Hot or Not: New Fenders, Back by Popular Demand!

September 6, 2013

Once or twice in a gearhead’s life, there’s a moment of discovery so thrilling and visceral that you never ever forget it. One of those moments in my life came when I saw the Fender Starcaster for the first time (shockingly it wasn’t hanging off of Johnny Greenwood). I’d gone to a local venue to see some friends’ bands play—and when my pal Tod Morrisey showed up onstage playing this mythical semi-hollow Fender from the 70s, my mind was blown. Not only had I never even heard of it, but it was gorgeous—all offset and semi hollow with that crazy, awesome headstock. I'd never seen anything like it. That night, I swore that I would own one...

...then I got home, checked the used market, looked in my empty wallet, and realized: I’ll never own one

Thankfully, Fender didn’t want me to go my whole life without one, so they’ve BROUGHT IT BACK! And not content with just bringing me my coveted Starcaster, they’ve brought the Coronado back (not to mention they’re doing versions of both in 4-string bass configuration!) and just to go the extra mile they’ve brought 3 Silverface amps back. Fender-enabled time travel, ENGAGE.

In the spirit of enthusiastically talking shop, we ask the age old question: HOT OR NOT?!?!?!!!



The Coronado was Fender’s first foray into hollow-body electric guitars and has been a mainstay on the used market for many years. This new Modern Player version updates the Coronado with dual Fideli’Tron humbuckers and several cool finishes—in addition to the classic four-knob controls, three-way toggle switching, and bound neck with block inlays. Gone is the checkered binding, but with finishes like Black Cherry Burst and such an affordable price point, who needs it?!!!




Arguably one of the holy grails of out-of-production guitars, the Fender Starcaster returns with its classic offset aesthetics though with a few differences from the original: the Modern Player Starcaster retains a four out of five knobs (the original had a master volume knob!) and replaces the original hardtail bridge with a stoptail/tune-o-matic bridge. Fender Wide Range humbuckers and the classic, one-of-a-kind Starcaster headstock round out the instrument.





In ‘68, Fender rolled the dice on a new image for its amplifier line—replacing the “black face” cosmetics of its amps with the silver and blue look that is now known as “silver face.” There are diehard devotees of each era of amp—now fans of the silverface amps can pick up new, road-ready versions of three classic Fender amps: ’68 Custom Twin Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, or Princeton Reverb complete with blue jewel lights and “drip edge” grill cloth.



The late 60s/early 70s are BACK at Fender. What’s everyone think of these hat tips to Fender’s past and who wants to fight me for the first Starcaster that we get in stock here at PGS?!!!











  1. June says:

    Oh.. I am a big fan of Starcaster…..

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 12:23 am
  2. Derek Mauldin says:

    Fender’s new amp and guitar offerings are very enticing to say the least! I’m looking forward to hearing Andy sample these new treasures as well as the revamped Roadhouse and Lone Star Strats.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 12:55 am
  3. Rich says:

    I had the Fender catalog on my wall as a kid - looked at the Starcaster pics every day but never saw one in person.  Great to see it back.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 12:59 am
  4. Danno says:

    These are both very cool guitar lines.  I would dig a rehash of the wildwoods.
    Wonder if they’ll release MIA versions?

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:02 am
  5. Matthew Spence says:

    My story with the Starcaster is basically identical to this story.  I will definitely be picking one up, more than likely a black one.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:04 am
  6. daCaT says:

    The trouble now is if you search for Fender Starcaster you get the $100 poc and not the reissue.  It will be interesting to see, but I will be building my own version of the Starcaster with quality parts, woods and a choice of bridge hardware and pickups.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:09 am
  7. still rockin' says:

    Anyone know if the silver face reissues are internally different, or is it just a cosmetic thing?

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:12 am
  8. Cam Shuttleworth says:

    Sorry, but IMHO….Vintage re-issue doesn’t make sense. Vintage is a class all on its own, as is re-issue. The two cannot be combined
    These are re-issues…period. Not a bad thing at all, just labeled incorrectly.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:19 am
  9. terryg says:

    Definitely hot - I need one of each, please…...

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:20 am
  10. Chris Hillman says:

    I’m more excited about the basses. There aren’t enough unique semi-hollow basses on the market, especially at affordable prices. Is it too much to hope for Antigua as a finish option on these reissues?

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:21 am
  11. Fred Evans says:

    Really nice.  I wonder if they’ll consider re-issue of the LP Sig?  Oh, wait…wrong Company!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:22 am
  12. gypsy says:

    would really like to play the starcaster.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:22 am
  13. Chris says:

    I think those reissues are cool but only if they’re a good product.  I’m not interested in Fender going cheap on parts or build/finish quality for the sake of offering a new silverface or Starcaster.  If these are good then that’s great.  But a half assed effort takes away a lot of the cool factor. Love my silverface vibro-champ, I’m a fan.  I just want them to be good.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:23 am
  14. jamie cranford says:

    i am having a silverface reissue if they sound as half as good as they look!!!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:25 am
  15. Brian says:

    It would be nice to have a link, or a price, or a release date, or anything. They’re not on the PGS site. This isn’t even a teaser!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:26 am
  16. IPLAYLOUD says:

    I have 3 Coronados from 1967, always loved them but could never be played in a band siuation. Being hollow, they feed back uncontrollably…not in a good “Ted Nugent” way. The bridges are held down by string pressure. One good hard strum and it moves.
    The new models fix all these problems (centerblock, TOM) and add stronger pickups.
    If this is what it looks to be, I’ll have one in CAR and add a Bigsby…or maybe a vintage Coro Vibrato unit. Hmmmmmmm.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:30 am
  17. bob says:

    If done correctly and with respect to the original. I understand that sometimes parts won’t be available (mainly in amps when it comes to tubes and stuff or the caps in guitars) but, at least try. I do like how Fender does a couple of price point levels. Like there will be a CS version that’s as close to the original as possible and then there’s a more budget oriented model that is more a nod to the original but, in many cases is just as nice to play guitar but not an exact replica. And it seems reissuing doesn’t affect the value of the original either so, if you want to pursue that route, it’s still worth it.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:30 am
  18. Greg says:

    Amps are nice, but guitars are not my cup of tea

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:34 am
  19. Michael says:

    Owned an original, natural Starcaster for almost 20 years.  Finally sold it to my buddy who begged for it incessantly for the last 10.  Although the bridge is wrong and the pickups aren’t the same (magnet material, tone, etc.), I will definitely get another natural Starcaster just for fun.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:42 am
  20. Samson says:

    They had to kill it with that ugly bridge. thanks fender, but i’d rather save up for a real one or build one myself. And the coronado was a POS to begin with! That’s the reason no one played the things

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:47 am
  21. Morgan says:

    You should note that the ‘68 Custom line of amps ARE NOT SILVERFACE REISSUES, they are “Vintage Modified” amps. What they are are modified versions of the current ‘65 Reissue line of amps. Same pcb and cab construction, apparently with maybe different wiring on the tube sockets. For instance, the new ‘68 Custom DR IS the ‘65 DRRI, but in silverface cosmetics, with a celestion speaker, with the circuit modified to a bassman tonestack on the normal channel, the reverb and trem modified to work on both channels, and less negative feedback so that amp breaks up more and at a lower volume. I think this is a very cool thing! I’m a big fan of these changes to the blackface circuit, and I’ll scoop one up as soon as they show up on the used market. It’s nice to have choices. Just wanted to point out that these amps are not a reissue of a 1968 drip edge Fender amp, they just used those cosmetics to differentiate from the popular ‘65 Reissue line. These are modified versions of the ‘65 Reissue line.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:50 am
  22. Steve says:

    There is a reason nobody has played these instruments since their inception. They suck.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:52 am
  23. Andrea says:

    I can’t believe they re-issued the Coronado, this is fantastic!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:52 am
  24. Jim H says:

    Very cool looking, but as always with vintage styled reissues, you can’t expect them to be exactly like the 40 year old originals. Try them out and judge them on their own merits, not in comparison the originals. I do love the old silverface look, though! ;-)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:55 am
  25. Spencer Nordyke says:

    Hats off to Fender for broadening the market once again! I have & love my Telecaster & tweed Blues Junior amp, but the more variety the better! It’s like the creative juices that the company started with are flowing again! HOT STUFF!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:56 am
  26. Rick says:

    The Fideli’Tron humbuckers Fender are currently using infringes on TV Jones custom pickup designs. They used his pickups for years (La Cabronita for example) and then decided to “appropriate” his unique designs for their own less than spectacular pickup. Not too cool.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:59 am
  27. Marc says:

    I have an original Coronado and it is a great guitar.  I beg to differ a bit on the idea that nobody has played these since their inception.  Nobody plays them onstage largely because of what EVERYBODY plays on stage and who is doing the endorsements.  Go look on any stage and you’d think there are only two guitars in the whole world (maybe 3 or 4): The Strat, The Les Paul (and like all major rock stars, they’ve spent $100k to buy that original ‘59) and then the Tele’s and Gibson ES series.  Arguably they are all really great guitars and they also tend to have the largest marketing budgets and dealer appreciation.  I’d submit that there are a few really bad instruments out there, however 99% of the musicians on the planet will use whatever let’s them tell their story.  And the Coronado and Starcaster are great sounding additions to the narrative.  Don’t go buy price or scarcity, go buy how they feel, sound and if they make it easy to sing your song.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:00 am
  28. Stephen says:

    My first thoughts:

    (A) These will sound and play dramatically different than the originals.  (which is good and bad) WIth all curious reissues, my first concern is that they’ll just be a gimmicky disappointment. 

    (B) The natural headstocks are a poor choice.  They should be black.  It pairs better with the red, sunburst, and black.

    (C) $899 today is like $400 fifteen years ago, when it comes to guitar prices.  Am I crazy about getting $400 worth of guitar for $900? No.  The first thing I’d do is paint the headstock, upgrade the pick-ups, and possibly work on the neck.  So that’s at least $1200 right there.  For $1200, you could purchase a much better guitar on the used market.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:03 am
  29. IPLAYLOUD says:

    The new pickups are based fff a Gretsch design, which is what TV Jones based his off of.
    Fender distributes Gretsch, which you know.

    To the guy who said “they suck”...tell us what guitars YOU play and see if we don’t disagree with them.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:04 am
  30. soundhack says:

    what are Fideli-Tron hum buckers? Cuban Gretsch knock-offs?

    actually, this version of the Coronado looks really nice…. with a solid block and strong pickups it’s a much different (and more usable) guitar. and i’m very tempted by the silver face princeton.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:07 am
  31. Tig says:

    The Starcasters are tempting, but Fender’s repro Wide Range humbuckers sound like cr@p compared to the much sought after original CuNiFe Wide Range humbuckers.
    I’d send the pickups to telenator dot com for CuNiFe modding.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:13 am
  32. Rick says:

    To IPLAYLOUD. TV Jones made substantial modifications to the original FilterTron pickup which was developed in 1954 by Ray Butts at Chet Atkins’ request. He licensed it to Gretsch in 1957, and the patent on the pickup expired in 1976. The Fideli’Tron is not based on the original FilterTRon design, but a copy of TV Jones enhanced version, which previously purchased from TV Jones for Gretsch and Fender models.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:17 am
  33. Jewronski says:

    Welllll, it’s nice to see that they’re paying attention to their backlog of near forgotten guitars (Marauder anyone? ANYONE?! PLEASE!). I mean, I haven’t played either, but as long as they play as well as the originals, i’m not complaining.

    Although my two issues. First the colours. I would love to see a bigger range of colours on both models. The colours they have right now are just alright.

    Second, i’m fairly sure that the wide range humbuckers aren’t at all like the original Seth Lover wide range’s. I remember seeing a fender video where they said that essentially the wide range humbuckers on the telecaster deluxe they were making weren’t anything at all like the originals. The only thing they had in common were the casing, making them look like wide ranges. I’m assuming it’ll be the same deal here, BUT i hope not.

    Anyways, yeahhhhh, they’re pretty nice looking guitars. Price and playability withstanding (i’d love to see how much these’ll cost us)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:19 am
  34. Marc says:

    Crikeys guys, just go to the damn guitar store already and try them!  They aren’t due out until mid to late October anyway.  Like I said, my original Coronado is fantastic.  You might love ‘em, you might hate ‘em.  There’s no telling what a new pickup will sound like unless you hear it anyway.  It all depends on who rolls the coils, what kind of wire they used, what kind of sound they were shooting for…. Who knows until you get your hands on one (which I will)!!!

    And yes, I do have play Strats, Tele’s, Gretsches and pretty much anything from Gibson or Martin as well.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:20 am
  35. IPLAYLOUD says:

    Can’t anyone play a guitar stock out of the box anymore?
    I have seen many many comments about what they “should have done” on forums.
    Why not a painted headstock? Probably because they are being built to a pricepoint and painting the heads adds time and $$$ to the build. (Don’t anyone say “it’s just paint. You just spray it on”, because my g/f paints guitars.”
    How do you know the neck isn’t fine the way it is, and that it sounds great.
    I would add a Bigsby because I use them alot…but pickup changes, neck work…play one first.

    I can’t wait to get a Coronado and plug it into one of my Solid State amps. ;-)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:25 am
  36. Steve says:

    I’d sure like to have a Starcaster with P-90’s & a bigsby!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:34 am
  37. Dimitri says:

    Unless you’re specifically seeking exactly what is IN the box, there’s a good chance you may want to vary things up. Not saying that some guitars out of the box don’t play well. Different folks for different strokes. Lot of times, factories skimp out on a few details due to pricepoint that would otherwise make them awesome or not in need of some sort of cutomization. I’d rather the dealers and manufacturers built quality, consistent stuff and sell it for what its worth. Because the people that really want it will pay for it.

    I just bought a stock PRS SE custom 24. Sounds pretty darn good out of the box and plays great. I dropped some coin into changing a few things to my liking and now it rivals certain guitars prices 3 times as much. I would have paid that IF it came in the box that way. Only so much that companies can do. I like that Coronado a lot.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:45 am
  38. felipe hauser says:

    no master volume or no speed(vibrato) knob on the twin reverb?
    i have a 70’s silveface and i can’t think of it without these two knobs.
    can’t live without a master volume knob at the end of the system. seems they try to change the visual and forgot the main differencial over black faces

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:53 am
  39. ChaseTMP says:

    Pretty stoked these (Starcaster)a are coming out. I’m mixed, on the changed features; happy they ditched the original’s hideous string-tree, but wish they kept the string-through body. We’ll see how the quality/playability is. As most can attest; the WRHB reissues bear little resemblance to the originals, but there are several people modding them to more accurate sounding specs. I’m sure FMIC started to see small builders like Bilt and Fano, getting some love on the forums from their fairly recent, Starcaster indebted designs.

    I wish FMIC went full-out with the 1968 Twin and attempted to get the JBL D120F speakers remade, which were a great sounding (IMO) upgrade on the originals.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:00 am
  40. TDJMB says:

    Sorry - I think they’re just plain ugly with the lower bout so large in comparison to the upper.  But didn’t Zal Yanovsky (Lovin’ Spoonful) play a Starcaster?  If I could get that sound, I’d disregard the looks.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:01 am
  41. jamie cranford says:

    felipe hause - as far as i know, these are just “repackaged” 65 blackface reissues. cosmetic changes only (?)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:12 am
  42. Michael James Adams says:

    Thing is, none of the aforementioned instruments are ‘reissues’. Being part of the Modern Player line, they are by definition tweaked and altered. We can only hope for a real-deal reissues…

    And Cam, the term ‘Vintage Reissue’ isn’t a misnomer, that’s what they’re called. Reissues of vintage guitars.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:19 am
  43. Frederick Centrella says:

    I had a Coronado I single pickup when they first came out - I sold it ASAP for a Jaguar. I still own a Jaguar. The Coronado was okay but the wooden bridge put me off; the action and tone were not so hot either, hence the jump to the Jaguar. Maybe these will be better.

    Always loved the Starcaster tho :)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:31 am
  44. Scott says:

    It was amazing.  As you were telling the story of how you first came to know the starcaster, It felt like you were explaining my exact story.  It was love at first site with me.  I never thought Id be able to afford one, so I started looking into the coronado, which has also sky rocketed in price.  But now my unicorn guitar is being made available again, and I am beyond excited.  Thanl You FENDER!!!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:46 am
  45. Abbacus says:

      The early Silverface Deluxe Reverb had a bigger rectifier tube than the previous Blackface which is why it is favored by many guitar players. Then, if you add the mid-pot to the back chassis and probably a fresh speaker, like a Cannabis Rex or a Jensen P12N, and any needed fresh caps, pots, etc., you’ll have a fine amp indeed!
      My problem with Fenders “reissues” is they are PCB construction and they take more than a few design and component short cuts that adversely affect tone, dynamics and service life. Otherwise, they are still ok amps: but a little overpriced for what they are. Flooding the marketplace with every conceivable product variation at every possible price-point seems to be the game plan now for all the major manufacturers. This can be good for some but bad for most: as overall quality and real value retention must suffer. We are, I believe, still in the golden years of gear.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:47 am
  46. tguy says:

    Fender just dosent get it. Reissues of crap guitars and amps that were not special. If they want vintage reissues lets see a good vibrolux reverb, silverface not the piece of crap they call a vibrolux custom. 

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:50 am
  47. DetroitBlues says:

    Those amps are usually modified back to the blackface models and for those who like the silverface, most of them can be found for less than what Fender is going to “reissue” them at.  Why bother?

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:51 am
  48. IPLAYLOUD says:

    Being a Coronado guy for 20 years and seeing that the S&C are coming back, I started a FB page with pics of things I have found through the years. Lots more to ass. Please share if you have any info. Thanks!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:56 am
  49. Unca Stu says:

    I use to own a 70’s Tobacco Sunburst Starcaster . Offset but bulky body made it uncomfortable to play for long periods. However the neck & action were terrific. My model had string thru, a set bridge & Seth Lover wide range p/ups. Will be interesting to play & listen to the newer versions.
    Fender had to do this… reissue these models i mean, Back in the 70’s there wasn’t really a big demand for their products as other name brands became “The must have ” items of the day.
    Maybe now as a reissue these innovative instruments will become “The must have” in a musicians collection.
    Starcaster Bass???, now thats cool….:)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 3:57 am
  50. Abbacus says:

    The build on the new Silverface amp offering from Fender seems pretty good:
    ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb®, 120V
    Model Number: 2274000000
    Series: Vintage Modified
    MSRP: $1349.99
    Specs: Modified Deluxe Reverb all-tube circuitry, shared reverb and tremolo on both channels, “Vintage” channel for traditional silverface operation, modified “Custom” channel with Bassman tone stack, reduced negative feedback for greater touch sensitivity, hand-wired tube sockets, custom-made Schumacher transformers (like the originals), genuine Fender tube-driven spring reverb, genuine Fender tube-driven tremolo (“vibrato”), 1968-style Silverface aluminum trim around silver-turquoise grille cloth, fitted amplifier cover included, five-year warranty (United States and Canada; other territories may vary).

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 4:04 am
  51. Morgan says:

    @Abbacus: ”  The early Silverface Deluxe Reverb had a bigger rectifier tube than the previous Blackface which is why it is favored by many guitar players.” That’s an interesting perspective, never heard that before. Bigger rectifier = better? The earlier blackface models used a GZ34 rectifier, which provides slightly higher voltages to the tubes than the latter models using a 5U4GB (bigger bottle). I’m pretty sure CBS made the move to the 5U4 for cost reasons. I think that most people who play silverfaces favor them for mainly cost reasons (can’t afford a blackface - they cost almost 3 times as much). If you’ve ever serviced both models (black versus silver), then you certainly know why silverfaces cost much less than blackfaces!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 4:05 am
  52. David says:

    Just as an interesting fact, the Coronado series was designed by Roger Rossmeisl, who while at Rickenbacker, designed many of their iconic models, such as the 4000 series basses, and the Combo Series the Model 381, and the Jazzbo. He left Rickenbacker in 1962 and joined Fender.

    The Coronado really should have a black headstock.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 4:07 am
  53. Morgan says:

    I think the main thing to consider about the new line of amps is that they are not really reissues of the drip edge late 60’s amps, but are modified versions of the current ‘65 reissue series. Same thing as what’s currently available with different voicing. I’ve done similar mods to the fender circuit and I think they are going to sound great! Especially once you can pick them up onj the used market for $600. ;-)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 4:09 am
  54. Abbacus says:

    Fender page for ‘68 Silverface Twin, Deluxe and Princeton:

    The Celestion speaker choice for the ‘68 Silverface Deluxe is pretty stupid, but easily changed out.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 4:13 am
  55. Morgan says:

    I don’t think it’s quite “stupid”. I’d say more like “different”. I like the sound of a Celestion in these circuits. My favorite sounding Deluxe Reverb (a 1972 silverface) has a WGS ETS-65 speaker, which is a Celestion clone. Fills in the mids a bit and makes the highs less spikey. Definitely not your typical Fender sound though. But you can already get that typical Fender sound with the currently available ‘65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue. What’s wrong with something different and why would Fender want to produce two amp models that sound exactly the same?

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 4:25 am
  56. Jack says:

    Even though I am not a fan of the Starcaster, I am glad that Fender is reissuing them as well as the Coronados and the updated Silverface amps. I wish they where reissuing the Coronado 12 though. Now if they would only reissue the extremely cool Fender XII I would really be happy. A non Custom Shop Telecaster 12 would also be very cool.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 5:20 am
  57. toki says:

    Are these made in China?

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 5:27 am
  58. Tremolot says:

    Fano beat them to it earlier this year. Think I’ll stick with my plans to get the Fano GF6 with TV Jones pickups and a Bigsby. Way more guitar, way better build, and yes, way more $$$. At these price points the Fenders will probably be disappointing for playability and build quality.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 5:30 am
  59. Jonny7 says:

    those guitars are butt ugly!....original or reissue….sorry….I’ll take a few of those amps though!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 5:42 am
  60. franziskore says:

    please, help me in my ignorance, could anybody describe me in some way as possible where are the difference in sounding between blackfaces and silverfaces? Specially i has been always interested in Princeton, but I’m afraid it still will be too loud for home volume. Also I remember recently read some opinions ( Robert Quine told to Marc Ribot..such important names ) that 12” s are much better for recording.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 5:48 am
  61. charley t. says:

    those r great n if they have the right hands on them, they sound beautiful. had a Coronado once but never could make it sound like i knew it could. so i sold it to some one that could.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 5:52 am
  62. Stephen says:

    An $899 guitar isn’t going to have $300 pickups, guys.

    “The new pickups are based fff a Gretsch design, which is what TV Jones based his off of.
    Fender distributes Gretsch, which you know.”

    That’s like comparing the Pontiac Fiero to a genuine Ferrari. 

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 5:53 am
  63. gtr1ab says:

    I’m very excited about the Starcaster reissue and not upset at all about the “modern upgrades.” However, I will have to play one before I actually buy it.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 8:16 am
  64. Sydney Simon says:

    OMG I have always wanted a Starcaster. This is too much, finally I may be able to get one.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 8:52 am
  65. Ryan B. Genone says:

    My history with the Starcaster is very similar to that of the author.  I had tagged along with my wife and a friend to a Morrissey concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco.  The guitar player in his band was rocking some magical mysterious guitar that I’d never before seen.  I could tell it was a Fender, but it was unlike any Fender I had ever laid my eyes on.  Sort of like a Jazzmaster, a 335 and a Tele Custom all mashed together in the best possible way.

    After the show, I hunted down the name of this beast and became obsessed.  I actually came close to buying one via craigslist for about $1,500 a few years ago, but there were several warning signs that it might be a scam, so I backed out.  I’ve checked in on them since and the price for an original seems to hover around $4,000 - $5,000 which is just too much for me.

    When I saw a magical email from Fender today in my inbox with a title saying “Guess What’s Come Back?,” I immediately thought “Oh Shit, it’s the Starcaster.”  I opened my email and it was glorious - like Fender was speaking just to me!  I immediately put in a pre-order on the natural finish version.  I don’t expect it to match the quality of the original, but I’m hoping it’s at least a serviceable rendition.  Fender has been on a roll for the past decade or so coming out with incredible product from Squier through the Modern Player and Pawn Shop series instruments, so I’m buying with confidence.

    Haven’t been this excited about a guitar in a long time!

    PS:  I also love Silver Face Fender amps, so that princeton reverb is definitely on my radar.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 9:01 am
  66. Dale Anderson says:

    I’ve been searching for a ‘68 Deluxe Reverb! Now I’ve found it! I’m in love and I’m getting one ASAP! I bought a new Super Reverb in ‘67 and always wanted the silver Deluxe. It’s on my Christmas list!

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 9:55 am
  67. Johnny D. says:

    Does anyone know if the truss rod adjusts at the headstock or at the heel of these reissue Starcasters? I really hope they adjust at the heel as I notice on the newer Fender’s they have the plug at the headstock with the truss adjustment from there…I am from the older days of knowing Fender guitars and I just happen to think it looks “cheap” (probably easier maintenance though) when the adjustment is at the nut (this excludes the bullet adjustment as that has a very vintage look to it that I happen to like)...Any comments?

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 10:04 am
  68. George says:

    Fender Reissues? Don’t make me laugh!  Seriously.

    Fender doesn’t really care about sonically recreating any original offering from the past at this price point or any price point.  It’s a crass attempt to cash in on previous unpopular guitars currently played by a popular player, and as always,  Fender doesn’t deliver what they promise.

    Fender re-issues vary at best between half-hearted to half-assed efforts to produce a “reissue” if in name only. 

    A superficial resemblance, if that, to the original and tonally different products than the original. This is true of some Custom Shop guitars, too, which instead of having hand wound pups instead utilize production line pickups and hardware right off the shelf from their Standard guitars production line. 

    How many times did Fender reissue the Tweed Bassman 5F6-A?  They didn’t get the case size correct and the amp was too darn bright with the presence on 1, the first time around, subsequent attempts got closer. Closer, but no cigar.  Fender figured if Weber, Clark, or Victoria found a niche market than Fender could exploit the market with little effort.  Very little effort.

    The reissue Deluxe Telecaster or Custom Tele sounds way different from the original. The Wide Range Humbucker reissued for the Tele deluxe and Custom models didn’t use the correct magnets, “Cunife” (Copper/Nickel/Ferrite) rod magnets of Seth Lover’s designed.  The 2004 reissues achieved a similar appearance to the original 1970s version, but the end product differs greatly in its construction. Essentially, an ordinary humbucker placed into larger Wide Range Humbucker casing with a wax filled gap. Fender then used of 250kΩ volume and tone pots, while the original used 1 MΩ pots. The result sounded dark and muddy, nothing like the original. The product looked similar, but they just didn’t care. Try duplicating Keith Richards tone of his 1975 vintage Tele.

    The Silver Face Deluxe Reverb didn’t differ significantly from the Pre-CBS other than a change from a 5U4GB from the GZ34.  The same could be said of the Princeton Reverb, Black Face design in Silver Face cosmetics.

    I haven’t seen the SF twin RI, I will bet that Fender didn’t re-issue the 100W version (with or with out the master volume with the bias balance knob. Most likely it’s a PCB BF Twin reissue in MDF case with superficial changes of grill cloth and aluminum front.  This would be cheap to accomplish and Fender is very much into doing things cheaply.

    I won’t start on the Starcaster or Coronado. What’s next? A re-issue of the original Bullet parts Guitars from Japan?  At least the Bullet didn’t howl with terrible feedback.

    Fender has been resting on its laurels for its fame from the 1950’s through the Pre-CBS era for several generations of musicians.

    But we can thank Fender (and Gibson, too for that matter) for the excellent aftermarket companies that came into being and do get it right, the original way, when they recreate pickups, amps, hardware (cold rolled steel tremblocks, etc) These companies produce the products the way Fender did before Fender cheapened the materials over time to pinch pennies.

    Fender’s accountants seem to have more say in design. Fender compensates by spending money on endless endorsement deals for players instead of putting the money where it counts, in the materials. What’s next, a Signature Johnny Greenwood guitar?

    Hot or Not? Odds on bet it’s Not.

    PS Somebody had to say it.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 10:25 am
  69. JG says:

    I find that many vintage re-issues are as good as the originals, and in many cases better. Gibson, Fender and many other companies are making guitars and amps that are excellent. Many famous players that use vintage are using the re-issues and many have sold some of their vintage because the re-issues play, sound and look as good as the originals.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 10:27 am
  70. JG says:

    I collect both and I have some vintage that sound and play like crap and some vintage that sound and play great and I have re-issue custom shop that sound and play great.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 10:32 am
  71. Tonny says:

    I really want a Starcaster and I do also like the early none master volume silver face Fender Amp-s so this might hurt my checking account quite a bit.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:07 am
  72. Abbacus says:

    Marty Stewart is just one real world player out there who prefers the early Silverface Deluxe just for the bigger rectifier tubes’ greater sag. But he hasn’t had the benefit of a know-it-all ego case ragging like an old lady at a coin-up laundry.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:08 am
  73. happydog1960 says:

    People who say that the Coronado sucks are basing their criticism on the fact that maybe one time, they played one that was beat up and wasn’t set up properly. Then they put it through some overpowered amp, got feedback, and said, “This guitar is garbage!”  That’s the kind of stupidity that gives good guitars a bad name. For years the Jaguar and the Jazzmaster were considered un-sellable junk until the Seattle guys, who couldn’t afford anything else, started using them. Now the used ones are $5000+ even in beat up condition.

    The guitars aren’t going to be like the originals. It looks like they’ve resolved some of the problems of the originals through judicious re-engineering. That’s OK with me. I want to try one of each, and if it’s good I’ll save up my nickels and dimes and get one.

    I’m not someone who can afford to bust five stacks on vintage gear. That’s the truth. I have a DRRI because I can’t afford an “original.” I bet most of the guys who read this article aren’t people who can just drop a few grand on anything. The Coronado and the Starcaster are fun and unusual. Do you remember when guitar playing was FUN, before the a**hole collectors made everything all serious, and people started worrying about things like string trees and strap buttons being “authentic?”

    One of my favorite guitars is a Squier 51. Collectors and gear snobs consider it an abomination. People whine about the fact that it has no tone knob. Some say “UGH, A SQUIER MADE IN INDONESIA!!” You know what, I Do Not Care. If it sounds good it is good. The End. I am a decent enough guitar player to where I can make anything sound reasonably good. (Or at least, I sound identically crappy on different instruments.)

    These guitars are different, and they’re fun, and they’ll have some interesting tones to offer at a good price. Gear snobs can go buy the originals and grump. Everything modern is not crap, and everything vintage is not golden. Grow up, people, and join us here in the 21st century.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:19 am
  74. George says:

    For JG,

    Henry Juszkiewicz (Gibson’s, CEO) once said the then current production custom shop LP 59’s were better than the original 300 made that sell for 6 figures in an interview. I am still laughing over that one. 

    I’ve toured the Fender Corona facility and a high proportion of production line parts for Standards and Deluxes are used on a custom shop guitar, which is a bit much.  Fender should be trying harder for that type of money. One could upgrade these CS guitars with a few after market pups, trem blocks (Callaham), electronics (better pots, caps) and make a great guitar, even better.  Been there, done that. Fender’s vintage products aren’t the same as the originals. The Japanese Lawsuit copies are closer, in some cases right down to wood and metallurgy.

    Fender finally caught on that the public became educated on the hot-rolled leaded steel trem blocks, or the pot metal blocks on the lower end models sucked tone and started upgrading some products.  This will last only so long until their sales figures show that players are buying these products over the American Standards, etc.  That happened with some of the lower tiered thin coat Nitro cellulose body guitars

    The term vintage guitars covers a lot of territory. If you are talking about Fenders into 1970, these Guitars were well built back in the day, and if not damaged from abuse, acts of nature, or whatever still sound great today.  It’s not so much mojo or time, it’s about quality.  But quality that started to erode away as the pre-CBS inventory started to be used up and the company became more oriented in cutting corners (read saving money). 

    Do you remember the Fender bath tube route? That wasn’t done for tone, quite the contrary, it was done so any combination of pups (either Humbuckers or Single Coils) could be quickly assembled. Economics over tone. Most of those “vintage” guitar bodies were parted out to become the basis of a partscaster for a project guitar purchased a piece when you couldn’t afford to buy a Japan or made in Mexico guitar and upgrade the substandard components all at one time.

    I’ve worked on vintage Fender Amps (57-58-59 Tweed Bassmans and BF Super Reverbs) and repaired the PCB reissues or the PCB Rivera era Amps. Believe me for tone and durability and longevity, Fender’s more recent offerings although usable come up short for the working musician.

    Ever see a Fender Hotrod amp with lifted copper traces because of heat issues. I have.  too many. Some working musician who could only afford one of these and he wore it out in less than 5 years.  The PCB boards and components were barely adequate.  It didn’t survive long enough to require a e-cap job. The old amps outlasted their capacitors many times over and could take the abuse, they were overbuilt.

    If you happy with what you what you have have, cool.  I am not saying everything is junk. But for real money a vintage trem bridge isn’t close. Check out Callaham’s website.
    However, compared to the original products, all Fender has today is its reputation to live off.  Unless you have some cash to spend at the CS. 



    posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:22 am
  75. 57 Stratman says:

    I’ve always wanted both the Starcaster and the Coronado, but the Starcaster has been running around $5,000, and the Coronado anywhere from $1,000 - $5,000 depending on age, condition, and rareness of color. The vintage Coronado is still in my price range, but it would take a couple years of saving, and maybe the sale of one or two of the guitars I already own in order to afford the vintage Starcaster, so the pricing of these new models is intriging to say the least. Question is, where are they made? Japan or Mexico, and I’m interested; China, not so much; Indonesia, not very much at all.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:29 am
  76. Boogieguy says:

    Knowing that everything built nowdays is under corporate guidelines/profit margins I don’t expect anything reissue to be near the quality of the originals. The design and electronics of the reissue amps aren’t even close to the originals. They look the same but they don’t sound the same. Cheap Chinese caps, resistors, jacks and transformers are the norm to save a few bucks per unit in production and they are usually biased “cold” to make cheap tubes last for a while.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:32 am
  77. 57 Stratman says:

    Boogieguy, If you do a search on Ebay for a Fender Silver face, whatever model you desire, you’ll find that the silver face amps can still be picked up at real reasonable prices, the same or just a little more than what you’d pay for one of these reissues. So why buy a new one that wasn’t even USA made?? If you shop around, you can even find reasonable prices on the blackface and brownface amps. I bought a 1964 Deluxe last summer for $800.00! Awesome sounding little amp, I’ll never let her go.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm
  78. Abbacus says:

    No one can deny that messing with guitars, amps and effects is great fun. Playing is even better. Callahan hardware, Klein Pickups, Victoria Amps: not everyone has the cash or knows, or cares, but it is superior to what Fender is producing. In any case, we are blessed gearheads indeed to even have all these choices available to us. If you can, or really want to play though, a cheap, Mex-made Strat, set up how you like, will work quite well.

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm
  79. David says:

    “One could upgrade these CS guitars with a few after market pups, trem blocks
    (Callaham), electronics (better pots, caps) and make a great guitar, even
    Fender finally caught on that the public became educated on the hot-rolled
    leaded steel trem blocks, or the pot metal blocks on the lower end models
    sucked tone and started upgrading some products. This will last only so long
    until their sales figures show that players are buying these products over
    the American Standards, etc. That happened with some of the lower tiered
    thin coat Nitro cellulose body guitars”

    I’m not picking on this comment in particular, but this kind of thinking is wrong, and I see it over and over.

    Pots and caps don’t change the tone of the guitar. In particular any tone capacitor, if it’s rated the same, will sound exactly alike. AND they only affect the tone when the tone control is set to about 5 and below. Above that the impedance of the cap at the resonant frequency that it operates in conjunction with the pickups, is that of a piece of wire, and you are only hearing the resistive loading of the pot.  Yes, you want good quality pots, and caps that are in spec, but they wont make the guitar sound “better”. Forget repro vintage paper-in-oil caps (which are really 50 cent metal film caps in a fake shell).  Same thing with Orange Drops.

    Tremolo (vibrato) blocks? Fender invented it, why do they need to be educated? Why waste money on an expensive block. It’s a rip off, but a sucker is born every minute. The only difference in blocks is the weight/mass. Look up Leo Fender’s patent (#2741146, column 3, first paragraph) on it. The block (or “bar” as Leo called it) was to prevent the bridge from vibrating when you plucked a string. This worked with a combination of the mass of the black, and the stiffness of the strings. It combats the inertia of the strings and the counterbalance of the springs. It also makes up for the fact that the bridge is not stable and a big hole was cut in the guitar.

    Since these days people don’t use the 5 springs, you need a more massive block to comensate. It makes no difference what it’s made from. Just the weight matters. Brass is fairly heavy, as is steel. Lead is added to steel to make it easy to machine. But none of that matters.

    There’s always this misconception that vibrations have to be transferred to the body, etc. This is a myth and the last thing that you want. The fact that a solid body guitar has such great sustain, but relatively little acoustic output is because very little of the strings’ energy (vibrations) is being absorbed by the body.

    To demonstrate this, look at a banjo. Maximum transference, and acoustic output, with minimal sustain. So on a solid body, the energy that does get absorbed changes with the resonant frequency of the wood, and creates a comb filtering affect. Lighter weight bodies absorb more high end, so they sound warmer.

    Another thing is the finish. The finish on a solid body guitar has no influence on the tone. It’s too thin to matter, and the mass of the body overwhelms it. It cannot affect what minimal vibrations the body might produce. If you look at a vintage Fender, the body was dipped in a 2 part resin known as Fullerplast. Anyone who has ever tried to refinish a vintage Fender will know that you can’t remove this stuff! It’s hard as a rock. And fairly thick… they actually dipped the bodies in it. But it doesn’t harm the tone. Also, Fender used acrylic lacquer on their guitars, not nitro. The solid colors were Dupont Duco automobile paint, made for metal. So Fenders NEVER had thin niro finishes.

    What matters is that the neck is stable and stiff (more sustain and tone), and the weight of the body also affects the tone. Import guitars will have cheaper hardware and pickups, so by all means change those parts, but don’t get suckered into expensive trem blocks and paper in oil caps, because it’s all snake oil designed to empty your pockets.

    And for full disclosure, I am a luthier who has made guitars for people like Billy Gibbons and Robyn Crosby, and I currently sell hand wound boutique pickups. :)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm
  80. David says:

    That should have read: “This worked with a combination of the mass of the block, and the stiffness of the springs.”  :)

    posted on September 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm

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