Fender Introduces Select Series Instruments

Fender has elevated its top-of-the-line production model guitars and basses to a new level with the Fender Select Series. Consisting of seven new instruments — five guitars (two Stratocasters and three Telecasters) and two basses (a Precision and a Jazz Bass), the Select Series features high-end tone woods, finishes, and details, along with new Fender Select Pickups. While their compositions might be different, their appearances and pickup configurations remain traditional.

Each guitar features 22 medium jumbo frets, a Bi-Flex truss rod system, compound radius fretboard, and a new No-Load tone control system, which is designed to give the completely uncolored tone of the bridge pickup when the tone knob is dimmed. This kind of tone is usually only expected when a tone control is completely absent from a guitar, as such circuitry can color the sound of the pickups. The two Strats vary in pickup combination — one with three single coils, and the other with two single coils and a bridge humbucker (called the HSS for short). Those looking for a heavier, thicker rock or metal tone should check out the HSS Strat, while classic rock and blues players might lean more toward the standard Strat configuration. The Teles are consistent in electronics but each feature unique tops — one flame maple, one carved maple, and one koa. Telecasters are renowned for their bright, twangy tone, and are very popular with indie rock guitarists, among other genres.

The Fender Select basses each have Posiflex graphite truss rods, compound radius fretboards, and 20 medium jumbo frets. Precision Basses deliver that classic bass tone, and while they may seem limited with their single pickup, using the tone knob in conjunction with an amp’s EQ controls or effect pedals can yield a wide range of sonic possibilities. Jazz Basses have even more versatility, and can go from growly, to glassy, to burpy, to boomy, and pretty much anywhere else just by adjusting the balance of pickup volumes and tweaking the tone knob.

Details are foggy on how exactly these instruments will sound and feel better than other Fender models — we’ll have to wait to get them in our hands to see. They are undoubtedly eye-catching, and will surely crank out the tones expected from the iconic models, but will they be worth the added investment? Fender guitars and basses are widely recognized standards in the industry, and are in many cases workhorse instruments that always find use on stage and in the studio. At first I wanted to say that it’s nice to see that Fender is trying to raise their own standards, but are they really, when the Fender Standard and American Standard lines are remaining the same? Regardless, it’s hard to complain about having more options. If you happen to become smitten by a Select Series guitar or bass, why not check out a similar model at a lower price level? If Fender is doing things right, the instruments should sound and feel comparable.

Fender Select Guitar Specs

Body: Alder (Strats), Chambered Ash (Select Tele), Empress (Carved Top Teles)
Top: Flame Maple (Strats and Select Tele), Carved Koa or Flame Maple on respective model Teles
Neck: Flame Maple (carved top Teles and Select Strat), Birdseye Maple (Select Tele and Strat HSS)
Neck Shape: Modern C
Nut Width: 1.685”
Scale Length: 25.5”
Neck Construction: Bolt-on
Fretboard: Rosewood (Strat HSS and Koa Carved Top Tele), Birdseye Maple (Select Tele), or Flame Maple (Select Strat and Maple Carved Top Tele)
Fretboard Radius: 9.5” (Select Strat), 9.5”-14” compound radius (all others)
Nut: 1/8” American Series
Pickups: Fender Select Single Coils (Starts and Teles), Fender Select Tele Single Coils (Teles), and Fender Select Humbucker (HSS, bridge only)
Frets: 22 medium jumbo
Controls: All passive; (Strats) 5-way switching, Master Volume, Two Tone (one for neck pickup, one No-Load tone control for middle and bridge pickups); (Teles) 3-way switching, Master Volume, Master No-Load Tone Control
Includes Custom G&G case, cloth, strap, and custom shop cable
MSRP: $2,849.99 (Strat and Strat HSS), $2,999.99 (Tele standard top), $3499.99 (Carved Maple and Koa top Teles)

Fender Select Bass Specs

Body: Alder
Top: Flame Maple
Neck Material: Quatersawn Maple
Neck Shape: Modern C
Nut Width: 1.5” (Jazz), 1.625” (Precision)
Scale Length: 34”
Neck Construction: Bolt-on
Fretboard: Rosewood (Jazz), Flame Maple (Precision)
Fretboard Radius: 9.5”-14” compound radius
Nut: Synthetic Bone
Pickups: Two Fender Select Single Coil Pickups (Jazz); One Fender Select Split-Coil Pickup (Precision)
Frets: 20 medium jumbo
Controls: Both passive; Two Volumes (one per pickup), One Master Tone (Jazz); One Volume, One Tone (Precision)
Includes Custom G&G case, cloth, strap, and custom shop cable
MSRP: $3,199.99