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Fender Guitar Series: A Snapshot - Articles Surfing

The Fender American Standard series of guitars features both Telecaster and Stratocasters, the legends of the Fender name. The most affordable guitars in the Fender line-up, the classic style has some new updates to please musicians everywhere. Refinements include changes to some, but not all models of the guitars allowing musicians to select the guitar that best suits their playing style. The American Series guitars typically have twenty-two frets rather than the previous twenty-one, some feature humbuckers, synchonized tremolo arm, a steel bridge plate for added sustain and the three-sadle bridge has been replaced by a six-sadle bridge. The new six-sadle bridge means that you can adjust the height and length of each string independently. Available in a wide variety of colors and finishes, these guitars live up to the Fender legacy.

The Beginning
The first major electric guitar designed and produced by Leo Fender, the Fender Telecaster was introduced in the 1940's. With solid body construction and electronic amplification this was the first guitar to allow musicians to use the instrument with a band or as a solo instrument in a larger forum. Instantly popular with musicians across the genres, the Telecaster was embraced by Blues, Country and later Rock n' Roll musicians. Fender is known for its treble tone and the Telecaster is particularly known for its bright and clear tones. The bridge pickup of the Telecaster is wound more than the pickup for the neck with emphasizes the treble tone and the slanted neck also gives a more treble sound while the lower tones are dampened. A versatile instrument musicians can use the controls for volume and tone to craft their own sound. For more than fifty years the Telecaster has been a favorite of both professional and amateur musicians.

The Next Step
The second big innovation from the workshop of Leo Fender was the Stratocaster. Designed in the early 1950's, the Stratocaster was the result of all that had been learned from making the Telecaster combined with feedback from musicians about what worked and what didn't and what they wanted. Overall, the Stratocaster is a more complicated instrument with three single coil pickups which increases the tone and overall sound of the guitar. The addition of the Fender vibrato bridge allowed musicians to bend the strings to achieve a sound similar to the popular pedal-steel instruments. The already wide variety of tones that were created by the Stratocaster were expanded with the creation of the synchronized tremoloarm. A tremolo arm allows a guitar player to quickly vary the tension of the strings which temporarily changes the pitch to create vibrato, portamento and pitch effect expanding the options available for the musician. There were changes made to the overall design of the guitar body as well. Beveled areas for where the strumming arm rests and for the player's chest were added for a fitted feel that is comfortable for long session.

Creating the Fender Sound
The electric guitar was brought to life with the invention of the single coil pickup. A single coil pickup is created by wrapping a permanent magnet with fine enameled copper and then mounting the coil on the body of the guitar. When the player then plucks the strings, they vibrate and effect the magnetic flux which changes the voltage that passes through the coild of wire. The signal is modified by these changes in voltage and travels through the wire to the amplifier or recording device. The sound can then be amplified to be heard at any volume, from your garage to a stadium concert.

In its traditional form, the Telecaster guitar features just two single coil pickups but the three-way selector switch provides flexibility in choosing which pickup to use and further controls for tone and volume shape the sound. In the Stratocaster there are three standard single coil pickups mounted in series for the bridge middle and neck. With a switch of a lever the player can select which pickup they want to be active. Theey can use two pickups in combination, a single or all three to produce the sound that they want.

Further Innovation
First introduced in the 1950's, a humbucker is popular among many musicians for its ability to clarify sound. Electronic guitars rely on single coil magnetic pickups to 'pick up' and convey the alternated voltage created by the vibrating strings to create music. But these magnets can act as antennae and are vulnerable to picking up other signals not intended by the musician. The single coil magnetic pickups are sensitive to electromagnetic interference that can be generated by electrical appliances, computer screens, motors and other signals as well, all of which create a 'hum' or 'buzz' in the sound produced by the guitar. A humbucker uses two additional coils (although there are several versions of the humbucker) to cancel the interference, which literally bucks the hum and leaves only the pure musical sound to be amplified. In the American Series there are several Stratocasters that have humbuckers in their designs.

The Little Things
The sound of each guitar is unique and can be personized and shaped by several factors. Where the pickups are positioned, the number of coils wound around each magnet, what type of wire is used, the shape of the guitar, the kind of wood used in the neck and body and the position of the strings all have an impact on the sound. Using the tone controls to determine which pickups are featured gives musicians control over their sound. Pickups in the bridge position bring a bright, harmonic-rich and sharp tone compared to those pickups in the neck position which are louder, more warm and mellow in nature.

The name Fender brings a wealth of history and achievement to mind- from Muddy Waters to Eric Clapton to Ritchie Blackmore the artists that have embraced the Fender electric guitars have set the standard for all who play. The latest generation of guitars to be embraced by musicians, the American Standard series features both Stratocaster' and Telecaster' guitars from legendary Fender. True to their historic past these guitars are beautifully crafted with small updates to their design. The most affordable line of Fender guitars, The American Standard Series brings everything you expect from the Fender name without compromise.

Submitted by:

Blair Stephens

Blair Stephens is an experienced writer and proud member of the Music Power team. We offer the best selection of electric and acoustic guitars in all the best brands. Learn more about guitars in our Musician Articles at http://www.musicpower.com/musician-articles.asp.



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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