The word ‘classic’ pervades every inch of this guitar’s construction. Solid mahogany back and sides, headed by a solid open-pore mahogany top give the impression that the PM-1 Dreadnought NE was cut flush out of the tree from which it came. The deepness of the earthy mahogany and its dotted grain provide the body with a natural semblance that is quite the sight. Matching the organic finish is a rosewood fingerboard and mahogany neck. A black-and-white checkerboard purling offsets the deep mahogany of the body for an old school dose of character and vintage charm. The aesthetic appeal of the PM-1 Dreadnought NE is that it has a truly realised identity, solidified by the traditionally inspired headstock – a throwback to Fender’s acoustics of the 60s. Add to that the one-ply tortoiseshell pickguard and you have a guitar that, at least aesthetically, has been nailed every step of the way.
The Dreadnought shape makes for a large body, yet the PM-1 Dreadnought NE is extremely light in hand thanks to the open-pore finish. It all depends on which body shape you are suited to best, but coming from a guitarist who rarely plays Dreadnoughts, I found it more comfortable than most, and a body that you could really lean into and fully embrace. The neck on this acoustic is a Modern C, equipped with vintage-style sized frets. The narrow stature of these frets promote accuracy to pinpoint expression and articulation; the Modern C neck is smooth and satisfying, paving the way for chord voicings, versatile fingering and expansive playing.
Mirroring the organic nature of the guitar’s design is a tonal range that is direct, resonant, unadulterated and naturally warm. The low-end isn’t bellowing or dense, but rather full, spherical and resolute. Highs, on the other hand, have a melodic sweetness and a tangible clarity. Together they form a balanced tonal output – one that leans ever so slightly to the low end – but is made dynamic by the fact that each string projects sound with pure articulation.
The natural tone and articulation of the PM-1 Dreadnought NE make it a blank canvas for which guitarists can project their very own sound. By approaching the design and construction with a clear idea in mind, Fender have been able to showcase the beautiful simplicity and refined subtleties of expert craftsmanship.