New At NAMM: Fender VG Stratocaster and Fender GK-Ready Stratocaster

Looks like Fender is introducing not one, but two new models of the tried and true classic Stratocaster. What was once but an idea back in the 70s after the advent of Roland’s GR-500 guitar synth has now become a team up between Roland and Fender to develop a guitar with a synthesizer built into it.

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The G-5 VG Stratocaster

At first glance the VG Strat looks like any other Strat you’d see hanging on the wall of your local Guitar Center or Sam Ash store. It’s built built out of alder with a maple neck and a rosewood fretboard. A five-way switch with three single coil pickups. Those are the simple details.

The real meat and potatoes comes from the hardware in it. Thanks to Roland’s COSM (composite object sound modeling) technology they have imbued the means to alter the tone, tuning, and feel of your guitar with the twist of a knob and the flick of a switch. At your disposal you can tap into both steel and nylon string acoustic sounds, you can stick with the single coil sound or get the sound of humbuckers in your Strat, or make it sound like a Telecaster. At your disposal is also the ability to sound like a hollow body for thick, warm jazz tones or a sitar. Perhaps the greatest versatility to that is retaining the Strat feel while having a vast array of tones to choose from and having the versatility of tremolo on what would be otherwise impossible.

The COSM tech also permits the guitarist to switch through tunings as easily as anything else. With the twist of a separate, designated tuning knob you can switch to drop D, open G, or maybe land on a baritone tuning, and because they can they’ve pitched in a 12-string tuning as well. Because all tunings are on a separate knob from all tones you can mix and match them to your heart’s content. Make a 12-string sitar or a baritone Telecaster.

If you so choose you can go into purist mode and bypass all effects and tunings and land on an untouched, single coil Stratocaster sound because at heart it’s still a Stratocaster.

The GK-Ready Stratocaster

While the general specs like woods, pickups, and designs translates to this Strat as well what really sets the GK-Ready Strat apart from the crowd is that it has the Roland GK-2 synth pickup already installed and it’s ready to be plugged into any Roland synthesizer like the GR-33 and at the snap of a finger you can assume the guise of any instrument you so choose. On top of that you can plug into the VG-88 that uses Roland’s personal brand of COSM technology to get a similar effect as the G-5 VG Strat and model various other guitars and amps.

For a good look at both new models check the videos below.

G-5 VG Stratocaster

GK-Ready Stratocaster

Kyle Smitchens (448 Articles)

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.