Fender and Gibson, the world's two big guitar makers, are engaged in a fascinating little war - not so much with each other as with the terrifying threat of becoming un-hip. Having clearly learned from the 'revolutionary' tech innovations that almost put Gibson out of business last year, Fender is playing things a little more conservative with its new American Ultra range of high-end guitars and basses. There are improved buzz-free pickups, contoured bodies and sexy new colours, but nothing to make the traditionalists drop their Ovaltine and run into the arms of the nearest harpsichord. Guitarists have two Strats, a Telecaster and a Jazzmaster to choose from, while for floorboard-shakers there are two Jazz basses and one Precision. Prices start at £1859.