A premium Fender acoustic? Some players may laugh at this, but the Paramount Series is a higher-end collection of acoustic guitars that prove Fender are a force to be reckoned with in this market. Targeted at passionate musicians, the brand promise stage-worthy sound and style, with playability and comfort that matches. Today we are taking a look at the PM-3 Standard, a key part of this cool series. Note that a Deluxe version also exists, with a few style and tone upgrades, but it will set you back a few hundred dollars more.
Although both dreadnought (PM-1) and parlor (PM-2) sizes are available, the PM-3 is a small bodied ‘Triple 0’ size guitar, with a scale length of 25.3”. And, from first glance, the instrument is very appealing to the eye.
The actual body is made entirely from solid wood, which is more of a common feature in this higher-end acoustic market – there’s solid Sitka spruce on the top, with solid mahogany back and sides. The quality woods are enhanced with some attractive detailing, such as the ‘60s art deco checkerboard soundhole rosette and binding, while the high gloss finish is very sleek.
This glossy finish also covers the mahogany neck, which is joined at the 14th fret and sports a comfortable C shape. Exclusive to the PM-3 is a small cutaway in the body, allowing players to reach the highest of the 20 frets. Ultimately, it’s a very fast, playable guitar, which feels incredibly well-made. It’s no custom shop model (in fact, the PM-3 is Chinese-made), but let that take nothing away from its premium feel.
As well as a good-looking, well-made guitar, the electronics on the PM-3 Standard fit this acoustic perfectly, as they’ve been specifically designed by Fender and Fishman. It features a PM preamp, which uses vintage-style radio control knobs for extra sophistication. As well as capturing the guitar’s natural tone, the preamp offers some versatility, with 2-band EQ and master volume, as well as a nifty built-in tuner and phase controls.
The rest of the hardware is also appropriate and feels solid, with a rosewood bridge, a compensated bone saddle and bone nut, sturdy nickel tuners, and a set of Fender’s Dura-Tone coated strings. It also comes with a very good quality hard-shell case to protect your new best friend.
As tone goes, the PM-3 is beautiful – very well balanced, with a mellow warmth that just makes you smile. The reduced size means, acoustically, it’s a tad quieter than your standard dreadnought, making it excellent for players who sing too. The flip side is that it offers more volume than the parlor guitar. Best of both worlds! However, through the preamp the PM-3 equally impresses, and you can tell from the natural tone replication that it’s no stock preamp.
Overall, we’re quite impressed with the PM-3. It has a lovely style, a beautiful tone, quality hardware, and – truth be told – a price tag that doesn’t feel too high, when you consider the quality of the materials. For the singer-songwriter who regularly plugs in, this guitar is definitely worth a closer look.
For more info about the Fender Paramount PM-3 Standard, click here.
For more Acoustic Guitars Under $1000 you might like, click here.
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