Sometime in 2011, Fender launched this series of Made in Mexico models.
All four models – Strat, Tele, Jazzmaster and Jaguar were given the H-H configuration for that “raw humbucking sound” (according to Fender anyway). The Strat also had a H-S-H configuration.
While there’s nothing unusually “black” such as hardware or headstock (even the pickup covers are chrome), most of the guitars in the series had a black pickguard and glossy paintwork. The necks, with maple or rosewood fingerboards, also drew some debate because they were gloss finished.
I remember the Blacktop series were priced at $699 at our local music store Swee Lee.
Most players see the Blacktop series as a Fender challenge to other brands more associated with humbucker pickups. The same people also felt that the series were generally well-made and good sounding.
One thing that stands out in the Tele is that the controls are reversed from the usual layout. So now tone and volume are switched around. Knobs also look different from traditional Tele knobs. I had a brief stint with the CAR Tele with rosewood board a couple of years back. It was a nice guitar. 🙂 The glossy neck wasn’t as bad as some owners say.
Fender has discontinued this series in 2015 because they have started using the designation Stratocaster HH or Telecaster HH in their Standard series. They are probably the same guitars as the Blacktops apart from the paintwork, pickguards or chrome covered pickups.
I guess not many people will actually miss the Blacktop series once they are all sold.
But then it is always good to recall that the Blacktops existed and actually gained some fans along the way.
From L to R : Tele, Strat, Jaguar and Jazzmaster. Not too shabby looking. 🙂
Here are some YouTube video reviews.
At the point of this blogpost, our local music store Swee Lee still has some of the Blacktops in stock. I saw a silver Tele and also a silver Jaguar recently while in SL, waiting to go to their new homes. At $699, I think it’s quite a good purchase.
*pictures borrowed from MusicZoo, MusiciansFriend, and Fatsound blog.