Fender has announced the new Vintera series, their latest family of vintage-inspired electric guitars and basses. Like you, we at Musician's Friend had plenty of questions about this exciting new series, so we reached out to Max Gutnik, Fender’s Vice President of Electric Guitars, Basses and Amplifiers for some answers.
The HUB: Hey, Max! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. First and foremost, can you tell us a little bit about the origin of the name “Vintera”?
Max Gutnik: Vintera, which stands for “vintage-era,” celebrates the Fender legacy with Strat, Tele, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Mustang, Precision Bass, Jazz Bass and Mustang Bass models in variety of neck shapes, pickups, and colors that were available from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
We paired the Vintera '60s Stratocaster with Max's preferred amp, the Fender Bassbreaker 30R.
The HUB: How are these guitars and basses different from the Classic Series ?
MG: Vintera has new era-correct neck shapes, pickup designs, tints and colors that Classic Series didn’t have. Anything carried over from the Classic series has been improved to look and perform better than ever. The ‘60s Mustang and Mustang Bass are new to the series as well.
The new Fender Vintera '60s Mustang in 3-Tone Sunburst.
The HUB: How did you decide on the “representative features” for each model and decade?
MG: Lots of research, testing and customer input. For example, in the ‘60s and 70’s all of the neck shapes were C shapes of varying thickness (differences that sometimes had to do with who was sanding necks that day). We spent a lot of time looking back, playing and comparing neck shapes, determining what the exact right thickness was for each model, to best represent the era.
The HUB: What do the mods offer, and how do the instruments maintain their vintage vibe?
MG: Vintera Modified models have features based on how players used to “hot-rod” their stock instruments back in the day. Players would swap necks, change frets, install hotter pickups, etc. We took the liberty of doing it for them so they have everything they need from the start.
The Fender Vintera '60s Stratocaster Modified in Burgundy Mist
The HUB: Do you have preferred amp or pedal pairings for certain models?
MG: I’m personally loving the new Bassbreaker 30R. So versatile for all styles of music and the gain channel is our best sounding tube distortion ever, in my opinion.
The HUB: Why did you choose to put a Bigsby on the 60s model?
MG: Bigsbys were popular on Telecasters in the ‘60s. We thought it would be cool to have it in the line.
Dig into our "All Playing, No Talking" demo videos of the Fender Vintera line, including the Vintera '60s Telecaster above.
The HUB: What informed the color choices?
MG: We chose what were the most popular colors from the era and some colors available that hadn’t been in the previous line, like Seafoam Green on the ‘50s P Bass, Ice Blue Metallic on the ‘60s Jazzmaster, and Mocha on the '70s Telecaster Deluxe.
The HUB: Do you have a favorite model?
MG: I love the Strats from each period. They all look and sound different due to the new pickups. All three use Alnico 5 magnets, but that’s where the similarities end. The '50s Strat has beveled staggered magnets with Formvar wire – which gives them a lot of high frequency brilliance. The '60s Strat has non-beveled staggered magnets with Plain Enamel wire – they sound tighter and a bit darker. The ‘70s Strat has flat magnets (no stagger, no bevel), which really evens out the frequency response and enables the pickups to take gain really well. Each one sounds so unique that it’s fun to use all three for certain genres of music.
Check out the new Vintera '50s Telecaster, demoed by Michael Eisenstein.
The HUB: With Fender making such a strong effort to work with and empower new and emerging artists, where do you see vintage-spec’d instruments fitting into their sound?
MG: Today’s players mix sounds and styles from every era, and its great hearing all of that reinvented in interesting new ways. I think Vintera provides a large pallet to choose from that will hopefully inspire some great music and great playing across the spectrum.
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