Fender Coronado: Revival Of A ‘Modern Player’

Black Cherry Burst

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“The Coronado guitar is back, with greater sound, build and beauty than ever for the guitarist who appreciates a different Fender guitar with a special history.”Fender

Fender has resurrected a relic from the past with the new Coronado model electric guitar. No doubt, that familiar headstock sitting atop a semi-hollow body is sure to catch some glances. The same goes with the Coronado’s two humbuckers. If not for the Fender logo, someone might think the Coronado was a product of that other company, the one that starts with a “G.”

What’s Old Is New Again

The Coronado was initially produced by Fender from the mid 1960s through the early 1970s before coming to an end. Being an archtop, it lies somewhere between an Epiphone DOT and a Gibson ES-335. With its customized twin f-hole design and dual humbuckers, you can’t help but think the Coronado was made to compete with Gibson, Epiphone or even Rickenbacker. But that was then and this is now, right? Not so fast.

Coronado Is a Modern Player

Modern Players Series 2.0 is the name of the latest entry-level line of guitars from Fender. It includes, among others, the Coronado, Starcaster®, Mustang®, Marauder®, Jazzmaster® and a number of Teles, Strats and basses.

According to Fender, Modern Player is the company’s “most adventurous series of entry-level instruments to date.”

The Coronado has a retail price of $699.99. If Fender thinks that’s an appropriate price tag for “entry-level” pickers and strummers, no wonder Epiphone’s DOT has been such a success. Speaking of entry-level, the DOT usually retails for about $399.99. But let’s see. What does the Fender Coronado have to offer aspiring axe-slingers?


The Coronado has a thin semi-hollow body profile, making it more comfortable to play. Fender has changed the original design, from hollow to semi-hollow, using an alder center-block. It’s likely that the center-block cuts down on unwanted feedback. Other companies, like Epiphone, use mahogany.

The laminated double cut-away maple body, available in 3-Color Sunburst, Black, Candy Apple Red and Black Cherry Burst gloss finishes, is fully bound, including the f-holes. All models are equipped with a black pickguard.

The 25.5˝C-shaped bolt-on maple neck, which is also bound, sports 21 medium jumbo frets, a synthetic string nut, rosewood fingerboard and the characteristic Fender headstock.
Chrome hardware is standard on all Coronados.

The Electronics

At the bridge and neck are Fender’s humbucking Fideli’Tron™ pick-ups. That’s right. There are no single coils here. Each bucker has separate volume and tone controls.

Mixing and matching is done via a three-way toggle with bridge, bridge and neck and just neck combinations.

Special Features

Black Cherry Burst
Black Cherry Burst

Fender describes the bridge on the Coronado as a “Pinned Adjusto-Matic™ with Floating ‘F’ Trapeze Tailpiece.” The trapeze tailpiece was used on the Les Paul gold tops of the early 1950s. In this case, the “F” is for Fender.

The Coronado uses skirted “amp” style control knobs.

The dark etched sunburst finish, black pick guard and control knobs, along with the rosewood fingerboard, make for a striking image.

Is the Coronado worth the price tag? Fender may tout its blast from the past as an entry-level instrument, but by no means is it average. The Coronado costs twice as much as an Epiphone DOT and doesn’t approach the superiority of an ES-335. Fender may have a difficult time finding the right niche with this one.

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Paul Wolfle

As a vintage and contemporary music enthusiast, guitars dominate Paul’s life. He plays slide in open tunings on a National Steel Tricone resonator and electric blues, in standard tuning, on an assortment of other instruments including his white Fender Stratocaster.

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Linda Howell-Shipley
6 years ago

Not one of my favorites in its 1960s run. They definitely made it better with a center block and humbuckers, but it’s still following the footsteps of a 335 and Dot.

My best friend paid $600 for one in 1966 and soon regretted it. $700 for one nowadays will probaby leave you wishing you had a Dot and $300 in your pocket.

Arthur Schwartz
8 years ago

I don’t know if Fender plans to make the bass version of the Coronado. A semi-hollow or hollow body guitar is one thing, but it was apparently never a great idea for a bass. Back in the day, the Fender Coronado bass was a “boopy” piece of junk. While it looked nice and was light weight, it would easily feed back and had terrible tone.

Ronnie Brooks
8 years ago

Nice writeup, Paul. Like Doug, Im happy to see this old beast again, but I think your last sentence raises a valid point. I’m not concerned about the quality or how it stacks up to a 335, Dot, Gretsch or other comparable guitar. I just doubt that many buyers will look to Fender now — any more than they have in the past — for this style instrument. These are in the DNA of companies like Gibson, Epiphone, Gretsch, Rickenbacker and Guild. When you think Fender, you think slab, and nobody does it better. But this seems a bit inauthentic. I don’t know if Coronados can be any less kitschy now than they were originally. We’ll see.

Doug Knight
8 years ago

Hey, Paul. I, for one, am glad to see the Coronado back in the Fender lineup. The alder center block may give this guitar a really nice tone, probably along the lines of the 335. I hope to try one out this weekend on one of pilgrimages to GC. The Epi Dot does use mahogany, one of the reasons I like it better than the grossly more expensive Gibson 335, which uses a maple block. The Dot has a warmer, bluesier tone, in my opinion, that I like a tad better. The Gretsch Electromatic has no center block at all, just a bridge block of maple, although they have introduced a new one that does have a maple center block ala 335, which accounts for the different sound of this guitar in comparison to the others. It does look like Fender stole the pickup covers from Gretsch, though! AND… I wonder if Fender will add a Squier Coronado to get it into the “entry level” guitar price range. $699 isn’t really bad for a Fender, considering a semi-hollow body guitar is way more work to make than a good old slab Tele or Strat. I am a little disappointed that they are not using a set neck but, that means they are customizable!

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