We are delighted to see Fender turn its attention to the Paramount line of acoustic guitarsbecause we had great experiences with them in the past. Even so, six new models is quite a statement. And these are all very different proposals too. Yes, this version contains banjo and mandolin.
First, we have three acoustic designs aimed at broad appeal. And these look very aesthetically pleasing to us, and we always appreciate a tiger stripe pickguard.
The Paramount Series Dreadnaught, Orchestra and Parlor models are a revival of the series of sorts. They offer the choice of a solid spruce or solid mahogany top paired with solid mahogany back and sides.
A staggered X-bracing pattern that has been “carefully honed to optimize resonance and tonality”, but such claims are standard these days. More unusually, all models still feature hard cases like previous high-end Paramounts we reviewed.
Even more intriguing are the Fender & Fishman-designed pickups. Because those two companies knocked it out of the park with the Acoustasonic.
“A body-sensing pickup that enhances soundboard vibrations,” is the description of the piezo/transducer mix for the Sonitone Plus pickup system. The preamp system will also feature low-profile (read: hidden) rosette-mounted controls.
Updated cosmetics include pearloid snowflake fingerboard inlays, feathered bindings, rosette, backstripe, and black or tiger stripe pickguard.
Finish options are 3-Color Vintage Sunburst, Natural, or Aged Cognac Burst.
All three models also feature a bone nut and saddle with slim, tapered mahogany necks, and an ovangkol bridge. They will retail for $829.99 / £649 / €749 and release in February and April.
The Paramount Series PR-180E Resonator ($549.99 / £549 / €599) features an all-mahogany construction with a spider-shaped resonance cone. The PR-180E is equipped with the Fishman Nashville pickup system that has become a staple for resonator players.
Other features include an ovangkol fingerboard with snowflake inlays, bone nut and hard case.
Doubling the Americana further, the Paramount Series PB-180E Banjo ($449.99, £339, €399) and Paramount Series PM-180E Mandolin ($399.99, £339, €399) offer a mix of style traditional and modern appointments.
The Paramount Series PB-180E banjo features a mahogany edge and neck with a Remo Fiberskyn headstock and is equipped with Fishman electronics. The fingerboard is walnut with snowflake inlays and the Banjo comes complete with arm rest, bone nut and gig bag.
The Paramount Series PM-180E Mandolin features a spruce top, “A” style mahogany body and parallel tone bar. It features a Fishman pickup, walnut fingerboard with snowflake inlays, open-gear tuners with pearlescent knobs, bone nut and gig bag.