History of Fender Acoustic Guitar & Series Review

Fender acoustic guitars may not receive the publicity that Fender electric guitars attract, but they are still good acoustic guitars. A quick look at the different series of acoustic guitars available from Fender can help you to narrow down your choices when you are shopping for an acoustic guitar.

Fender got its start in the 1940’s when Leo Fender first started combining his specially made amplifiers into his custom made guitars. At the time, putting amplifiers directly into the guitar was quite the original idea and the combination has impacted the musical world in ways that Fender could never have imagined. But while the focus has always been on Fender’s creation of built-in amplification or of his solid body electric guitars which took the world by storm, people always seem to forget that Fender was first and foremost a creator of top quality acoustic guitars.

While the bulk of Fender’s guitar selections are either electric guitars or electric acoustic guitars, there are four series that Fender dedicates solely to Fender acoustic guitars. Each of these series contain a number of models built on Fender’s various body types and made of different woods to create a variety of tones and sounds that appeal to a diversity of players.

Fender Acoustic Guitar Series Roll Call

Classical Design Series (CD)

Fender’s Classical Design series are crafted with an eye for traditional styling when it comes to guitar design. Model designs such as the dreadnought, the dreadnought cutaway (which allows for better access to the higher frets), grand auditorium style and grand concert and other body styles are designed true to traditional form and with Fender’s attention detail that has given them a reputation for producing some very good acoustic guitars. In the classical design series you will find numbers attached to each model. The lower the number, the more ‘basic’ and the less expensive the guitar. Take the CD 60 for example. This is one of the least expensive guitars that Fender makes. It is crafted with a laminated spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides. The lamination allows this guitar to be sold at a considerably lower price than solid top models such as the CD 140S which is made with a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides and is a good acoustic guitar for beginners. This solid top construction gives the CD 140S a better projection and sustain than the CD 60, but you pay more for the better sound and broader projection. The model of classical design series you choose will depend on your personal preference when it comes to playing style, how comfortable it is to play, and the type of tone you are looking for.

Classical Series (CN)

Fender’s Classical Series acoustic guitars are designed to provide a full, well-rounded tone that will project well, especially in performance situations. The models in the Classical Series are crafted to provide maximum volume regardless of whether you prefer fingerstyle playing or pick style playing. While the overall tone of the Classical series can be a bit muted or ‘muddy’ when the guitarist does fingerstyle playing, changing out the bridge pins to one that is not plastic but bone will help to alleviate any muddiness in the tone and will bring out the full rich flavor of the classical series.

Squier (SA)

The Squier is Fender’s least expensive guitar series. You will find the SA series in most of the Fender ‘starter packs’ that include a guitar, extra strings, gig bag and instruction manual (and sometimes a demonstration DVD). While this series does not have a high reputation for quality and tends to lose its tone fairly quickly, they are an excellent choice if you are uncertain as to whether or not you even want to play guitar but just want to try it out. These guitars will give you a good idea of how a guitar will feel to play and you can always upgrade to a better model should you decide to stay with it.

California Series

The Fender acoustic guitars in the California series are unique for Fender in that each of these instruments is crafted with a solid top. While the California series comes in a number of styles (dreadnought, dreadnought cutaway, grand concert, etc.), which means that each model of guitar will have a sound unique to its particular model style and wood selection, the overall tone of this series of guitars is richer and more vibrant thanks to the solid top construction and the attention to lighter weight bracing which gives the California series better projection. The Sonoran (as a member of the California series) for example, has a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany sides and back; this gives it the rich, warm sound of mahogany while the solid top gives the Sonoran a projection and sustain that sets it apart from Fender’s other series. The style or model that one chooses within the California series will depend entirely on one’s preference, but you can rest assured that you are getting the very best quality of Fender acoustic guitar.


Overall, Fender produces good guitars for beginners with some very nice solid top guitars. Their wide variety of models and styles allow those on a budget to try out different types without having to worry about breaking the bank. Fender acoustic guitars also offer players an upgrade purchase option to better quality Fender models. In short, it is easy to see why Fender has a reputation for good acoustic guitars even though their name has been made through their electric guitars and amplifiers. Leo Fender was, first and foremost, a guitar maker, and Fender acoustic guitars are a testament to his first love.

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