5 Best Fender Acoustic and Electric Guitars
Fender has been a guitar-manufacturing giant since the 1950s. The Fender Stratocaster has been used by legends like Eric Johnson, SRV, Tom Morello, and many more over the years. But with their huge line-up of guitars, it can be quite daunting to choose just one.
Whether you want an acoustic, an electric, or even a bass, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best Fender guitars on the market today.
Top Picks: 5 Best Fender Guitars Reviews
Fender has a range of guitars, from affordable, budget guitars, to premium, high-end ones made with exquisite craftsmanship and exotic materials. So when talking about these premium guitars, the Fender American Ultra series definitely comes to mind. The Ultra series was launched very recently and is set to replace their previous Elite series, bringing guitarists a more modern flavor for modern music.
The American Ultra series has a variety of configurations, but we’re reviewing the Stratocaster HSS version here. This Ultra Strat has an Alder body with a Maple neck that complement each other perfectly for perfect resonance. The fingerboard is made of Rosewood, with a standard Fender scale length of 25.5″ and a modern ‘D’ neck profile that offers a balance between tightness and playability. There are 22 medium jumbo frets on the guitar with a 10″-14″ compound radius for easy soloing.
Fender Custom Shop’s Tim Shaw has fit this guitar with powerful pickups and advanced electronics; it features an Ultra Double Tap™ Humbucker on the bridge, with two Ultra Noiseless™ Hot Strat® single-coil pickups on the neck and middle positions, with a five-way pickup selector. There’s a switch to convert the humbucker to single-coil as well. The guitar also features locking tuners for added stability, with a classic Fender deluxe synchronized tremolo for those expressive vibratos and dives.
If you’re looking for the best Fender electric guitar, then look no further than the American Ultra Stratocaster HSS. With both humbucker and single-coil pickups, exotic tonewood selection, advanced electronics, and a modern design that’s built to perfection by Fender’s top luthiers, this is a guitar that’s a must-have for the serious musician.
The Squier series of guitars by Fender is a much more affordable and budget-friendly range of guitars aimed at beginners, students, and those not wanting to break the bank for a decent guitar. These guitars don’t feature the same craftsmanship and build quality as Fender’s more expensive guitars, but for their price, they serve guitarists very well.
The Squier Bullet Stratocaster comes in various configurations, and we’ve chosen the HSS one with a hardtail bridge. This guitar has a Poplar body with a Maple neck that offers a good, balanced tonality. The 9.5″ radius fingerboard consists of Indian Laurel, which is smooth to touch, and has a ‘C’ shaped neck profile. The guitar has 21 medium jumbo frets over its 25.5″ scale length. According to Don Carr of Sweetwater Sound (1):
It’s really lightweight and comfortable, making it the perfect first electric guitar.
This Squier features a standard humbucking pickup on the bridge and two single-coil Strat® pickups on the neck and middle, with a five-way pickup selector. They offer a good amount of clarity and work well for a variety of genres. This guitar features a 6-saddle strings-through-body hardtail bridge for extra tuning stability, but it also has a tremolo bridge variant.
If you want a great first electric on a budget that gives you a taste of Fender’s iconic Stratocaster design, then the Squier Bullet Stratocaster is a fantastic choice. With a classic, time-tested design, a comfortable body shape, and great pickups, the Squier is simply an amazing entry-point into the world of guitar.
3. Fender PM-TE Travel Standard Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Best Acoustic Guitar
Body: Solid Mahogany with Sitka Spruce Top
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fingerboard: Ovangkol
- Frets: 20, Vintage Style
- Scale: 23.5″
- Pickups: Fishman PM Preamp
- Bridge: Ovangkol
The Fender Paramount series is one of their most popular acoustic guitars, with a premium design and great feel. The new PM-TE Travel Standard is a more lightweight and compact version that they recently introduced, and features advanced electronics and a beautifully resonant sound.
The PM-TE has a solid Mahogany body, with a Sitka Spruce top and a Mahogany neck; a combination that results in a rich tone. The fingerboard consists of Ovangkol, with a 15.75″ radius that’s comfortable to play. There are 20 vintage-style frets in all, with specially designed inlays, out of which 14 are easily accessible.
Fender has partnered with Fishman to design a special PM preamp system for this guitar that offers a great sound when connected to an amplifier or a PA system. It has volume, treble, bass, and phase controls, along with a built-in tuner for accurate tunings. The guitar also comes with a hardshell case that’ll protect it well during travel.
Whether you want a great-sounding acoustic with a premium feel, or a lightweight and compact guitar that’s easy to carry, the Fender PM-TE is a fantastic option. With a classic tonewood combo that sounds brilliant, a host of electronics that make it studio and stage ready, and renowned Fender craftsmanship, this is easily the best Fender acoustic guitar that one could buy.
Fender’s bass guitars have gone through much evolution over the years, as Leo Fender used to innovative his designs on a regular basis. One of the most popular designs, however, was the ’70s series of jazz bass guitars. Now, the Fender American Original 70s Jazz Bass has been designed to recreate the vintage feel of those guitars by replicating every aspect of the original classic.
The 70s Jazz Bass has an Ash body with a Maple neck, much like the original, to deliver a powerful and well-balanced tone. The fingerboard also consists of Maple, with a 9.5″ fretboard radius and a 1975 ‘U’-shaped neck profile. There are 20 vintage-tall frets with easy access even to the highest frets that allow for a comfortable playing experience, and help you add some expressive vibrato.
Fender has included a pair of pure vintage ’75 single-coil Jazz Bass pickups that are specially designed to recreate the sounds of the iconic original. There are 2 volume knobs for the neck pickup and bridge pickup, along with 1 tone knob, and every piece of hardware on the guitar is period-accurate and authentic, to give you a proper feel of the original ’70s guitars.
If you’re looking for a vintage jazz bass guitar with a tone and feel that harkens back to the golden age of music, you should definitely get this Fender American Original 70s Jazz Bass. With every aspect of its design being carefully crafted to recreate the original guitar and to offer amazing tone and superb playability, this guitar is the best Fender bass guitar.
5. Fender Acoustasonic Stratocaster 3-Tone Sunburst – Most Innovative
- Neck: Mahogany
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Frets: 22, Narrow Tall
- Scale: 25.5″
- Pickups: Fender Acoustasonic Noiseless™ Magnetic Pickup, Fishman Under-Saddle Transducer, and Fishman Acoustasonic Enhancer
- Bridge: Modern Asymmetrical
Fender has long been known for innovating instruments, since the original Telecaster and Stratocaster designs from the ’50s. And they’ve been continuing that trend with their new line of Acoustasonic instruments; hybrid guitars that work as both acoustics and electrics. The new Acoustasonic Stratocaster is among them, and it’s a true marvel of modern technology.
The Acoustasonic Stratocaster is shaped much like a classic Fender Stratocaster with similar contours and a double-cutaway design. It has a Mahogany body and neck too, and features a patented Stringed Instruments Resonance System, which creates a beautiful sound akin to a normal acoustic. The fingerboard is Ebony, with a standard scale length of 25.5″. There are 22 narrow-tall frets that provide a comfortable playing experience for a variety of styles. Here’s what guitarist Pete Thorn had to say about it (2):
The new Acoustasonic Stratocaster is a really really useful guitar, and I can definitely see using it on gigs.
Fender has teamed up with Fishman to create special pickups for this guitar. It’s fitted with 3 different pickups – a Fender Acoustasonic Noiseless™ Magnetic Pickup at the bridge for the strat-style tones, a Fishman Under-Saddle Transducer, and a Fishman Acoustasonic Enhancer, which can be combined to provide piezo-like tones. There are 5 voicings available on this guitar, giving you a large tonal ground to play around with.
If you’ve ever felt like you want a guitar that can work as both an acoustic and an electric, then the Fender Acoustasonic Stratocaster is for you. This is a guitar that’s reimagining the possibilities of what a guitar can do, and with its classic Strat-design that’s filled to the brim with modern technology, this is certainly one of the best and most innovative guitars ever built; a truly contemporary example of Fender’s legacy of innovation and invention.
When talking about the best Fender guitars, five just isn’t enough. Here are some other Fender contenders that are worth considering:
This guitar is an authentic recreation of the original Fender ’50s Stratocaster, that one that truly ushered guitarists into a new age. The Vintera ’50s Stratocaster features replica pickups, a period-accurate neck profile, and vintage hardware to offer modern guitar players a trip to the golden era.
The original ’60s Stratocaster was a more modernized guitar compared to its predecessor, featuring a Rosewood fingerboard and better electronics. It was another legendary guitar by the company, and helped foster the birth of rock music as we know it. The American Original ’60s Stratocaster is a perfect replica of that, with authentic pickups and a vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge.
Stevie Ray Vaughan is a legendary icon of rock guitar, and is most famous for always using a Fender Stratocaster. To honor his legacy, Fender has recreated his exact guitar with the same finish, pickups, and hardware to give modern players a feel of his extraordinary skills. If you’re someone who’s a fan of country guitar and SRV, this guitar is perfect for you.
Around the late ’80s, the idea of ‘Super Strats’ had become very popular, especially amongst metalheads. They featured high-output pickups making them suitable for metal. The Fender HM Strat was their answer to these guitars, and it was recently re-issued to cater to modern guitarists.
The Fender Telecaster series of guitars has been popular amongst guitar players for many years now. If you’re after a single-cutaway semi-hollow body guitar that’s great for blues, funk, and RnB, then this one is a great choice for you.
Buying Guide: How To Pick The Best Fender Guitar For You
So now you know the best Fender guitars ever made, but how do you pick the one that’s right for you? Here are some important things to look out for:
Tonewoods And Design
When considering a Fender guitar, the tonewoods used in building its body, neck, and other parts are very important. They influence the overall feel and tone of the guitar, and of course, the looks as well. The most popular woods used in Fender guitars are alder or ash, but other woods like mahogany and maple are also frequently used.
Lighter tonewoods like Alder have a different resonance as opposed to heavier woods like Basswood, resulting in different tonalities.
Another factor is the overall design of the guitar, and its type. Whether you want a bass guitar, an electric, an acoustic, or even a hybrid guitar like the Acoustasonic. Fender makes guitars of various different sizes and shapes, so you have to pick one that’ll be comfortable for you and allow you to play the best that you can.
Pickups and Electronics
Pickups represent the heart and soul of electric guitars, and they’re equally important in acoustics and basses. They determine the kind of sound that’ll be produced by the guitar. Fender guitars are most well-known to use single-coil pickups, but they come in different configurations and arrangements.
It may be HSS, where there are two single-coils on the neck and middle positions, with a humbucker on the bridge, or SSS, or even HSH. Hence, they come in a variety of different designs, which will affect the versatility of the guitar and its tones.
Single-coil pickups produce a more ‘twangy’ sound, while humbuckers have higher gain and a more full-bodied tone.
The electronics available on Fender guitars differ too. Some of them include vintage-style hardware to replicate the tones of iconic classic guitars, while others have more modern technology. Acoustic guitars may even have onboard tuners, like the PM-TE, and the new Acoustasonic features next-generation technology to produce a variety of tones (3).
Feel And Comfort
When considering a guitar, its feel in your hands is probably the most important thing. Fender guitars are known for having a unique feel, especially their Stratocaster and Telecaster range of guitars. Over the years, their designs have evolved as well, so the body contours, neck profiles, headstocks, and other design aspects change with different models.
Some of them have ‘C’ shaped necks, while some may have ‘D’ shaped necks. Fingerboard radius is also an important factor when considering a guitar, as some players prefer a more rounded fretboard, while some prefer a flatter one. Fret size, such as jumbo frets, also influence the playability.
Hence, we recommend trying out these guitars at your local stores, if possible, to get a feel of how they play in your hands. Once you have experience, you will be able to understand the importance of each of these specifications and their impact on playability.
Yes, Fender guitars are definitely great. Since their inception in the 1950s, they have been known for their build quality, attention to detail, and innovativeness. Even today, in the 21st century, Fender guitars remain one of the most sought-after guitars for their unique designs and unbeatable playability.
Many famous guitarists have used Fender guitars throughout history. Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Tom Morello are just some of the most well-known guitarists who’ve used Fender guitars.
This is perhaps one of the most controversial questions in history. In our opinion, both of them make beautifully unique guitars, and have pioneered many innovations for the benefit of guitar players worldwide. Fender guitars suit certain players better, whereas Gibson guitars suit other players better. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference, so if you’re spoilt for choice, why not try both and see for yourself?
- Squier Bullet Strat Electric Guitar Review – Sweetwater Sound. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5WjngP9aVg
- THE STRAT GOES ACOUSTIC! Fender Acoustasonic Stratocaster. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/fwC75UoPnGI?t=448
- Inside the American Acoustasonic Telecaster. Retrieved from: https://www.fender.com/articles/gear/unlimited-expression-inside-the-american-acoustasonic-telecaster