Let some jingle-jangle into your life with Fender's Electric XII

(Image credit: Fender)

Fender's latest addition to the Alternate Reality series, the Electric XII, is now available to buy from your favourite retailer. The series was introduced to the world at NAMM 2019 and revives oddball electric guitar designs from the Fender archives.

And there is no denying that Fender's Electric XII is an oddball. 

A 12-string electric guitar with a hockey stick headstock, asymmetric solid-alder body and specially designed split-coil pickups, the Electric XII debuted around 1965, arriving in a time when the folk scene was reeling from the rancour and musical possibilities of the Electric Dylan controversy.

You could say the Electric XII's timing was perfect. This Alternate Reality model has all of that swinging '60s mojo with a slightly more contemporary feel courtesy of the soft C-profile maple neck, a flatter 9.5-inch fretboard radius, and its 22 medium-jumbo frets.

Other differences from the original vintage models include the switching system, which now features a three-way toggle switch instead of the four-way rotary selector of yore, while the bridge has been redesigned. It is fully adjustable for tweaking intonation and has a string-through-body setup like the original models.

Notable players included Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton, while Jimmy Page used one in the studio for the 12-string parts on Stairway To Heaven – famously using the Gibson EDS-1275 doublneck for live performances. But perhaps it's most famous for the Byrds, with its chorus-y jangle perfect for their psychedelic sound.

The Electric XII is available in Lake Placid Blue, Olympia White and 3-Color Sunburst, priced £859 ($999, €959).

See Fender for more details.

And see below for a comparison between the Alternate Reality version and a 1965 model.

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.

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