NAMM 2018: Fender Parallel Universe

Published on 25 January 2018

In a bold move that nobody saw coming, Fender have taken to Winter NAMM 2018 and unveiled an extremely eccentric range of limited run guitars under the collective monicker of ‘Parallel Universe’. This is quite a group of axes! It’s as if someone threw a bunch of classic Fender parts in Jeff Goldblum’s mad ‘fly’ scientist time-travel portals and they’ve come out the other end all discombobulated and fused together in the wrong places! It’s great to see such a huge company taking risks with their designs and offering up guitars that are bold and different: some of these look like tasteful Custom Shop one-offs whilst others defiantly sit at the surreal/bizarre end of the design spectrum! 

Here you will find a guitar with a Telecaster body but Stratocaster parts on a Strat pickguard; next to that there is a Candy Apple Red guitar with the silhouette of a Stratocaster but the guts of a Jaguar! With three pickups! Goodness! We’ve never seen the likes of this one before (though it slightly reminds us of John Squire’s Stone Roses ‘Spike Island’ custom effort by Stuart Palmer) but some of the others are a little more accessible to the hordes of more traditionally-minded Fender acolytes. 

Fender have actually walked a similar path before: the Pawn Shop series of Mexican made guitars from around five years ago had some outlandish models in their range but none were quite as bonkers as the more esoteric members of this lot! These are American made and it’s as yet unconfirmed how many of each will be made available.

We’ll take a quick peek at a few of our favourites: first off, there is the tasteful ‘Whiteguard Strat’. Beginning with an Ash Stratocaster body in White Blonde, this guitar, as you’d guess, jettisons the normal Strat pickguard and hardware to fully replace them with that of a white pickguarded Telecaster! This is loaded with Custom Shop ’51 Nocaster pickups, brass saddles and a Telecaster headstock. We think this works really well and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

Another one we like is the Tele Thinline Super Deluxe. This is very Gretsch-influenced with a good dose of ‘Cabronita’ vibe too! The finish that’s been released is a very Gretsch-like Orange matched up with a sparkly silver pickguard loaded with a pair of TV Jones Classic humbuckers. The f-holed & bound body looks immense and is complemented by a bound Rosewood fretboard bearing some flash block inlays. We LOVE this!

Finally, the last guitar we want to focus on out of this Wild Bunch is the Meteora. Now, this has a unique outline! With an Ash body and a Butterscotch finish, this has many attributes of the classic ’52 Blackguard Telecaster, even down to the Custom Shop Tele pickups and Tele bridge plate with brass saddles. That however, is where the likeness ends. This shape is what we could only describe as…somewhere between a more angular Jazzmaster and an almost Gibson Moderne vibe with shades of an 80s Custom one-off from brands like Dean and Washburn, all still seeming somehow ‘vintage’! We reckon Billy Gibbons will love this one

These guitars are being released one at a time on the 1st of every month from April to December and numbers will be limited! Once you’ve decided on the one(s) you like best, get in quick to secure your pre-order and avoid the shameful sting of disappointment!

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