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Fender American Elite

When Fender and NAMM are in the same sentence, it almost always means good things for guitarists. That's definitely the case with the new Fender American Elite series introduced at NAMM 2016, bringing a whole suite of brand-new features and upgrades to the table. Fender describes them as "built for the pursuit," and they're certainly capable of living up to that claim - no matter what your pursuit happens to be. Maybe you're looking to take your live performance to the next level, or to get that perfect studio sound? For those pursuits and many more, this selection of American Elite Stratocasters and Telecasters could be just what you've been waiting for.

Fender made a lot of changes this time around, many of them subtle. For example, the body contours were adjusted for even better comfort, new short-post tuning machines were added to increase the break angle and improve tuning stability, and the truss rod adjustment wheel was moved to make neck relief adjustment a snap. There are some model-specific tweaks as well, including a new suspension bridge on Tele Thinline guitars and easy-to-grip soft-touch knobs on the Strats. Two brand-new exclusive colors have also been added: Sky Burst Metallic and Autumn Blaze Metallic.

Some of the revisions for this American Elite series roster are not so subtle, like the 4th-generation noiseless pickups that Fender is hailing as "a quantum leap in pickup technology." Don't worry, though: they still deliver the good sort of noise, with huge overdrive and all the vintage-style power you'd expect from a Fender pickup. The American Elite neck profile has also been overhauled, and it now transitions from a modern "C"-shape at the nut to a modern "D"-shape at the heel, delivering a playing feel so comfortable that we can only wonder why nobody's thought of doing that before now.

If you like to press the boundaries every time you play, then you deserve a guitar that pushes the envelope as well. That's what the Fender American Elite series is going for: these instruments are built for passionate musicians who play hard. They're loaded with all of Fender's latest design improvements, delivering a combination of playability, tone and style that's nothing short of world-class. Of all the products released at NAMM 2016, these guitars are sure to rank as some of the top crowd-pleasers.

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