After pioneering solidbody guitar design in the 1950s, the changing trends of the 1960s prompted Fender to switch gears expand into other areas of the electric guitar market. The British Invasion bands popular at the time were using hollow and semi-hollow guitars offered by Gibson (ES-330, ES-335), Epiphone (Casino), Gretsch (Country Gentleman) and Rickenbacker (330 and 360). Fender’s double cutaway hollowbody was released in 1966 and was known as the Coronado.
The Coronados were designed by Roger Rossmeisl, who had been hired by Leo Fender a few years earlier to design a flat-top acoustic. Rossmeisl had experience with these types of guitars, as he had designed the Rickenbacker Capri line in the 1950s.
The Coronados were produced at Fender’s separate acoustic guitar plant. The line initially consisted of the Coronado I with one pickup, and the Coronado II with two pickups and optional tremolo. The pickups were made by the De Armond Company.
The guitars were originally offered in Cherry and Sunburst finishes, but by 1967 Wildwood I (Rainbow Green), Wildwood II (Rainbow Blue) and Wildwood III (Rainbow Gold) also became available. These Wildwood finishes were obtained by injecting colorful dyes into beech trees. In 1968 the Antigua finish was also offered.
Pictured is a stunning 1968 Fender Coronado II model, with two De Armond pickups and optional tremolo. It sports a Wildwood I finish.
Unfortunately, the Coronado line did not prove popular and was discontinued by 1972. More information on Fender Coronados can be found in The Fender Book by Tony Bacon and Paul Day, and at www.vintageguitar.org.uk
Dave's Guitar Shop
Daves Rogers’ Collection is tended to by Laun Braithwaite & Tim Mullally Photos and words by Tim Mullally Dave’s Collection is on display at:
ave's Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601