Hi folks! Today I wanted to profile a new-ish guitar from that appeared from 2002 to 2007. It isn’t vintage or bizarre, but for a while I had THREE of these and thought they were just GREAT! There are a whole bunch o’ things I just like about these Cyclone II guitars! First off, the American Jaguar pickups sound so good! And the racing stripe reminds of my first car, a 1966 Chevy Camaro Rally Sport!!! It’s amazing that car didn’t kill me, it was scary powerful! Just like these Jaguar pickups!!
These guitars came in two colors, red and blue. I had two blue ones, and usually I’m all about daphne blue guitars, but the finish on these always seemed more greenish than blue. More like seafoam green? All these Cylcone guitars were built in Fender’s Mexico factory (except for a few American built ones in 2000-01), and always felt a little heavy to my tastes. Didn’t matter much, because initially I just loved them from first sight! Of all the Fender guitars, I’ve always liked the Mustangs and the Jaguars the best (there was a time not so long ago that Mustangs and Jaguars could be found cheap in pawn shops), and this guitar had a little bit of everything from the Fender catalog. Fender does that every now and again, like take some old ideas and morph them into a semi-newer design that still feels familiar. Did that sentence make any sense?
The scale length was a little shorter than a Stratocaster, coming in at 24.75 inches. Then the three Jaguar pickups with on/off switches was slightly different, slightly familiar. The body is sort-of like a Mustang, and the body stripe is 70s Mustang all the way. The tremolo is Strat, and the headstock is, well, familiar! I got my first blue one in 2004, then I got this one in 2005, then I got the last blue one in 2006, and then our first child was born in 2007, and well, you dads know how it goes!
Of course, these didn’t sell that well when they were available, and soon stores were blowing these right out the door, like a Cyclone!! There was some hype associated with these Fenders at the time. Hell, they even had Cyclone Frisbees! But if you’re a Fender guy, or know a Fender guy (or gal), then you’ll know that they’re a fickle bunch of sorts. Too different doesn’t sell too well, until years later usually.
It’s like when I had that Camaro, I would get grief from Ford guys, or Dodge guys. But the only reason I got that Camaro was it happened to be for sale right down the street from me, and I could afford it after working my ass off for five summers doing manual labor on farms and construction work!! It could’ve been a Mustang for sale down the street, or a Charger. I didn’t care, it was a car, right down the road, with RACING STRIPES!!! But man, I would never align myself with any product, ever. In the guitar world, you have your Gibson guys, your Fender guys, your Gretsch guys, etc., etc. But in my world, if it’s cheap, sounds interesting, and looks sort of interesting, then it’s for me! So it went that the only local guitar shop had one of these for sale pretty cheap, and I thought it’d be nice to get a guitar that wouldn’t need a ton of work like my pawn shop prizes. I was like, A NEW GUITAR!?!?! What’s that?
Well, I will say the guitar is built pretty well except for the input jacks. Every jack eventually went bad on me! And did I mention the poplar bodies on these are heavy as hell? Most of the Mexican Fenders I’ve played are on the heavy side.
I liked the shorter scale on these, I liked the pickups, I LOVED the stripes, but just like my Camaro, the Cyclones didn’t stick around in my world. I’m not sure why, I just couldn’t bond with any of them. I still dig them in all sorts of ways, but I don’t miss any of them now that they’re gone. That’s a telling sign for me. It does seem like every year the used price on these Cyclone II guitars goes up and up. Especially the blue flavored ones! One of mine was sold to a feller in Japan! Oh well, I still wanted to post the video of Mike Dugan just TEARING my red one apart! Oh, and I eventually sold my Camaro to another kid down the street from me (and then bought a Jeep around the corner!!), and he still has it!! Hey, what can I say, he’s a Chevy guy!