SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (January 18, 2007) — The Stratocaster® of the future is here. After a 10-year research and design partnership with music technology pioneer Roland Corporation, Fender is proud to unveil the first modeling instrument worthy of being called a Strat®. The revolutionary new Fender VG Stratocaster offers guitarists instant alternate tunings, a selection of dead-on electric guitar models, acoustic and 12-string guitar sounds, and more—all with the turn of a knob. No special outboard gear, cables, or accessories required.
This breakthrough instrument means that guitarists no longer have to drag multiple guitars to a gig to get the right sound for each song, or make audiences suffer through mid-set delays while they re-tune instruments or adjust amp settings. In the studio, the VG Stratocaster is equally advantageous, letting guitarists whip through a collection of breathtaking guitar tones without breaking a sweat.
But just as importantly, the Fender VG Stratocaster is at its heart a rock-solid U.S.-made American Series Strat, with all the innate signature tone and feel for which the instrument is so revered. So guitarists can simply pick it up, plug it in, and play.
The Idea Behind the Innovation
Wouldn’t it be nice to flip a switch on a Stratocaster and, all of a sudden, be in an alternate tuning? Wouldn’t it be nice to turn a knob on its pickguard and suddenly have a clear acoustic guitar sound, the roar of a humbucking pickup, the signature snap of a Telecaster® guitar and the lush fullness of a 12-string?
That was the idea behind the VG Strat: a single, incredibly versatile instrument that delivers 37 serious Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster, humbucking, 12-string and acoustic sounds, plus five alternate tunings, all at the simple flip of a switch or the twist of a knob—and all in the gracefully familiar form of the Stratocaster.
“We felt strongly that keeping the instrument simple was the way to go,” said Justin Norvell, Senior Marketing Manager for Fender. “Usually, the more functionality you add, the more complicated an instrument becomes. So we kept the VG Stratocaster pared down to the essentials, making it easy to pick up and play. After all, playing a Fender Strat shouldn’t require the study of a phone-book-sized owner’s manual”
The VG Stratocaster features that classic sleek, contoured body shape, three American Series single-coil pickups with five-position switching, a maple neck with a maple or rosewood fingerboard, a synchronized tremolo bridge, a three-ply parchment pickguard and chrome hardware. In other words it’s a Strat in every sense of the word, with all the magic intact.
But two additional knobs on the VG Strat’s pickguard—plus a small LED and an inconspicuous Roland® GK bridge pickup—bring with them some new magic. These two knobs, a Mode Control knob and a Tuning Function knob, serve up incredible and seemingly limitless new sonic possibilities.
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.
Even better, the VG Stratocaster delivers level, balanced tone and volume across all these remarkable functions, so that guitarists needn’t continually readjust amp settings with each change in guitar sound.
A Powerful Partnership
To design and build the VG Strat, Fender partnered with Roland® Corporation: a guitar industry giant joining forces with a music technology titan. In fact, Fender and Roland share a decade-long collaboration, creating pairings and solutions that players really use in the real world. With Fender’s famous history of Stratocaster design and Roland’s state-of-the-art VG technology, the VG Stratocaster is the latest culmination of an interactive journey undertaken together by two industry leaders.
Roland Amplifier and Guitar Division Manager, Peter Swiadon relates, “I am thrilled that Roland and Fender can join forces and use the resources and strengths of our two companies to develop these remarkable new products for the world’s musicians. I can’t wait to see what we can come up with next.”
Importantly in the case of the VG Stratocaster, this was no figurative partnership. Fender and Roland designers and builders worked in the same R&D room together, sleeves rolled up, going back and forth in collaboration—comparing notes, testing sounds and continually engaging in what they soon dubbed the “complex art of keeping it simple.”
The resulting instrument is simply one that has to be played and heard to be believed.