Perhaps more than any other company, Fender designed electric guitars in the early days of rock and roll that are today regarded as some of the coolest axes ever. The Jazzmaster, the Mustang, the Jaguar and others may not have had the longevity or attained the legendary status of the Strat or the Tele, but their influence has never completely gone away, with numerous punk, indie and alternative players using them (think Kurt Cobain’s Jag-Stang). Those were all solidbodies though. When Fender made its foray into the hollowbody arena in 1966 with its Coronado guitars, another legendary axe was born, and although the guitar was only around for a few years, it is now back as a part of Fender’s “Modern Player” reissue series.
A lot of players will be buying this guitar just because it looks cool, with a unique body design that incorporates two shallow cutaways, two f-holes, white-bound fingerboard, pearloid fretboard inlay and a lot of chrome with the Adjusto-Matic™ bridge, FideliTron™ pickups, strap buttons and floating tailpiece. Even Elvis played one of these in Speedway, perhaps in an attempt to help him remain cool himself. The headstock is a Jazzmaster-style one, and the guitar comes in several colors.
The body and neck are maple, and the 21-fret rosewood fingerboard is surprisingly fast. As far as sound, the Fideli’Trons™, which are also being used in Fender’s Cabronita Telecaster to much success, sound pretty good. The combination of both pickups and use of their respective tone controls offers a nice jazzy tone that isn’t too bassy, and is great for jazz and pop comping and octave playing. The neck pickup itself is good for straight-ahead jazz work, while the bridge pickup, depending on your amp and effects, is good for just about any type of lead or trebly rhythm work, as in your favorite Chuck Berry or even Brian Setzer licks, as the Coronado just has the feel of the boomer-era style of hollowbody playing. And in something I wish all electrics with headstocks using diagonal tuners used, there’s a string tree on the headstock for the B and high E strings.
If there’s any one drawback to this guitar, for my hands at least, it’s the location of the pickguard and the bridge pickup’s volume control. It’s hard to grab the volume knob on the fly because of the overlap of the pickguard, especially if you’re in the middle of a song onstage and need to make a quick adjustment. But that’s minor compared to the guitar’s other attributes.
In addition to the Coronado six-string, other instruments worth taking a look at in Fender’s Modern Player series include reissues of the Coronado bass and the Starcaster. If you’re a fan old of vintage guitars or are just looking for something different, you should check these out.