.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I wouldn't say that they have a bad reputation, I'd just say that Fender does not make fine acoustic guitars. They make acoustics with laminated bodies that are appropriate for beginners and early intermediate players. And within that context they're fine.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Disclaimer:
I know nothing about acoustic guitars.
I am on my first acoustic since April 2010.

I rarely go in to guitar stores. I usually buy things word of mouth without trying things out. I was starting to want an acoustic, so thought it would make sense to force myself in to a GC with a lot of time on my hands to test the waters. I was probably there for two hours and played around twenty guitars, without regard to brand or price (although on a very tight budget). I kept going back to the same guitar. It was a Fender DG200SCE Acoustic-Electric. There was something about the sound and how it felt that sold me, even over guitars three times the price. The crazy thing is when I got home, I could not even find manuals or much info from Fender on line. However, I did find a bunch of great reviews from people that felt the same as I did, basically a really nice guitar at a fair price ($400). I started to see all the negative responses on line regarding Fender acoustics in general and was not sure what to think. Anyway, I wanted give them positive feedback for at least the item I purchased.

Jim
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Old February 12th, 2011, 05:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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On paper these look very good, in fact too good when you figure a Guild dealer is also trying to sell imported guitars (the GAD line)...but what is on paper does not necessarily translate to the hand...

http://www.fender.com/news/index.php...ay_article=646
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Old February 12th, 2011, 06:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have had my Fender CD-280S for a year now and I enjoy it...

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Old February 13th, 2011, 12:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Once you get into the Higher end Solid Wood Models (mostly Korean) they are Pretty decent, and take a Set-up quite well...The Laminated Topped ones are built fairly well, but suffer Greatly in the Tone Department IMO....Like most stuff...ya gets whats you Pay for.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 01:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think that Bolide's post hit the nail on the head--in the "Karate Kid" style--one blow that set the matter aside permanently (so far,at least). I think that *some* of Fender's acoustic models were solid blows towards a worthy end, but that most of them were average at best. If you got one that you love--kudos to you.

However, I agree that Fender never put more than a cursory effort into the acoustic realm, and I was personally let down by the tele/strat-acoustic (-oscoustic???) models. My loyalty generally lies with the best product for the price, and while I really wanted to like, or even love, these models, I found them to be among the strongest arguments against FMIC's unplugged models.

As a bit of background, the bar was set pretty high by the "Esquire Custom GT" models of the mid 2000's. I finished my undergraduate work (obviously) in 2004, and never managed to scrounge up the dough to buy one back then. My local GC had one 2 weeks ago (silver with black stripe, if you were wondering), but alas--my taxes weren't done yet, so I had to wait for a refund while it went to a more prepared buyer.

My point is that I really want to love Fender's stuff, but I have to be realistic about my judgments. I know that a lot of people don't get my love for the custom GT series, but I'm okay with that. In the same manner, though, I'm not a big fan of _any_ of their hollowbody models (not counting thinlines!),and can agree to disagree. FWIW, I have a nice (but not sexy) Martin, but think that Yamaha pretty much owns the $200-$300 range, to paraphrase a prolific TDPRI'er. I'm not anti-Fender, but pro-"other stuff".

Really, I'd love it if Fender made a great acoustic for ~$300. I'd love it even more if it had the shape of a Tele. I just don't think that it's their thing. OTOH, I'm okay with that as long as they keep finding a way to get things done with solidbodies. I love my CV50's, and wish they'd give me a reason to drop $1K plus on a MIA model (new, of course). If they can get me an AmDlx for $1300 new, I'm there--and more than once!

Still, I love their guitars and amps, and aspire to one day be able to buy them with little to no regard to MSRP. Until then, my acoustic budget will likely to to Martin, Taylor, Silver Creek, and Yamaha, unless I find a deal...
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Old February 13th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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They've had a long string of not so good acoustics, with the best beng the Japanese made ones in mid '70s. They were basically Martin copies and I had one which I kept for about 30 years before I moved it on as part of a down sizing exercise. The Japanese ones were easily spotted by an inverted vee notch in the headstock & would be a good buy if they turned up anywhere.


I've just seen that an old thread on Fender F15 has come back to life, and there's a few pics of the Japanese headstocks there.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #16 (permalink)
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A couple of years ago I was looking for a new acoustic. I assumed that Fender would be the best place to start. I went into every music store that I passed to test drive the Fender acoustics. I may have tried as many as 75 to 100 guitars. I finally decided that the Fenders were not for me. I eventually bought a cheap MIC junk guitar that sounded really amazing. After buying it I went into other stores and like boilerup2004 I found that the Yamahas were pretty good guitars in the same price range. I seldom play an acoustic guitar though.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I lost my picture of just the acoustic, but here is my fender acoustic. I don't know what model or when it was made, but my dad bought it for my mom when I was 4 or 5 (used I think), so its at least 15 years old. I love it, and it sounds great IMO.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 09:29 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Being a Fender owner all my life, I bought their acoustic. It was the most wrist breaking guitar I've ever owned. Sure not something you could do lead parts on. There are lots of mid priced insturments that play and sound better. Get the best you can afford. I now have a higher end acoustic and it feels like you have been "set free" to work the neck with great skill.

Life is great with a Taylor & Tele. Don't need anything else.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 12:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Just to be clear, I wasn't thinking of getting a Fender acoustic as I have decided on a Seagull, a Simon & Patrick, or an Art & Lutherie (all made by Godin). The reason I asked about Fender acoustics was that I was reading something about Phil Collen yesterday in which it said that he plays Fender acoustics yet the vast majority of comments on the web say they don't make a good acoustic. Granted, Collen can buy their highest end model or have them custom made for him but it still made me curious.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 12:42 PM   #20 (permalink)
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My Buddie just bought a relatively inexpensive Fender 12 sting that I was pretty impressed with.
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