Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fender reissues the Super-Sonic as part of its Pawn Shop series
The new Super-Sonic now has the Fender logo on its upside-down head rather than the Squier logo, but of course the irony is that the Squier version would have been Made in Japan rather than in Mexico, which is where I believe the Pawn Shop Fenders are now being produced, and of course as every level-headed Fender fan should know by now the Japanese-built Fenders really are the dog's what-nots. Nevertheless, it's nice to see it back; it's one of the Fender designs that I really enjoyed and of course is based on a flipped Jazzmaster/Jaguar outline. It's like a left-handed guitar built for the right-handed. Although, having said that I recall seeing Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals playing one several years ago, and he always plays left-handed but tends to use right-handed guitars because he keeps the stringing the same as for a righty.

The Pawn Shop series from Fender supposedly "mashes up" old Fender designs, although the only differences I can see with the new Super-Sonic are that BOTH pickups are angled rather than just the bridge unit and that it comes in a nicer range of finishes.

For those wanting more info, here is the full press release from Fender:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (January 10, 2013) — The Pawn Shop Series introduces yet another pleasingly unconventional assortment of "guitars that never were but should have been," in which new models take the stage and long-vanished classics return in modern form. Fender is excited to welcome four new, out-of-the-ordinary models to its innovative and popular Pawn Shop series–the Pawn Shop ’70s Strat® Deluxe, Pawn Shop Super-Sonic™, Pawn Shop Mustang® Bass and Pawn Shop Bass VI.

The Pawn Shop ’70s Strat Deluxe is one of the most unusual takes ever on the world’s most archetypal electric guitar, with a pronounced 1970s style and vibe. For tonal versatility, its alder body houses a Telecaster® single-coil neck pickup and an Enforcer™ humbucking bridge pickup with a smaller Wide Range chrome cover. Other distinctive features include a "U"-shaped maple neck with 22 medium jumbo frets, 9.5" radius and "bullet" truss rod; four-ply white pearloid pickguard; three-way blade pickup switching and two Jazz Bass® control knobs (master volume, master tone); ’70s-style hard-tail Stratocaster® bridge and vintage-style "F" tuners. Available in 2-Color Sunburst, Black and Vintage White.

The Pawn Shop Super-Sonic model resurrects an unusual, short-lived and increasingly collectible ancestor of the late 1990s, the Squier® Vista Series Super-Sonic guitar. Very little about the Pawn Shop Super-Sonic isn’t highly distinctive—from its diminutive offset "reverse" body (resembling an upside-down Jazzmaster® or Jaguar®) and upside-down headstock to its short scale (24") and dual canted Atomic™ humbucking pickups (only the bridge pickup was canted on the original Squier models). Then there are the controls--neck pickup volume and bridge pickup volume only (no tone control), which are reverse-wired like the Squier original, meaning that the bridge pickup volume is the one closest to the bridge and the neck pickup volume is the one farthest from it. Other features include a "C"-shaped maple neck with "bullet"-style truss rod, 9.5"-radius rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, three-way toggle pickup switching and dual Jazz Bass control knobs, three-ply parchment pickguard, vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge, vintage-style tuners and new Super-Sonic four-bolt neck plate. Available in Apple Red Flake, Dark Gun Metal Flake and Sunfire Orange Flake.

With its racing stripe (305) and short scale (30"), the new Pawn Shop Mustang Bass authentically evokes the original "competition" Mustang Bass of the early 1970s. This time, though, you get the huge bass sound of a single humbucking pickup (the original had a single-coil pickup) and several classic Fender finish options. Other features include an alder body, "C"-shaped maple neck, 9.5"-radius rosewood fingerboard with 19 medium jumbo frets, four-ply white pearloid pickguard, two Jazz Bass control knobs (volume, tone) and a string-through-body bridge with four adjustable saddles. Available in 3-color Sunburst, Candy Apple Red with Olympic White stripe and Olympic White with stripe.

The Pawn Shop Bass VI marks the return of a historic Fender instrument, the Fender Bass Guitar (also known as the Bass VI). This updated version of the baritone classic features the short scale (30") and is armed with Special Design Hot Jaguar single-coil neck and middle pickups and a powerful JZHB humbucking bridge pickup. Other features include a "C"-shaped maple neck with 9.5"-radius rosewood fingerboard and 21 medium jumbo frets, five-way pickup switching, four-ply tortoiseshell pickguard (3-Color Sunburst and Black models) and three-ply parchment pickguard (Candy Apple Red model), two Jazz Bass control knobs (master volume, master tone), vintage-style adjustable six-saddle bridge with "floating" tremolo tailpiece, and vintage-style tuners. Available in 3-Color Sunburst, Black and Candy Apple Red.

For more information, go to
It's nice also to see a non-Custom Shop reissue of the Bass VI at last, although it's a shame that the individual pickup on/off switches and strangle switch have been replaced by a bog-standard Strat-like 5-position selector.

G L Wilson

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  1. My reservations aren't the country of manufacture, rather no track record of the product to go on? I'll wait and see what friends think of them. In viewing the footage notice methods aren't radically different than I imagine Fender's were in the 50's. And the 60's and...

    1. Oh, I like it lots. I kinda wish I had a genuine excuse to buy one, alas I have no job and no money and so it's simply not possible. However, I do wish they hadn't resorted to a Stratocaster-style tremolo - this would have been a lot more exciting with a Jazzmaster or ever a Mustang-style trem. Also, I hate the position of the pickup selector, I'd be knocking that by accident far too often - and I have to query the presence of a pickup selector in the first place seeing as the guitar has separate volume controls for each pickup (and no tones) - surely pickup selection could be done by using the volume controls alone - as on a Jazz Bass.

    2. Right, like one doesn't have enough finicky Strat trems in their life? A bits bucket that seems to grow by the year. The reverse headstock and bullet truss rod speak to different eras, but oddly work. As for the position of the selector switch, even though I have anything but a manic, authoritative strum, the simple fact it's 'there' make it the world's shortest lightning rod.

      And when you only have (2) knobs ( how confused could you get? ) For better or worse, I've generally viewed guitar like walking someone across a plank. When it's a foot off the ground, no one finds it much of a challenge? But suspend it across two skyscrapers and suddenly the mind conjures a million reasons why it can't be done. Unlike classical music, in most genres, a solo only averages 15 seconds. Not a lot of time to make your case, and NO time to correct errors. IMHO

      I spoke earlier on my reservations about throwing money at already overpriced collectibles, but could this Series be appropriate for long term investment?

    3. Depends on why you're buying a guitar. Personally, I like to buy a guitar because I think it'll open doors inspirationally, musically and compositionally for me. I'm not thinking about how much its going to be worth x years down the line. Leave that to the banker wankers who think a guitar is something to be shut up in a safe rather than an instrument to be played.

    4. Gavin,

      That's been my position all along. And the re-fret on scalloped Partscaster I've been toiling over will hopefully provide some form of inspiration? Still, the collector market is huge and seemingly drawing in non-playing 'investors' endlessly mucking things up. When '59 LP's are going for $400,000 U.S, it's gotten completely out of control. ( They're half that now )

      We found similar peaks in the U.S collector car market but a friend offered that cars typically spike in value approx. 20 years after that male demographic left school. They now have good paying jobs, their kids are grown up and gone and discretionary income gets poured into these 'toys' as they're called here, hoping for BIG payoffs on their vanity purchase.

      Similarly, I wondered if we haven't seen the end of the "Tulip Bulb Mania" in guitars? So rather than get belly laughs at the expense of some.., wanker, paying as much for 6-strings as a *house*, I was just openly wondering what might fare well down the road? Obviously my Vox dedication hasn't paid off! ( other than that I enjoy them immensely )

    5. Your attitude to your Vox guitars is what it *should* be all about. It's the love of the instrument itself. What else really matters?

    6. And what could have been more fun as a Vox guy than being a [slightly] better garage band player in your teens, wiping the floor with some brat whose parents bought him an LP just for getting an A? I hate to admit it, but at almost 54 ( I still kind of get off on that? )

      Suppose that's the nature of a stock trader though. Even when a stock pans out, you're really pleased w/ your selection, until you see another one that did better! It's the part of us that wonders, What if Roger Tessier had been curator of a different sort all those years ago? It's a futile exercise because overall, there's very little diversification among collections as it is! Take out a smattering of Rick's and the odd Guild, what do you have..?

  2. The new ones are Mexican.
    I have five of the originals.

    1. Mexican, eh? I'm sure the earlier Pawn Shop series guitars were Chinese. Still, it doesn't change anything, Japanese Fenders are known to be superior to Mexican.

  3. The early Pawn Shop series to my knowledge WAS Japanese, then sometime last year (or the year before) moved to Mexico. That's why we have a price difference with regards to the Pawn Shop Mustang. Never heard of them being made in China. Are you sure you're not thinking of the Modern Player series? That kind of fits the description of MIC Fender. It's understandable though given that the Marauder and the MP Jaguar are kind of done in the same tradition as these PS models.

    I honestly wish the new Super-Sonic was hardtail but they pretty much stuck to the original design (only changing the orientation of the neck pickup).

    1. Maybe you're right about me thinking it was the Modern Player series. All these different series cause much confusion.



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