Feast your eyes on the Big F’s latest assortment of alternate reality guitars, sure to send shivers down the spines of purists everywhere
Back in 2021, Fender resurrected its Squier Paranormal catalog of oddball electric guitars and bass guitars, which put a quirky twist on some of the Big F’s most famous designs.
Now, five fresh additions to the cult favorite Paranormal series have been unveiled – and they mark some of the brand’s most bizarre feats of guitar design for quite some time.
Sure, there are some more vanilla additions to the range – those Strat-O-Sonics will be familiar to fans of the original Paranormal range from the early noughties – but these are joined by completely new designs, which are spearheaded by that Nashville Stratocaster.
With the same hardware, control layout, pickup configuration, and pickguard as Fender’s Player Plus Nashville Telecaster but the body of a Stratocaster, it’s one of the most jarring examples of Strat-meets-Tele we can think of, easily trumping the absurdities of Fender Japan’s ‘51 model.
The Aztec Gold colorway certainly helps, but so too does that uncontoured, bound double-cut body, which serves as a further nod to ‘60s Tele aesthetics. Specs-wise, it’s far more straightforward: a poplar body is joined by a C-shape maple neck, which in turn is topped with a 21-fret, 9.5”-radius laurel fingerboard.
A standard 25.5” scale length, three-saddle Tele bridge and vintage-style tuners are also present, alongside Fender Alnico pickups – Tele variants in the bridge and neck position, a Strat single-coil in the middle – controlled by a five-position switch and push/pull tone knob.
The historic Esquire model has also been given the alternate reality treatment, with Fender capitalizing on the growing furor around single-pickup guitars by giving guitarists a glimpse of what would’ve happened had the Esquire first arrived in the ‘70s.
Taking inspiration from the Telecaster Deluxe, the Paranormal Esquire Deluxe boasts that enlarged pickguard, hardtail six-saddle bridge, oversized headstock, sole bridge humbucker and body bevel, though adds in a Chickenhead rotary three-way switch for three different pickup voices.
It’s also a simpler affair in the control circuit, which just makes room for master volume and tone parameters. As for finishes, Metallic Black and Mocha are on tap.
The electric guitar round-up is completed by a 12-string Jazzmaster and the previously mentioned Strat-O-Sonic. The latter is a familiar beast, boasting a pair of Fender soapbar single-coils, compensated wraparound bridge, okoume body and 12” laurel fingerboard.
As we said above, the Strat-O-Sonic design has been around for a while, with two new finishes – Vintage Blonde and Crimson Red Transparent – setting this example apart from the rest.
That 12-string Jazzmaster, meanwhile, will most definitely win over new fans, pairing six additional strings with a classic Squier offset design.
A Hockey Stick headstock helps accommodate the extra tension, with the guitar also flashing a graphite-reinforced neck, hybrid bridge and, again, Fender Alnico pickups.
Bassists will also no doubt be pleased to see the return of the Rascal model, especially with its shorter scale design and HH configuration.
Available in Sherwood Green and Metallic Black, the Rascal HH pairs the Fender Bass VI body shape with the headstock of a Fender Coronado, the bridge of a Mustang Bass and a super-playable 30” scale length.
Other notable appointments include dual Alnico Wide-Range humbuckers, which are dictated by master volume and tone knobs.
In terms of price, all of the above comfortably come under the sub-$500 bracket: the Nashville Strat, Strat-O-Sonic and Esquire Deluxe are listed for $429, while the rest of the models are only slightly more expensive.