Tuesday, 26 November 2002

My Guitars

My guitar collection, as of November 2002
Well, it may seem to the casual reader that I've been selling off all my guitars (the Eko 12-string, the Strat, the Tele, the Aria plexiglass) but I do still have a modest collection of instruments, as can be seen in the above picture - plus one or two in the background that are "projects" and will most likely be sold when finished.

At the moment the collection is as follows:

Fernandes Revolver Pro
Fernandes Revolver Pro
This is my main guitar and the reason that I stopped playing Fenders. It features a 24-fret neck, Floyd Rose licensed tremolo, EMG pickup in the bridge position and a Fernandes Sustainer in the neck position. I always used to be a huge fan of the EBow but this guitar and its brilliant Sustainer system makes the EBow virtually redundant. The main difference is that when using the EBow, you want a clean sound on your amp and let the EBow do the over-driving, but with the Sustainer it works much better with an overdriven sound. You can also sustain and slide whole chords, or just use the Sustainer to beef up your sound, and used in conjunction with the Floyd Rose things can go Over The Top very easily. Another bonus factor is that the guitar never seems to go out of tune. I just love it, although I'll admit that it isn't the prettiest guitar in the world. It is actually finished in a dark metallic green (which doesn't photograph too easily) which has earnt this guitar the nickname of Emerald.

Fender Squier Stagemaster 7
Squier Stagemaster 7
I bought this for a song on eBay a few months back. I had for many years been intrigued at the possibilites that a seven string guitar could offer, but I didn't want to buy an expensive instrument and find that I couldn't play it. This cost me the grand sum of £130, so it hardly broke the bank. And very interesting it is too. The seventh string - a low B - is no problem at all. It is easy enough to adapt six string chords - adding extra notes on the low B - or else there is the option to not sound that string. It is also great for playing riffs on - low bassy powerchords. On the whole the guitar is a bit of a growler. It has a very different tone to the bright-sounding Fernandes; this is a ballsy guitar. Oh, and as it's sparkly purple, I nicknamed this one "Amethyst". (There were a few dings in the finish, but I filled these with purple nailvarnish). The only thing that confuses me about this guitar is the upside-down headstock. I often find myself turning the machine head for totally the wrong string that I'm trying to tune.

Bozo the Clown, short-scale bass
Short-scale bass
This was another eBay purchase from earlier in the year. I was looking for a bass guitar that I could use as a "fuzz bass"; something that I could essentially use as a guitar, play overdriven powerchords on it, etc. This bass fits the bill perfectly, and - despite its short scale - sounds quite good as a regular bass too. This may be in part due to the retro-fitted jazz bass pickup. I have to admit that I quite like the sound of the neck pickup - deep and boomy - would be great for those dub-reggae-style basslines. The bizarre "artwork" on this guitar was not my doing. I bought it like that. Basically, someone has painted it green at the top and blue at the bottom, and has then covered the body with cut-out vinyl shapes. The stuck-on red stripe dividing the blue and green halves actually goes along the back of the neck. You'd think that it would be annoying when playing, but surprisingly it isn't. The paintwork is quite crazed in parts so I'd say that the guitar was refinished in this manner many years ago. The angular scratchplate, pickup surround and truss rod cover have all been cut by hand and presumably added by the same person who "customised" this beastie. I have no idea what make this bass is. The person I bought it from thought it might be an Ibanez, but after having done a little research, I can find nothing that looks like it might have been this.

Old 70s Tele copy
Tele copy
This cost me £52. I bought it as project fodder, thinking that perhaps I could refinish it, add a snazzy perloid scratchplate, change the hardware, etc. However, upon receiving the guitar I found that there was nothing wrong with it, and that it's actually a very nice, very playable guitar. The pickups - both of which are chrome-covered - have a surprisingly high output and sound excellent. I'd imagine this would make a nice little blues or slide guitar. The body - which appears to be real wood, by the way, and not plywood, is much thinner than on a real Telecaster and its shape is not very accurate to the traditional Telecaster outline. The most obvious oddity on this guitar is the inclusion of the jack-socket on the metal control panel and not on the side of the guitar. However, it is a very likeable guitar, and I don't want to alter anything on it, as I think it would spoil a very nice instrument. (And if you're wondering why I just sold my real Fender Telecaster but have still got this, can I remind you again of how much it cost? My Fenders were worth lots of money, a money injection which my ailing bank account desperately needed!) As to the provenance of this one, I think that it might possibly be a Shaftesbury, but it is hard to be sure as the badge that was once pinned to the headstock (which is much larger and chunkier than on the real thing) is missing.

Fender Jazz Bass, fretless
fretless Fender Jazz Bass
This is absolurely gorgeous. It was another recent eBay purchase for just £250 and arrived in virtually new condition. It is a Mexican-made Jazz Bass with a lined fretless fingerboard. I love fretless basses. I used to have a fretless Westone back in the 1980s, but I sold it over 10 years ago and have long since regretted doing so. I had been on the lookout for another for a few years, and when I saw this at such a low price I knew I had to have it. I haven't yet gotten around to changing the strings on it, so it is not currently sounding its best. It still has the flat-wound strings that would have been supplied with it from the factory. Fretless basses are often supplied with flat-wounds so that the fingerboards do not get marked while the instruments are in shops, being played by would-be customers, etc. The trouble here being that flat-wounds sound awful. They just make the bass go THUD when the instrument should SING. I will be upgrading to proper round-wound soonest. By the way, the sticker beneath the bridge is of Maggie Simpson, and was put there - I presume - by the bass's previous owner. I left it there because - hell - I like The Simpsons too!

One other guitar I forgot to mention is the lovely little classical guitar that I have featured on the banner at the top of this page. Again, it was an eBay purchase, and was a bargain at only £27. This is the guitar I keep in the living room and grab when I'm trying to work out songs, or just for practice without having the mess of leads, effects, amps, headphones, etc. It is a gorgeous little guitar - much better than the pile of junk that I had to take to guitar lessons with me when I was 12 - and should have retailed for a whole load more, but it was apparently part of an over-stock for a German music fair. The chappie selling this one was also selling a whole load of others just like it, so it sounds like he had a job lot on his hands to get rid of.

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