Today marks the release of Fender’s brand new American Ultra series, which they say sets a new standard for precision, performance and feel. The American Ultra series replaces the American Elite as Fender's top-of-the line from their Corona, California factory.
The range features SSS and HSS Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters, Precision Basses 4- and 5-string Jazz Basses, in a variety of new colours, including a fetching Texas Tea, Cobra Blue, Plasma Red Burst and Ultraburst - (the last two seem quite reminiscent of Sienna Sunburst and 3-Colour Sunburst, respectively). Each model comes equipped with redesigned Ultra Noiseless pickups, including Ultra Noiseless Vintage voiced single coils for the SSS Strat, and Ultra Noiseless Hot single coils along with a Double Tap hum bucker in the HSS Strat, making the two Strat models sound noticeably different across all settings. The Jazzmaster is notable for being the first Jazzmaster that Fender have released to feature noiseless pickups.
The models retain a number of features from the Elite, such as the locking machineheads, S-1 switch in the strats and the contoured neck heel, and develop them, with redesigned S-1 switching and body contours. The body contours are most evident when viewing the back of the guitar, and make the equivalent models noticeably lighter in your hands. The neck profile is a Modern D, with a slightly flatter compound radius compared to the old Elite models (10"-14", vs 9.5"-14"). There are fingerboard options of rosewood or maple, depending on finish, and all models come with a premium ABS hardshell case.
As you would expect from a guitar of this calibre, the first impression playing the Ultraburst Stratocaster (rosewood fingerboard) we have in store is that feels incredibly comfortable, with the lighter weight and flatter radius combining well, and sounds great through a variety of amps. Compared to the equivalent Elite model we tested it against, there seems to be a little bit more clarity and separation of notes, with perhaps a slightly more scooped mid-range.
We've recorded a first look video, and another comparing the American Ultra to the American Elite, which should be posted here shortly, so you can hear for yourself. We have the American Ultra Stratocaster in Ultraburst in store, so come in and try it out, and we will be having more of the range later in the month.
Let us know your thoughts, either in the comments here, or on Youtube!