Guitars - through the years............................
(Picture border indicates that a
sound sample is available)
- actually my 3rd guitar. My first guitar a Rosetti 6-string acoustic, I
bought for 30/-. My second was a Dallas Tuxedo 2 p/u solid body electric I
bought off RJ for £7.00. The Futurama III I bought from Bell's Music
Shop, Surbiton for £32.00.
Doug Brown DB
6 - a homemade effort with
solid mahogany body in the style of Bo Diddley's Guitar was built by
college mate Doug who was also my bestman - the first left-handed guitarist I
ever came across. The back pick-up which was stuck with Evostick to the body
produced some really awesome treble. RJ pictured trying his hand with the
DB 6, whereas I'm reduced to a Jumbo 6-string acoustic I bought along the
- this guitar was a real gem and very unusual with its Fender version of the
Bigsby tremolo unit. I have to admit to spraying the scratch-plate black!
Custom Les Paul
- I just had to have a black with gold fittings one. I thought the action
on the Telecaster was good until I played this guitar. I sold this for a pittance
in the late 70s - thought I had had enough of playing the guitar.
Jedson Telecaster -
this guitar I bought secondhand, a real bargain that I just couldn't
resist. Picture shows son David displaying his early ambition to play the
Fender System 1 Stratocaster
- another guitar I just couldn't resist as it came with a
Gibson profile neck. Despite the purchase of a 70's hard-tail Fender
Stratocaster, to take some of the strain, this one got played to death!
Fender Stratocaster -
my third Strat, a limited edition USA classic. The sound from this led to
RJ's Holy Grail quest - an easy to play Strat that produces Strat
sounds. This Strat came from Peter Cook's Guitar World who gave me
a great deal when trading in my 2 old Strats for this one. Incidentally,
RJs latest - a Custom Shop Strat aka the Toilet Guitar - he found
at Peter Cook's. By 2002 my Strat was exhibiting the dreaded fret wear,
so I had the frets honed - the resulting action is now unbelievable and
justifies preserving for as long as possible!
Close-up of the body -yes a 3rd Telecaster!
Bought to extend the life of my Strat.
- it started life as a Fender Squier range Tele of the
Affinity series guitars. It's immediate attraction was the action - on the
rack in Andertons it seemed impossibly low so RJ and myself just had to
try it out. Much to our surprise there was only slight fret buzz on the
G-string between the 3rd & 5th frets. Amazingly there was no buzz or
choke between the 12th & 21st frets. The fitted pickups although lower
than average output produced some good sounds. The real bonus of this
guitar is the neck profile and frets, they are the same as RJ
identified as his Holy Grail neck spec i.e. 9.5" radius,
C-shape with vintage style frets.
My customising consists of
- Truss rod & action set up
- Conformal bridge saddle height adjusters
- 3-ply black pick-guard
- so it matches my Strat
- Seymour Duncan 'Quarter Pound'
Lead & Rhythm pickups
- A set of Ernie Ball 10s
The resultant sound whilst geared to rhythm
work is definitely enigmatic with a tremendous dynamic volume & tone
Fender Highway 1
Series Stratocaster -
my fourth Strat. This Strat I bought from Andertons, having tried several
different ones. It played well with good sustain. It was finished in Honey
Blonde, but the paint was very soft and easily marked. So I've resprayed
it and at the same time replaced the Fender Texas pick-ups with Seymour
Duncan - vintage staggered ones. The neck pick-up is a 'Woodstock'
variant i.e. pole pieces mimicking the way Jimi Hendrix strung a
right-handed Strat to play it left-handed. It now produces a good range of
latter-day Strat voices.
Fender '62 Re-issue Jazzmaster -
made in Japan. These versions are particularly good and considerably more
playable than the Fender Classic re-issues, as the neck is shallower and
slightly wider. RJ bought one at the same time, which resulted in Peter
Cook offering us a substantial discount that we couldn't refuse! These
Jap pick-ups are truly excellent - picked gently its sounds are deep
and mellow; picked hard and it really takes off when the treble bite kicks
YES, a 5th Strat - Brownie.
It's a 50th Anniversary American Series model. RJ went to Peter Cooks to
see what all the fuss was about the Anniversary issues of the Strat. He
fairly rapidly dismissed the Custom Shop model as it offered nothing
compared to the Deluxe and this one. He was so impressed that he ended-up
buying it as well as a Deluxe. I've played both and they are truly magnificent
guitars. So when offered one, I was in somewhat of a quandary, but
eventually decided on Brownie.
The combination of clear
varnished Ash body, Maple neck and Custom Shop 1954 pick-ups result in
serious Strat vintage sounds with staggering sustain. It certainly puts
it in the same league as RJ's Custom Shop 1960 Strat.
And now there's a 6th Strat
- another 50th Anniversary American Series
model, Brownie #2.
owning Brownie #1 for a few months I came to realise that I would be
absolutely devastated when it wore out, so when I came across what is now
my Brownie #2 for sale on Ebay I just had to have it.
#1 & #2 are a testament to Fender's build quality in that
there's no discernable difference between them.
The year started with no ambition to purchase
anymore Strats. However, friend Graham suddenly announced that he wanted
to get himself a good Strat. We toured the local shops without success,
complete with his Dean Stylist Deluxe he was looking to trade-in. I was starting to
feel a little guilty sitting on two 50th Anniversary Strats, so I offered
him 'Brownie #2'. I shall have to include a photo of the Dean, as I now
own it! Whilst looking for a Strat for Graham I happen to read an article
on 2007 releases from Fender, which included the Custom Shop tweaked
versions of the Classic 50s & 60s Strats i.e. the Player versions. Now
RJ has had a go on the Classic 50s & 60s and pronounced them unfit for
human consumption. Me on the other hand was prepared to speculate on a
Player version. It's the cheapest Strat I've ever bought thanks to the low
price Andertons was offering for the Fender Classic Player 50s Strat.
These have got to be the best value for money Strats - ever? The sound is
pretty close to what it's all about and merits a higher price in its own
right. This guitar has provided the basis for the spec for my 'ultimate'
Strat - more later!
2008, so far, has been a bumper year! Here's
Matt modelling my latest Strat, the colour is a Midnight Blue that features a
deep sparkle - that's the only hint you're going to get as to which
model it is. May be, in time, Matt will get to realise and appreciate
exactly what he's holding! I bought this one as a wanted a Strat that would
effectively replace my 'Greyie' i.e. one capable of a wide range of Strat
voices - virtually guaranteed from this model Strat. The totally unexpected bonus is that it effectively displaces all
my Strats in that its clean sound is damn close to THE SOUND! It, of
course, plays like a dream - even RJ has clucked over it. In the
background is the other 2008 purchase, a Fender '65 Re-issue Super Reverb
amp - absolute magic! You
would think the end of the road has been reached, but...
2008 - 'Reddie': my ultimate Stratocaster
Lucky Strat No.9? This guitar was 'Team-built'
by Fender's Master Craftsmen to my specification, which is for all intents
and purposes a top-quality version of the Classic Player 50s Strat albeit
with a 22-fret gloss finish neck and gold-plated hardware. The select
Alder body is finished in N-C Fiesta Red, which becomes pinky in low
light. The sound, of course, is the REAL classic Strat sound. Was the
9-month wait for Fender to make the guitar worth it? Damn right!