If It Ain't Broke…
Guitarist|December 2020
We catch up with Fender’s Justin Norvell, executive vice president of Fender Products, who takes us through the thinking behind the American Professional II range’s primary new features
Dave Burrluck

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of the American Professional series, not to mention its sales compared with the other USA Fender production lines. “It’s the centre of gravity of the Fender line,” states Justin emphatically. “It is the number one series. It is the number one requested and used instrument by artists; it’s our best-selling, most important series. We have instruments that are more contemporary, more state-of-the-art like the Ultra with their altered geometry and Noiseless pickups, and then the Original, which are vintage, like they used to be. But American Professional runs right in the middle – the best of yesterday and today. It’s definitely the sun and the Ultra and Original are two planets.” While it really does feel like we’ve only just had the first American Professional series, Justin reminds us of the time scales. “It’s actually been about four years, which is about average for what we do,” he says.

“On the side, R&D is always looking into things, specifications and features, and thinking about things we could do next. Then at some point it begins to coalesce where it feels like it’s enough and it’s a good time to do it. Of course, this was all in the plan before everything [the Covid-19 pandemic] happened. We felt like we had enough feedback from people, what people liked and some new developments, things like the DoubleTap humbuckers that we didn’t have on the original American Pros that we wanted to import, and the extra rolled fingerboard edges. We felt the time was right.

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