Fender may be best known for its Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars, but the iconic instrument maker isn't afraid to push the design boundaries and try something new. Last year's Parallel Universe series mashed up bits from different Fender guitars, and in January the company unveiled a Tele with an acoustic heart. Now it's time to take a trip to an Alternate Reality with the release of the Powercaster.

"The Alternate Reality Series continues our recent tradition of creating limited runs of uniquely compelling guitars with interesting body styles and tonal configurations," said Fender's Max Gutnik. "We look forward to players of all genres and backgrounds making music as inspired and imaginative as the instruments themselves."

First seen at the NAMM Show earlier in the year, the Fender Alternate Reality series proved to be quite the talking point on gear forums and fan pages, clearly dividing opinions into love it or hate it camps. Regardless, Fender has now made the first of the new limited run series available for purchase – the Powercaster.

Fender reckons that the Powercaster was built from the ground up for high octane fun. The design stems from an idea put forward about eight years ago by Alex Perez of the company's R&D team for a fresh take on Fender Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars.

"We started messing around it back in 2010-11," said Perez. "That was around the same time Josh Hurst started designing the Meteora. I've probably built 10 or 12 versions of the Powercaster, and almost every variation has evolved."

Originally designed to have two humbucking pickups, the Powercaster now features a black/white Atomic humbucker pickup at the bridge position and a MP-90 soapbar single coil at the neck – a setup reminiscent of Gibson's Les Paul BFG P90 from 2007.

Switching between the pickups is made possible by a three way toggle housed between volume and tone knobs, heading back from under the bridge. Strings run over the top of a 22-fret roasted maple neck topped by a pau ferro fingerboard, from a Strat-like head with chrome hardware to a stoptail bridge.

The Powercaster is available in three colors for a suggested retail price of US$899.99.

Still-to-come members of the Alternate Reality series include the Sixty-Six (a down-sized Jazz bass body with humbucker/single/single configuration pickups), the Meteora HH (with two Player Series humbuckers, sweeping pickguard and contoured offset body), and the Electric XII (a 12 string hit-maker with dual split-coil pickups).

Product page: Powercaster

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