Monday, March 15, 2010
The Fender Coronado
In 1966 Fender developed a guitar to compete with Gibson’s ES-330. This was an era when double cutaway guitars were popular since they were being played by many British groups.
Gibson had several models, from the ES-125T to the ES-355. So did the Epiphone with the Casino, Sheraton and others, which by now were being manufactured by Gibson. The Beatles were seen with a pair of Epi Casinos. Guild, Gretsch and even Hagstrom had come out with hollow body, double cutaway instruments.
Fender once again went to guitar designer/luthier Roger Rossmeisl to come up with a hollow body, thin, double cutaway instrument and Roger came up with the Fender Coronado.
The Coronado actually looked more like Hagstrom’s Viking guitar than the rounded horn Gibson ES design. The upper cutaway bouts were sharper and the lower body appeared to be wider.
Fender offered four versions of the Coronado within their catalogue. The Coronado I featured a single pickup below the neck. The Coronado II had a neck and bridge pickup. The Coronado XII was a double pickup twelve string version. Plus two Coronado basses were offered.
The Coronado I bridge was a very plain, non-adjustable, non-anchored, rosewood arch top guitar bridge. The trapeze tailpiece was also very plain. All the Coronados featured a glossy nitrocellulose lacquer. Incidently, the nitrocellulose lacquer process is what Fender uses on it's new line of Thin Skin models and custom shop guitars.
Coronado II with added Bigsby Vibrato
It could also be ordered with a rather unique vibrato unit. The arm on this vibrato was the same long one used on Jazzmasters and Jaguars.
The Coronado XII featured the same appointments as the Coronado II except for the headstock. The headstock on these guitars was the same one used on the Fender XII guitar which came to be known as “the hockey stick” style, however the headstock was painted to match the body color.. The decal on this instrument was located on the downward curve at the top and read Fender Coronado XII, instead of just Fender.
The Coronado II bass also had the same fancy appointments of the Coronado II. The pickups were of course different and the headstock was painted to match the body and featured the 4 on a side style similar to that found on the P or J bass. The decal read Fender Coronado Bass II. The Coronado II bass featured bound “f” holes, deluxe binding on the body, a neck and bridge pickup, a bound rosewood fingerboard with white block position markers. Both basses featured Fender’s bolt-on neck. The bridge on both instruments was sort of a staggered stair step type of bridge for compensation.
As on the Coronado I guitar, the Coronado I bass headstock was always black.
The potentiometer knobs on all the guitars were black plastic with a silver top. The single pickup models featured a volume and tone control. The double pickup models came with two volume controls and two tone controls plus a three-way pickup selector switch which was located out of the way on the bottom horn. The tuning keys generally had chrome buttons and posts. The chrome bass tuning keys were the open Fender oval style. (Although I have seen the bass with the cloverleaf style pegs.)
Unlike the Montego, Fender shipped these guitar complete with cases made by Victoria Luggage, a USA company.
In 1970 Fender ended construction of the Coronado I and in 1972 Fender stopped manufacturing all Coronados.