Are you looking for a guitar that sounds and plays great for great value?
This is exactly what I thought when I picked up the Fender Paramount PM-3. I’ve tried many Fender guitars before (they are one of the best acoustic guitar brands, after all), but this one stuck out to me.
As I thought about all the students I’ve taught over the past 10+ years, I realized this would be a perfect fit for many of them if they only knew about it.
So I decided to dig deep and write this Fender Paramount PM-3 review to show you how this guitar may suit your guitar needs. Let’s dig in!
Fender Paramount PM-3
Fender’s entry into the world of acoustic guitars matches the company’s dedication to great sound at affordable pricing. The PM-3 is a cut-away acoustic guitar for intermediate-advanced players, but even professionals may be happy with how easy, powerful, and clear this guitar is.
The PM-3 is an updated version of Fender’s PM series with the PM-1 and PM-2 both receiving great reviews.
Fender’s reputation is shown through this guitar. They produce a lot of guitars for all kinds of players, but each one has a clear sound.
If anything, some may complain that lower end Fender models don’t measure up to the rest of their products’ quality, but the PM-3 is solid all around.
The all-Mahogany guitar provides a unified sound with depth, resonance, and clarity to satisfy almost any guitar player.
What We Liked
- Rich, deep sound
- Powerful dynamics and clarity
- Good price for a higher quality guitar
- Cutaway allows for higher up solo playing
What We Disliked
- Action is fine but you’ll need to adjust the truss rod (most people won’t do this)
- Finger spacing seems a little closer which may inhibit newer players
Ample Space For Resonance
The Fender Paramount PM-3’s name of the game is rich sound. In guitars, this is accomplished with wood material and body resonance.
For the PM-3, the space of the body is impressive despite the triple-O cutaway design. Normally, these cutaways reduce the space inside the body which, in turn, reduces resonance. This drop-in resonance reduces the dynamic power and depth to the sound.
Fender realized this and counteracted the choice by using a quartersawn scalloped “X” bracing not normally used with other acoustic guitars.
This specific design reduces the space and vibration dampening from the braces while still staying strong, structurally.
Fender also opted for the Triple-O cutaway instead of a full cutaway. This saves some space for the body while still allowing players to get up the fretboard for solo playing and advanced playing techniques.
By choosing to go for mahogany woods and a different finish, the PM-3 ends up looking a little different from other acoustic guitars, but the results are stunning.
Fender uses an open-pore satin finish for the woods. This allows the wood’s natural character to shine through; you’ll be able to see into the heart of the wood.
Instead of using a standard white or cream binding, Fender takes the time to use an aged white, black, and checkered white and black binding for the body.
The result has to be seen to be believed and really sets the character of the guitar off from the rest.
Even the rosette (the circle around the soundhole) sticks out. They use a throw-back Fender 60s checkerboard with great effect.
None of these have an impact on the sound or structural design of the guitar, but this makes the guitar one of the most naturally beautiful I have seen.
This guitar is, in my opinion, a great one for anyone. But I personally tend to play more towards the fingerstyle and singer-songwriter style of playing.
If you enjoy the songs and guitar playing such as those seen in the following songs, the sound of this guitar will amaze you:
- Blackbird by the Beatles
- Anything by James Taylor
- Bob Dylan
- Ed Sheeran
- Neil Young
- Joni Mitchell
- Van Morrison
- Don McLean
The rich sound and depth of resonance in the guitar matches this style perfectly. The vintage fret spacing helps accentuate this style of playing as does the triple-o cutaway.
Great Value For Quality
All of these are great design choices and features you’d expect from a high-end guitar, but it’s all available at a reasonable price.
Most guitars of this quality hover around the $1000 mark or above, but Fender is able to get it done for under $1,000 (check current pricing information by clicking over to see the product listing).
Though it may be designed for intermediate to advanced players, even experts and professionals will enjoy the sound and playability.
The Distinguishing Feature: Mahogany, Mahogany, Mahogany!
For all its features, the PM-3’s positives all come back to the whole mahogany design. Mahogany is common to use with higher-end guitars as a back and sides.
Fender doesn’t stop there, they also made the top from mahogany.
This sacrifices a little in clarity and power, but it adds to the rich sound we mentioned above. This wood is durable and sounds great, but Fender keeps going.
They even made the neck out of mahogany. This is an unusual choice, but it adds even more resonance to the whole guitar which is why this guitar just sounds rich over all pitches. This is what makes the guitar stand out from other similar styles.
|Quartersawn scalloped ‘X”
|25.3 inches (ca. 64 cm)
What Customers Are Saying?
All this is great, but what does the average guitarist who plays the PM-3 have to say. I looked and talked to musicians who have tried the acoustic guitar and noticed several trends.
First, almost every single guitarist had nothing but good things to say about the instrument’s tone. Customers loved the rich tone and full range of the guitar.
From its lowest to highest pitches, the guitar resonates and provides a full sound with depth.
Honestly, I don’t tend to notice the look of the guitar as much as how it sounds or plays, but even I admit this guitar looks nice. Customers echoed this sentiment strongly; every person made some comment on how beautiful the guitar’s rich woods made it look.
For some customers, especially those who prefer a faster and more aggressive play-style, they didn’t like how the guitar sounded when playing more country-style music. They missed the clarity of pitches and noted the richness of the sound was a little lost when playing at such speeds.
They also noted the action was decent but a little high for some players. I found this as well, but a small truss rod adjustment may have been able to fix this.
When newer guitar players used the PM-3, they complained the strings were spaced a little farther than they wanted. This spacing works for fingerstyle players, but new players struggle a little.
Many players loved the cutaway design, not just for the look. They appreciated how they were able to get up the fretboard farther for more technical playing.
For a sample of the PM-3’s sound, check out this video:
Fender’s Paramount PM-3 is one of those guitar’s you won’t regret buying. It sits at a medium-high price point anyone who enjoys playing guitar should consider.
For those who enjoy playing in a fingerstyle, singer-songwriter style, or any rich acoustic guitar content, the PM-3s mellow sound from the mahogany woods, cutaway design, and clear sound is perfect for you.
Anyone from the beginner to professional will get something from this guitar, but this excels for intermediate through advanced players with an ear towards gentle and mysterious playing.