Toronado review by Fender

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8 (48 votes)
Fender: Toronado

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Jim Laabs Music

Sound — 10
I play rock, punk, ska, swing and surf and this guitar fits well with all of those genres. The bridge pickup is the twangiest humbucker I've ever heard, while the neck pickup has a fantastic smooth sound without being muddy. There are quite a few sounds you can make with the tone controls, however it sounds best with the tone at 10. I doubt this guitar would go over well with a shredder or metalhead, however I can get some (not many) good shredding solo sounds from the bridge pickup. The biggest complaint many other Toronado owners have is that the pickups produce a lot of feedback, however that makes a lot of feedback tricks possible without having to stand 6 inches away from your amp, and you can eliminate the feedback entirely by turning your volume down a tiny bit on the guitar.

Overall Impression — 10
This guitar definitely matches what I play, from punk rhythms to Brian Setzer-style swing solos to ska upstrokes to EVH-style guitar licks to heavy-reverbed-extremely-fast-right-hand-picking surf leads. I have been playing for five years and the Toronado fits everything I do like a glove. I would have appreciated a single coil bridge pickup, however the humbucker does just fine. If it was stolen or lost I'd definitely buy another one, in fact I might just buy another one even if it wasn't stolen. I'd hold in in the same respects as a Highway 1 Strat (another guitar I think is awesome), and would love to see it advertised as one of Fender's front line guitars.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar would hopefully take a real beating, however I am not sure how time will affect it. I would definitely depend on it while gigging. Occasionally some strings will slip out of tune when I tune other ones, but this is a rare occurance and only happens when I do a LOT of changes to the tuning of a string (this never happens when I can tune quickly with an electronic tuner).

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar is beautiful, with a Vintage look and loud colors. The action was a bit high for my tastes, however I was still able to play very well with its original setup. The pickups were very low, yet very sensitive (hence the twangy single-coil-esque tone). There were no other flaws with the guitar.

Features — 10
The Toronado I purchased was made in Mexico in 2003, Graffiti Yellow (my favorite color) with 22 frets. It has two Fender Atomic Humbuckers that sound incredible - I didn't buy it for the pickups, yet now I'd probably use Fender Atomics if I needed replacements on any of my other guitars. It was a string-thru body setup and the tuners are similar to (yet smaller than) a P Bass.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    special edition is nicer plus u get seymour duncan pickups and a racing stripe!!
    This guitar is a sweet all around player. I have two Mexican deluxe's and the Korean race car one too. Come on ! The race stripes so goofy it ends up being cool! I love all of mine and they are my favorite go-to guitars out many I have. If you like a Les Paul scale and set up but your really a Fender person and like a Fender neck, this guitar is for you. People like to pick on the Atomic Humbuckers but I think they have a great rock and blues sound (they're not for metal though). They're not weak by any means. I've got a few guitars with Duncans in them and I like the Atomics just as much. For what it's worth, I've seen comments about the buzzing and I want to comment on the cause of it. The problem is the Toggle Switch wires run from the pots right under the pickups to the switch and Fender didn't use a sheilded wire for the pickup selector wires. (Shame on you Fender but maybe you get that included when you buy an American Model for $400 more) Get a Luthier to run you two new sheilded wires to the toggle and it will be quiet as a mouse. Only $50. Regards fellow Toronado owners!
    this guitar is awesome i would get this one cause i hate the look of the racing stripe i'm goin with the '06 totronado with the chrome red finish.
    why do all these peolple complain about how ugly guitars are, and why do they say those things about guitars that look great. WTF?
    I bought my Toronado back in 2003 I think it was from a good friend and former guitarist in my band. I'm not going to lie. Technically I don't know too much specifics about guitars, but I do know what sounds good and plays well, and I've got no complaints with this one. It's a deluxe series made in mexico, black with a red marble pick guard. It's my primary electric guitar, my secondary my ESP LTD F-250, and as long as it's in tact i don't plan on moving it out of that position. Although I have no problem with the sound or how it plays, I do however have a problem with the stringing. The original open top tuning pegs make it tiring to restring. Having to hold the string down in place as I tighten them usually leaves my thumb blistered, but overall it's worth it. I'd change them but I kind of like to keep my guitars as close to original as possible. I don't have a desire to modify them.
    im looking to buy a fender tornado because i think they look amazing. does anybody know where i can get one?
    I just grabbed one of these yesterday at a fleamarket, it's a 1998 in black with the tortoise pickguard, i just need to swap out the selector switch, tighetn up the input jack and grab a new knob for one of the tone pots. Great guitar (I very much enjoy that it's a fender with a gibson scale length)