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The Fender Coronado was designed by Roger Rossemeisl and launched in 1966 as part of CBS’s efforts to broaden their range of products. The guitar was a first in that it was designed to compete against Gibson’s range of semi-hollow guitars. They were initially released in 6 string and bass models with different pickup combinations in fairly standard colors. A 12 string version was also available with the distinctive “hockey stick” headstock. The Coronado was probably best remembered for the innovative “wildwood” finishes. The “wildwood” was created by injecting colored dyes into beech trees. The resultant shades of green, blue and orange were certainly distinctive but sadly failed to resonate with players at the time. The Coronado was also released in an “Antigua” color option – best describes as a cream sunburst - which some believe was used to paint over the increasingly unpopular wildwood finishes.
Despite being a great sounding guitar, whit a hollow body and DeArmond single coil pickups, the Coronado failed to catch on and Production ceased in 1972. Like the Jazzmaster & Jaguar, the Coronado was a popular choice in the early 1980s among post-punk musicians looking for a unique but affordable alternative to the Strat and Les Paul.
The newly reissued Fender Coronado is based on the originals of the 1960s but comes with some modern upgrades designed to improve playability and sound great. Updates include two humbucking pickups called "Fideli'Tron" which rather resemble Gretsch pickups. Additionally the Coronado now has a solid alder center block which is designed to minimize feedback and improve sustain.
The Fender Starcaster was another attempt by Fender in the mid-1970s to launch a hollowbody guitar. This time the guitar featured a semi-hollow body, humbucking pickups and an interesting offset body shape and headstock. The neck was maple and had a three-bolt joint typical of Fenders in the ‘70s. The guitar featured separate volume and tone controls for each pickup and a master volume switch. This is where the re-issue differs, as they now only feature the volume and tone controls for each pickup. A Starcaster bass has also been introduced with similar features to the 6 string version.
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