Review: Fender Highway Series Dreadnought

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Review: Fender Highway Series Dreadnought

Fender Highway
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Fender Highway Series Dreadnought | Fender Music Australia | RRP 1699

The Acoustasonic range from Fender took the world by storm. Building on the back that, Fender now launches the Highway Series. Combining the best of acoustic guitars as well as playable elements from electric guitars and combining them into something new entirely, the Highway series is the latest in guitar technology. A unique chambered design makes it a great electric/acoustic hybrid, building on an already stellar range of Acoustasonic guitars from Fender.

Fender Highway Series review

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The Fender Highway Series bridges the gap between Acoustasonic series and acoustic guitars. Taking cues from the chambered body designs, bracing, pickup choice and controls, the Highway Series look and feel more like a traditional acoustic guitar. Where the Acoustasonic series paid homage to the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazzmaster, the Highway Series have a Dreadnought and Parlor on offer, featuring the same high quality chambered spruce and mahogany builds as the Acoustasonic range, while feeling and looking a little more traditional. What’s more, they have high build quality with an accessible price tag, being built in the Fender factory in Ensenada, Mexico.

The Dreadnought is a thin-bodied, dreadnought-style acoustic with a Fishman Fluence pickup and controls to shape and hone the tone as you see fit. It’s built from spruce, retaining the tonal quality of a traditional acoustic, but the thin, ergonomic form factor makes it a lightweight, comfortable solution for a more unique sound, while retaining the best of both acoustic and electric guitars. The Highway Series is the missing link for players after innovation, without the want to deviate too far from their familiar, resonant acoustics, offering a combined experience for something entirely unique.

Fender Highway Series Dreadnought

The Highway Series Dreadnought has an acoustic tonality similar to a jazzbox or archtop. Its articulate, robust and focused sound make way for clearer chords and a bright, warm response. It’s a traditional 14-fret acoustic design so it’s instantly comfortable and familiar, though the thinner body doesn’t restrict you like a deeper acoustic might.

Unplugged, the Highway Series Dreadnought is inspiring, offering a comfortable playing experience and a new take on acoustic guitars. Entirely usable unplugged, though really showing its merit when plugged in. The Fishman Fluence is a very true-to-source pickup, the Acoustasonic’s own design bolstering a much larger sound than you’d expect from the thin, ergonomic body.

The Fishman Fluence is controlled by a master Volume and a Contour control, a sort of one-knob EQ that helps to shape the tone overall. The “C” shape of the neck is comfortable, modern and playable while not feeling too much like a shred-stick, and still retaining that unique feel of an acoustic guitar.

Solid Sitka Spruce top

The Fender Highway Series Dreadnought features a solid Sitka Spruce top and a classic Modern Viking bridge design. The fretboard is rosewood, while the neck is mahogany to match the back and sides both tonally and aesthetically. It’s a classy affair!

The fretboard has a 12” radius, so traditionally quite flat while still feeling close to home for Fender aficionados, while also having Narrow Tall frets to help bridge the gap between electric and acoustic. The nut is Graph Tech TUSQ, so it retains the character and tone of a bone nut without the impact on the environment, Fender Classic Gear tuners keeping it all in tune at the headstock end.

Tapered Floating X bracing helps retain the acoustic quality of the Highway Series Dreadnought, while elevating it further towards a modern, comfortable and refined guitar. All of this arrives safely in a Fender branded hard bag, their newer option for protecting your guitar while being more comfortable while travelling with it on your back!

Fender Highway 2

The Highway Series Dreadnought successfully bridges the gap between acoustic and electric guitar. The Acoustasonic forged ahead with a unique take on guitar design, Fender creating something new entirely, and the Highway Series are the next step in this evolution; closer to a traditional acoustic guitar. Unplugged, they’re not dissimilar to an archtop or jazz-box, the chambered design still having a great acoustic sound, elevated with Fishman electronics. It sits comfortably on the lap, perfect for noodling or those fleeting moments of creativity that often strike when an amplifier and cable is too far away. Not to worry, the Highway Series Dreadnought will have you sounding great at a moment’s notice, helping you get that idea out and into the world, realised fully with the clarity and tonality of a great sounding acoustic.

Fishman Fluence pickup

The Dreadnought shape is one of the more famous in the modern day, accounting for a huge majority of acoustic guitars on recording. The Highway Series offers a new take on the design: it’s thinner and more ergonomic while retaining the clarity, brightness and body we’re so accustomed to. The Fishman Fluence pickup amplifies all of this, with a handy contour knob for simple tone sculpting, offering a great acoustic sound without the big, wide, deep body hanging off you. The Highway Series overall are more comfortable to play, strung across your shoulder much like an electric, but offer a higher calibre of sounds for performing, recording, writing music and inspiring fans.

For local enquiries, visit Fender Australia.