Ultra-Light and Ultra-Mighty
Wildwoodians, we are pleased to present the latest exciting entry in our Wildwood 10 line: the Ultra-Light series. Wildwood and our good friends at the Fender Custom Shop have a long and storied history of collaboration, and together we’ve tried to evolve and grow upon Fender’s classic designs without compromising Fender’s inimitable mojo and tone. Our Wildwood 10 series was an attempt to marry modern handfeel with vintage vibe, and it has been a runaway success. But, the fine folks at Fender are never content to rest on their laurels, so we put our heads together to figure out a way to make solid-body guitars lighter without chambering them. This was easier said than done, because our Wildwood 10s are already made from premium lightweight ash and alder.
So, the builders at Fender started experimenting with different tonewoods. Eventually, they tried building a guitar out of a wood called paulownia. Paulownia is a wood native to Asia and Europe that migrated over to America in 1844, and it was named to honor the queen consort of the Netherlands, Anna Pavlovna of Russia. For centuries, Chinese luthiers have built a wide variety of zither- and lute-like instruments (the guqin, guzheng, pipa, koto, and gayageum) using paulownia as a soundboard. These ancient builders chose their material well, because paulownia has an incredibly high strength-to-weight ratio, and it is supremely resonant. Because of this, the Fender Custom Shop team thought it might be a winner, and they made us a couple of Paulownia Wildwood 10s.
When we saw the first one arrived, it was so light that we were a little worried there was no guitar in the case after we unboxed it! Once we popped the latches, it was love at first sight. Appearance-wise, it’s quite similar to ash, so it gave off classic vibes before anyone even played a note. And goodness gracious, great balls of fire, was it ever light! If you threw it up into the air, you could be forgiven for worrying that it might never come down. But, the real magic came when we plugged in. From the very first strum, we were astonished at its sonic power.
The Power of Paulownia
Paulownia is a different animal than alder or ash, but it is equally inspiring. When you play a guitar made out of paulownia, several things jump out at you immediately: huge acoustic resonance, supreme responsiveness, superb touch sensitivity, and hi-fi articulation. When we evaluate electric guitars at Wildwood, we always play them acoustically first, because we realized long ago that when an electric guitar sounds good with no electricity, it will sound excellent once you take your amp off standby. Paulownia definitely excels in this regard, and its harmonic fullness is immediately apparent from the first unamplified strum.
When you do plug in, paulownia’s voice is quite impressive. These Ultra-Light Wildwood 10s have excellent overtone presence, superb clarity and transparency in the midrange, full bass response, and gorgeous sweet, singing high-end. But, their most impressive quality is their expressiveness. They respond to the player’s input beautifully with a wonderfully articulate attack that captures all the nuances and subtleties of your technique. And, because they have a wide dynamic range, you can manipulate their tone with your hands quite easily. In a sense, they feel almost like extensions of your fingers. Needless to say, the Ultra-Light Wildwood 10s are a lot of fun to play, because they inspire you to dig deep and play as expressively as you can!
A Note About Sustainability
As a bonus to its spectacular sonic strengths, paulownia is also quite sustainable. It grows almost as fast as bamboo, it’s remarkably easy to care for, and it is ready for harvest after less than a decade; in other words, it is a textbook renewable resource. And, after the tree falls, it regrows itself from its existing root system, which mitigates many of the erosion concerns that arise from logging practices. Paulownia is a dynamite tonewood, and it’s also very friendly to this big ball of dirt and water that we’re hurtling through space together on.
The Perfect 10
Years ago, we approached our friends at the Fender Custom Shop with a proposal: would they build us guitars that combined the mojo of a true-to-vintage reissue with modern handfeel and comfy modern ergonomics? They were enthused about the idea, and the Wildwood 10 was born. Thanks to the Custom Shop’s incredible craftsmanship and artistry, these guitars look gorgeous, sound killer, and play like butter.
Each of these Custom Shop creations features a thin fifties-style nitrocellulose finish, which allows the voice of the resonant hand-selected tonewoods to shine through. They also have hand-wound Custom Shop pickups that are sure to inspire you to reach new heights on your sonic journey. Wildwood 10s feel great in your hands, too. Their modern 10” radius is suitable for a wide variety of styles and techniques, and their 6105 narrow-tall frets allow you to expend less energy with your left hand, especially when bending strings. To top it all off, they come with a limited edition Dealer Select Wildwood 10 hardshell case and a certificate of authenticity.
In 1951, Leo Fender changed the world of music forever by introducing the first-ever mass-produced solidbody electric guitar. Leo was going to call it the Broadcaster, but the threat of a lawsuit from Gretsch (who produced a drum set called the Broadkaster) forced him to abandon that plan. Ever the resourceful (and frugal) businessman, Leo simply snipped the word “Broadcaster” off the headstock decal and shipped his nameless guitars out. Since the guitars had no model name, musicians dubbed them “Nocasters.”
Because of their incredible rarity, original Nocasters have become some of the most desirable vintage pieces out there. So, we decided to team up with our friends at the Fender Custom Shop and issue a Wildwood 10 version that marries the vibe of the originals with modern ergonomics. The Wildwood-exclusive 10″ radius and 6105 frets are a perfect pairing with the chunky Nocaster U-shaped neck profile, and the Custom Shop hand-wound Twisted Tele pickups deliver spectacular sounds.
- Model: Dealer Select Wildwood 10 Ultra-Light ’51 Nocaster
- Finish Color: Nocaster Blonde
- Aging: Journeyman Relic
- Finish Type: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
- Weight: 5.36 lbs.
- Body Wood: Roasted Paulownia
- Neck Wood: One Piece of Roasted Quartersawn Maple
- Neck Shape: ’60 Oval C
- Neck Dimensions: .800 1st – .930 12th
- Fingerboard Radius: Exclusive Wildwood Custom 10″ Radius
- Inlays: Dots
- Scale Length: 25.5″
- Width at Nut: 1.650″
- Nut Material: Bone
- Frets: 21 6105 Narrow-Tall
- Pickups: 2 Josefina Hand-Wound Twisted Tele Single-Coils Wound to Wildwood Specification
- Controls: Volume, Tone, 3-Way Switch, Modern Wiring
- Hardware: Nickel/Chrome
- Bridge: 3-Saddle
- Tuners: Vintage-Style
- Pickguard: 1-Ply Black
- Case: Black Hardshell Case with Limited Edition Logo
- COA: Yes