Fender Noventa Series Review

If you think you're seeing things and are imagining three P-90s on a Jazzmaster, fear not. This new series from Fender is as real as can be - stripped down and ready to rock.

A Case for the P-90

The P-90 pickup is a funny kind of creation. Somewhere tonally between your classic single coil and humbucker, the P-90 is known for its flexibility with crisp cleans and broken-up bites. You might find P-90-equipped guitars in the hands of iconic punk or classic rockers with their awesome tone - all killer no filler. The Fender Noventa Series is something of a love letter to the P-90. The three models in the series feature exclusively Fender MP-90 pickups to provide a different tone from familiar Fender favorites. Though Fender's MP-90 pickup has made appearances in other select Fender Guitar models, this is the biggest splash the MP-90 has made so far.

The Noventa Series features three classic models with three finishes each. All constructed with an alder body and maple neck, the series has a classic Fender feel in hand. After the materials and a few design specifications, the similarities all but stop. Fender has made it a point that these guitars all their own and stand out compared to other series, and if we can say, they have already delivered. This is a bold new series and it cuts directly to the chase – the MP-90 has arrived.

The Noventa Telecaster

Upon first look, the Noventa Telecaster has been changed the most. Its drastically straightforward and simple look isn't pulling any tricks – it is a lean, mean, rock machine. A physical difference you'll encounter with the Noventa Telecaster is the absence of any body contours. In comparison to many other Telecaster models that feature a more sculpted body with bevels to reduce weight and make playing slightly more ergonomic, the Noventa Telecaster follows no such trend. This design choice enhances resonance from the alder body and overall makes for a more pure and honest instrument in hand – more punk rock and less calculated.

If you're looking for a punk rock experience tonally as well and tangibly, the Telecaster's MP-90 voice matches that sentiment perfectly. The Noventa Telecaster embodies the spirit of the series at its most basic with one MP-90 pickup and single volume and control knobs. With nowhere to go but to the max, the lone MP-90 is versatile with its smooth cleans that easily crank up to higher levels of breakup as it is pushed. This Telecaster, just like its family of single-coil classics, is high gain friendly, but to a different degree. The bigger bite and screaming leads that one can summon from the single MP-90 are no joke.

Add in a couple of extra touches including a “Cut” Telecaster bridge, a ‘60s “C”-shaped neck, and medium jumbo frets, and you have an instrument that is effortlessly playable. No frills or flashiness here, your punk rock single-pickup experience has arrived.

The Noventa Stratocaster

The black pickup covers of the Noventa Stratocaster’s MP-90s will probably be the first thing to catch your eye. It’s not every day you see a Daphne Blue or Surf Green finish paired with covers like that, but this isn’t an everyday kind of guitar – and especially not an everyday Stratocaster.

Like the Noventa Telecaster, the Noventa Stratocaster’s MP-90s start clean and crisp and gradually and easily ramp up to higher-gain voices when pushed. The Noventa Stratocaster provides more flexibility with its setup of two MP-90s if you’re looking for a little more bargaining room when it comes to tonal character. With a straightforward setup like the Noventa Telecaster, the Stratocaster’s two pickups are controlled by single volume and tone knobs along with a three-way toggle switch. Mixing between the P-90 tones provides a little more freedom to tonally explore right out of the box. Once hooked up and cranked with some distortion or gain, the Noventa Stratocaster busts out its own flavor of P-90 kick for players looking for a drastically new sound. If you think you’ve never heard tones like these from a Stratocaster, you’re totally correct! Get your finest lead licks ready for this Strat and it will pay dividends for your high-gain needs.

Along with its groundbreaking sound, the Noventa Stratocaster features a stripped-down design. The six-saddle vintage-style hardtail bridge keeps intonation solid and stable for those crazy extended bends while firing off a solo. Its Modern “C”-shaped maple neck makes the feel in hand familiar to recent Fender guitars with their seamless playability. A mashup of fine Fender features, your new scorching-hot lead machine has arrived.

The Noventa Jazzmaster

Probably the most exotic of the bunch, the Noventa Jazzmaster has either the biggest case to make or the smallest, depending on the player. Some may see the Noventa Jazzmaster as a question, others may see it as an answer. If you’re looking for a Jazzmaster experience in hand with real grit under the hood, this guitar has it covered.

The three MP-90 pickups that adorn the Noventa Jazzmaster present the most versatile tonal experience in the series. Since the traditional Jazzmaster electronics setup has been replaced with the new Noventa setup, this guitar is a different beast altogether. The Noventa Jazzmaster is set up without the rhythm and lead circuit, instead, it features the three MP-90 pickups with a five-way pickup selector toggle switch. This altered setup tops off the series for another quick and streamlined playing experience as there is little to get in the way of awesome P-90 riffs. Unlike a traditional Jazzmaster, the Noventa Jazzmaster is more compatible with bluesy riffs and gritty, broken-up tones. The cleans are still crisp and clear when controlled, but like the Telecaster and Stratocaster, this guitar can turn into a high-gain heat machine if you let it fly.

Versatility across the three MP-90s makes the Noventa Jazzmaster the most flexible and interactive of the trio. Along with its new tonal voice, the Jazzmaster is outfitted with a Modern “C”-shaped maple neck, an Adjusto-matic bridge, and a vintage-style “Floating” tremolo tailpiece. Playability is almost an afterthought with Fender’s classic Jazzmaster form as it fits nicely into any player’s hands for that iconic playing experience. Revved up for action while remaining infinitely classy, your jazzy workhorse has arrived.

Fender Noventa Series Final Thoughts

This collection of guitars is far from conventional, but convention was never a priority here. The Noventa Series brings together new functions for new opportunities, and because of it, the Fender family has never looked so sharp. Those looking for a new take with a P-90 pickup at the heart of it all need look no further, the Noventa Series shares the love.

Also, check out our take on Fender 2021 releases and the Fender Aerodyne Series release.