The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster Pau Ferro Fingerboard electric guitar is the ideal instrument for jazz musicians who don’t want a traditional jazz archtop guitar and prefer solidbodies like Strats.
Some jazz players like to use a Stratocaster for its unique sound, but the traditional Stratocaster design can be a bit too thin and twangy for jazz.
The Vintera ’60s Stratocaster is designed to provide the warmth, roundness and full-bodied tone that jazz players require.
The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster features a Pau Ferro fingerboard, which is brighter and more resonant than the traditional rosewood fingerboard. The Pau Ferro fingerboard also increases the amount of sustain, which is essential for jazz soloing and chord work.
The guitar is equipped with three single-coil pickups that provide a wide range of tones from bright and twangy to warm and mellow.
The five-way pickup selector switch allows for a wide range of tonal variations, and the onboard tone controls allow you to shape your sound even further.
There are many reasons why the Vintera 60s makes for a good jazz guitar and in this review, I’m sharing my personal opinion on why this electric guitar is the ideal jazz instrument.
Keep reading to find out about the best features, pros and cons and how this guitar compares to the competition.
What is Fender Vintera 60s with Pau Ferro fretboard?
In case you think the Vintera is something you’ve seen before even though it’s relatively new from Fender, it’s because the Vintera series is essentially a merger of the old Classic Series and Classic Player Series.
Basically, the popular models like the Classic Player Jazzmaster and Baja Telecaster have upgraded and rebadged.
Although this is not strictly a jazz guitar and is suitable for all genres, I particularly recommend it for jazz.
Since jazz music is all about the sound, it’s important to have an instrument that can give you a wide range of tonal possibilities.
The Vintera 60s model stands out because the S-1TM switch adds the neck pickup in positions 1 and 2, unleashing even more tonal variation, while a modern, two-point synchronized tremolo provides rock-solid performance and tuning stability.
When re-designing their classic guitars, Fender made some useful upgrades.
The trio of single-coil Stratocaster pickups were re-voiced for a more contemporary Fender sound, and the output was increased for additional girth and gain.
21 medium-jumbo frets on the “Modern C”-shaped neck’s 9.5″-radius pau ferro fingerboard provide a traditional playing feel.
Quality tuning keys, strap buttons, chrome hardware, and a four-bolt neck plate are further features that makes this a good guitar.
There are certain features to look for when buying a Stratocaster guitar best suited for jazz.
A typical Jazz guitar isn’t usually a Fender Stratocaster, and you’ll need to look for a few specific features to get the tone and feel you’re looking for.
Stratocaster guitars are different because of how they are made.
The guitar’s unique sound comes from its three single coils, which are an important part of both the original Fender strat and the copies made by other brands.
The body shape is different from most other guitars, which makes it a little harder to play at first.
However, this electric guitar style delivers excellent sound and is a great choice for jazz.
The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster provides the perfect combination of classic vintage looks and modern playability.
Here are some key points to consider:
Tonewood & sound
Electric guitars are made out of different kinds of wood. Since you want to buy a Strat, you should think about the type of wood used for the body and neck.
So, what’s the best?
Well, that depends on what kind of sound you want. Many jazz guitars are made of maple tonewood but Fender’s Strats are mostly made of alder.
For jazz, you should look for a mellow warmth, crispness and clarity and alder can definitely deliver so it’s not a real issue.
Alder is often used to make Strats because it has a clear, full sound with a lot of sustain.
Jazz guitarists generally prefer a subdued warm tone that can perfectly complement the bass, piano and drums in a jazz ensemble.
The pickup configuration is important, especially if you want to play jazz.
Sure, having humbuckers is great for rock n roll and heavier musical styles, but the classic 3 single-coil pickups are a must if you want to get the right tone for jazz.
The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster comes with the iconic trio of single-coil pickups.
Fender’s alnico pickups are famous because they give an amazing sound with plenty of body and clarity.
The Stratocaster’s traditional bridge design is great if you want to play jazz.
Unlike other types of bridges, it allows you to set the action to a low level without sacrificing intonation or tuning stability.
Most Stratocasters have necks that are bolted on, which makes them easier to fix if they break. The neck is another important part of how your guitar sounds.
Maple is most often used for Strat necks because it makes the guitar sound clear and bright.
Rosewood and ebony are two other popular choices. Most Fender Stratocasters in this $1000 or less budget range have a classic maple neck.
The sound and how easy it is to play are also affected by the shape of the neck. Most guitars have a “C”-shaped neck, which makes it easy to play and gives it a classic Stratocaster feel.
Fender Stratocasters usually come with a rosewood fretboard, but other materials are available. Rosewood is a good choice for jazz because it has a warm sound and is easy to play.
But don’t ignore the Pau Ferro fretboard used on the Vintera series. Pau Ferro is a great choice because it has a warm, mellow tone that’s also perfect for jazz.
Don’t forget to take a look at the way the fingerboard is constructed. A good-quality guitar will have a clean fretboard with no rough spots, warps or unfinished sharp edges.
Hardware & tuners
The fretboard is another part of the guitar that makes it easier to play. There are 21 frets on some guitars and 22 on others.
21 medium jumbo frets are the best for jazz because they make it easier to bend notes and give you more control over the sound.
The radius is also important. A smaller radius makes it easier to play, while a larger radius lets you bend the strings more.
When buying a solidbody guitar, playability is essential.
The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster has a classic “C”-shape neck that makes it comfortable to play.
The fretboard is also smooth and easy to navigated, with 21 medium jumbo frets that make it easier to play jazz.
An electric guitar should also be lightweight and well-balanced, so it’s comfortable to play for extended periods of time.
Why the Fender Vintera ’60s is the best Stratocaster Jazz guitar
The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster is the ideal guitar for jazz players.
It features a bright and resonant Pau Ferro fingerboard, three single-coil pickups with a five-way selector switch, tone controls and a comfortable neck.
This guitar has a surprising amount of power under the hood thanks to a combination of vintage appearance with a contemporary neck profile, fingerboard radius, hotter pickups, and updated electronics.
You’re probably wondering why this is the best Stratocaster for jazz. Well, it’s simple.
The Pau Ferro fingerboard increases sustain which is essential for jazz soloing and chord work. The pickups offer a wide range of tones from bright and twangy to warm and mellow.
Finally, the two-point synchronized tremolo ensures rock-solid performance and tuning stability.
The bottom line is that the Vintera 60s Stratocaster is made of alder and it produces a smooth and classic sound that sounds great as part of an ensemble or if you’re playing solo it can also cut through the mix.
- type: solidbody
- body wood: alder
- neck: maple
- fretboard: Pau Ferro
- pickups: 3 vintage-style ‘60s Strat single-coil pickups
- neck profile: C-shape
- vintage-style tremolo (2-point)
- number of frets: 21
- fret size: medium jumbo
- made in Mexico
- glossy polyurethane finish
- scale length: 25.5″
- fingerboard radius: 9.5″
- hardware: nickel & chrome
Playability & quality
The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster is a great choice for jazz players who want a classic vintage look and modern feel.
There’s an incredible variety of switching positions.
From the weight to the fretwork, which uses medium jumbo wire and is the ideal compromise between little vintage-style frets and the modern jumbo ones, this instrument has a consistency and outstanding quality.
The build is fairly great, with my only concern being that the screw-in arm feels cheap and poorly built.
Even though the instrument is made in Mexico, it is worth its price and is worth investing in.
You get the same high quality you’d expect from any Fender instrument (especially the pricier guitars), and the tone is unbeatable.
The Vintera ’60s Stratocaster is made with a modern 9.5″ radius, which makes it easier to play and lets you bend notes more easily.
Players of all levels will appreciate the way this guitar plays. The neck has a comfortable profile, and the pickups give you plenty of sustain without any buzz or hum.
Body & tonewood/sound
This guitar has a really well-balanced sound. The guitar’s warm tone is a result of the Pau Ferro fretboard.
Alder, which is renowned for its bright and clear sound, serves as the body tonewood. This type of wood offers a good balance between highs and lows, which is perfect for the jazz musician.
It has a great tone that straddles the line between traditional Strat sound and the warmth and fullness required for jazz playing.
It is an excellent choice for any guitarist looking to explore different genres of music.
The Strat isn’t as deep as the Vintera bass, of course, but jazz musicians can still benefit from using it.
The headstock of the Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster caught my attention right away.
Along with the logos and typography from that era, it revives the thin and lovely headstock from that time.
You can even play this guitar unplugged and it sounds fabulous. You can expect a woody resonance and bright lively tone.
It stays in tune well even if you’re constantly using the vibrato.
This guitar includes a Pau Ferro fingerboard which is different from Fender’s usual rosewood fingerboards.
Pau Ferro is brighter and more resonant than rosewood and it increases the amount of sustain, which is essential for jazz.
There are 21 medium jumbo frets on the fretboard which are great for jazz soloing, chord work and bends.
Compared to 22, this fretboard radius allows for a comfortable playing experience, making it easier for players to reach all of the notes.
Before the 90s, Fender’s classic guitars had 21 frets and now many have 22. Since the Vintera is based on the 50s Strats, it has the vintage 21 fretboard.
The cool thing about the Vintera is that if you’re into lead playing, you can switch out the 21 for the 22 neck since it’s a bolt-on neck.
The fingerboard is smooth to the touch and offers great sustain.
The fretboard is also very comfortable and easy to navigate. The frets have a gorgeous polish and no fret sprout.
The Fender Vintera ’60s Stratocaster features a modern two-point synchronized tremolo bridge, which is perfect for jazz.
Tremolo arms have been a staple of jazz music since the 50s, and this one gives you all the range of motion you need to really explore that sound.
The neck’s C-shape makes it quite comfortable to play.
The “C” shaped neck is considered to be modern, which means making chord shapes, scales and leads much easier to play.
Compared to the 60s original, this neck shape is far less bulky, making it incredibly comfortable for any player and it’s easy to play up and down the neck with plenty of snap and articulation.
This guitar has a satin back that is incredibly smooth and a properly toned neck finish.
The Vintera 50s has Fender’s classic maple neck that is warm and full sounding.
This model is equipped with three single-coil pickups that provide a wide range of tones from bright and twangy to warm and mellow.
Fender’s S-1TM switch adds the neck pickup in positions 1 and 2 and also adds some extra boost for a little more output.
The five-way pickup selector switch allows for a wide range of tonal variations, and the onboard tone controls allow you to shape your sound even further.
Hardware & tuners
The hardware on this guitar is made of chrome and nickel, which adds a polished look. The vintage-style 2-point tremolo bridge provides exceptional tuning stability and great sustain.
Since it’s a vintage style tremolo bridge, you can expect more twang and tonal variation as you bend the strings.
This implies that adding vibrato to your playing won’t mess with the guitar’s tuning. Actually, it’s ideal for producing those luscious, vibrato-heavy jazz tones.
The hardware and finish both glitter and shine.
The components made of bright white plastic are replaced with a three-ply mint green scratchplate and aged white pickup covers and knobs.
Overall, the vintage-style tuning machines provide precise and accurate tuning.
What others say about the Fender Vintera 60s
Overall, the Fender Vintera 60s has pretty good reviews from players.
According to Dave Burrluck from musicradar.com, the slimmer neck and headstock does have a bit of a drawback but the sound and tones are good.
“While we lack a little woody depth from the neck, both mixes excel: crisp, textured and bouncy, while the solo bridge pickup is slightly smoother in the high-end, probably because of its dedicated tone control. But tonal shade aside, it sounds like a Strat and as we get used to its mettle, it does the job and proves quite the all-rounder. “
Amazon customers are loving the fantastic action of this guitar. When it comes to jazz playing, many customers say that the Vintera 60s delivers a great tone with good playability.
The set up was good as you’d expect and the instrument is playable right out of the box. It comes with Fender Nickel .09-42s.
Players are impressed by the feel of the twang bar and the guitar stays in tune. Even after extensive playing of Jazz chords, the Vintera stays in tune.
Who is the Fender Vintera 60s not for?
The Fender Vintera 60s may not be the best choice for a beginner who is just starting out.
This instrument is intended for more experienced guitar players who have a better understanding of the instrument.
If you’re into modern genres such as metal or nu-metal, then this guitar might not be the right choice for you.
It is better suited to genres that require a vintage sound, such as jazz or classic rock and blues.
But if you want a Stratocaster that’s modern and not based on vintage designs, you might prefer the Fender Player Stratocaster with a maple fretboard.
Critics of the Fender Vintera 60s say the downside to this guitar is that the neck might be a bit too slim for some players.
It also doesn’t have as much woody depth as some players would prefer.
Fender Vintera 60s vs 50s Stratocaster
The Fender Vintera 50s Stratocaster Modified is manufactured in Mexico. It has a solid alder body, a bolt-on “Soft V”maple neck, a maple fingerboard, and SSS pickups.
In comparison, the Fender Vintera 60s Stratocaster is also made in Mexico. It has a solid alder body, a bolt-on 60s “C” maple neck, a pau ferro fingerboard, and SSS pickups.
The only main differences are the pau ferro fretboard of the Vintera 60s and the 50s soft v neck which provide a different feel.
The Fender Vintera 50s also has vintage-style locking tuners, single-coil Hot Strat pickups from the 1950s, and S-1 neck pickup blend electronics.
The Fender Vintera 60s Stratocaster has Standard electronics and tuners that look like they came from the 1960s but trust me, they’re modern and good quality.
Another difference when it comes to playing jazz with these instruments is that the 60s Vintera feels more playable.
The slimmer neck and headstock make it easier to play complicated chords.
Fender Vintera 60s vs Fender American Performer Stratocaster
The Fender American Performer Stratocaster is more expensive because it is considered to be a premium guitar.
It’s made in the USA and has an alder body, rosewood fingerboard, and modern Hot Strat pickups.
In comparison, the Fender Vintera 60s Stratocaster is made in Mexico, has an alder body, pau ferro fingerboard, and vintage-style pickups.
The American Performer Stratocaster is a true modern electric from Fender. It has a similar SSS (3 single-coil setup) just like the Vintera.
However, the Performer has Yosemite pickups, which are a bit hotter and punchier than the vintage-style pickups on the Vintera.
So both guitars sound similar but experienced players will notice the American Performer does have a superior sound.
What is special about a jazz guitar?
A jazz guitar is designed with the specific needs of a jazz musician in mind.
These guitars typically feature thinner necks, shallower frets, and lighter bodies for improved playability and comfort.
The pickups are often designed to produce warm, mellow tones, which is ideal for jazz.
Jazz music has a lot of different styles and sub-genres.
Good jazz guitars will all be able to give you a great clean tone, sound great with a little bit of drive, let you change the volume, and shine when you play complex chord voicings.
Does Fender Vintera have nitro finish?
No, the Fender Vintera 60s Stratocaster does not have a nitro finish. It has a polyurethane finish which looks glossy and is very durable.
The nitro finish used on vintage Fender guitars was meant to be softer and more pliable than a polyurethane finish.
Where is the Fender Vintera 60s Stratocaster made?
The Fender Vintera 60s Stratocaster is made in Mexico. It has been designed and crafted to the same standards as instruments made in the United States.
Fender’s Mexican factory has been producing instruments since the 1980s and has become renowned for its craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Who played a 60s Strat?
Many people think that the Strat’s design reached its peak in the 1960s, when it was streamlined and improved for more skilled players.
This is the decade when the Strat was first played by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Ritchie Blackmore, George Harrison, and David Gilmour.
All of these guitarists had their own unique styles, which showed the versatility of this classic instrument.
What does Vintera mean?
Vintera is an anagram of “Vintage Era”, which refers to Fender’s line of vintage-inspired instruments.
It embodies the classic Fender sound and feel that has defined rock and roll for decades.
The Fender Vintera series of guitars combines timeless style with modern playability.
The Fender Vintera 60s is an excellent choice for any jazz guitarist looking to explore something different from the usual archtop guitar.
It has a bright and clear sound, serves as the body tonewood, Pau Ferro fingerboard, smooth touches and great sustain, three single-coil pickups that provide a wide range of tones from bright and twangy to warm and mellow.
If you’ve been fan of Fender’s vintage guitars, this re-envisioned version of a classic Stratocaster might be the perfect fit for your jazz playing, or any other style you want to play.
Besides the iconic Stratocaster Fender definitely has made other amazing guitars
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:Subscribe