Fender Acoustic-Electric guitars have become the forgotten step-child of the Fender line. Best known for its legendary electric guitars such as the Stratocaster and the Telecaster, Fender has also been manufacturing acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars for years. Typically, they nestle into a more moderate pricing point than some of the higher-end acoustic guitar manufactures, such as Taylor and Martin. However, Fender acoustic-electric guitars have developed an excellent reputation as workhorse guitars for working musicians. They are high-quality, reliable instruments that do the job at a reasonable price.
Dreadnoughts are a full-sized steel-string guitar, popular among bluegrassers, country artists and rockers alike for their full-bodied sound. These large instruments sound excellent unamplified, and they are frequently the guitar of choice in the studio. However, they scale up nicely when you add some on-board electronics, though low-end feedback in live venues is a constant concern.
Jimmy Dale Signature Kingman SCE
Top models include the Jimmy Dale Signature Kingman SCE, which is designed for louder venues, as the depth has been scaled back to between 2.75 and 3 inches for less feedback when playing at volume. Like most Fender acoustic-electric models, this guitar comes with a built-in Fishman pre-amp and built-in tuner.
T-Bucket 300 CE
This guitar is a full-sized cutaway dreadnought that comes wit a striking quilt maple or flame maple top. The neck and body binding is ivory, and it comes with 20 frets - a lot for an acoustic - and a compensated saddle, so your guitar will have better intonation as you progress up the neck. This instrument also comes with a Fishman Isys III amplification system, active on-board preamplification and an on-board tuner.
If the dreadnought is a bit big for you, consider the CA SCE Auditorium. This has a smaller body size and features a cutaway for easier up-the-neck playing. It has a solid spruce top, a solid mahogany back, and laminated mahogany sides. Equipped with a factory-mounted forward strap button, this instrument is designed for the working player who wants to stand and be comfortable with the guitar hanging securely on a strap.
CD-160 SE-12 String
This 12 string model is the one to choose for that shimmering chiming effect you hear on the introduction to such songs as "Hotel California." It's a dreadnought size guitar with 12 strings - most of them in octaves, except for the B and high E courses, which are strung in unison. It has a dual action truss rod, which is a must for 12 strings, because of the high level of tension on the neck. The pickup system is the Fishman Presys, with an active pre-amplifier and an on-board tuner - a particularly important feature for 12-string guitars.
Nylon String Guitars
Fender manufactures one acoustic-electric classical guitar, the CN-240SCE. These guitars are excellent for fingerstyle players, though they aren't really for classical purists. They come with a cutaway, which makes playing up the neck easier, but tends to detract from the fullness of tone. However, Fender's excellent electronics, plus an on-board EQ can help you compensate for this. The string spacing is a little narrower than you would find on a classical guitar, which makes it easier for flatpickers, but a little trickier for fingerstyle players - especially those used to playing with a classical technique. Some women and girls with smaller hands may find this guitar to be just what the doctor ordered, however. The CN-240SCE features a solid cedar top, a mahogany neck, 18 frets and a dual action truss rod. The guitar also comes with a Fishman Isys III System with an active on-board pre-amp and guitar tuner. For the best tone, use high-tension, classical strings.
Advantages of Fender Acoustic-Electric Guitars
All-told, Fender acoustic-electric guitars make a solid choice for the working pro-guitarist on a budget. Their lower-end acoustic-electric guitars can make excellent choices for beginners as well, since these instruments are moderately priced, but scale up well as the novice guitarist develops her skills.