The Fender Strat is one of the most legendary guitars ever made and the company unveiled the future of the line at the NAMM show in Anaheim, Calif. The new Fender VG Stratocaster is the first Strat to offer onboard modeling.
The VG offers guitarists instant alternate tunings, a selection of electric guitar models based on Telecasters and other Fender guitars, acoustic and 12-string guitar sounds, all with the turn of a knob. And unlike some other modeling guitars there is no special outboard gear, cables or accessories required.
“This is the electric guitar the world has been waiting for,” Justin Norvell, marketing Manager for Fender Electric Guitars, told Macworld. “Modeling technology has been around for a long time, but we wanted to wait until we had a perfect mix of a traditional and modern guitar for our users and this is it.”
Fender said that the basic guitar is still the same Strat that millions of people love. The VG is U.S.-made American Series guitar, with all the innate signature tone that you would expect to hear from a Strat.
The difference with the VG is that it offers 37 Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster, humbucking, 12-string and acoustic sounds, plus five alternate tunings.
“Usually, the more functionality you add, the more complicated an instrument becomes,” said Norvell. “We kept the VG Stratocaster pared down to the essentials, making it easy to pick up and play.”
The only difference you will see on the outside of the VG is two additional knobs on the pickguard, a small LED and a Roland GK bridge pickup, which gives the Strat its extra features.
The Mode Control knob governs five distinct modeling modes: Normal, Modeled Stratocaster, Telecaster, Humbucking Pickups and Acoustic. In the Normal mode, the guitar’s three single-coil pickups bypass the VG circuit, for a straight Stratocaster guitar sound.
The Tuning Function knob lets guitarists choose among five alternate tunings (Normal, Drop D, Open G, D Modal, Baritone) and a 12-string sound. And since guitarists don’t have to turn a single tuning key, a major benefit of all these instant tuning changes is that the string tension remains the same and the guitar itself feels the same, according to Fender.
“We wanted to make the Strat right, so it wasn’t just a vehicle for the circuitry,” said Norvell. It’s a very versatile guitar.”