Fender Jazzmaster

Of course, throughout the history of the electric guitar, there has existed a constant desire for change and new developments within the industry, especially in the early days of guitar giants Gibson and Fender.

With Gibson ramping up the competitive heat on Fender towards the end of the 1950s, Fender had to dare to be different with electric guitar design.

Fender is the overall best at innovation with electric guitar design, going all the way back from Leo Fender to the current innovations of today by the Fender company. Even Gibson nowadays, suffering from financial issues, can’t keep up.

Image result for fender logo

Picture courtesy https://spotlight.fender.com/newsroom/logos

Originally intended for jazz guitarists, the Fender Jazzmaster was an effort by Leo Fender himself to make a guitar that would be better than a Fender Telecaster or a Fender Stratocaster in terms of appeal. This did not eventuate, but the guitar has stuck around well into the 21st century.

What is brilliantly unique about this guitar is the design overall. One of the turnoffs (for many guitarists) is the size and weight of the body. Many guitarists found this guitar unwieldy due to its overall size, although the body is contoured.

Key features of this guitar include P-90 style single coil pickups, rosewood fretboard (the first Fender guitar to do so as a main type of fretboard wood), unique tremolo system with tremolo switch (to differentiate between floating and regular tremolo, designed to lock the tremolo system if a string breaks) and unique pickup settings.

The Fender Jazzmaster HH is a beast of a guitar, with humbuckers instead of P-90 style single coil pickups loaded into the guitar.

Image result for fender jazzmaster hh

Picture courtesy https://reverb.com/uk/p/fender-standard-jazzmaster-hh-olympic-white

There are two sets of pickup setting options which are accessible via the tone circuit switch at the top of the guitar. The tone circuit switch has two options: Lead and Rhythm.

On the lead switch on the tone circuit, you have the regular tone, volume and pickup selection options on the guitar itself and access to all three pickup settings. However, when the tone circuit switch is activated onto rhythm, you will only hear the rhythm pickup and additionally will be able to use the rolling controls next to the tone circuit switch to modify the sound. Noticeably, there is a difference in tonal properties when this is activated as well on the rhythm pickup.

This useful diagram by Fender shows the variety of options for the array of tones available on the Fender Jazzmaster. There is a world of difference with each option available on the Jazzmaster itself.

Image result for fender jazzmaster tone settings

Picture courtesy https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/396598310926012814/

Aside from all this, this is a very interesting and special guitar. Ironically it has fallen into the hands of many non-Jazz musicians over time rather than Jazz guitarists themselves. The first real audience for this guitar was prevalent in the Surf Rock genre of the 1960s. Over time, it has become an interesting leftfield style guitar that has appeal to musicians who just don’t desire a run-of-the-mill guitar. That is where the Jazzmaster has its main appeal. Some famous musicians who have used this guitar are Elvis Costello, Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and Sonic Youth. This confirms the broad appeal of this instrument.

There are Jazzmaster guitars in all three main options of pricing from Squier to Fender to Fender Custom Shop. Prices began at $979AUS for the Squier Jazzmaster, to around $2 000-$3 000AUS for the regular Fender models, going further up in price with the Fender Custom Shop models.

For the purposes of simplicity, we will observe the specifications of the Fender American Professional Jazzmaster to understand further the details of the guitar, courtesy of http://shop.fender.com/en-AU/electric-guitars/jazzmaster/american-professional-jazzmaster/0113092785.html:

BODY:

Body Material: Alder

Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

Body Shape: Jazzmaster®

NECK:

Neck Material: Maple

Neck Finish: Satin Urethane Finish on Back, Gloss Urethane Finish on Front/

Neck Shape: Modern “Deep C”

Scale Length: 25.5”

Fingerboard Material: Maple

Fingerboard Radius: 9.5” (241mm)

Number of Frets: 22

Fret Size: Narrow Tall

Nut Material: Bone

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Position Inlays: Black Dots

Truss Rod: Bi-Flex™

Truss Rod Nut: 1/8” American Series

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: V-Mod Single-Coil Jazzmaster®

Neck Pickup: V-Mod Single-Coil Jazzmaster®

Controls: Master Volume with Treble-Bleed, Master Tone

Switching: 3-Position Toggle: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup

Configuration: SS

HARDWARE:

Bridge: 9.5-inch Radius Jazzmaster/Jaguar Bridge with Vintage-Style Floating Tremolo with Tremolo Lock Button and Screw-In Tremolo Arm

Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome

Tuning Machines: Fender® Standard Cast/Sealed Staggered

Pickguard: 3-Ply Mint Green

Control Knobs: White “Witch Hat”

Switch Tip: Aged White

Neck Plate: 4-Bolt

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: Fender® USA 250L, NPS (.009-.042 Gauges)

ACCESSORIES:

Case/Gig Bag: Elite Molded Case

 

In short, if you are looking for a Fender guitar that is unusual, innovative and quirky, this may be a good bet for you. The fact that this guitar has crossover appeal throughout different genres proves the relevance of this guitar to this day.

Elvis Costello loved using the Fender Jazzmaster. Although not as popular as the Fender Telecaster or Fender Stratocaster, this unusual guitar still is selling well and is appealing to guitarists who are a bit out there in terms of musicality.

Image result for elvis costello

Picture courtesy https://consequenceofsound.net/2018/10/10-times-elvis-costellos-aim-was-true/

References:

  1. Jazz Bomb. Surf Staple. Indie Icon: A Jazzmaster History. Fender.https://www.fender.com/articles/gear/jazz-bomb-surf-staple-indie-icon-a-jazzmaster-history/
  2. Demystifying the Jazzmaster. Fender, YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cok5u132PJs
  3. American Professional Jazzmaster. Fender. http://shop.fender.com/en-AU/electric-guitars/jazzmaster/american-professional-jazzmaster/0113092785//.html

Gibson ES-335

Notably, this guitar is overlooked frequently as it is a semi-acoustic guitar and considered a guitar for those with unusual musical interests. But nothing can be further from the truth, the Gibson ES-335 is an essential guitar in your collection.

The guitar was designed in 1957 and is the flagbearer for the ES line of guitars (the ES-345 and Gibson ES-355 are other important examples in this line as well). The ES part of the name incidentally is short for “Electric Spanish”. The number on the guitar refers to the original price on the guitar.

Ted McCarty was notedly “most proud” of the Gibson ES-335 guitar design, and said that it was a close second to the Gibson Les Paul.

Image result for ted mccarty

Picture courtesy https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/118646650/theodore-milson-mccarty

Upon release in 1958, the original models offered only two colours to choose from: Natural and Sunburst. Other colours came along later on, notably the Cherry Red finish. That is the colour that guitarists have come to know and love on the Gibson ES-335.

The original ES-335s did not have fingerboard binding until 1959 onwards. The original Gibson ES-335s had very slim necks, later to be changed. Gradual changes on the instrument, such as the shortening of the pickguard in 1960, to the dot inlays being changed to block inlays in 1962.

What is the difference between a Gibson ES-335, Gibson ES-345 and Gibson ES-355? The difference is price and options. The higher the number, the more exquisite the features are on each guitar. Notably, the Gibson ES-355 came with an optional Bigsby tremolo, which many guitarists considered difficult to use and therefore commonly considered to have devalued the instrument, although that is really a matter of personal opinion and taste.

The cousin of the Gibson ES-335, the Gibson ES-355 is also a special guitar, although mostly coming equipped with the Bigsby vibrato tremolo system, which has split fans of the Gibson ES series.

Image result for gibson es 355

Picture courtesy https://www.gear4music.be/en/Guitar-and-Bass/Gibson-ES-355-VOS-w–Bigsby-Sixties-Cherry/2ET7

Inspiring many other models to date, both by Gibson and otherwise, such as the Epiphone Casino, the Gibson ES-335 is a piece of genius. Some famous guitarists who have relied on a Gibson ES-335 include Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton (Cream) and countless others.

Below are some of the specifications of the Gibson ES-335 Dot for 2019, courtesy of http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2019/Memphis/ES-335-Dot-2019.aspx:

SERIES: Gibson Model Year 2019

BODY:

Body Style: ES-335

Back: 3-Ply Maple/Poplar/Maple

Top: 3-Ply Maple/Poplar/Maple

Bracing: Spruce

Binding: Single-Ply Cream

Centerblock: Maple

NECK:

Neck: Quarter-Sawn Mahogany

Neck Profile: Rounded “C”, Rolled Binding

Nut Width: 1.687”

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Scale Length: 24.75”

Number of Frets: 22

Nut: Bone

Inlay: Pearloid Dot

Binding: Cream

HARDWARE:

Bridge: ABR-1 with Plated Brass Saddles

Tailpiece: Die Cast Zinc Stopbar

Knobs: Black Top Hats With Silver Reflectors

Tuners: Grover ‘Milk Bottle’ Rotomatics w/Kidney Buttons

Plating: Nickel

ELECTRONICS:

Neck Pickup: MHS II Humbucker Rhythm

Bridge Pickup: MHS II Humbucker Lead

Controls: Memphis Tone Circuit Plus: 2 volumes, 2 tones. 1 Toggle Switch, Hand-Wired With 500K Potentiometers and Orange Drop Capacitors

FINISH:

Finishes Available: Antique Faded Cherry, Graphite Metallic, Dark Natural.

Case: Gibson Hardshell

Noel Gallagher is quoted as stating that the main guitars that he uses onstage and in the studio are Gibson ES-335s and Gibson ES-355s for the most part. Pictured below is Noel with his favourite electric guitar, a cherry red Gibson ES-355 from the late 1960s.

Image result for noel gallagher

Picture courtesy https://www.stubhub.co.uk/magazine/noel-gallagher-tour-concert-dates

If you are a fan of semi-acoustic guitars and need a good starting place to own one, look no further than the Gibson ES-335.

 

References:

  1. Gibson ES-335: 26 Essential Facts. Gibson. http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/gibson-es-335-0311-2011.aspx
  2. From $335 to $35,000: A Brief History of the Gibson ES-335. Music Aficionado. https://web.musicaficionado.com/main.html#!/article/ES_335_Article

Fender Esquire

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this guitar is an essential piece of gear. It started out, in fact as the first Fender electric guitar made.

Beginning the electric guitar revolution, Fender Esquire guitars are essentially single bridge pickup Telecasters. But it is much more than just that.

This guitar was initially released in April 1950, as the first Fender made solid body electric guitar. There was also a two-pickup version of the Esquire available, which eventually became the Telecaster. Two pickup Fender Esquire guitars are extremely rare to find today.

Syd Barrett’s long-lost Fender Esquire was a brilliant sonic shaper in the very early days of Pink Floyd.

Image result for syd barrett esquire

Picture courtesy https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/104568022571233687/

Although this guitar is overlooked frequently in the guitar industry, yet there has never been such a unique and simply interesting guitar for its type. For a guitar with just one Telecaster style pickup in the bridge, there are a huge array of tonal options via the three-way toggle switch and regular volume and tonal controls.

The elimination of the neck pickup and the addition of the control switches allow for three different tonal options in the one pickup.

For comparative analysis, let’s cover the array of tonal options as compared to your standard Fender American Telecaster:

Jeff Beck really loved his Fender Esquire and used it early on in his career until he swapped it for another guitar.

Image result for jeff beck esquire fender

Picture courtesy http://iconicaxes.blogspot.com/2012/09/jeff-beck-1954-fender-esquire.html

Neck Position Switching – This option acts as a low pass filter, eliminating all the high and mid frequencies via the input of the guitar. It is useful for bass like sounds.

Middle Position Switching – Standard tone and volume control for the pickup on the guitar.

Bridge Position Switching – Tone circuit disconnected, resulting in a raw, trebly output type sound.

This guitar is a completely unique beast. Unfortunately, these days, for the most part, a specific model is not actually available from any Fender outlet in its purest form, which is a disappointment. However, you can find various versions of this guitar either second hand, or from the Fender Custom Shop.

Let’s assume for this article we are observing the stats of the Fender ‘50s Esquire Electric Guitar Reissue which was a model (sadly now discontinued) previously available by Fender, although currently at the time of writing there are four Fender Custom Shop models available based on the original Fender Esquire to choose from. You can choose one of the following 4 models, depending on your preference, if you wish:

2018 Limited Double Esquire® Special-Journeyman Relic

Front Row Legend Esquire®

Michael Stevens Founders Design Esquire®

Dale Wilson Builder Select ’54 Blackguard Esquire®

Below are the specifications for the Fender 50’s Esquire Electric Guitar Reissue, courtesy of https://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/fender-50s-esquire-electric-guitar:

BODY:

Body Shape: Single Cutaway

Body Type: Solid Body

Body Material: Solid Wood

Top Wood: N/A

Body Wood: Ash

Body Finish: Gloss Urethane

Orientation: Right Handed

NECK:

Neck Shape: C Standard

Neck Wood: Maple

Joint: Bolt-On

Scale Length: 25.5”

Truss Rod: Standard

Neck Finish:

FRETBOARD:

Material: Maple

Radius: 7.25”

Fret Size: Vintage-Style

Number of Frets: 21

Inlays: Dot

Nut Width: 1.62” (41.3mm)

PICKUPS:

Configuration: S

Neck: N/A

Middle: N/A

Bridge: Vintage-Style Single-Coil Tele

Brand: Fender

Active or Passive: Passive

Series or Parallel: N/A

Piezo: None

Active EQ: None

Special Electronics: 3-Way Position Master Tone Switch

CONTROLS:

Control Layout: Separate Volume, Separate Tone

Pickup Switch: N/A

Coil Tap or Split: None

Kill Switch: None

HARDWARE:

Bridge Type: Fixed

Bridge Design: 3-Saddle Vintage Style

Tailpiece: String-Thru Body

Tuning Machines: Vintage Style

OTHER:

Number of Strings: 6-String

Special Features: Versatile Electronics

Case: Gig Bag

Accessories: None

Country of Origin: Mexico

Really keen on an Esquire of your own? Contact Fender Custom Shop for one.

Image result for fender custom shop logo

Picture courtesy https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/32580797276247704/

There have been many great guitarists who have cherished the Fender Esquire, with big names such as Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) and Jeff Beck to name just a couple of them, and it is highly likely Eddie Van Halen created his guitars based on the bridge position output on the Fender Esquire.

In short, if you want a simple guitar ahead of its time, and you have a decent amount of money, the Fender Esquire should be a happy addition to your own guitar collection.

No doubt fans of the past will create the sounds of the future with the Fender Esquire.

Image result for fender esquire

Picture courtesy https://www.megamusiconline.com.au/fender-50s-classic-esquire-telecaster-electric-guitar-maple-neck-2-colour-sunburst

References:

 

  1. Vintage Vault: 1952 Fender Esquire. Premier Guitar. https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/25608-vintage-vault-1952-fender-esquire
  2. Fender History Part 1: The Early Years. Brompton’s Fine and Rare Instruments. https://www.bromptons.co/reference/articles/details/fender-history-part-1-the-early-years.html
  3. TECH TIPS: The Esquire Pickup Switch. Pro Audio Land. https://www.proaudioland.com/news/the-esquire-pickup-switch/
  4. Fender ’50s Esquire Electric Guitar. Musician’s Friend. https://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/fender-50s-esquire-electric-guitar

Gibson SG

Surprisingly for one of the flagship guitars created and still sold today, the Gibson SG was created almost in accidental circumstances.

Although in collaboration Gibson had worked with Les Paul himself to create the Gibson Les Paul, by the late 1950s, although standards of the quality of the Gibson Les Paul were superb by many accounts, there were few Gibson Les Paul guitars being sold, and with increased industry competition from Fender, along with other brands, it made perfect sense at least to move on somewhat from the original Gibson Les Paul, or so Gibson thought.

Gibson CEO Ted McCarty, not Les Paul, designed the Gibson SG guitar.

Image result for ted mccarty

Picture courtesy https://www.vintageguitar.com/2826/ted-mccarty/

Working without consulting Les Paul himself, Ted McCarty went ahead and designed, marketed and sold this guitar himself for a new type of audience that wanted a slimmer and more ergonomically made guitar of the rock and roll era.

The result was a sensation as within a year from its release, 1961, it virtually outsold all competitors on the market at that point. From 1958 to 1960, the Gibson Les Paul had only sold around 1 700 units in total. Upon release in 1961, the Gibson SG shifted over 6 000 units in its first year of sale, which was a significant increase in sales for Gibson. It has become Gibson’s all-time highest selling guitar to this day.

What makes the guitar so unique? For a start, its double horn cutaway gives the guitar its iconic look. SG notably stands for Solid Guitar, originally being called the Gibson Les Paul SG. It was shortly renamed the SG by request of Les Paul himself once his contract had expired with Gibson in 1963. When production of the SG itself commenced, there were four models to choose from: SG Standard; SG Junior; SG Special and the SG Custom. The low-end models had P-90 pickups whilst the Standard and Custom had two and three humbuckers respectively.

The Gibson SG Custom is a highly sought out guitar today.

Image result for gibson sg custom

Picture courtesy https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1963-Gibson-SG-Custom-Cherry-Custom-Color-Vintage-Electric-Guitar-w-ohc-/152858054765

Shortly after production commenced Gibson had to thicken the neck after reporting breakage issues with necks on the very early SGs. Production of this guitar peaked early on in 1970, with production double (12 000 units) that of what was made in the first year of production of the guitar.

Some players of this guitar have been big names. To name a few, one can look to big names such as Angus Young of AC/DC, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Frank Zappa. These players have dug the stylish, slim body and the hard rock sounds of this guitar.

Angus Young is a well known Gibson SG player.

Image result for angus young

Picture courtesy https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_Young

The basis of this guitar are aspects such as the double cutaway pointed mahogany body, plastic scratchplate, dual humbuckers (standard in most SG models), four control knobs (one volume and tone for each pickup respectively), mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard (on most models) and 22 frets. In many aspects, it is very similar to a Gibson Les Paul, despite being a completely different guitar itself.

For your perusal, below are the key features of the Gibson SG Standard 2019, courtesy of http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2019/USA/SG-Standard-2019.aspx:

Tony Iommi popularised the early heavy metal sound with his Gibson SG.

Image result for tony iommi

Picture courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Iommi

SERIES:

BODY:

Body style: SG

Back: Mahogany

Top: N/A

Weight relief: N/A

Binding: N/A

NECK:

Neck: Maple

Neck Profile: Slim Taper

Nut Width: 1.695”

Fingerboard: Rosewood

Scale Length: 24.75”

Number of Frets: 22

Nut: Tektoid

Inlay: Acrylic Trapezoid

Binding: White

Binding Style: Traditional, Rolled

HARDWARE:

Bridge: Aluminum Tune-O-Matic

Tailpiece: Aluminum Stop Bar

Knobs: Black Top Hats with Silver Insert

Tuners: Grover Kidney

Plating: Chrome

ELECTRONICS:

Neck Pickup: 490R

Bridge Pickup: 490T

Controls: 2 Volumes, 2 Tones and Toggle Switch

FINISH/CASE:

Finishes Available: Heritage Cherry, Ebony

Case: Soft Shell Case

 

This guitar is a definite must in your collection and has been played by many different musicians across the world. Gibson fans should start with this guitar model.
References:

  1. The Gibson SG: 50 Essential Facts. http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Features/en-us/The-Gibson-SG-50-Essential-Facts.aspx
  2. The 5 Most Popular Electric Guitars. Guitar Center. https://www.guitarcenter.com/riffs/buying-guides/guitars/the-5-most-popular-electric-guitars

Fender Telecaster

Often seen as the less popular choice in comparison to the two main forerunners of guitars that are the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster, the Fender Telecaster is still a strong seller regardless today.

It developed out of its original incarnation as the Fender Esquire. Leo Fender cleverly thought that more could be done to develop the design and tonal flexibility of that particular model. Initially being called the Broadcaster, the Telecaster name came along after threats of legal action from Gretsch due to their Broadkaster drum kit being already registered. Strangely enough, Fender now own Gretsch.

The Fender Telecaster indeed may have begun the rock revolution that still plays today.

Picture courtesy https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/premier-collector-6-custom-built-strats-and-fender-tube-amps-1

So after a period in which the instrument remained unnamed, the Fender Telecaster came about as a nod to the Television with its own name. The basic instrument remains unchanged today from its original incarnations, and has survived much competition.

The basis of the design of the Telecaster is a simple one. For the most part, the Fender Telecaster is a two pickup alder body and simple design, with one volume and one tone. The necks for the most part were maple with rosewood fingerboard, but later on maple fingerboards were introduced.

It is still a strong and high selling choice of Fender guitars today. Although many different types of Fender Telecaster models have seen the light of day, the history of the guitar has inspired many guitarists, particularly those playing country music or similar styles, such as rockabilly.

Fender are undeniably a leading brand of electric guitars, even to this day.

Picture courtesy https://imjustcreative.com/fender-logo-design-evolution/2013/06/16

When the Fender Telecaster was originally introduced as an electric guitar, the design was so forward thinking that it was broadly mocked by the general public but was quickly realised as a work of genius shortly afterwards when people began to play the Fender Telecaster.

In any case, for the guitar to be examined in its latest and greatest form, one must observe the Fender American Professional Telecaster specifications, courtesy of www.fender.com:

Surprisingly Fender Telecasters with Maple necks are a relatively new addition in its own history.

Picture courtesy https://www.google.com.au/search?q=fender+telecaster&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjo1Ljv1LzWAhVIvrwKHdJ_C2QQ_AUICigB&biw=1920&bih=984#imgrc=P_mb5zEtRiHSEM:

GENERAL:

Series: American Professional

Colours Available:

Butterscotch Blonde

Sonic Grey

3-Colour Sunburst

Natural

Crimson Red Transparent

2-Colour Sunburst

Olympic White

Black

Mystic Seafoam

BODY:

Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

Body Material: Ash

Body Shape: Telecaster®

Body Style: Single Cutaway Solid Body

NECK:

Fingerboard Radius: 9.5” (241mm)

Fret Size: Narrow Tall

Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane Front, Satin Urethane Back

Neck Material: Maple

Neck Shape: Modern “Deep C”

Number of Frets: 22

Nut Material: Bone

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Position Inlays: Black Dot

Truss Rod Nut: 1/8” American Series

Truss Rod Wrench: 1/8” Hex (Allen)

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Telecaster

Controls: Master Volume with

Neck Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Telecaster

HARDWARE:

Bridge: 3-Saddle, Strings-Through-Body Tele with Compensated Brass Saddles, 6 screw mounting with removable modern “Ashtray” bridge cover.

Control Knobs: Knurled Flat Top

Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome

Neck Plate: 4-Bolt

Pickguard: 1-Ply Black

Tuning Machines: Fender Standard Cast/Sealed Staggered

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: Fender® USA 250L, NPS (.009-.042 Gauges)

 

From the basic evolution from the Esquire, to its modern incarnation, the Fender Telecaster has proven worthwhile as an instrument. Although a simple beast, a beast it is.

It has attracted a variety of players, such as Joe Strummer from the Clash and Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd, amongst many others. It is an important part of rock and roll history, along with the two main contenders of rock guitars – the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster. It is well known for its country and clean, twangy like tone.

Make sure that you at least own one Fender Telecaster if indeed you are a professional guitarist. This guitar is a true piece of history and deserves a place in your home.

Leo Fender: a true pioneer of the rock and roll guitar, who is sadly missed to this day.

Picture courtesy http://www.strat-talk.com/threads/happy-102nd-birthday-leo-fender.110520/

References:

  1. http://tonereport.com/blogs/lifestyle/an-abridged-history-of-the-fender-telecaster
  2. https://www.fender.com/articles/gear/the-one-that-started-it-all-a-telecaster-history

Fender Stratocaster

Arguably the most iconic and one of the most popular guitars out there, the Fender Stratocaster was a culmination of evolution and design by Leo Fender himself and simply blew away the vast majority of competition for many years.

The Fender Stratocaster was design with the practical idea of guitar evolution in mind. Prior to this solid body electric guitar, the Telecaster was the main electric guitar, released in 1952. Many loved the Telecaster yet saw much room for improvement.

Jimi Hendrix himself played Fender Stratocasters extensively.

Picture courtesy https://www.pri.org/stories/2013-02-18/new-recording-surfaces-jimi-hendrix-gig-london

Leo Fender himself, although most certainly a pioneer of this art form of guitar design, took advantage of the fact that despite himself not being a guitarist, he listened to others and developed the Stratocaster as an evolved guitar that relied on three single coil pickups rather than an ordinary one or two pickup set up. With a revolutionary shaped body, maple neck and awesome looks, the Fender Stratocaster was an instant hit with guitar players and musicians alike when released in 1954.

Since the Fender Stratocaster itself was launched, there were and are many different types of Stratocasters to choose from. However, for the purposes of this article, the Fender American Professional Stratocaster will be observed as the most iconic Stratocaster present today.

To begin with, the Fender Stratocaster only came in one model. It generally was made of Ash to begin with, and also came in a two tone sunburst finish. Eventually after a few years, the body wood was switched to Alder for the most part. A three tone sunburst finish was later applied to the guitar for a wider range of colours to display.

Leo Fender was the primary architect behind the Fender Stratocaster for the first several years of production.

Picture courtesy https://blog.andertons.co.uk/guitars/the-man-behind-fender-guitars-leo-fender

The tremolo system and similar features were also improved around the late 1950’s for the Stratocaster. The neck’s profile of the Stratocaster also evolved gradually during this time. The famed Rosewood fingerboard came in the late 1950’s as well, sparking the decades long maple vs. rosewood debate which still continues today.

Although the Fender Stratocaster began well, CBS took over the operations of Fender after Leo Fender sold the operations of the business due to ill health. This is known as a dark era for Fender Stratocaster guitars and Fender in general, as craftsmanship and standards began to decline.

The CBS era of Fender operations is often negatively regarded by Fender Stratocaster aficionados.

Picture courtesy http://www2.fender.com/experience/guitarchive/the-stratocaster-in-the-1970s-part-ii/

Arguably, it was not all bad. Two major additions were notable throughout this era: the introduction of a five way pickup selector (well received by guitarists) and the larger headstock (not well received by guitarists) made a feature throughout this era. In various forms, both of these continue to this day.

When the company was officially on life support in the mid 1980’s, it was revived when new management under Bill Schultz revived the organisation to a better place.

Today, the Fender Stratocaster is sold in dozens of new forms and there are many varieties available for purchase. For the purpose of this article, let’s observe some statistics of the Fender American Professional Stratocaster with pickups designed by legendary pickup maker Tim Shaw, courtesy of www.fender.com:

Fender fortunately are still going strong today.

Picture courtesy https://seeklogo.com/free-vector-logos/fender

GENERAL:

Series: American Professional

Colours:

Sonic Grey

3-Colour Sunburst

Sienna Sunburst

Antique Olive

Black

Olympic White

RRP (Australian Price): $2,899

BODY:

Body Finish: Gloss Polyurethane

Body Material: Alder

Body Shape: Stratocaster®

Body Style: Double Cutaway Solid-Body

NECK:

Fingerboard Radius: 9.5” (241 mm)

Fret Size: Narrow Tall

Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane Front, Satin Urethane Back

Neck Material: Maple

Neck Shape: Modern “Deep C”

Number of Frets: 22

Nut Material: Bone

Nut Width: 1.685” (42.8 mm)

Position Inlays: Black Dot

Truss Rod Nut: 1/8” American Series

Truss Rod Wrench: 1/8” Hex (Allen)

ELECTRONICS:

Bridge Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Strat

Controls: Master Volume with Treble-Bleed, Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge and Middle Pickups)

Middle Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Strat

Neck Pickup: V-Mod Single Coil Strat

HARDWARE:

Bridge: 2-Point Synchronised Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles and Pop-In Tremolo Arm

Control Knobs: Aged White Plastic

Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome

Neck Plate: 4-Bolt

Pickguard: 3-Ply Parchment

Tuning Machines: Fender Standard Cast/Sealed Staggered

MISCELLANEOUS:

Strings: Fender® USA, NPS, (.009-.042 Gauges)

 

Additionally worth mentioning is that there are three main outlets to choose Fender Stratocasters from are on an affordability basis. These are the Squier by Fender models; Fender models and Fender Custom Shop Models. Websites are provided below for those who are interested in a starting point for the Fender Stratocaster:

www.squier.com

www.fender.com

www.fendercustomshop.com

Overall, this guitar is an essential and perfect piece of history that sounds great, and fits the bill for many musicians out there.

Many Fender Custom Shop models are fantastic additions to any guitarist’s collection.

Picture courtesy https://reverb.com/news/a-brief-history-of-the-stratocaster-part-ii

 

References:

  1. http://billybadaxe.com/the-fender-stratocaster-history-models-and-players/
  2. https://reverb.com/au/news/a-brief-history-of-the-stratocaster
  3. http://www.guitaristsource.com/guitars/fender-history.shtml

Gibson Les Paul

The Gibson Les Paul is perhaps the most iconic guitar, along with the Fender Stratocaster. It follows a deep and rich musical history of rock that goes way back to the invention of the electric guitar itself.

The Gibson Les Paul goes back to the pre rock and roll days where there was no such a thing as a proper solid body guitar that existed. Many failed attempts had occurred in order to create a solid body electric guitar that would work properly and not feedback. This was a major problem with semi hollow electric guitars that existed prior to the invention of the solid body electric guitar.

Les Paul was a fascinating and forward thinking inventor and musician who was instrumental in creating the Gibson Les Paul.

Picture courtesy http://www.gibson.com/LesPaul2013.aspx

A young inventor and guitarist named Les Paul came along with an idea for a solid body electric guitar that worked. Nicknamed “The Log”, it was a simple invention of a pine log with strings and pickups on it. Nonetheless, it worked, but not well enough for Gibson’s liking. Gibson management dismissed the guitar as “a broomstick with pickups on it”.

Still, it took the creation of a solid body guitar by another instrument maker named Fender to come up with the first commercially created electric guitars, the Fender Telecaster, for Gibson to recommence work with Les Paul on a solid body electric guitar model.

Eventually in 1952 after being nudged into the electric guitar market, the release of the original Gibson Les Paul was an instant success, creating a competitor for the electric guitar market. The original Gibson Les Paul came in a Goldtop finish and additionally with P-90 pickups. Eventually these were replaced with the world’s first humbuckers in 1957, patented for and designed by Seth Lover for Gibson.

Nudged along by Leo Fender, Gibson had to act in creating their own solid body electric guitar.

Picture courtesy http://spotlight.fender.com/newsroom/logos/

Sadly, due to the lack of demand for electric guitars, the Gibson Les Paul was not made throughout the majority of the sixties. From 1960 to 1968, no Gibson Les Pauls were made and were replaced with what is now the Gibson SG. However, players such as Eric Clapton reintroduced the Gibson Les Paul back into the world of music and Gibson reintroduced them in 1968.

To this day, many guitarists favour the Gibson Les Paul. It has become one of the most popular and iconic guitars in modern day music. Players such as Slash, Jimmy Page and Randy Rhoads all played Gibson Les Paul guitars extensively throughout their careers.

The Gibson SG nearly replaced the Gibson Les Paul during the majority of the 1960’s.

Picture courtesy http://www.guitarcenter.com/Gibson-SG.gc

So what is the guitar made up of?

For those most part, the guitar follows a basic design that is very memorable for any guitar player out there. With an almost circular body with a lower cutaway for ease of access to the high frets on the lower area of the guitar, the Gibson Les Paul is instantly recognisable in that respect.

It has four control knobs. Two are for customisable volume on the neck and bridge pickup respectively, and two are for customisable tone on both pickups of the guitar itself.

The body is made out of mahogany, which gives it a rich and sustainable tone. The neck has a rosewood fretboard. It is very easily to dial in an instantly recognisable sound that is for, loud pulsating rock tones.

The Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty was originally an idea going back to Les Paul himself, relating the colour of the guitar to that of a tuxedo.

Picture courtesy http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Les-Paul-Custom.aspx

On most Gibson Les Pauls, there is no vibrato bar or Floyd Rose style system unlike what is present on many Fender Stratocaster style guitars. It is a simple design for many to enjoy.

For those of you wishing to begin somewhere, there are a lot of different Les Pauls for people to choose from. One would separate the Les Paul categories into differences of design and also price. In other words, separating the Les Paul family into the Traditional and High Performance lines of production, and more noticeably, into the Gibson and Epiphone lines of production. From there, one can develop a sense of understanding about what one desires to pick in terms of Les Pauls.

There are all sorts of different types of Gibson Les Pauls to choose from. Let’s however, observe the Gibson Les Paul Standard T 2017, which is the flagship line of the Gibson Les Pauls out there, courtesy of http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/2017/USA/Les-Paul-Standard.aspx#LPS17HSCH1:

The Gibson Les Paul has been divided into two distinctive line ups by Gibson: the traditional (T) line and the High Performance (HP) line. These two guitar line have many different Les Paul options to choose from.

Picture courtesy http://www.zzounds.com/item–GIBLPNSTDP16

PRICE: $799

TOP FEATURES:

Grover Locking Kidney Tuners

TekToid™ Nut

Rosewood Fingerboard

Slim-Taper Neck

AAA Flamed Maple Top

Mahogany Body with Ultra-Modern Weight Relief

Burstbucker Pro Rhythm and Lead Humbuckers

Classic Gibson controls with 4 push/pull switches

Aluminium Tune-o-Matic bridge and stop bar with steel thumbwheels/posts

‘Classic Gibson Hardshell case

 

BODY:

Top:

Wood Species: Maple

Pieces: 2

Grade: AAA

Binding: Cream

Back:

Wood Species: Mahogany

Pieces: 2

Density: Low

Binding: None

Weight:

Weight Relief: Ultra-Modern

Average Weight (Body only): 4lbs/6.7oz

Materials Used:

Glue: Franklin Titebond 50

Tonal, Resonant, and/or Technical Effect: N/A

Body Contour:

Carve: Classic

 

NECK:

Neck:

Wood Species: Mahogany

Pieces: 1

Details:

Truss Rod: Les Paul

Profile: Slim Taper

Thickness at Fret 1: .800”

Thickness at Fret 12: .875”

Average Weight: 1 lbs 2.0 oz

Peg Head:

Type: SP1-B

Inlay: Mother of Pearl

Peg Head Binding: None

Logo: “Gibson”

Silkscreen: Gold “Les Paul Model”

Headstock Angle: 17 degrees

Neck Fit:

Joint Angle: 5.0 degrees

Joint Angle Tolerance: 0 deg 0 min 15 sec

Type: Mortis and Tenon

Adhesive: Franklin Titebond 50

Gauges Used: Pitch Height Gauge and Alignment Gauge

Nut:

Style: Nut

Material: Tektoid

Width: 1.695”

Slots:

E – 0.046”

A – 0.036”

D – 0.026”

G – 0.016”

B – 0.011”

e – 0.009”

Fingerboard:

Wood Species: Rosewood

Pieces: 1

Shade: Dark

Fingerboard Details:

Radius: Compound Radius

Frets: 22

Nut/End of Board: 1.695” @ nut, 2.260” at end of board

Scale: 24.75”

Binding: Cream

Site Dots (Colour): Black

Fingerboard Inlays:

Style: Trapezoid

Material: Acrylic

Dimensions: Large – 0.66” x 1.17” Small – 0.24” x 1.56”

Average Weight: 4.16 oz

 

FINISHES:

Bourbon Burst:

Colour Code: B8

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss 90 Sheen Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 mils

Top: Bourbon Burst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

Blueberry Burst:

Colour Code: B9

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss 90 Sheen Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 Mils

Top: Blueberry Burst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

Heritage Cherry Sunburst:

Colour Code: HS

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 mils

Top: Heritage Cherry Sunburst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

Honey Burst:

Colour Code: HB

Surface Texture: Smooth/Hi Gloss 90 Sheen Lacquer

Filler: Walnut

Sealer: 1.5-2 Mils

Top: Honey Burst

Top Coat: Hi Gloss Lacquer / 90 Sheen, 7-8 Mils

Scraped: Fingerboard Sides, Body and Nut

 

ELECTRONICS/PICKUPS:

Style: RHYTHM – Rhythm Pro; LEAD – Lead Pro

Winds/Coil; Screw side/Slug Side: RHYTHM – 5000 / 5200; LEAD – 5300 / 5500

Materials of Wire (Gauge): RHYTHM – Enamel (42); LEAD – Enamel (42)

Coil Dimensions (per coil): RHYTHM – 2.61” x 0.68”; LEAD – 2.61” x 0.68”

Coil Material: RHYTHM – ABS; LEAD – ABS

Coil Winding Process: RHYTHM – Machine Wound; LEAD – Machine Wound

Pole Piece Material: RHYTHM – Nickel Plated Steel; LEAD – Nickel Plated Steel

Pole Piece Position from Nut: RHYTHM – 18.625”; LEAD – 23.437”

Slug Material: RHYTHM – Nickel Plated Steel; LEAD – Nickel Plated Steel

Slug Dimensions (diameter x length): RHYTHM – 0.187” x 0.489”; LEAD – 0.187” x 0.489”

Magnet Material: RHYTHM – Alnico 5; LEAD – Alnico 5

Magnet Position from Nut: RHYTHM – Alnico 5; LEAD – Alnico 5

Magnet Dimensions: RHYTHM – 2.375” x 0.5”; LEAD – 2.375” x 0.5”

Cover: RHYTHM – Chrome; LEAD – Chrome

Qfactor: RHYTHM – 5.4; LEAD – 5.35

Resistance DC: RHYTHM – 7640 Ohms; LEAD – 7980 Ohms

Resonant Frequency: RHYTHM – 2863.30 Hz; LEAD – 2780.20 Hz

 

ELECTRONICS/CONTROL POCKET ASSEMBLY:

Type: LEAD VOLUME – 500k Push/Pull “Coil-Tap”; RHYTHM VOLUME – 500k Push/Pull “Coil Tap”; LEAD TONE – 500k Push/Pull “Pure By-pass”; RHYTHM TONE 500k Push/Pull “Phase”.

Peak Voltage: LEAD VOLUME – 500V; RHYTHM VOLUME – 500V; LEAD TONE – 500V; RHYTHM TONE – 500V.

Range: LEAD VOLUME – 0-500K; RHYTHM VOLUME – 0-500K; LEAD TONE – 0-500K; RHYTHM TONE – 0-500K.

Power Rating: LEAD VOLUME – ¼ watt above 100k ohms; RHYTHM VOLUME – ¼ watt above 100k ohms; LEAD TONE – ¼ watt above 100k ohms; RHYTHM TONE – ¼ watt above 100k ohms.

Resistance Tolerance: LEAD VOLUME +/- 20%; RHYTHM VOLUME +/- 20%; LEAD TONE +/- 20%; RHYTHM TONE +/- 20%.

Minimum Resistance: LEAD VOLUME – 200 ohms; RHYTHM VOLUME – 200 ohms; LEAD TONE – 200 ohms; RHYTHM TONE – 200 ohms.

Capacitors: LEAD VALUE; RHYTHM VALUE.

 

HARDWARE:

Tuning Keys:

Style: Grover Locking Kidney

Material: Chrome

Weight: 1.5 oz

Tuning Keys Details:

Tuning Ratio: 18:01

Gear Type: Worm

What is allowable turn: +/- 4 degrees

Plating Specs: Chrome

Part Numbers: 430-15851 / 52

String Dimensions:

E: 0.046”

A: 0.036”

D: 0.026”

G: 0.016”

B: 0.011”

e: 0.009”

Bridge:

Style: Tune-o-matic

Material: Aluminum

Plating Specs: Chrome

Part Number: 430-14451

Weight: .96 oz

Dimensions of String Slots:

E: 0.058”

A: 0.048”

D: 0.038”

G: 0.028”

B: 0.019”

e: 0.014”

Tailpiece:

Style: Stop Bar

Compensated: No

Material: Aluminum

Plating Specs: Chrome

Part Number: 430- 14451

Weight: 1.12 oz

Output Jack:

Style: ¼” mono gold plated positive contact

Jack Plate:

Style: Les Paul Square

Material: Chrome

Part Number: 430-19467

Weight: 0.21 oz

Strap Buttons:

Material: Aluminum

Plating Specs: None

Part Numbers: 430-19160/60E

Weight: 0.14 oz

 

PLASTICS:

Pickguard:

Style: Les Paul

Part Number: 430-12093

Truss Rod Cover:

Style: Black/White Bell, Stamp “Standard”

Part Number: 430-19398

Knobs:

Style:  Amber Top Hat

Part Number: 430-19691

Dial Pointers:

Yes/No: No

Control Plate(s) (Backplate Cover):

Style: SS infused polycarbonate for ESD protection

Part Number: 380-12209

Control Plate(s) (Switchplate Cover):

Style: SS infused polycarbonate for ESD protection

Part Number: 380-12211

Switch Washer:

Style: None

Part Number: N/A

Trim Rings:

Style: Cream Humbucker Low/High

Part Number: 430-13894 / 430-13893

 

ACCESSORIES:

Case:

Style: Hard Shell

Colour: Brown

Strap Locks: None

Tools: Gibson USA Multi-Tool, Gibson USA Premium Strap, Gibson USA Polishing Cloth

Manual: Gibson USA’s owners

COA/Other: None

 

For those who are unfamiliar with the Gibson Les Paul, the Gibson Les Paul deserves an honourable mention as a wonderful guitar, and a flexible one for the basic and easy-to-use design. Visit www.gibson.com for further information. Keep an eye on this blog as other Gibson Les Pauls will be posted about in the future as well.

Virtually any guitarist should and must own a Gibson Les Paul at some point during their lifetime.

Picture courtesy http://www.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Les-Paul-Custom.aspx

References:

  1. https://www.biography.com/people/les-paul-9435046
  2. https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/feature-gibson-les-paul-through-years/