It’s ALIVE (again): Bizarre Guitars Resurrected

Fender recently announced the return of the Coronado and Starcaster to its regular lineup. Both models were introduced by Fender in the late 1960s, in a not-too-successful attempt to introduce new blood into the line and break into the hollow/semi-hollow market. The two models blended Fender’s bolt-on neck with Gibson-inspired bodies and unconventional pickups; it’s not hard to see, at least from a design standpoint, why these instruments didn’t attract a wider following. That said, I’m hard-pressed to argue with Jonny Greenwood (left, via wonker on Flickr). Or Elvis. maybe Fender was on to something.

Fender isn’t the only company resurrecting oddities from its past. Gibson has been leading the way in recent years with reissues of guitars like the L-6 and RD. All of these instruments have enjoyed a certain cult following, in some cases because they can be had for considerably less cash than their more conventional vintage peers. The reissues update these often-finicky guitars with better hardware, improved playability, and more attention to quality control (the originals emerged during rather shifty times for both Fender and Gibson).

The revived Fenders are also a sonic departure from their predecessors; the Gretsch-style FideliTrons on the Coronado and reissue wide-range humbuckers on the Starcaster share little in common (other than a superficial resemblance) with the original ’60s pickups. Beyond the pickups, it’s hard to recreate the vintage pawn shop mojo of an original, which is why I have a hard time seeing these new-build instruments lasting in either company’s catalog for long. But I’m willing to be proven wrong…

3 thoughts on “It’s ALIVE (again): Bizarre Guitars Resurrected

  1. The pick up differences are a big negative, but I’m just excited to try out the guitar and have the option to own one. At the current vintage prices, there is no way I’d own an original. Plus, if I like it, it will be a great foundation for modifications! And the price won’t hurt so much, so I’ll actually be willing to mod it. But I’ve been hoping for a Starcaster reissue for a long time.

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