Product Spotlight: Fender Paramount Acoustics

Product Spotlight: Fender Paramount Acoustics

Fender. When you hear this company's name what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most of us I think the answer would be a Strat, Tele, J Bass, or anyone of the other ultra-iconic guitar/bass models that the company is associated with. However, for almost as long as the company has been around, Fender has been involved with nearly every corner of the guitar industry. One of their more underrated product lines is their acoustic guitars. 

Fender has been making acoustic since the late 60s and they have never really come close to the notoriety of their electric instruments. Yet, their acoustic lines have been getting increasingly more impressive over the years. Recently, the Paramount line of guitars show off just how good a Fender acoustic can be. This article is meant to break down this awesome line of instruments, so let’s jump right in. 


PM-1 vs PM-2 vs PM-3

First off let’s go over how the Paramount naming conventions correspond to their sizes and shapes. Fender has three body styles/sizes in their paramount range. For these models Fender has chosen some of the most well-known body sizes in acoustic guitars. These sizes are named PM-1, PM-2, and PM-3 which corresponds to dreadnought, parlor, and triple-0. If you are newer to the acoustic guitar world, you may be unfamiliar with some of these sizes. So here I will briefly describe them in conjunction with their sonic properties.

The Dreadnought (PM1)

There is a reason Fender picked number 1 to go along with the dreadnought body style. The shape of a dreadnought is the most common, and perhaps iconic, known to acoustic guitars. With it having the largest size of the three shapes mentioned here, it is less suited towards smaller players. As far as sound goes, the larger size will mean more bass coming from the instrument. It is often known for being a “strummer’s” acoustic and will sound great when played loud and hard.

The Parlor (PM2)

Other than travel guitars, the parlor size is the smallest standard steel string acoustic size. Parlor guitars are quite an old acoustic shape that has been getting popular again in recent years. For smaller people, or anyone wanting a less invasive guitar body, the parlor shape can be rather welcoming. Additionally, the parlor is a shorter scale length and provides 12 frets of access. Sound wise, this style is very different from that of the much larger dreadnought. They have a very strong balance of highs and lows, making them ideal for finger picking. 

 

The Triple-0 (PM3) –

Somewhere in between the worlds of dreadnought and parlor sits this final acoustic type. Like the parlor size, this is going to be great for clarity when finger picking. Also, it can also handle strumming of any variety quite well. The triple-o is a little more like that of a dreadnought on the sound side of things. A very present and tight bottom end is what many associate with this acoustic type. Overall, the triple-0 is the most versatile guitar in this range from Fender.

 

Paramount Standard

This aptly named assortment of acoustics is the heart and soul of the Paramount line. Since its introduction back in 2016, the Standard series has been Fender’s flagship high end acoustic guitar line. Each Standard Paramount acoustic shares the same features and wood species, while only differing in body style (as outlined above) and electronics.

The idea with all of the Paramount lines is to give you a quality guitar at a very fair price point. This concept is ever emphasized by the feature set included in the standard line. At the center of these acoustics are all solid timbers on all of the models. The Standard’s wood selection is a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides.   

While the Standard PM-1, PM-2 and PM-3 all have electronics, each has been individually designed to complement the style of body they are in. This means that Fender has taken the time to make sure that the preamp system in each guitar shape is made for its specific timbre. This in conjunction with simplified controls and a brilliant colored display, makes the Paramount electronics some of the best we’ve seen from Fender. 

Features

  • Quartersawn scalloped "X" bracing
  • Fishman-designed PM preamp
  • Satin urethane finish on neck
  • Sitka spruce top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Vintage checker binding
  • Ovangkol fingerboard
  • Vintage style frets
  • Vintage style, open gear tuners
  • Mother of pearl inlays
  • Comes with hardshell case

Paramount All-Mahogany

A year after (2017) the release of the Standard Paramount line Fender introduced us to their new All-Mahogany Paramount line. The idea with this line of guitars was to take everything that makes that Paramount line great and pack it into a more earthy and natural acoustic experience. The two main alterations to this line from that of the Standard are the wood selection and finish. As the name will tell you, there is a lot of mahogany in these instruments. The top, back, sides and neck are all made from this wood species. The only non-mahogany wood on these is the ovangkol bridge and fingerboard (used to be rosewood).

As for the finish, it’s actually rather subtle. With trying to make this as “earthy” as possible, Fender chose to go with a very light satin open pore finish. Additionally, the company decided that it made sense to take out the electronics to add to the natural acoustic experience. Despite these few changes mentioned, the All-Mahogany models are still clearly part of the Paramount line.

Features

  • Quartersawn scalloped "X" bracing
  • Open pore satin finish on body
  • Gloss urethane finish on neck
  • Mahogany body and neck
  • Vintage checker binding
  • Ovangkol fingerboard
  • Vintage style frets
  • Vintage style, open gear tuners
  • Mother of pearl inlays
  • Comes with hardshell case

Conclusion

Without a doubt the Paramount acoustic line from Fender, is one of their best to date. It is hard to beat the value of these instruments when compared with other brands. The company has done a great job at fulfilling the intermediate price range of the acoustic market. If you’re looking for an acoustic that feels and sounds like a high-end instrument, look no further.

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