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The failure of the Fender Blacktop series (and what Fender could have done to prevent it)

I saw this on the Guitar Center web site today:


The Fender Blacktop Series has now officially fallen to Mexican-made Stratocaster prices.

Blacktop was an attempt by Fender to come out with some new and interesting guitars. Unfortunately, people just aren't buying them.

What Fender did that was wrong with the Blacktop series was introduce the guitar at a price that was too high. Had they priced it like the Fender Marauder (which is still lower than a Blacktop even with the GC discount), the guitar would have sold a lot better.

Guitar buyers by nature hate change and pretty much don't like anything that strays away from the traditional Stratocaster or Telecaster design, however they can be swayed to try something new if the price is right, and unfortunately Fender keeps fumbling this up time and time again.

For example, if the Fender Cyclone makes a reappearance (it was last made in the early 2000s), the street price of that guitar should be the same as the Mexican Stratocaster. If it were American made, then yeah I could see it having a street price of $799. But if Mexican or Asian-made, it should be $399.

And as far as color choices go, Fender should go back to what they did before and use car finishes, such as Ford's "School Bus Yellow" on the 2013 Mustang. If Fender wants ideas for different paints players would like, well, just look to what the car makers are using. Fender did this before and should do it again, because it works.

When a player sees a new Cyclone on the rack at the same price as the Mexican Strat sitting next to it, yeah he'd pick up the Cyclone just based on the price tag alone. And he'd probably love it and buy it shortly thereafter. And his friends would see it and they'd want one too, and get one.

Hopefully for 2013 Fender will wise up and start treating the prices of new models differently, because if they don't, all they'll ever be selling are Strats and Teles.

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