Review of Fender Pawn Shop Super Sonic guitar
Fender brilliantly created a time machine with its Pawn Shop
series - journeying back to the 1960s to create "guitars that never
were but should have been." Rick Graham tries one of the latest
additions to the range, the Super-Sonic.
Fender's Pawn Shop Range of instruments continues to evoke the
more eccentric Fender creations of the mid-'60s to mid-'70s, while
at the same time delivering a bang-up-to-date modern marriage of
quality and sound. This year has seen new additions to that hugely
successful range of guitars, one of which is the subject of this
review, the Fender Pawn Shop 'Super-Sonic'.
The Super-Sonic is in actual fact a reincarnation of a model
which was first released back in 1997 brandishing the Squier logo
and belonging to the Japanese 'Vista' range, which was
unfortunately very short lived. This resurrection has remained
faithful to the original, though, so the efforts of the original
designer, Joe Carduci, weren't in vain after all. Let's take a
closer look at this eye-catching guitar.
If you're anything like me, the first time you lay eyes on this
guitar it feels like you have somehow seen it before. In actual
fact, the body shape is a reverse Jaguar. The story goes that Joe
Carduci had seen Jimi Hendrix play a Jaguar upside down, which
became the inspiration for this model. The backwards antics don't
end with the body shape either but I'll elaborate a little
At the heart of the Super-Sonic is an alder body which is
coupled with a bolt-on maple neck. The neck plate itself, which is
attached to the rather interestingly shaped neck heel, sports the
original 'S' logo as found on the original Squire models. The "C"
shape neck is short scale, measuring 24" and has 22 medium jumbo
frets with a rosewood fretboard. It also has a vintage radius,
measuring 9.5". The Super-Sonic sports the large, late 60's
headstock but in reverse and looks uber cool.
Pickups are supplied in the form of 'Atomic' humbuckers, both of
which are canted, unlike the original, on which only the bridge
pickup was canted. There are separate volume controls for each
humbucker and a three-way toggle selector switch, which with
strategic positioning of the volume levels can be used as a
The electronics are where things get interesting, or, I should
say, a little confusing because everything is in reverse!
Flicking the toggle switch up activates the bridge pickup and
flicking it down activates the neck position. Also, the volume pots
are in reverse too.
The Super-Sonic is available in three striking finishes: Apple
Red Flake, Dark Gunmetal Flake and the finish of our review guitar,
Sunfire Orange Flake.
In action, the Super-Sonic proved itself to be a very capable
performer, offering some rather raunchy Rock tones via the powerful
Atomic humbuckers. While the original Squire was purported to be a
subtle instrument, the up to date version was certainly made to be
centre stage in true Rock star fashion.
I have to say I was very impressed with all three pickup
combinations and particularly liked the Strat-like tones with the
middle position selected and with both pickups engaged. The unusual
reverse wiring did feel very unusual to begin with and I found that
I had to keep reminding myself to do the opposite. I also
encountered tuning stability issues at times too.
I have to say that I was surprised by the Super-Sonic. Not
only did it feel great to play but produced some excellent tones
along the way. There's no denying that its looks may fall into the
'acquired taste' category but there is most certainly an element of
coolness that I just can't put my finger on. The tuning issues did
let the side down a little. They might be rectifiable with a good
set-up but that's unknowable till someone tries. It is also not
particularly cheap, which is why it has lost half a point.
Check out the full review inc. video of the Fender Pawn
Shop Super-Sonic guitar by Rick Graham featured in
Guitar Interactive Magazine Issue 18.