The new era of Fender: Meteora joins the family of Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars

The Telecaster was inspired by the advent of television, which was at the center of the media universe when the guitar was launched in 1951. Fender then added the Precision Bass the same year, and in 1954 the space was the new frontier, and the Stratocaster was meant to sound like it had arrived from another musical stratosphere. Over the past 75 years, Fender has introduced the Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Mustang, and other models that found later second lives, such as the resurgence of the Starcaster in the 1970s after being picked up by bands like Radiohead. and The Killers. Over the decades, there has been a common thread among Fender guitars: the music created by the musicians who have turned to each model over time. Now Meteora is the newest member of the Fender guitar “family”.

Launched in March 2022, the Meteora HH Guitar and Active Meteora Bass offer a more futuristic model for Fender within the Player Plus Series. “From the very beginning of Fender, in the 50s, there was the Telecaster, the Stratocaster and the P-bass which changed the direction of music by being part of a zeitgeist of what happened”, said Justin Norvell, executive vice president of product at Fender. “But he [Leo Fender] didn’t stop at the Telecaster, and it didn’t stop at the Stratocaster, so we just want to be part of that line that’s going into evolution.

Just like its guitar-powered predecessors, there was something different about the Greek-inspired name Meteora, right down to the name. “We wanted something galactic, interstellar, the universe of possibilities,” says Meteora’s Norvell. “It was evocative and spoke to the largesse of possibility.”

First introduced in a limited run in 2018, the Meteora had a different body but was essentially a telecaster to heart.

“It was more of a new body shape over an existing style, so it was pretty much a Telecaster with a different body,” Norvell said of Meteora’s initial design. “It was aesthetically comfortable, because it looked like a Tele, and people went crazy for it. We’ve done different style mashups over the years, like a Jazzmaster Plus and a Tele, but Meteora was one of those rare things that was truly a new design.

The Meteora was designed to inspire the next generation of gamers. Early fans already included Japanese Breakfast singer and guitarist Michelle Zauner, rapper Teezo Touchdown, Ghostemane and Portugal. The Man, who will use Meteora on tour.

The entire design took two and a half to three years to solidify from the R&D engineer sketching the guitar. “With all these mashup series, unlimited rare guitars, this one got an outward reaction from people,” he said. “We spent a few years with the body…all the electronics, finishes and everything that went with it was all informed by this silhouette. We just colored in the lines.

Made in Ensenada, Mexico, Meteora features a more comfortable modern “C” neck with rolled edges and a 12″ radius fingerboard for a flatter playing surface and aggressive flex without “choking” . Medium jumbo frets also allow players to fret and bend notes more easily for high-speed play, while Fireball humbucking pickups produce a thicker sound with reduced buzz. Other features include advanced switching options for easy pitch shifting, more accurate tremolo, and locking tuners.

Everything down to the pickguard has been meticulously crafted to capture the Meteora’s unique sound. “We wanted it to be feature-rich, but we wanted it to basically do what it’s supposed to do,” says Norvell. -volume, two-tone, and the push-pull is gone. We wanted it to be mega versatile, and we spent a lot of time with the shape of the pickguard. There are a ton of shapes that could work, but even the smallest shave can affect how it works.

Even the colors of the Meteora (3-Color Sunburst, Belaire Blue, Cosmic Jade, Silverburst, Tequila Sunrise and Opal Spark) evoke the new era of the guitar.

“It’s a more contemporary youthful design for someone who isn’t so tied to the whole ‘how did this screw get from here to here’ thing,” says Norvell. . “I don’t say that in a derogatory way. I respect Fender’s history, but this is for someone who wants something a little different, a little more aggressive, a little heavier.

He adds, “A lot of young musicians spend a lot more time recording, and having humbucking pickups in there is awesome, sonically.”

In all its nuances compared to previous Fender guitars, the Meteora is a “different flavor” for players, says Norvell. “It’s not a metal guitar,” he says. “It’s heavy but it can be anything. In the way the Jazzmaster came out in ’62, it finds its audience and it’s a new audience. It’s not the people who run from Tele to Strat or who run from Jazzmaster to Strat. He will find his owner.

Always open to new designs, Fender is dedicated to managing its core guitars, which now include Meteora, but is open to future experimentation. “It’s just being true to the idea of ​​not being complacent,” says Norvell. “We could very easily do a ’54 Strat, a ’57 Strat, and that’s great, but there’s a bit of a risk in putting those [Meteora] the low. What new shapes or designs can we create where we are not resting on our laurels? We always want to have new things…and we’ll always have the Strat and the Telecaster.

Much like the Telecaster tied to guitarists like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and the Strat stuck with Hendrix, time will tell of the Meteora’s legacy.

“We always say the instruments are awesome, but the body of music created on them really defines them, whether it’s the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen or Kurt Cobain,” says Norvell. “This reflection of this type of music is attracting an audience, so we’re excited to see who will gravitate towards Meteora to create their own music.”

Pictures: Fender


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