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.
Just like the ES-330 the Coronado did not have center block. It was a true hollowbody instrument. Even the horns were hollow.
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 body was bound, but the “f” holes and the neck's fingerboard were not bound. The rosewood fingerboard featured white circular dot markers. The body came in a variety of colors, however the headstock on the Coronado I was always black with a gold Fender decal.
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.
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 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 I've mentioned the Coronado basses came in two versions.
Once again the Coronado I bass had one neck pickup, no binding on the “f” holes and white dot position markers on the fingerboard. This bass had an unusual non-adjustable bridge.
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.)
The fancier models were available in a variety of finishes including “Wildwood”. Wildwood was a process developed by a Danish inventor in which beech trees were injected with dye prior to havesting. This created a unique veneer that contained the dye in the grain.
Fender also offered the Coronado in what they referred to as Antiqua. This was a finish that created a dark gilt effect on the parameter of the guitars body and “f” holes.
Probably the most unusual feature for Fender was the use of DeArmond pickups for the Coronado line. DeArmond pickups made in Toledo Ohio were somewhat popular with jazzers. That is the only reason I can imagine Fender would outsource the manufacturing of pickups.
Unlike the Montego, Fender shipped these guitar complete with cases made by Victoria Luggage, a USA company.
Gibson kept it’s hold on the hollow and semi-hollow body market.
|Fender 2013 Coronado|
As I update this, I want to remind everyone that the Fender Coronado Guitar and Bass are back!