Article by: Aaron Jorgensen of Murphy’s Guitars
Today I’d like to discuss a common question I hear in the shop: “Which Fender guitar is right for me?” Some of the biggest names in music have made history in nearly any genre with a fender guitar slung over their shoulder. The beauty of Fender is they offer a wide variety of guitars with various features, both modern and vintage, in a variety of price ranges that make it possible for almost any player to find the fender guitar that’s fit for them. Before I begin this, I’d like to point out that, contrary to what many guitar forums will say, there is not a “Best Fender Guitar.” Rather there is a “Fender Guitar that is best for you.” Don’t let someone tell you that you need to spend $1500 to get something decent, that isn’t the case at all. On the opposite side, however, don’t let anyone tell you that their $500 guitar is every bit as good, or better than your American made Fender. That guitar might be the best for what they want, but not the best for what you want. With those points in mind, let’s discuss how to select the perfect electric Fender Guitar for you.
This is a huge deal, with the variety of models, mods, and series that Fender is now offering, there is no longer a specific style or genre associated with the various Fender body shapes. For decades the Telecaster was thought of as the weapon of choice for country and select rock artists, but in recent years artists from pop, to reggae, to metal have taken telecasters, modded them to their liking, and turned the once country guitar into something much more. The two most recognizable Fender guitar body styles are the Stratocaster and Telecaster, followed by the Jaguar, Jazzmaster, and Mustang, as well as a few other various bodies that have existed throughout Fender’s history. Picking the body style that looks and feels best to you is half the battle. On the Strat pay attention to the contoured body, the “gut cut” on the back, and the double cutaways. On the Tele pay attention to the simplicity, the contours (if any), and the weight. On your other various styles pay attention to the weight distribution, the offest bodies, and the nice rounded edges. Once you have a body in mind, move on to evaluating which series (also called platforms) is right for you.
Platforms or Series
Often times people will ask me to give my honest oppinion on which guitars are better Mexican made or American made Fenders. First off, I’ll admit, I work sales. Everyone thinks that I’m out there to squeeze as much money out of you as possible every time you walk into my shop. I know, however, that if you walk in looking for a $200 Squier guitar, and I keep trying to show you the $400 Fender Mexican Standard, all I’m doing is pushing you right out the door. I’m there to help you find a guitar that fits your style and budget. So the answer to the question of which is better? Neither! Instead of paying attention to where the guitar is made, lets look at how the guitar fits you. If you’re looking for something inexpensive, good quality, and simple explore the Mexican Standard (also called just the Standard) line. Maybe you want something with a more modern flare, or something that offers more versitility? Look to the Deluxe platform (Both American and Mexican lines have Deluxe models) Want something that’s true to the original spirit of fender? Try the Vintage series. Maybe you want something that is classic, historic Fender? look into the American Standard Last of all if you’re looking to get something unique Fender will offer limited runs of unique guitars all the time, for those, check out the Limited Edition platform. Each platform has its own unique features, and a variety of guitars that exist within it, but to narrow your search down to one or two platforms ask yourself, what is my price range? Once you have that, are you looking for something different and more innovative (Deluxe), True to the old school (Vintage), something that screams classic Fender (Standard), something unique (Limited), or possibly replicate the tone of a favorite artist (Artist). No matter what you decide you’ve gotten one step closer, and the pool of candidates is beginning to thin.
Selecting The Perfect Guitar
I can’t emphasieze this point enough. Fender dealers exist to give you the information you need to find the perfect guitar for you! My days for the last 4 or 5 years have been spent playing, learning about, repairing, setting up, and talking with customers about Fender Guitars. If a sales associate doesn’t know the product line, why waste your time? Tell them what kind of music you’re into, what body shape you like, what platform you’re interested in, what features you would want to explore, and see what suggestions they can give you! I promise, us sales guys aren’t all evil and money hungry. If an associate seems to see you as a big walking comission check, find someone else that’s willing to help you! If your local shop isn’t much help, let us be your local shop, we are always happy to answer questions via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Email. If you feel more inclined to venture out on your own, make your way over to Fender’s new website. The new structure breaks the buying experience down very simmilar to the way I just did. My biggest suggestion is, however, to shop local first. Small retail stores like Murphy’s Guitars in Bountiful, Utah will work harder for your business, and if they don’t, try somewhere else, but give the little guys a chance too.
So, That’s my guide to buying your Electric Fender Guitar. I hope it was informative.
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