Fender has launched the Highway Series, a pair of modern acoustic guitar designs that take place the emphasis on live performance and player comfort.
Looking very much like a kissing cousin of the Big F’s groundbreaking Acoustasonic range of acoustic electric guitar hybrids, the Highway models are available in dreadnought or parlour-sized instruments, with solid Sitka spruce tops or all-mahogany builds, and Stratocaster headstocks as standard.
The Highway Series acoustics have 2.25” thick bodies. They are lightweight. They have contouring on the forearm. They have onboard Fishman Fluence Core pickups, an all-new acoustic guitar pickup design boasting switchable voicings, with the curved magnetic pickup mounted at the top end of the soundhole and complementing the body with a feedback-resistant performance.
They have thin, C profile necks. They certainly have no shortage of design thought behind them; these are high-concept acoustics, designed for the stage.
Those necks? Fender has bolted them to the body, and the way Fender describes their profile makes its sound as though they’ve been borrowed from the brand’s electric guitar lineup, deepening the impression that these are more affordable, made-in-Mexico hybrid options building on the success of the Acoustasonics and taking the opportunity to push the boundaries.
Like the Acoustasonic models, the Highway Series features its knurled metal control knobs for volume and contour on the top of the body, with the 1/4" output jack positioned where you would find it on a Fender electric. The battery compartment for the pickup is located on the back of the instrument.
Billy Martinez, VP of product, FMIC Acoustics and Squier, confirmed as much in a statement.
“The Highway Series represents a bold step forward in the world of acoustic guitars, offering musicians a new avenue for sonic exploration and self-expression,”said Martinez. “Among the many standout features, we partnered with Fishman to bring their cutting-edge electronic pickup technology, the Fishman Fluence Acoustic pickup to the realm of traditional acoustics and meticulously crafted the necks to deliver an amazing playing experience. These guitars are a testament to our dedication to pushing the boundaries of guitar design and manufacturing.”
The Highway Series models have chambered mahogany bodies. The tops are braced with a tapered floating X pattern to work with the thinline body. Necks are mahogany and topped with 12” radius Indian rosewood fingerboards and matching ‘Modern Viking’ style bridges.
The Parlor model has a 24.75” scale, the Dreadnought 25.5”. But all in the series have 20 narrow tall frets and Fender Classic Gear tuners, and they’ve been given a coating of satin poly before leaving the factory in their proprietary gig bags.
The Highway Series acoustics are priced £949 / $999, and they are available now. See Fender for more details. They have also been road-tested with Los Angeles-based indie-rockers Mt. Joy teaming up with Fender for an On The Road YouTube segment featuring the new Highway acoustics. Frontman and rhythm guitarist Matt Quinn says the zero-feedback design is a game-changer.
“We do a lot of touring, playing for two and a half hours every night, and what I was immediately drawn to about the Highway Series is that they’re super light,” said Quinn. “The idea of having a feedback-resistant pickup is what I’ve been looking for and to have a guitar that won’t feedback on stage is huge for your confidence when performing a song.”
You can check that out above.