- A new bridge with improved bent-steel saddles mounted to a stamped-brass bridge plate for increased resonance and sustain.
- A new neck treatment—tinted for a richer presentation, with the maple or rosewood fingerboard buffed to a high gloss. The back of the neck still has that silky, comfortable satin finish.
- A thinner finish undercoat that lets the body breathe and improves resonance.
- A new Fender-exclusive SKB molded case.
I had a chance to play both the Tele and Strat unplugged. I did not notice much of a difference in the body, but the maple neck was darker. Lately, it seems that Fender is using white maple, almost a light green in some cases. They must have caught on to complaints about that. The new necks have that slippery feel common in vintage reissues and 1970's era guitars. The body has a thinner finish, too, supposedly helping the overall tone.
Small changes to the guitars have added to a just under $1000 pricetag, too.
I am planning on trying these out plugged in soon, so I can see how they sound. Word around the guitar forums is that they sound fantastic and all of the changes are good.
Whatever the changes, Fender always does a good job on moving forward with old designs. When you look back on the history of Stratocasters, you can see how they have evloved over time. And almost always for the better. Sure, CBS screwed things up during the 1970's. But having grown up during that time, my interest was in the new models, not the old ones. I did not know about all the crap that was going on. I just knew that I was looking at these guitars in awe.