This is my review of the Fender Paramount PD-220E electro-acoustic guitar.
Fender has recently added new models to its Paramount series. Is it possible that this will raise the quality of this line to an even higher level? In this article, I’ll show you that the answer to this question is yes. Nothing but praise for the all-mahogany PD-220E. This is a dreadnought that is well worth its money. Let’s dive in!
Fender Paramount PD-220E
In 2017, Fender released the first Parmount models made of mahogany. These guitars (including the accompanying sturdy case) were of very high quality and could easily compete with other guitars in the price range up to around $700. In recent years, the quality of acoustic guitars has improved significantly across all brands. Even with a modest budget you can nowadays get your hands on a high-quality guitar.
The Paramount series offers something for players who want a more traditional acoustic or bluegrass intrument. This series pays hommage to the acoustic guitars of the 1930s and 40s. There are three acoustic electric models: the PO-220 Orchestra, The PS-220E Parlor and the PD-220E dreadnought. In this review, we take a look at the Fender Paramount PD-220E. Does this new PD-220E hold its own among its competitors? Read on and decide for yourself.
- Price indication: $ 529 (ex. shipping costs)
- Body: Solid mahogany, Solid mahogany top
- Neck: Mahogany, C-profile
- Fretboard: Ovangkol, Snowflake fretboard inlays, 20 Frets
- Pickups: Fender/Fishman Sonitone Plus Soundhole Pickup system
- Controls: Volume and blend controls.
- Hardware: Nickel-plated hardware
- Other: Ovangkol bridge, Open nickel tuners, Incl. Deluxe Black Hardshell case with black lining
|C-shaped neck profile||Comfortable, rounded oval shape|
|Ovangkol fretboard||Smooth feel; rich midrange and brighter top end|
|Solid mahogany back and sides||Tone is dry and airy; middle is present and clear.|
|Solid mahogany top||Warm tone and extensive sustain|
Body and Neck
This guitar has an Aged Cognac Burst finish on the top and a matte black headstock. This gives the guitar a classy and sophisticated look. The model is equipped with asymmetrical X-bracing for more resonance. The Paramount is neatly and carefully built with the choice of a solid spruce or solid mahogany top paired with solid mahogany back and sides.
The understated look contrasts beautifully with the subtle decorations such as the green-blue-red feather pattern and the snowflake motifs inlaid into the neck’s fingerboard. The neck is finished in silk gloss lacquer and has a comfortable feel, with the wood grain slightly perceptible.
Electronics and Sound
Fender has again partnered with Fishman for the Paramount guitars, resulting in a Sonitone Plus piezo pickup under the saddle. This all new propietary system amplifies the natural tones of the guitars. Under the top, the body sensing pickup enhances the sound boards vibrations which can then be blended with the under saddle sonic chord pickups. You have access to a blend control and a volume control just inside the sound hole.
Mahogany guitars tend to give a peak in the mid frequencies. So by nature, this guitar doesn’t have deep, full bass or velvety-soft hi-fi highs. The Sonitone system provides a convincing reproduction of acoustic sounds. If you want more EQ control, connect a preamp pedal or an acoustic combo.
The action is relatively low for an acoustic guitar and the strings don’t catch any buzz at all. For a dreadnought with a solid mahogany soundboard, the weight of 1.72 kg is not too bad. The Fender Paramount PD-220E lends itself perfectly to solid chord work while being equally good for fingerpicking thanks to its bright and clear tone.
I tried one today and really liked it. It sounded good and the action felt easy to play. I compared it to a Martin 10 and preferred the feel of the Fender. The action on the Martin was a bit heavier – the Martin had a richer deep tone but the Fender cut through with a sound that was sharper and better for rock.
- Well-made, solid wood guitar with features of a twice-as-expensive model.
- Great Fishman Sonitone-Plus electronics with well-defined mid and treble.
- The production hard-shell case is nice.
- Can’t think of any disadvantages. Maybe that it only has controls for volume and blend.
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Alternatives for Fender PD-220E
PRS SE P20E Parlour BV
This guitar is a parlor-sized acoustic with a powerful voice. The PRS P20E has an organic, mellow voice and is made entirely of mahogany. The PRS hybrid “X”/Classical bracing of the SE P20E projects sound evenly and boldly while allowing the top to freely vibrate.
Pure tone is provided by the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro’s solid spruce top, mahogany body, and mahogany neck. Additionally, the body is set off by a striking hummingbird pickguard, and the pau ferro fingerboard has a distinct beauty thanks to lovely split parallelogram inlays.
Guild D-120 Nat Westerly
This Guild D-120 Westerly Collection Dreadnought’s rich, robust tone gives musicians a traditional acoustic sound and well-balanced voicing.
The Guild D-120 dreadnought has a solid top, back, and sides made of African mahogany, a bone nut and saddle, and a mother-of-pearl rosette. It also features a vintage-style Guild neck with a 1 3/4″ nut width, the recognizable Chesterfield headstock logo from Guild guitars from the 1960s, a period-appropriate tortoise pickguard, and a high-quality gig bag.
Verdict Fender PD-220E
In my opinion, the Fender PD-220E is one of the best electro-acoustic guitars in its price range. For about $700, you get a top quality strummer.