Fender has today confirmed that it will stop using ash as a regular timber in the making of their standard production models
As described by prominent Australian Fender dealer Guitar Station, the company will be removing the wood from its regular production models this year. They've cited two key reasons in their decision to phase out the timber: namely flooding of the Mississippi Delta region where their Swamp Ash stock comes from, as well as the ravaging effects of the Emerald Ash Borer, an introduced invasive insect from Asia.
Fender have since confirmed this news in an official statement to Guitar Station, with Max Gutnik, Fender's VP of Electric Guitars, Basses & Amplifiers, implying that they'll only be using ash sparingly on Custom Shop and era-specific vintage reissues from now on.
"In order to uphold our legacy of consistency and high quality we, at Fender, have made the decision to remove Ash from the majority of our regular production models. What little Ash we are able to source will continue to be made available in select, historically appropriate vintage models, as supplies are available."
Swamp ash has been a go-to tonewood for Fender for around 70 years now, with the company using it exclusively from 1950-56. However, the company have since shifted away from ash in favour of towards other tonewoods such as alder, poplar and basswood, with most ash bodies popping up on FSR and vintage reissues in recent years. It's an incredibly light and resonant tonewood, and is noted for its sweet, balanced tone.