GEAR 2021: Fender has fully embraced the old-school mojo of the P-90 single coil with the launch of the Noventa Series. Promising "classic midrange bite, crisp highs and warm, smooth lows," the new custom-wound MP-90 single coils offer a very different tone palette for the Telecaster, Stratocaster and Jazzmaster.
Fender has thrown a few curveballs in the past few years, its Alternate Reality and Parallel Universe Series shaking up the spec to create a number of high-end Frankenstein oddities that hinted at where the company might take its electric guitar designs in the future.
While the Noventa Series might not be quite as outré it nonetheless seems borne of a similarly experimental approach.
Built in Mexico, the Noventa models all come with a deluxe gig bag, and have 9.5" radius maple or pau ferro fingerboards, 21 frets, alder bodies, and the customary Fender bolt-on maple neck build. But there are a few subtle differences between the guitars, which come in a single, double and triple-pickup formats.
• NAMM 2021 is cancelled, but we'll be covering all the big January gear announcements right here on MusicRadar.
Noventa Telecaster – £759, $949, €849
Available in Vintage Blonde, Fiesta Red, and 2-Color Sunburst, the Noventa Telecaster has a 60s C-profile neck, 21 medium-jumbo frets with a single MP-90 in the bridge position.
With a "cut" 3-saddle Tele bridge and a half pickguard, the Noventa Tele has a minimalist look – it's the sort of guitar that'll look better the harder you play it, improving with age.
Fender Noventa Stratocaster – £799, $1049, €899
The Noventa Strat is available in in Daphne Blue, Surf Green, and Crimson Red Transparent, and here you have a dual-pickup setup, with MP-90 pickups in the bridge and neck positions, and a three-way selector volume and tone controls to help find your sound.
Elsewhere, it has a six-saddle hard-tail, and like the Tele, it too sports a 60s C profile neck.
Fender Noventa Jazzmaster – £899, $1149, €999
If the Tele is the no-frills rocker, the Strat offering fresh sounds from its classic bodyshape, the Noventa Jazzmaster looks to be the most versatile in the series.
Here we have a trio of MP-90 pickups, with a 5-way blade selector switch, volume and tone controls. And what might well seal the deal is the Jazzmaster vibrato.
You can have the Noventa Jazzmaster in any colour you like so long as it is Surf Green, Fiesta Red or Walnut.
All in all, the Noventa Series looks pretty neat, an off-kilter sibling to the Vintera Series? Quite possibly, and it's nice to see some P-90 options in the Fender catalogue. Expect these to be with dealers in May.
See Fender for more details.