Here are our Top 5 Weirdest Fender Guitars ever produced!
Leo Fender is seen as the pioneer of the electric guitar and innovator in the instrument industry. The Stratocaster and Telecaster were two of the first guitar designs in the 1950s, and remain the most popular guitars in the world today.
Throughout Fender’s history, they have released iconic designs that stand the test of time, but people have often forgotten about some of the crazy designs that Fender has created. Since 1950 Fender has released an abundance of unique designs with some designs being more traditional, while others take a few more risks. Let’s check out some of Fender’s more unusual creations!
Released in a very brief run in 1969, the Fender Maverick was an attempt to clear out old factory stock that was met with minimal success. Essentially a twelve string Fender Electric XII, moded to be a six string guitar, the Maverick features the same elongated headstock as the XII. The holes for the six tuning pegs are widely spaced, and headstocks that had already been drilled for 12-holes had the exra six holes plugged and refinished with a concealing veneer.
The body had a slightly different design, but the neck, split P-Bass style pickups and hardware were often directly fitted from the twelve string model, and the bridge was taken from a Fender Mustang. Very few Mavericks were ever made and they never sold well, so if you ever spot one hanging around on ebay, grab yourself one quick!
Fender Bass V
Here’s one of the lesser known Fenders, the Fender Bass V, a sister model to the better-known Bass VI. As far as we are aware this was the first production model 5-string bass. It’s a funny looking bass with its elongated body and short neck. Unlike the 5-strings that emerged from various manufacturers from the late 80s and onwards, the extra string isn’t a low B, it’s a high C.
The Bass VI didn’t offer an extended range to that offered by Fender’s existing PJazz and Precision Basses, it simply offered an alternative way of playing, more suited for those of a smaller stature who might find those other Fender Basses more cumbersome.
Players did not accept the Fender Bass V too wel, partly due to its size and shape. Players also had problems with the small amount of space between the strings. Only about 200 Fender Bass V’s were produced, before being discontinued in 1971. The bodies were then used in the construction of the Fender Swinger.
Motion meets balance with a touch of elegance with The Meteora, a sleek new limited-edition body shape that carries on our tradition of arresting aesthetic design. The sound is as propulsive as its visually stimulating lines—it wants to roar on stage, thanks to the two biting Custom Shop Tele pickups. With its brand-new offset body shape, The Meteora has guts and grace and is distinctively Fender.
Powered by a Custom Shop vintage-style Tele bridge pickup and a Custom Shop Twisted Tele neck pickup, this guitar can kick out anything you need from sparkling cleans to growling grit. The elegant 25.5”-scale American Professional Jazzmaster maple neck sports an American Vintage ’65 Jazzmaster profile, along with a 9.5”- radius fingerboard for enhanced playability, regal block inlays, 22 narrow-tall frets and a bone nut. An ash body, lacquer finish, custom black single-ply pickguard, American Professional Tele bridge with compensated brass saddles, chrome dome knobs and vintage “spaghetti” logo and “Limited Edition” micro-tilt neck plate complete the package with elegantly functional style.
The Fender Swinger was probably one of the most obscure guitars to come out of the factory. Introduced in 1969 as a way to make use of the spare parts left over from the Fender Bass V. Only 250 to 600 were ever created and they were pretty much unmarketed, never appearing in any of Fender’s catalogs.
The “Swinger” decal seems to have been an afterthought, applied, if at all, over the finish on the headstock. Most began to peel off within a few years, so very few have any indication as to what model they were. Those who found a “Swinger” had no idea what to call it and often referred to it as the Fender Arrow.
The Swinger featured a 22.5” scale length, a random contoured body design, one single-coil pickup towards the neck, and a bridge and control plate design from The Fender Bass V. Dating these guitars would seem to be a difficult but they were only made for a brief period, so every Fender Swinger is a vintage 1969. Musicians such as Jimmy Page and Tina Weymouth have taken them to the stage.
The 1985 Fender Performer was an attempt to compete with the more angular styles that were growing in popularity among the heavy metal genre. The one-year run was made entirely in Japan, at a time when manufacturing in the US was at an all-time low. There is a rumor that the design of the body and headstock was inspired by the scraps left over from the manufacture of Japanese Stratocasters, and the angular horns are modeled after the flat part on the back of a Stratocaster.
The Fender Performer offered some exceptional features like custom humbuckers with coil-tapping, sealed tuners, 24 frets and a locking tremolo system. Against the limited success of its short lifespan, the Performer has been recognized by collectors as a high-quality guitar, with a large price to match its quality.
Other Notable Mentions
Want to own a piece of fender history? Check out the new awesome and crazy Fender Parallel Universe Series! > www.GAK.co.uk/fenderparalleluniverse