Classic Fender electrics reimagined in spruce, sugar pine and sassafras? Meet the limited edition American Performer Timber Series – US Strats and Teles with cult tone woods and Yosemite pickups

Fender Ltd Edition American Performer Timber Series
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender has launched the American Performer Timber series, a limited edition special run for the player who is looking an off-menu tonewood to freshen up their sound. It comprises Stratocasters and Telecasters with sugar pine, spruce and sassafras bodies.

The sugar pine models come in classic 2-Color Sunburst, the spruce in Honey Burst, while the sassafras is a rich Mocha colourway. All three arrive in satin smooth urethane finishes and there are some shared specs across the collection. 

Fender has equipped this with Yosemite single-coil electric guitar pickups, which are designed to produce “rich, expressive tones” and as you’d expect from these archetypical Fender designers, they are all-rounders, catering to a wide range of playing styles.

Wound in Corona, California, the Yosemite single-coils have flat-staggered polepieces to increase output. A shellac coating helps keep a tin lid on unwanted feedback. The Telecaster’s bridge pickup has also been wax-potted. 

Having played fast and loose with the usual recipe for its most famous electric guitar designs, Fender has continued on that theme with the electronics, with the Timber Strat equipped with a push-pull function on the tone pot that activates the neck pickup on command, so that, with one pull of a dial, you can have three pickups in unison, or neck and bridge together. 

Meanwhile, the Telecaster has a Greasebucket circuit which takes some of those high-end icepick frequencies out without adding bass and muddying up your tone.

Feel-wise, these are very 2024. Modern C profile necks come as standard (and these are bolt-on and cut from maple), and topped with 9.5” radius fingerboards and 22 jumbo frets. Fingerboards are rosewood or maple, depending on which model you choose.

The Mocha and Honey Burst Strats have rosewood ‘boards, with the 2-Colour Sunburst model having maple. The 2-Colour Sunburst Telecaster has a rosewood fingerboard, with maple for the other two finish options.

All models in the Timber series have ClassicGear tuners, which look vintage and have a high 18:1 ratio. The silver Fender logo on the headstock gives them something of a ‘7os vibe, but then you could say that about the Mocha and Honey Burst finishes. 

Once more Fender has put together a hybrid of vintage looks and modern feel. It doesn’t say how limited these limited edition instruments are but if you like the looks of them, our advice is try one as soon as you can. Or even just to try one. Sassafras makes us think Eric Johnson but sugar pine and spruce are two tonewood options that we rarely see on an electric. How will they sound through a guitar amp?

The Timber Telecaster has a classic Tele bridge with three brass saddles, while the Strat has a vintage-style synchronised tremolo. All guitars ship in a deluxe gig bag, and are priced £1,429 / $1,499, available now. See Fender for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.