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M A G A Z I N E

ÂŹimi Hendrix

the greatest Stratocaster player ever

ISSUE TWO

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Welcome to M A G A Z I N E Legendary engineer Eddie Kramer captured lightning in a bottle …

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Photo: Fred W. McDarrah © Getty Imag es

y first realization that a Fender had the potential to change the way the world looked at – and responded to – the sounds that a guitar could produce was in the hands of the master of sonic wizardry – James Marshall Hendrix. I remember Jimi plugging into his amp at the first session I recorded for him at Olympic Studios in London, and being blown away. I knew right away this was going to be something special. Jimi had complete mastery of every aspect of the guitar, utilizing dynamics from the quietest and subtlest tones of “Little Wing” to the most searing and blazing sounds of “Purple Haze”.  Jimi slept with his damned Strat! It was an extension of his soul and being. He knew his instrument intimately; was married to its charms, and it was hard to separate the man from its clutches. He only had to think of a song, and the melody and chord structures would flow from his brain to his heart then to his fingers and his Fender Strat would respond for the world to revel in the enormity of his sublime creation. God, do we miss him so … Jimi was the embodiment of a superstar artist with the ability to make the Fender Stratocaster an iconic instrument that every guitarist wanted to have. But it wasn’t only Jimi, but Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan and countless others who embraced the Fender sound. From the Telecaster to the Mustang and all of the cool guitars that the originators of Fender have given the world. There is something just so cool and sexy about the shape as well.  Go Fender! Keep doin’ it. You guys rule.

Eddie Kramer 2013

Below

Hendrix at the desk of Electric Lady Studios in June 1970, with Eddie Kramer and studio manager Jim Marron.


Cover photo: Marc Sharratt/Rex Features. This page: Š Eddie Kramer Archives 2013


Torben Dragsby / Š Authentic Hendrix, LLC


Contents

Contents M AGAZINE

ISSUE TWO

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fender magazine 2013

6 Welcome

Legendary recording engineer Eddie Kramer welcomes you to the second issue of your official Fender Magazine.

12 S  upercharged Mustangs

Fender’s Mustang Series is the world’s most popular amplifier family. Find out how it’s improved for 2013.

16 The Buzz: News & Stuff

The lowdown on Fender’s latest and greatest events, products and accessories, plus high profile Fender player interviews and more.

36 P  ure Vintage

The American Vintage Series is Fender’s ultra-authentic take on the timeless instruments that defined rock ’n’ roll.

We list the 20 vital ingredients that every songwriter needs to get those all-important creative juices flowing.

74 The Power and the Glory Behind Who’s Next Pete Townshend on creating the Who’s classic 1971 album, and the 1959 Fender Bandmaster amp he did it with.

77 F  ender Custom Series ’57 Bandmaster

Learn about a fantastic “new” amp that pays homage to a vintage tweed terror that’s one of the most sought after amps ever.

44 The  Greatest Stratocaster Player Ever

78 Mic’ing Your Amp

54 Master Pieces

82 Signature Amps: George Benson

Recording engineer Eddie Kramer on what it was like to record and work closely with Jimi Hendrix, and on the great guitarist’s deep affection for his favorite Fender guitar.

Fender’s “Dream Factory” opens its doors to reveal the secrets behind a Master Builder’s working week.

64 One-Offs

A fascinating glimpse at some weird and wonderful one-off instrument commissions created by the master craftsmen of the Fender Custom Shop.

68 Eric  Clapton “Brownie” Tribute Stratocaster

The Fender Custom Shop recreates another storied guitar from rock ‘n’ roll history. 44

72 The Countdown: Top 20 Songwriter’s Essentials

Top tips on how to mic your Fender amp and get all those great sounds recorded with great quality.

The jazz-pop great introduces you to his tonally terrific new signature amplifier.

86 A Day In The Life of Chris Chaney

Rock’s go-to bassist extraordinaire on what it takes to be an in-demand session great.

90 Top Secret

For your eyes only: discover how Fender designers created an entirely new approach to fingerboard technology for the Fender Select series.

Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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M AGAZINE

FMIC Fender Musical Instruments Corp, 311 Cessna Circle, Corona, CA 92880 Fender Europe, Ashurst, Broadlands Business Park, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 4QP

For Fender U.S. Senior Content Director Rich Siegle Editor Jeff Owens Contributors Joe Andriano, Richard McDonald, Justin Norvell, Jason Padgitt, Brad Traweek

For Fender Europe Content Manager Gareth Peoples Contributors Gordon Raison, Neil Whitcher

U.K. Team Editorial

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Senior Editor Jamie Hibbard Deputy Editor Michael Stephens Assistant Editors Owen Bailey, Roy Delaney, Will Salmon

Art 30

Art Director Stuart Hobbs Senior Art Editor Richard Jenkins Designers Christine Burrows, Chris Stenner Photography Joby Sessions, Joe Branston, Kevin Nixon

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Production Production Coordinators Tracy Nugent Production and Procurement Manager Matthew Eglinton Contributors Dennis Galuszka, Duncan Hibbard, Dave Newman, Yuriy Shishkov, Jason Smith, Dale Wilson, Paul Waller

Management 86 58

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Managing Director (U.K.) Jayne Caple Commercial Director Clare Jonik Account Manager James L’Esteve Digital Director Sean Atkins Editorial Director Mark Donald All information contained in this magazine is for informational purposes only and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press. This magazine is published by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC). Fender Musical Instruments Corporation accept no responsibility for errors or inaccuracies that occur in such information. © Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation Published September 2013 FENDER®, STRATOCASTER®, STRAT®, TELECASTER®, TELE®, PRECISION BASS®, P BASS®, JAZZ BASS®, J BASS® and the distinctive headstock designs commonly found on these guitars are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instuments Corporation. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of the respective owners.

The text paper in this magazine is chlorine free. The paper manufacturer and Future Publishing have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council.

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NEWS FROM the World of

{ FENDER GEAR }

Supercharged

Mustangs The world’s most-popular amplifier series now offers an even more versatile sonic experience – from new amp models and USB connectivity to five new stompboxes and improved pitch-shifting powers

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Photography: Joe Branston

ender’s Mustang Series offers guitarists unprecedented tonal versatility from a Fender amp, thanks to built-in high-quality and authentic models of classic amplifiers and banks of tweakable effects. The Mustang range is available in almost any imaginable configuration, from the practicefriendly seven-watt Mustang Mini all the way up to the stage-shaking Mustang V Head, delivering 150 watts of horsepower via a Mustang V cabinet with four 12-inch Celestion drivers.


And with each amp’s forward-looking USB integration with FUSE software, enabling onscreen parameter control and the ability to swap presets with the Fender FUSE community, it’s no surprise that since its 2010 release, the Mustang has become the world’s mostpopular amplifier.

More Power Now Fender has updated the range for 2013, adding a raft of new features for improved sonic possibilities across the board. First up is a selection of five new amp models to bolster the Mustang’s virtual backline options: the Studio Preamp, ’57 Twin, ’60s Thrift, British Watts and British Color. These update the Mustang range’s already varied tonal palette with a wealth of tried-and-trusted guitar tones that will be familiar from a long string of classic records, stretching from the British invasion era to today. Also new for 2013 is a collection of emulations from some classic stompbox effects, again with a distinctly vintage flavor. The Ranger Boost, Green Box, Orange Box, Black Box and Big Fuzz all offer very convincing simulations of some of guitar’s most distinctive overdrive, distortion and fuzz sounds, meaning that the Mustang range is able to dish the dirt just as effectively as it can keep things crisp and clean. ➽


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NEWS FROM the World of

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➽ Speaking of characteristic effects, the Mustang range also includes new intelligent diatonic (i.e., scale-based) pitch-shifting functionality, making octave and harmony guitar parts a breeze, especially when combined with the EXP-1 Expression Pedal for Tom Morello-esque octave leaps. The signature sounds of famous players of all genres are convincingly reproduced in the Mustang’s presets section (there are 24 on the Mustang I and II, and 100 on the III, IV and V), and Fender’s easy-to-use FUSE software enables you to really refine the Mustang’s parameters. All of this functionality would be useless without a fuss-free system for accessing it in a hurry at a rehearsal, a gig, or when inspiration strikes. Thankfully, the straightforward, menu-free access via rotary controls and color-coded LEDs offers an intuitive way to select and edit preset sounds – guitarists aren’t a breed known for patience when it comes to complex interfaces. Other features across the range include a built-in chromatic tuner, aux-in and headphone jacks, and USB connectivity for high-quality recording output and to connect with Fender FUSE software. There’s also a range of footswitches available, so you can choose the level of functionality you’ll need on the floor – and if you already have an amp but want to road test the Mustang’s rich functionality, then the Mustang Floor multi-effects unit is for you.

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TO find out more ab out the Mustang range of amplifiers and Multi-effect s, and to see and hear them in action, head over to www.fender.com/serie s/mustang

These new amps share their name with another Fender product – the Mustang guitar. This quirky solidbody – a twin-pickup electric originally intended for students – was released in 1964, with a choice of scale lengths and a new vibrato design, and was discontinued in 1982. Popular with surf guitarists in the ’60s, it found fresh notoriety with alt-rock and grunge players such as Kurt Cobain and Thurston Moore, and Fender currently offers a variety of Mustangs in its catalog, including the Pawn Shop Mustang Special (pictured), and the Kurt Cobain signature model.

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Fender Magazine 2013

Photography: Joe Branston

Mustang Twang

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News & stuff

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Choose Your Weapon 1 Mustang I

The petite Mustang I offers a generous 20-watt helping of power, providing plenty of grunt for rehearsal spaces and small gigs. A selection of 17 onboard amps and a full palette of effects means it offers a lot of versatility for comparatively little outlay.

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Power: 20 watts Speaker: 1x 8-inch Fender Special Design Amp models: 17 Presets: 24 customizable Effects: 24

2 Mustang II

Twice the wattage and a 12-inch speaker make the Mustang II a noisier, though still similarly spec’d, sibling to the Mustang I. Capable of competing with all but the rowdiest of drummers, this also comes with studio-quality Fender Edition software, making it an ideal amp for those new to digital recording. Power: 40 watts Speaker: 1x 12-inch Fender Special Design Amp models: 17 Presets: 24 customizable Effects: 24

3 Mustang III

That drummer we mentioned will be quaking in his boots at the 100 watts of solid-state power that’s to be found in the Mustang III. The III also ups the number of user presets and onboard effects, and is optimized for the stage with an open-back cabinet housing a pair of stereo XLR outputs and an effects loop. On top of that, a two-button foot switch is included as standard, while a four-button model is available as an accessory. Power: 100 watts Speaker: 1x 12-inch Celestion G12T-100 Amp models: 17 Presets: 100 customizable Effects: 44

4 Mustang IV

Primed and ready for still bigger stages, the Mustang IV packs 150 watts, delivered via twin 12-inch Celestion drivers, and its open-backed, twin-speaker combo format adds widescreen stereo width to your signature tone. A four-button foot switch is included as standard, while a two-button model is available as an accessory.

Power: 150 watts Speaker: 2x 12-inch Celestion G12P-80 Amp models: 17 Presets: 100 customizable Effects: 44

5 Mustang V Head and Mustang V 412 Cabinet

The Mustang V Head and Cabinet pairing lives up to the Mustang’s muscle car connotations, delivering all the power and flexibility you’ll ever need for live performance. And if that wasn’t enough, this amp boasts all of the recording-friendly features and computer connectivity that the rest of the range offers. And if you’re looking for an impressive stage rig, this head and cabinet will provide you with all the visual theater that you could want. A four-button foot switch is included as standard, while a two-button model is available as an accessory. Power: 150 watts Speaker: 4x 12-inch Celestion Rocket 50 Amp models: 17 Presets: 100 Effects: 44

Wall of sound: the full range of powerful, dynamic Fender Mustang amps are yours to choose from.

Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

Left to right

Two of the Pro Custom range: the Kingman “C” Antigua Burst and the Classic Koa Auditorium Cutaway.

{ FENDER GEAR }

Aspirational Acoustics Three new lines of truly distinctive acoustic models from Fender’s Acoustic Custom Shop offer rich sonics, elegant finishes and fine craftsmanship

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Fender Magazine 2013

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onal excellence, striking looks and peerless high-end playability are defining features of the new acoustic series from the recently opened Fender Acoustic Custom Shop, based in New Hartford, Connecticut.

The three series – Pro Custom, Master Designed and Collector Custom – bear the hallmarks of the company’s finest luthiers, and blend modern design with outstanding artistry. For tradition, high-end materials and a unique acoustic experience, step this way …


News & stuff

Designed Series 1 Master The classic Newporter is resurrected in the Master Designed series, along with the Custom Shop-designed Traditional Triple “O” shown above. Both models are crafted using exotic woods, including Carpathian spruce tops, and imaginatively re-cast modern and iconic design elements familiar from Fender’s acoustic heritage.

Custom 2 Pro The Stratocaster headstock is featured on

Under The Covers Want aN iconic album cover? Stick your favorite Fender on it!

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three limited-editions in the Pro Custom range – the Pro Custom Kingman “C” (above), the Pro Custom Kingman “C” Antigua Burst and the Pro Custom Newporter. The Pro Custom Classic Koa Auditorium Cutaway is also available to add a dash of Hawaiian flavor to your playing.

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Collector Custom Series

Luthier craftsmanship meets graphic-art prowess in Fender’s Collector Custom Series of five eyecatching, one-of-a-kind models. These include the Sara Ray “Pulp Novel” Auditorium, a single-cutaway acoustic and the Melanie Steinway “Tribal Moth” Dreadnought (above), created using a meticulous wood-burning technique.

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Browse the whole range online at www.fender.com/serie s/colle ctor-custom/

1. John Mayer Heavier Things Fender Stratocaster 2. Jeff Beck Wired Fender Strat given to him by John McLaughlin 3. Eric Clapton Eric Clapton 1956 Fender Stratocaster nicknamed “Brownie” 4. Rory Gallagher Live In Europe 1961 Fender Stratocaster

5. Roy Buchanan Roy Buchanan 1953 Fender Telecaster, nicknamed “Nancy” 6. Ry Cooder Bop Till You Drop Modified Fender Stratocaster 7. W  ilko Johnson Back In The Night 1960s Fender Telecaster 8. Bill Frisell The Best Of…Vol.1 Customized Telecaster

...Turn to page 68 for more on Eric Clapton’s “Brownie”

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What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

{ Eva De struction }

Precision Performer With a host of world-famous bands under her belt, Eva Gardner is living the bassist’s dream

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here are few obviously apparent similarities between wigout prog noise experimentalists the Mars Volta and Pink’s punk-pop extravaganza, but there is one thing that does unite them – bassist Eva Gardner. Inspired by her father, Kim Gardner – a member of hip ’60s bands Creation and the Birds – she picked up the bass at a young age and quickly mastered the instrument. Gardner’s first break was as the Mars Volta’s

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Fender Magazine 2013

first bassist. She played on the band’s debut and contributed basslines to their first album, De-loused in the Comatorium. Following her departure from the band, she toured with numerous artists including Tim Burgess, Veruca Salt and Mexican Elvis tribute El Vez. But it was 2007 that brought her highest profile job to date, when she joined Pink’s band – a position she still holds today. Eva also performs in Telstar, the band she formed with Chris Unck and Stewart Heyduk.


© Baz Halpin

News & stuff

The Fender Interview Eva took some time out to tell us a bit about her career so far … Did you always want to become a musician? From the earliest age I remember wanting to be a bassist like dad. I did whatever it took to make that happen and just always followed that path. I was very fortunate to have people around me that were supportive and encouraging.

Mars Attacks

Eva wrote the basslines on the Mars Volta’s De-loused in the Comatorium and played on their debut recording, the Tremulant EP.

© Lisa Skarell-Schulman

There’s a story about producer Andy Johns turning up at your house when you were 12 and presenting you with a bass and amp. True? I remember that moment very clearly. That moment became my first bass lesson and Andy is a lot of the reason that I am here doing what I do today. It took a while for dad to share the world of bass with me – I’m not sure if it’s because he wanted to protect me from the often difficult life of a musician, or if he thought that I was just going through a phase. But either way, Andy must have overheard me asking dad if I could borrow one of his basses over and over again, so he made it happen. I borrowed Andy’s bass and Pignose amp for a little while, until I proved to dad I was serious. Eventually, dad took over as teacher and mentor. What was the appeal of playing the bass? Bass is something that I just always knew. I would hang out with dad in his studio when I was tiny and there were just basses everywhere, all the time. When I was seven, I remember telling my school friends that I was a

bass player – even before I really knew what that meant. The bass just always resonated with me – it made sense. What’s the attraction of Fender basses for you? With dad as my inspiration, I naturally wanted to play what he played. He played Fenders, so my dream bass was a vintage Precision just like his. The one he gave me for Christmas when I was 15 was a brand new one, but he knew what he was doing. Every nick and scratch in that bass was made by me. It’s been all over the world with me and it’s been such a solid workhorse. What do you specifically like about the Precision? It just feels like home. I love how reliable and solid they are. I love the way the body and neck feel. I like that you just have a volume and tone knob – less is more a lot of the time. It’s reliable, classy, versatile and timeless. You also have a Deluxe Jaguar Bass – what does that offer in terms of playability and tone? I’ve got a Jaguar bass in Hot Rod Red and it’s such a fun contrast to the Precisions that I have. The neck is closer to that of a Jazz bass – it’s got a smaller nut width than a Precision. You can choose between passive and active electronics and get a wide range of tones just on the bass itself. A friend once commented that it reminded them of a video game controller. I thought that was pretty funny.

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What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

© Pat Graham

Main, right

Ryan and Gary Jarman from The Cribs are Pawn Shop fans; Super-Sonic and Mustang Special hang out.

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News & stuff

{ FENDER PAWN SHOP SERIE S }

Retro To Go Fender adds four new models to its Pawn Shop Series of imaginative, retro-futuristic creations, with the much-loved Fender Bass VI the star of the show. Plus we talk to The Cribs about their love of the series

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ender’s Pawn Shop Series welcomes an entirely fresh set of Frankenstein’d creations for 2013. The Super-Sonic is a new version of the late-’90s Squier Vista Series Super-Sonic, with upside-down Jazz/Jag bodyshape, reversed headstock, slanted Atomic humbucking pickups and shorter-scale 24inch scale length; the ’70s Stratocaster Deluxe marries a Tele neck pickup to an Enforcer Wide Range humbucking bridge pickup; and the Mustang Bass revives the racy competition stripe and 30-inch scale of its ’70s namesake, but replaces the single-coil pickup with a fuller humbucking version. But of all the newcomers, one in particular – the Fender Bass VI – promises to be the most popular Pawn Shop creation yet. Based on the lost classic Fender bass guitar and tuned entirely in the bass range, the Bass VI adds a unique splash of distinct octave-down character to recorded guitar parts. It’s an inspiring sound, and once experienced, you’ll wonder how you lived without it as an option for adding weight and presence to your mix. Northern English indie rock band The Cribs are big fans of the series. Their bassist Gary Jarman proclaims,

“We always had an obsession with the student models and the oddballs. We became fascinated with the Bass VI, and then when we found out what it did – a six string bass that’s kind of like a guitar – it became the instrument that me and Ryan argued over all the time. I play bass in the band but it wasn’t my first choice of instrument – I always wanted to play six strings. But Ryan likes the Bass VI too because it’s like a heavier sounding guitar.” His brother Ryan continues, “I always string my guitars with the thickest strings possible, so the Bass VI is like the ultimate version of what I’m trying to turn my guitar into, and they’re so fun to play.” But that’s not the band’s only connection to the Pawn Shop brand. As Ryan adds, “I have the Pawn Shop Mustang Special. It’s super reliable, really hard wearing, and it’s put up with everything we’ve thrown at it – and put up with us throwing it!” “I like the Pawn Shop series,” the guitarist continues. “It’s one of the most exciting times at Fender, and it’s definitely my favorite period for a long time. It just seems cool.”

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WANT MORE? downl oad fender magazine for ipad to see extra content. search itune s now.

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Gary gives the Pawn Shop Mustang Bass a good workout.

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What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

Coast Coast { ON THE ROAD }

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Intimate and impromptu performances, gear demos and a mobile recording studio for virtually any eventuality – it’s all in a day’s work for the Fender Road Trip

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e’re taking our show on the road and rolling into all the best music scenes everywhere across the U.S.A.! And we’re traveling in style in a custom-built Airstream trailer, the sleek silver “land yacht” of American camping lore, that has been transformed into a mobile recording studio and backstage lounge – an oasis of cool calm among the hectic hubbub beyond. From Lollapalooza in Chicago to Jack White’s indie enterprise Third Man Records in Nashville, from the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco’s Golden


Signature Amps

Clockwise l-r

Music Festival; Brooklyn-based band Jukebox The Ghost, who dropped by the Fender Airstream at the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco, to unveil the song “Man In The Moon” from their album Safe Travels; and Canadian band Imaginary Cities, who popped by the Fender Airstream at the 2012 Lollapalooza Festival in California, to offer a performance of “Where’d All The Living Go” from their album Temporary Resident.

Nate from Fun.; our happy airstream audience; Josh Woodhouse; Infantree; Geographer; Michael Kingcaid; Band of Skulls

Gate Park to the vinyl haven Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas, who knows where the Airstream will turn up next …

The Personal Touch The prime aim of the Fender Road Trip is to bring the rock star experience to you. Essentially, it offers a relaxed, low-key, one-on-one meet-and-greet opportunity for artists and performers, who can also record a track in the mobile recording studio while sharing offbeat road-trip anecdotes. Naturally, there’s also a wide range of Fender demo gear on hand for the artists to try out and play around with.

But the trailer is not solely restricted to artists. Skilled technicians will undertake guitar setups, and anyone interested in demo-ing the latest gear from Fender can also experience the VIP treatment.

Artists In Action Artists who have taken advantage of the experience include San Francisco indierock outfit Geographer, who delivered a soulful rendition of their song “Kites”; quintet He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister, who performed “Slow It Down” from their 2012 album Nobody Dances In This Town during a visit to the Austin City Limits

Stage-side At SXSW In March 2013, the Airstream was situated stage right at Waterloo Records Day Parties event at SXSW, the hugely influential music-industry convention in Austin, Texas. Highlights included the acrobatics of Twenty Foot Pilots, the Airborne Toxic Event’s Mikel Jollet climbing the scaffolding, and the Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan jumping into the mosh pit to highfive the front-row audience with her guitar. To find out more about the Fender Road Trip and view galleries of the experience, take a look at www.fender.com/ community/events/airstream.

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What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

{ FOO FENDERS }

Two Fighters Fans of the Foo Fighters can now own the faithfully recreated signature guitar and bass of the band’s rhythm maestros, guitarist Chris Shiflett and bassist Nate Mendel

© Ryan Hunter

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he Foo Fighters have swept all before them since their debut in 1995, and have gone on to become one of the world’s biggest live draws. You don’t achieve success like that without a lot of talent on board, and in guitarist Chris Shiflett and bassist Nate Mendel, there’s plenty to spare. Both players have now been honored with signature instruments. The Chris Shiflett Telecaster Deluxe is modeled on the guitarist’s favorite Tele Deluxe: it has an Arctic White finish, a four-

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ply white pearl pickguard, and a pair of newly designed CS-1 and CS-2 humbucking pickups. “We based them off of some vintage-styled humbuckers, then realized we needed more gain and output,” says Justin Norvell, Fender’s vice president of electric guitars. “The pickups in Chris’s guitar are the CS-1 and CS-2 – he is playing straight-off-theline guitars. This was a very important point to Chris: he wanted the model to be exactly what he is playing.” Other changes to the color and shape of a classic Telecaster include a large 305mm (12-

inch) radius fingerboard enabling lower action, and a larger ’70s-style headstock. Bassist Nate Mendel is synonymous with his beloved 1971 Fender Precision, his go-to instrument since the early ’90s. The Fender signature model ships with the Candy Apple Red finish of his original, teamed with a black pickguard, and also comes with a spare neckplate engraved with a hybrid Foo Fighters/ Fender logo, and Mendel’s signature on the headstock. Mendel’s original has a slim neck, faithfully reproduced here. Mendel also


News & stuff In their honor

The new Foo Fighters signature models are gig-ready tools.

Foo IFnteirgviehw ters We caught up with Foo Fighters Chris Shiflett and NATE Mendel FM: What guitar is your signature model originally based on? CS: The Telecaster Deluxe. I’d assembled a couple myself and put humbuckers in them. Fender said, “Hey we noticed you’ve been playing those parts guitars out there...” The obvious choice was to do something based on what I’d already been using.

changed the body wood from alder to swamp ash, after being impressed with a Precision he’d heard made from that material. As on his original, the pickups are Seymour Duncan Basslines Quarter Pound models. For improved sustain, there’s a Leo Quan Badass II bridge. “The final product is exactly what I wanted,” says Mendel. “Fender was great and took my bass to find a way to copy the shape of the neck. Once you land on a P Bass, that’s kind of where you stay.”

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www.fender.com HAS VIDEO INTERVIEWS AND DEMOS OF THE TWO SIGNATURE MODELS

NM: A ‘71 P Bass. I got it in, I think, 1987 for $200. I played that thing all the time I was in Sunny Day Real Estate and the first two or three Foo Fighters records. It’s such a part of my history. What do you like about your signature model? CS: It’s beefier in tone. They normally have a maple fretboard and we used rosewood. They also usually have a three-bolt neck and we did four because it’s more stable. NM: Something about new basses that’s always troubled me is the fact that they shine and look like they’ve just come out of the lumber yard. This has a finish that makes it look as

if it’s been around for a few years, without being superartificial looking. Are you happy with how it’s turned out? NM: I love it. This is the perfect bass for me. It’s got awesome pickups, a good bridge, nice resonant wood for the body. I’m super excited by it. Which other guitarists influenced you? CS: Keith Richards. When you think of rock ‘n’ roll and a Telecaster you think of Keith Richards. And a little later on, Joe Strummer. What’s been your finest musical moment? CS: We’ve been fortunate to get to play with people we grew up listening to, which has been amazing. At the same time, my ninth grade talent show was a pretty amazing musical moment for me too. NM: For me, the best moments are practicing with the band and coming up with a new song. When you’re in the practice spot and you know it’s going to be something that you can record and it’s going to turn out well.

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What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

Stratocasters (below) The 2013 Fender Select Stratocaster HSS has a channel-bound rosewood fingerboard, a flame-maple top and a body with traditional contours. Two Fender Select single-coil pickups are backed by a powerful Twin Head humbucking bridge pickup, a two-point vibrato system, a bridge with bent-steel saddles and deluxe staggered locking tuners.

Steady As She Goes Keep your guitar safe and secure with one of our sturdy straps

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Playing live? You need a tough, durable strap that will keep your precious guitar safe while also staying comfortable over the course of a gig. Fender produces a wide range of stylish, high-quality straps in different designs, which are suitable for bass, electric and acoustic. Strap yourself in … 1.  2” Poly Fender Logo Strap 2. Neoprene Bass Strap 3. Vintage Style Strap 4.  2” Monogrammed Strap 5.  Vintage Tweed Strap 6.  Make History Stars Strap 7.  Road Worn Strap 8. 2” Cotton/Leather Strap

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Jazzmaster (above) The Fender Select Carved Maple Top Jazzmaster HH is a high-end version of this all-time Fender classic. It boasts a pair of powerful new Wide Range Special humbucking pickups and a channel-bound rosewood fingerboard. An AdjustoMatic bridge with a stop tailpiece and a simple control layout adds up to a highly desirable Jazzmaster.


News & stuff

{ FENDER GEAR }

A Select Few The 2013 lineup of the Fender Select series offers a wealth of new high-end features and elegant design options for discerning musicians everywhere

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he Fender Select series is a luxurious range of guitars and basses, all featuring choice tonewoods as well as carefully handcrafted finishes. The 2013 lineup builds on the huge success of this range, which launched last year and continues to combine innovative design features with exotic materials and finishes. Along with the choicest tone woods, figured tops, strikingly beautiful finishes, figured and quartersawn maple necks, specially-voiced Fender Select pickups and other premium appointments, Select models also incorporate a range of modern player-friendly features, such as

compound-radius fingerboards for easier string bending and improved playability along the whole neck. Plus, on some models, Fender is debuting the new “channel-bound” fingerboard inlaying technique – a Top Secret innovation you can read more about on page 90. Offering unique takes on some familiar models and boasting highend features that you won’t find anywhere else in the company’s catalog, the U.S.-made Fender Select series is Fender’s top-line best: injecting design flair, fresh tonal potential and a dash of luxury to the mix to create seriously desirable guitars.

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Find out more at www.fender.com/ serie s/fender-sele ct – but act fast. The Serie s is evolving, and the 2013 range is only available for the calendar year.

Jazz Basses (left) The Fender Select Active Jazz Bass’s alder body has a flame-maple top and hand-stained Tobacco Sunburst finish. The modern “C”-shape, 20-fret quartersawn maple neck has a contoured heel and a compound-radius rosewood fingerboard. The active circuitry with three-band EQ is easily switchable – a non-active version is also available.

Telecasters (left) 2013’s Fender Select Telecaster HH is one of three new models. With a chambered alder body, Malaysian blackwood top, a pair of Wide Range Special humbucking pickups and a quartersawn maple neck, this is a dream instrument. It’s joined by the Fender Select Thinline Telecaster (shown), a finely-crafted take on the semi-hollow Tele, and the Fender Select Carved Blackwood Top Telecaster SH, which has a Tasmanian blackwood top in handstained Black Cherry Burst.

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Buzz The

What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

{ Signature sound s }

Full

Circle Biffy Clyro have been Fender fans since they formed as Skrewfish in 1995. Here, we take a closer look at Simon Neil and James Johnston’s signature Squiers

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owerful riffs, dynamism and delicacy are defining characteristics of Biffy Clyro, the Scottish alt-rock band who have built up a significant mainstream following via the well-worn route of gigging and hard work. In early 2013, the trio released their sixth studio album, Opposites, and embarked on an arena tour of the U.K. and Ireland. Since they first formed, singer Simon Neil and bassist James Johnston have been avid Fender fans, with a Squier Strat and a Jazz Bass being their instruments of choice. So it was fitting that Fender created Biffy Clyro models for Neil and Johnston in 2009.

Classic Biffy Tones The Squier Simon Neil Stratocaster and the Squier James Johnston Jazz Bass are based on the pair’s number-one instruments, which in Neil’s case is a ’60s Fender Custom Shop Strat. The Squier signature model is color-matched to Simon’s mainstay, and features pickups that are a blend of alnico III and V magnets, which provide

28 Fender Magazine 2013

classic Biffy Strat tones with great clarity and separation, and a really full-sounding bridge pickup. The James Johnston Jazz Bass, meanwhile, features a Lake Placid Blue finish with matching headstock, a modern radius neck with medium jumbo frets and a set of custom single-coil Jazz Bass

pickups. Both guitars feature the band’s logo on the headstock, and the guys’ signatures on the back.

Fan Favorites Upon the guitars’ launch, Simon Neil said that part of the band’s motivation was to make them affordable for their fans.


News & stuff

Guitar Heroes Simon Neil On His squier Strat “We’d been asking for years to get signature guitars,” said Simon Neil at the time of the launch of the Biffy Clyro models, “so we were delighted. My first guitar was a Squier, so it’s kind of come full circle. We’ve used these guitars live and they’ve been absolutely amazing.” STRUNG TO YOUR RIBCAGE “Simon’s guitar is based on a classic ’60s Custom Shop Strat,” says Neil Whitcher of Fender. “I’ve been picking a few out for him over the last few years, so I’ve got a good handle on what he likes. It has a 9.5-inch radius, and medium jumbo frets, so it’s a really playable guitar. We also tweaked the pickups a bit. On regular Squier guitars we have alnico V magnets in there, but this is a blend of III and V. We wanted to put a custom set of pickups in it to differentiate it, but also get close to the sound that Simon gets live. James’s bass again has a modern-radius neck, bigger frets, and it’s in Lake Placid Blue, with a matching head.”

Above, below

© Denny Renshaw/Corbis Outline

He added that they never dreamed of being big enough to warrant their own signature model guitars. “My signature model really stands up to my Relics, which are worth, I guess, a few grand,” said Neil. “I think everyone who has tried the guitar out has been pleasantly surprised.”

© David Wolff-Patrick

The Simon Neil Stratocaster and the James Johnston Jazz Bass: modern rock machines, ready for the stage – and affordable for fans.

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Buzz The

What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

{ GUITAR STYLE }

Worn To Be Wild From charming subtlety to striking statements, Fender Apparel offers a diverse range of clothing to suit Fender-minded style aficionados of all ages

30 Fender Magazine 2013


News & stuff

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Browse the whole range online* at www.fender.com/ store or see your l ocal dealer. *Online store is only available in the US.

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Buzz The

What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

{ FENDER PICKUP S }

Magnetic Attraction Fender’s range of replacement pickups could be the missing ingredient in achieving the sound you’re looking for – here are some tips to help you choose the right set

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ith typical foresight, Leo Fender made sure that retrofitting a new set of pickups in your Fender guitar is a fairly non-invasive procedure, and one any repairman will gladly do for you relatively cheaply. There are many after-market pickups to choose from – not least those offered by Fender. If you’re struggling to tell the difference, here’s what to bear in mind. When strings vibrate in the magnetic fields around the pickup’s six polepieces, the resulting fluctuation is converted by the pickup into an AC signal, which travels via the guitar’s tone circuit down the cable and to the amp, where it’s reshaped and output via the loudspeaker. The magnetic fields around the polepieces are created by running an electric current through a single coil of wire that’s wrapped around them. So “single-coil” pickups have two main variables affecting the character of the signal they produce: the magnet’s strength and character (defined by the material it’s

32 Fender Magazine 2013

made of), and the number of windings around the coil.

Magnet Types The two main types of magnets are alnico (an alloy containing aluminum, nickel and cobalt) and ceramic. Alnico magnets vary in strength, with each type offering a markedly different response: some are rounded and smooth, some emphasize bass and treble over midrange, and so on. Ceramic magnets are more powerful, and boost bass and treble frequencies more.

Windings An over-wound, or hot pickup sends a stronger signal to the amp, which drives the amp harder. In general you get what’s called a fatter sound, which is due to cutting the high end. An under-wound pickup is the opposite. Less signal goes to the amp, so drives it less, giving a very clean sound that’s less in your face than an over-wound pickup. It also allows you to turn your amp up louder to get more from it.

Quick Tip

For an even tone, a Strat’s pickups should be slightly higher at the treble side than at the bass side. As a rough guide, grab a ruler and screwdriver and fret the two outer strings at the highest fret. Adjust the pickups so that the top of the polepiece on the bass E string is 3.5mm away, and the top of the polepiece on the treble E string is 2.5mm away.


News & stuff

Get Set, Go A selection of Fender replacement pickups

Vintage Reissue Telecaster set

What’s this?

Pickups convert the vibration of the strings into electric signals. Different types of pickups have wildly different tones.

The bright twang and warmth of early 1950s Telecaster pickups is still highly coveted after more than 60 years. These replacement pickups are built with alnico 3 magnets and enamel-coated wire – matching the specs of these highly coveted early Tele examples. DC – Neck: 7.7K, Bridge: 7.2K

Original ’57/’62 Strat set

Reverse-engineered from the pickups of an original 1963 Stratocaster, these staggered, beveled-edge alnico 5 pickups with Formvar wire produce glistening highs and warm lows that epitomize classic Strat tone. DC – Neck: 5.6K, Middle: 5.6K, Bridge: 5.6K

Custom Shop Fat ’50s Stratocaster set

What’s this?

The circuitry behind the pickguard transfers the signal to your amp. You can then adjust it with your guitar’s tone and volume controls.

The Fat ’50s set produces enhanced bass response but without unwanted harsh midrange frequencies, from staggered alnico 5 magnets and Formvar wire. The middle pickup is reversewound/reverse-polarity for hum cancellation in positions two and four. DC – Neck: 6K, Middle: 6.3K, Bridge: 6.2K

Custom Shop Texas Special set

Fans of the Texas blues style typified by Stevie Ray Vaughan should check out these increased-output over-wound alnico 5s with enamel-coated wire. As with the Fat ’50s set, the middle pickup is also reversewound, and the overall tone is tight and punchy with midrange presence. DC – Neck: 6.2K, Middle: 6.5K, Bridge: 6.5 to 7.1K

Custom Shop Nocaster set

These alnico 3 pickups with enamel-coated wire were redesigned to mimic the very earliest Telecaster pickups. They also have a zinc shielding plate to help produce the unmistakable Tele twang and the beautifully smooth midrange tones. DC – Neck: 7.1K, Bridge: 7.3K

Tex-Mex Strat set

These pickups were designed for the Jimmie Vaughan Tex-Mex Strat, and are the selfsame set the Texan blues legend uses on his guitars. Alnico 5 magnets and polysol magnet wire combine for a sound as hot as a bowl of fiery Texas picante. DC – Neck: 6.5K, Middle: 6.4K, Bridge: 7.4K

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Buzz The

What’s going on in the World NEWS FROM the World of of

66 Years of Rock. Now Rolling … with vibrant Fender style & sonic quality The Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition’s in-car audio system is the result of three years’ research, working hand-in-hand with Volkswagen. The Fender Premium Audio System is fully incorporated via a color touch screen, offering customized audio and enabling Volkswagen drivers to enjoy the Fender sound at any time. The interior is suitably striking and dramatic, with the entire dash panel decked in a vibrant sunburst wood finish, just like a classic Fender. This dashboard design is echoed in other interior features, such as leather details and floor mats with color-contrasting seams. “We’ve been truly delighted with our partnership with Fender,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Fender is one of the premier names in the music world, and the result of our collaboration has been a truly world-class sound system that sets a new standard for in-car audio, whatever type of music you love.” The Fender Premium Audio System debuted in the 2012 Jetta GLI, Passat and Beetle models in the U.S.A. The good news is, it’s now available globally in the Beetle.

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Visit www.fender.com/feature s/ premium-audio to find out more ab out the VW Beetle Fender Edition.

34 Fender Magazine 2013

Left

The brushed chrome of the Beetle’s mirrors complements its Deep Pearl Black paint job.

Below

The Fender Premium Audio System delivers award-winning in-car sound, plus a dash of stylish sunburst.


News & stuff The Beetle Fender Edition is only available in black, a perfect complement to any selfrespecting rocker’s wardrobe.

{ FENDER & VW }

Drive My Car When the audio expertise of Fender met the motoring experience of Volkswagen, the results were literally electric …

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hen it comes to charting the subject matter of classic songs over the decades, it’s fair to say that cars have played a dominant role. From Nat King Cole’s “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66” (1946), Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” (1955) and the Beatles’ “Drive My Car” (1965), through Bruce Springsteen’s “Cadillac Ranch” (1980), Neil Young’s “Coupe De Ville” (1988) and Kings Of Leon’s “Camaro” (2007), cars have always been powerful icons of rebellion, liberation and escape. So it’s entirely fitting that two iconic brands from the worlds of music and

motoring, Fender and VW, have joined forces to create the Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition, which combines sonic excellence and rock ’n’ roll spirit with a sublime and stylish motoring experience.

Authentic Live Sound The limited edition Volkswagen Beetle Fender has a Deep Pearl Black paint finish and features a rear spoiler, 18-inch retro alloys and the iconic Fender badge on each front wing. But it’s the interior of the vehicle where the Fender influence really comes into its own. The car features the Fender Premium Audio System, a

400-watt stereo experience complete with a 10-channel amplifier, a powerful boot-mounted Bassman subwoofer and illuminated front-speaker mountings. The system uses nine speakers to produce Fender’s classic sound, which is highlighted by uncompromised clarity at high or low volumes, a powerful bass response and detailed midrange tones, all of which combine to recreate the raw emotion of a live performance. The system’s front dual-voice speakers help to deliver this more authentically, cutting through noise and distractions to produce a “live” sound that’s guaranteed to get your motor runnin’ …

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®

pure Vintage Fender painstakingly dissected a goldmine of outstanding vintage specimens to bring us 2013’s update of the long-running American Vintage Series. This historic revamp involved new manufacturing tricks, designs and processes; all employed to create the most refined, playable and desirable American Vintage instruments yet. So let’s take a closer look …


Magazine

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he American Vintage Series is ONE of Fender’s most prized product lines. For over 20 years, it has represented the company’s heritage in every sonic and physical detail. Choosing what to recreate and update involves walking a fine line, and Fender fans everywhere, from hobbyists to the Custom Shop Master Builders themselves, all have strong opinions. “We knew we had a heavy task ahead of us,” said Justin Norvell, Fender’s vice president of electric guitars. “The first thing we set out to do was to go back to the source. We had to find completely golden specimens of the original models. Every specification, every detail was honed and scrutinized to a microscopic level to distil the essence of the specific recipe of each of those model years. Everything has been touched, tweaked and reimagined. This is an entirely new series; an entirely new level of detail. What you have is a series SEE THE ENTIRE of different-sounding, different-feeling, but all greatAMERICAN playing guitars.” VINTAGE So let’s take a closer look at the American Vintage SERIES AT WWW.FENDER.COM 2013 models, picking out some incredible periodaccurate detail along the way. Which will you choose?

In the American Vintage range ...

’52 Telecaster

’58 Telecaster

’64 Telecaster

’58 P-Bass

’63 P-Bass

’56 Stratocaster

’59 Stratocaster

’65 Stratocaster

’65 Jazzmaster

’65 Jaguar

’64 Jazz Bass

’74 Jazz Bass

38 Fender Magazine 2013

Main and below

The ’52 Telecaster (main photo) has brass saddles, the ’58 (below left) has steel barrel saddles and the ’64 (below right) has threaded steel saddles. Each has its own sound and purpose.


®

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Pure Vintage

Tele Bridges elecaster bridges evoke as much passion from players as anything else. For many the warmer mellow tones of the brass three-saddle bridge is the holy grail of tone, evoking sonic memories of ’50s blues masters like Muddy Waters. Others will prefer the snappier attack of the ’58 steel barrel – “It ain’t got that thang if it ain’t got that twang.” More still will argue the benefits of the threaded steel saddles on a ’64 – classic Tele twang without string slippage. “Which is best?” is an endless argument. But what is certain is that if you try all three you’ll know which is right when it screams “Take me home!” ➽

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Pure Vintage

Flash-Coat Lacquer Finishes he finishes on most new American Vintage guitars and basses consist of three coats: sealer, color and a topcoat, all of which are 100-percent nitrocellulose lacquer and are hence quite thin. This is a vintage-style finish treatment that lets an instrument breathe with a more natural resonance since it doesn’t constrain the instrument’s body as much as thicker and more confining modern finishes. The term “flash-coat lacquer” refers specifically to the quickly applied thin and final “flash” of topcoat lacquer applied to most new American Vintage instruments. In addition to the sonic advantage noted above, the composition and method of application for this final finish layer imparts a more authentically vintage appearance to these new instruments.

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“This is a vintage-style finish treatment that lets an instrument breathe with a more natural resonance”

Chart Toppers Did you know that the original colors on Fender guitars were taken from DuPont auto paints? ender’s american vintage guitars have finishes remarkably close to the original historic colors. These colors came from the automotive industry, and DuPont’s car paint catalog in particular. Fender used the same names as the DuPont mixes, and often brought out new colors alongside new car releases.

F

SONIC BLUE duco 2295

LAKE PLACID BLUE metallic

SHELL PINK

SURF GREEN duco 2461

duco 2590-H

The ’58 Oldsmobile Super 88 Convertible and the ’59 Stratocaster (right), both in Sonic Blue.

lucite 2876-l

duco 2371

DAKOTA red

Something borrowed, something blue

CANDY APPLE RED House of kolor Kandy apple red k-11

© Teddy Pieper 2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions 40 Fender Magazine 2013


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Pure Vintage

Case Candy reat effort was put into recreating the original cases and their contents. Cases vary from model to model in their outer vinyl coverings and the color of their plush lining. The contents are also period correct; cables, straps, hang tags, vintage and modern owners manuals. “ash tray” bridge covers are all included, plus new items gleaned from each guitar’s era; for example, the ’52 Tele comes with a reproduction of its first advertisement.

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SEE THE ENTIRE AMERICAN VINTAGE SERIES AT WWW.FENDER.COM

Above, main and below It’s all in the details, including many extras that come with the case.

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Pure Vintage

Jaguar Fender Mute ile under “endearing oddities.“ This quirky bit of gadgetry mutes the strings, replacing the traditional palm method. The ’65 Jaguar’s release coincided with the crest of the surf music scene and the Fender mute was standard equipment. It works quite ingeniously and is pretty simple too; it just clips to the bridge with no screws or tools required, and can be easily removed when desired. The Fender Mute is a period-correct detail, and it’s an absolutely perfect addition for the purist.

F

42 Fender Magazine 2013

SEE THE ENTIRE AMERICAN VINTAGE SERIES AT WWW.FENDER.COM


“Plug in any American Vintage guitar and you’ll appreciate the all-new pickups”

Pure Vintage

Pickups

ard to tell by looking, but plug in any American Vintage guitar and you’ll appreciate the all-new pickups that have been wound to periodcorrect specs for the series overhaul. All are complemented by faithful recreation of period wiring, control layouts, hardware and knobs.

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To see video demos of all the American Vintage guitars, and to find out more about how Fender’s team created the Series, head to www.fender. com/series/american-vintage.

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Š Getty/David Redfern

Jimi Hendrix and Strat deliver one of the finest performances of his career, at London’s Royal Albert Hall in February 1969.


The greatest

Stratocaster Player Ever

Music, like all art, is about opinions. What’s the best band? What’s the greatest solo? Who’s got the finest technique? There’s always lots of impassioned argument and disagreement. Except when the question is: Who, ultimately, is the greatest guitarist ever? The consensus answer seems to be, without fail, Jimi Hendrix …


Magazine

n 2010, BBC’s radio 6 Music station in the U.K. conducted a listeners’ poll for greatest guitarist, the caveat being it was greatest guitarist “of the last 30 years.” It was hardly for demographic reasons, as 6 Music regularly plays ’60s and ’70s classics, and many kids still listen to Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton or whoever. No, a BBC 6 Music insider later admitted the 30-year rule was instituted so that Jimi Hendrix could not win again. To keep Jimi from his throne, it seems you have to change the rules. And who did win the BBC poll? It was Jimi-indebted fellow Fender devotee John Frusciante. Yet Jimi remains eternally “now” anyway: the 2013 collection of his latter-day recordings, People, Hell and Angels, hit number two on the Billboard album chart.

Engineer Eddie Kramer notes that Jimi would always grimace and contort his facial expressions as he played.

46 Fender Magazine 2013

When Jimi made his name in mid-’60s London, the Who’s Pete Townshend remarked that Hendrix’s playing “seemed to come from nowhere.” It sure sounded like it, but Jimi Hendrix was also an audacious alchemist. B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Freddie King and Elmore James were all part of Hendrix’s makeup. But he was also tuned in to jazz, the pop-soul guitar of Curtis Mayfield, the showboating of T-Bone Walker, the beat poetry of Bob Dylan and much more. Another Chicago bluesman, Buddy Guy, was a key influence on Hendrix’s attention-grabbing stagecraft. Guy had himself borrowed some of his own legendary gig-time flamboyance from ’50s cult figure Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones, which resulted in him plugging in a long guitar cable so he could play solos while sauntering through his audience, and saw him attacking his Fender Strat with drumsticks and plenty more besides. Jimi Hendrix soaked it all up. His thrilling gumbo of blues, amp’d rock, soul, jazz-like improv and dynamite stage moves owed much to the Chicago bluesman. In time Jimi proved to be an incredible songwriter. But what first caught the public’s eye were his live performances. Jeff Beck recalls, “The thing I noticed when I first saw Jimi was not only his amazing blues, but his physical assault on the guitar. His actions were all of one accord, an explosive package. Me, Eric [Clapton] and Jimmy [Page], we were cursed because we were from Surrey. We all looked like we’d walked out of a shop window. And there was Jimi with his military jacket, his hair about 14 feet in the air, playing with his teeth. We would have loved to have done that.” ➽

Photo: Daniel Tehaney © Authentic Hendrix, LLC

Photos: Torben Dragsby © Authentic Hendrix, LLC

Early Impact


Cobain Jaguar & Mustang Jimi’s sublime, yet often overlooked rhythm-guitar style squeezed every drop of tone and character out of his Stratocaster.

“The thing I noticed when I first saw Jimi was not only his amazing blues, but his physical assault on the guitar.” –Jeff Beck


Hendrix’s most famous Strat now resides in the EMP Museum in Jimi’s hometown of Seattle.

Jimi wields a scuffed Strat with a replacement Telecaster neck at the Newport Pop Festival in California, in June 1969.


Jimi Hendrix

Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell (l), Jimi and bassist Noel Redding pose for a publicity shot.

© Authentic Hendrix, LLC

Right

© Eddie Kramer

Above

Despite his lefthanded playing style, Jimi was ambidextrous, as seen here. He wrote right-handed.

As Jeff Beck noted, Jimi’s performances were already incendiary; they would soon be literally explosive. He arrived in England in late 1966; in March 1967 Hendrix gave a landmark performance at London’s Finsbury Astoria, where he closed his set by setting fire to his 1965 sunburst Fender Strat with some lighter fluid. Why? Because he and his management wanted to make a mark in the music press – and boy, did it work. He famously repeated the pyromania at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of that year, and this time it was caught on camera. Hendrix’s most famous unburned Stratocaster remains the Olympic White model he played at Woodstock in 1969. It went up for auction at Sotheby’s in London in 1990. Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell was selling, and the room was aghast when it went for a huge £198,000 ($300,000+). At that point, it became the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, but it’s since been re-sold, some say for $2 million, and now resides in the EMP Museum in Jimi’s hometown of Seattle.

Flipped Out With Fender Only Jimi could do what Jimi did. He was not only a rare talent, but was also somewhat unique. Ambidextrous, he was notionally left-handed (for playing guitar, combing his hair, smoking cigarettes, etc), but he usually penned lyrics with his right hand, and used cutlery as would a right-hander. The late Paul Kossoff of Free had a Saturday job at London’s Selmer music store. Kossoff, then just 16, later recalled the day in 1966 when Jimi walked in and asked to test left-hand-strung Fenders. There weren’t any in stock. Kossoff recalled, “So Jimi took this right-handed Strat and turned it over so that the low E was on the bottom. He started playing some chord stuff like in “Little Wing”, and the salesmen looked at him and couldn’t believe it.” It was not just a one-off occurrence, either. Former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt once recalled how Jimi offered to play bass when Wyatt was recording a demo of “Slow Walkin’ Talk.” At the time of the session, the only available bass in the ➽ Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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Magazine

➽ studio was Noel Redding’s right-handed Fender. Wyatt recalled: “Jimi got Noel’s bass, so he’s playing bass the wrong way around … He heard the song only once, including the changes, and played. It was staggering.” With such dexterity and an innate understanding of the guitar’s fretboard – even when viewed “backwards” – it was clear that Jimi was special. Jimi was famed for playing right-hand Stratocasters (which were restrung to accommodate his left-ism). But if, for example, Selmer had stocked a proper left-hander that day, the image of Hendrix and his reversed Strats may have been different … Jimi never elaborated on why re-strung upsidedown Fender Stratocasters became his main guitars – he just made them work for him. Soon, an image was born of a flipped Strat, with Jimi still masterfully working the vibrato arm and tone controls. Although Hendrix was just doing what he could on the Fenders he could buy, mythology soon emerged.

Jimi In The Studio

Above

The store featured this plectrum mosaic by Ed Chapman, based on a Hendrix photograph by Gered Mankowitz.

Hendrix Hits London A Hendrix pop-up shop is given a little swing by Fender f one place epitomizes the Swinging ’60s at their coolest, it’s London’s Carnaby Street. A bustling hub of art, fashion and music, it was one of Jimi Hendrix’s favorite places – and the street’s reputation as a counter cultural epicenter continues to this day. In April 2013, Hendrix once again returned to Carnaby Street. To celebrate the release of the People,

© Photography: Kevin Nixon

I

50 Fender Magazine 2013

Hell and Angels album, a pop-up shop dedicated to the guitar god opened there for 12 days. The shop sold clothes, prints, books, straps and other guitar accessories. Fender was also on hand with a plug-and-play demo station where visitors could practice their guitar skills – with the help of expert guitarists offering classes to help players learn some of those classic Hendrix licks.

Jimi’s staggering live performances may have kickstarted his fame, but his recorded work is the real testament to a one-off talent. The journey from Are You Experienced to Electric Ladyland is one hell of a ride. From the start, Jimi was a guitar hero, yet his songwriting and studio craft often remain underappreciated. Jimi’s trusted engineer, Eddie Kramer, is in no doubt: “It was obvious that this man was a genius. It was frightening to watch him work. He was awesome.” “Jimi was very meticulous about studio work,” Kramer continues. “This was his home, this is where it all came together. He would spend hours at home with tapes, figuring out where to take a song and writing charts in a very well-educated manner. He was a very well-prepared man.” It seemed there was nothing Jimi couldn’t do. He made covers his own (“Hey Joe,” “All Along The Watchtower”); he mastered deep blues (“Red House”) that showcased his guitar skills; he could write Dylan-esque poetry. Sonically, he had it all. Listen to the likes of “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Angel,” “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp,” “Little Wing,” “Castles Made Of Sand.” These are not the wild guitar songs often associated with Jimi Hendrix, but are as poignant as any songs of his era. Jimi was no one-trick guitar-showboating pony. A Rolling Stone article once described “Little Wing” as “painfully short and painfully beautiful. It’s like your grandfather coming back from the dead and hanging out with you for a couple of minutes and then going away. It’s perfect, then it’s gone.” Not many artists write songs that can reduce critics to such romanticism. “I think we set the pace, don’t you?” says Kramer. “So many of the things we did were off-the-cuff; it was almost like improvising. The way we started


Cobain Jaguar & Mustang

“Soon, an image was born of a flipped Strat, with Jimi still masterfully working the vibrato arm and tone controls.”

to pan instruments, move them around the studio to experiment with sound, no one had really tried that stuff before.” Jimi’s studio craft remains all the more impressive given that he’d discovered, during the making of Axis: Bold As Love, that he was partially deaf. “Eddie Kramer did a test on him,” said Kramer’s co-engineer, the late Andy Johns. “Jimi couldn’t hear past 6kHz in one ear.” Like Ludwig van Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix was a half-deaf genius. One can dissect Jimi’s original recordings to the most minute level for years on end and still be debating the merits of individual tracks, but beyond question is an astonishing burst of creativity, and also some meticulous planning. “A great example is “Voodoo Chile,” Eddie Kramer explains, “A classic. Jimi was a massive fan of Traffic and Steve Winwood. We were in New

Above

Though he used and abused plenty of Strats during his career, Jimi took a definite shine to those finished in Olympic White, with a maple neck.

York’s Record Plant studios, and Jimi had gone out to jam with Winwood and Jack Casady. Afterwards, he just said: ‘C’mon guys…’ He walks them back to the studio. We had everything ready to go. They did one run-through and then they recorded “Voodoo Chile”. One take, and done. Now that’s how music is supposed to be recorded, but Jimi had clearly prepared for this. Some people hear it as a jam. But Jimi plotted and planned that, totally.” Kramer also credits Hendrix’s boundless enthusiasm for inspiring him to experiment with phasing, stereo-panning, speeding up and slowing down drums and pretty much every studio trick that was available at that point in time: initially just by working on four-tracks. The Beatles had been doing this, it is true, but already had five years of recording under their belts. ➽ Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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➽ The Influence Of Jimi Hendrix Yet for most adoring guitarists, Jimi’s playing is the main attraction. Joe Satriani puts it simply: “As a guitar player and a professional musician, I’m stunned at how revolutionary Jimi’s playing was; how he took the rich history of music that he grew up with and used it in such an original way.” Despite his rep as a flash lead guitarist, Hendrix had subtlety. Some of his most glorious work lies in his double-stop-based R&B solos and fills, heard during “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Castles Made Of Sand” and “Little Wing”. His use of Wes Montgomery-influenced octaves and novel chordvoicings also impressed: the E7#9 chord at the heart of “Purple Haze” and “Foxey Lady” may be commonplace now, but it was Jimi who gave it prominence – so much so that it became unofficially named after him. His legato playing was just as strong: just listen to “May This Be Love.”

Band of Gypsys bassist, Billy Cox.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that Hendrix’s rhythm guitar skills were as good, if not better, than his soloing. Having paid his dues with acts such as the Isley Brothers, Ike & Tina Turner and Little Richard, Jimi brought authentic R&B and soul stylings to rock guitar. From the swinging “Highway Chile” to the multi-tracked “Gypsy Eyes”, Hendrix had funk to burn. Kramer recalls: “Jimi would always be grimacing and straining, just trying to get it to come out of the guitar the way he heard it in his head.” Joe Satriani says: “If you listen to something like Electric Ladyland, you hear so much of his growing up. You hear blues and jazz and early rock ’n’ roll, and then the rock that was being created right there by his generation… The excitement with how to manipulate equipment, which was quite new at the time, and a dedication to a new way of thinking. Jimi was a supernova of music.” Jimi Hendrix the guitarist, at the end of it all, was simply outstandingly musical. Other guitarists may be faster, more precise, have better tone or more difficult-to-play licks, but that ultimately counts for

People, Hell and Angels

© Chris Walter/WireImage

Outstandingly Musical

little. Stevie Ray Vaughan, a player who tapped into Jimi’s magic, opined: “His music is wonderful. It’s full of fire, full of light, uplifting things and heavy things. It can mean anything from one day to the next.” If he’d lived beyond 27, Jimi Hendrix would be in his seventies now. Given his seemingly endless

Jimi’s latest release portrays a musician at the crossroads

he recently released People, Hell and Angels album is a fascinating snapshot of where Hendrix was after releasing the hugely ambitious Electric Ladyland in 1968. He’d soon form the Band of Gypsys, which, to many, delivered Jimi’s most astounding playing. The preceding studio sessions, now

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released as People, Hell and Angels, is astonishing in its pure musicality. There are few overdubs. It’s live, raw and mostly blues-influenced. Says Eddie Kramer: “It’s stripped-down, that’s why I like this record. There’s no bulls**t.” With drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox, Hendrix tears into the tunes. “Buddy Miles was like a

machine,” Kramer says. “His foot was strictly pounding, the backbeat was predictable. I think that was good for Jimi. It allowed him to put a different feel on the tracks.” Listen to “Somewhere” and you could be in the room. It may not be Hendrix’s most elaborate composition, but it proves once again – the man could really play!


© Eddie Kramer

© Eddie Kramer

Jimi Hendrix

Hendrix getting into the music on the cover of the Band of Gypsys album.

creativity, it’s likely he would have kept making music. The recently released People, Hell and Angels shows that, as an artist, Jimi was by no means done. Indeed, in 1970, Jimi seemed on the cusp of personal and artistic renewal. Would his next move be political soul/rap with his New York City friends, the Ghetto Fighters? Or was it fronting a jazz big-band directed by Gil Evans? Or a pure blues album that he also hinted at making? Or all three and more? People, Hell and Angels (see panel) is likely the final album compiled of Hendrix’s studio work, but still shows a musician who was ever-striving. Jimi Hendrix was, to those who knew him, never an arrogant man. By most he was described as shy, softly spoken and always courteous. Unbelievably, he suffered from self-doubt. Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell talked of Jimi disliking his own singing voice. But listen to his rich, velvety, effortless vocals on “All Along The Watchtower” or “Angel” and you’ll wonder how Jimi ever thought he couldn’t sing? But give Hendrix a guitar and his own songs, and he was transformed. Pete Townshend says: “When he was

on the stage, he changed. He physically changed.” However, Jimi seemed aware, although jokingly, of both his mortality and immortality. In one of his later interviews, he said: “It’s funny the way most people love the dead. Once you have died, you are made for life. You have to die before they think you are worth anything. And I tell you, when I die, I’m going to have a jam session. I’ll have them playing everything I did musically, everything I enjoyed doing most. The music will be played loud and it will be our music.” “I won’t have any Beatles songs, but I’ll have a few of Eddie Cochran’s things and a whole lot of blues. Roland Kirk will be there, and I’ll try to get Miles Davis along if he feels like making it. For that, it’s almost worth dying, just for the funeral.” Jimi’s influence was, and remains, vast. George Clinton, asked by Rolling Stone how Hendrix had influenced Clinton’s wig-out band Funkadelic, responded: “He was it. He took noise to church.” For Townshend, Jimi’s genius was simple. “When he started to play, something changed. Colors changed. Everything changed.”

Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation In 2006, a 2.5-acre park in Seattle was renamed Jimi Hendrix Park. Fundraising is ongoing, with the aim of enshrining the spirit of Hendrix, with trees and native plants to provide year-round interest and wildlife habitat. Its walkways are set to be inscribed with Hendrix lyrics, there’s plenty of seating for outside dining, and there are educational and interpretive features that will engage children. It’s also green and friendly, too, with the use of solar power and recycled materials. Funded by private donations, the Park Foundation is also involved in local educational programs. The motto is a fitting tribute: “With talent, hard work and passion, anything is possible.” Find out more by visiting www. jimihendrixpark foundation.org

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master pieces The famed Fender Custom Shop has plenty of tales to tell, and its Master Builders are the best placed to tell them …

CUSTOM SHOP PHOTOS: Mark Keraly

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he proud motto of the Fender Custom Shop is “The Dream Factory”, and boy, they really mean it. Whatever flavor of Fender takes your fancy, from that stripped-down Telecaster of your dreams to the wildest guitar that your imagination can conjure, the Custom Shop can – and will – build it especially for you. Custom Shop Master Builders have rightly earned their title, operating at the level of bespoke tailoring, only with wood and wire instead of cloth and cotton. All the Custom Shop’s Master Builders are ready for any order that comes their way, and it seems that some of them – Jason Smith, for example – have been ready since they were born. Jason is the son of Dan Smith, a Fender Hall of Fame inductee who resurrected Fender’s U.S.A. guitar operations when he became marketing ➽


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Jason Smith, one of the company’s most sought after Master Builders, carefully creates a custom built guitar.

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Every guitar that comes out of the Fender Custom Shop has been lovingly handcrafted by expert luthiers.


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Keeping it in the family

Jason Smith’s dad, Dan, is a true Fender legend. Appointed director of marketing in 1981, he was behind the launch of the Vintage Reissues, the Elite series and the refined Standard Stratocaster. He was also one of the employees who helped buy out Fender from CBS in 1985. So Jason grew up with Fender.“It’s always been in my family,” he said, “and I was always extremely interested in everything my father did.”

director in 1981, and was part of the team who purchased the company from CBS in 1985. So it’s fair to say that building beautiful Fender guitars is quite literally in Jason’s blood! “I grew up around Fender guitars,” says Jason. “My father was here for 25 years. When it came to finding a job after school, the only place I really wanted to work was Fender. I’ve always been a player, but when it came time to do a setup or work on an instrument, I always went to my dad. It wasn’t for him to do it for me, but for him to show me how to do it. It’s always easier, long term, to learn how to maintain the stuff you play than to take it to someone else, right? So I learned a lot.”

Family Style Jason Smith certainly learned a lot early on in his life – he even managed to get backstage with Rush at only age six! “My mother was working that night, and dad couldn’t get a babysitter,” he laughs. “Dad needed to speak to Geddy Lee about a Fender bass, so he took me along. There I was, backstage at a Rush gig.” In later childhood, Jason also met Eric Clapton, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jeff Beck and Robben Ford. “I guess this has always been in my blood,” he says. 56 Fender Magazine 2013

But don’t go thinking that Jason just walked into his Custom Shop job because of his dad. He started out at Fender packing guitars and worked his way up the oldschool way. When Jason had learned to pack guitars expertly and quickly, he had time to learn more about building them. Soon he’d worked on necks and bodies and in the paint shop. Eventually, he landed an apprenticeship at the renowned Custom Shop.

Daily Passion It’s 9 a.m. on a Friday and Jason is at his workbench. He’s already dealt with urgent e-mail and is itching to work. Today he’s painstakingly creating Fender’s Relic finish on a series of instruments. “Today, I’m beating up bodies,” he exclaims. “Guitar bodies, that is!” The hands-on aspect of working in the Custom Shop is key to fueling Jason’s passion. “Building is still the major part of what I do," he says. “If I didn’t have that part, I probably wouldn’t be here. I really love making guitars; designing guitars. There’s the corporate side of the business, but that’s not for me every day. I’m geared toward the creative side, and there is nowhere better for that than Fender.” ➽

Jason Smith

Part of a guitar-making dynasty, Jason’s father worked at Fender for 25 years. It was the only place the young Jason ever wanted to work.


Custom Shop

“I really love making guitars … I’m geared toward the creative side and there’s nowhere better for that than Fender.” Master Builder Jason Smith

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AAA quilt maple top Telecaster, precise pickup height measurement.

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Jason Smith’s “Rascal”

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This Relic finish replicates a Stratocaster painted over by its owner that is revealing its original Fender paisley finish.

A one-off Master Built bass his Beauty of a bass was Master Built by Jason Smith. “I wanted a retroelegant look with a more modern playability. It was inspired by the short-scale basses of the ’60s and ’70s – the old Kay, Danelectro and Teisco Del Rey electric basses. “I’ve always loved the body shape of the Bass VI, but have never had a use for a six-string short-scale bass. I thought I could combine the body shape of a Bass VI with the neck of a Coronado Bass and the bridge of a Guild Starfire. “The electronics have a bit of a trick. The pickup selection is controlled by a five-way blade switch and also a push/pull control on the volume pot. The push/pull turns the bridge pickup on and off. There’s a total of seven pickup configurations in all. That is a lot of tone in such a little bass! Visually, it has that cool retro look that I have always loved. Most importantly, it plays beautifully.”

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Master Building When Jason got his job as a Master Builder he had to prove himself quickly. “The first order assigned to me as a Master Builder was a double-neck Telecaster for [Rob Zombie guitarist] John 5. I’d never worked on a double-neck at that point. So that was a challenge; drafting out all the plans of the body shape and the pickguard, the wiring … and John wanted the wiring to be as simple as possible. It was a hefty project for a first guitar with my name on it. But I’m still very proud of it. John still uses it every tour, so I must have done something right.”

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Paisley and Short-Scale Jason admits he doesn’t always understand why customers want what they do, but says the Custom Shop will always deliver. He recalls an order from New York retailer the Music Zoo for a custom-finish Stratocaster that mixed solid colors and a paisley finish. “I called them right away: ‘Is this really what you want?’ They asked for Heavy Relic aging, different solid colors on top of paisley underneath … so you can see the paisley underneath. What? I thought their request had to be wrong. But no.” “So I built one and thought, ‘Well, I’ll never be doing that again’. But they sold the first one immediately and they put in an order for 20 more. And now I’m still getting

orders from Europe for those guitars. MASTER BUILDER DALE I initially thought the idea was a little odd, to be honest. But they all sold out. So what do I know? Well, I now know the customer is always right. And that’s the great thing about guitars and guitar players. Everyone has different tastes.” Although every day is a creativeMASTER BUILDER AUL challenge for Jason, sometimes he really gets to let his imagination fly. “I really enjoy building for the trade shows too, whether it’s NAMM or ➽ MASTER BUILDER RE

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“I wanted a retroelegant look with a more modern playability. It was inspired by the shortscale basses of the ’60s and ’70s.” Master Builder Jason Smith

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Signature

Leaving a personal message behind the neck joint is a trademark of the finest luthiers.

Musikmesse,” he says. “That’s when we get to build what we want, to showcase what’s going on in our heads. For NAMM 2013, I built a short-scale bass that’s a combination of a Coronado bass neck, a Bass VI body, three “lipstick” tube pickups and a bridge from a Guild Starfire bass. That was fun, and I think it came out cool. Short-scale basses are popular right now, so why not? To me, it looks and sounds like a Danelectro bass or the solidbody Kay basses from years back. It has a vibe to it. It’s very different from a standard Fender product, and that’s what the Custom Shop can do.”

Blending Past and Future The Custom Shop produces such a wide array of instruments that there is no standard procedure. And as a Master Builder, Jason says he always has to build thinking of the blend of past and future. “We always try and maintain the history and design of classic Fender,” he explains of his philosophy. “With the Time Machine Series we painstakingly recreate all of the so-called flaws that were there on the original designs. Like the overhanging neck pocket on a Nocaster, or the Nocaster’s control routes. All those little details are still there on the Time Machine models. “Now, technology has come so far, you could take those designs and make them perfect. And Fender has. But for things like the Time Machine series, people actually want those little anomalies. And, ultimately, many Custom Shop consumers want to feel, for example, that lump on the inside bottom horn on a Jazz Bass, y’know? After all, it was originally there.” “It’s difficult to recreate instruments of the ➽ 60 Fender Magazine 2013


Custom Shop

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© Neil Zlozower, AtlasIcons.com

Deep Purple legend Ritchie Blackmore playing his precious Strat; the Tribute Stratocaster in all its lovingly detailed glory.

Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster From finish to trem, it’s the “Smoke on the Water” guitar ne of the most iconic guitarists England has ever produced is honored by this new Custom Shop model. The Ritchie Blackmore Tribute Stratocaster is an exact reproduction of the Deep Purple legend’s 1968 model, which he played on “Smoke On The Water” and numerous other classics. While most Custom Shop Tribute instruments are meticulously replicated from the original article, Ritchie destroyed his black Strat

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one night at the culmination of a performance back in the ’70s. With a ’68 Strat as a starting point, the Custom Shop built prototypes for Ritchie until he was satisfied that the nuances of his original had been captured. Before its destruction, the original had seen moderate wear, so a light Relic finish was specified. A thick ¼” trem arm that Ritchie had retrofitted completes the instrument. This guitar will only be in production for the duration of 2013.

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Hand finished Master Builder Jason Smith checks out the newly cut necks for quality, line and finish.

past, yet keep them relevant to today. But we do it. And for some customers you cannot improve the original designs of the Stratocaster, the Telecaster, the Jazz Bass and the Precision Bass, so they want Time Machine models. I totally understand that. Those designs were pretty much perfect from the start.”

Full Circle and Beyond Back when Jason was backstage with Rush with his dad, he never imagined that one day he might build a bass for Geddy Lee. However, in 2012 he did just that, handcrafting a Jazz Bass for the Rush man. “Geddy’s tech, ‘Skully’ McIntosh, contacted us at the Custom Shop,” he says. “It was all a secret. Geddy didn’t know about this at all. The idea was to do a different color scheme [Surf Green with matching headstock]. So I built it, then took it to a soundcheck. I met with Geddy and joked with him: ‘Do you know, I met you 31 years ago? When I was six.’ “No, he didn’t remember me! But he thought it was funny that I’d come back as an adult building Custom Shop basses for him. He just went, ‘Man, I have been in this business way too long!’ I love Geddy. He still plays better than pretty much any of the kids out there now. He’s amazing.” Stars regularly come to the Custom Shop for the best build they can get. Jason 62 Fender Magazine 2013

has built P basses for Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, Jazz basses for R&B and jazz great Reggie Hamilton, and he recently finished several instruments for Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Never one to rest on his laurels, Jason is working on a new build for session great Michael Landau. Oh, and Geddy Lee wants him to build some more basses for him, too – yes, the once six-year-old kid and the Rush bass legend are now friends.

When You’re Ready … The Fender Custom Shop’s celebrity customers aside, Jason answers without hesitation when asked who he most likes to build for. “Honestly? I most love building for the average guy who has saved up his hard-earned money to buy a Fender Custom Shop guitar,” he reveals. “Those are our most important customers. I’ve built for stars, but you know they probably have 100 guitars already. No matter how good a job I do, it may just become another guitar to them. I hope it doesn’t, but it may, y’know? “But the guys who save every penny, they’re like kids who’ve just seen their dream toy. We always speak to customers regularly about their orders, and you can hear how excited they are. Building it right for those guys who have saved up for the dream … that’s a really good feeling.”


Custom Shop

Diamond Legend Cabronita Telecaster This bejewelled beauty is a glamorous reinvention his stunning Telecaster was built for the 2013 NAMM trade show by Custom Shop Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov. Keith Richards once described his Fender Telecaster guitars “like a favorite plumber’s wrench,” but this is the most amazing guitar “tool” you’ll ever see. It’s a Cabronita-style Telecaster featuring exquisite body, fingerboard and headstock inlay work in fine silver wire and 377 diamonds. Yep, 8.5 carats in real diamonds. The result elevates Fender’s classic workingman’s guitar to a fine art object.

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Inlaying 377 diamonds and silver wire on the Diamond Legend Cabronita Telecaster.

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ONE-OFFS A closer look at some of the one-of-a-kind builds from the Custom Shop

Custom Craft Esquire This pleasure “Cruz-er” is sure to float your boat hoy matey! Fender’s Custom Shop can take inspiration from many diverse sources – including fellow admirers of great wood craft. This beautiful Custom Craft Esquire was inspired by Chris-Craft, the legendary builders of U.S. mahogany-hulled powerboats of the 1920s to

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1950s. This ready-to-sail beauty was crafted BUILDER DALE ILSON by senior Master BuilderMASTER John Cruz. In a 20year Custom Shop career, Cruz has built fine guitars for such stars as Mick Mars (Mötley Crüe), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Bono (U2), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) and many others. MASTER BUILDER AUL A LLER

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Wood Craft

The Custom Craft Esquire is as timeless as the vessels that inspired it.

“This ready-to-sail beauty was crafted by senior Master Builder John Cruz.� Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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Salvaged Signage Telecaster

Quilt Maple Stratocaster

Fender power and fine art meet in this gorgeous collaboration

The finest woods combined with an all-time classic design

rizona-based artist Dave Newman assembles “time capsule” art, focusing on historic locations and recycled objects. Once Newman finishes his artwork, Master MASTER BUILDER DALEtakes ILSONover and turns Builder Greg Fessler it into a fully functional Tele that sounds and plays with every nuance you’d expect from a Custom Shop instrument. Fessler has built one-off Fender guitars for a host of players, including the late bluesman Jeff Healey, bassist Rhonda Smith (Prince) and Journey’s Neil SchonMASTER to name only a few. BUILDER AUL A LLER

ot wood? The Custom Shop has. Here, Master Builder Dale Wilson artfully blends luxurious AAA quilt maple elements to create this exotic wood lover’s dream. It also boastsMASTER a bird’s eye maple neck BUILDER URI SHISH O for stunning use of timber on a truly one-ofa-kind Fender Stratocaster. Of his love affair with guitars, Wilson says, “I didn’t dream of being a rock star. I dreamed of building the ultimate guitar.” Purple quilted Strats and a unique “Resophonic” Thinline Telecaster also bear Wilson’s MASTERname. BUILDER TODD RAUSE

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Custom Shop

Paisley Telecaster

Jazzmaster/Bass VI Double-Neck

A new Custom Shop twist on aan iconic Fender design psychedelic-era Fender design

Now how about this for a 12-string?

ender Custom Shop Master wo Fender classics fuse! Builder Paul Waller created this Dennis Galuszka created this new twist on the company’s double-neck beauty for the classic “pink paisley” Telecasters, famously Frankfurt Musikmesse 2010. It uniquely MASTER BUILDER DALE ILSON MASTER BUILDER JASON SMITH played by such greats as James Burton, blends a ’60s Fender Jazzmaster guitar Noel Gallagher and, perhaps unsurprisingly, and a ’60s Bass VI into one instrument. Brad Paisley. By using premium swamp ash for the Instead of covering the entire face of body, it’s surprisingly light. The threethe Tele with paisley, Paul incorporated tone sunburst finish, vintage Klusonit into the pickguard and crafted a style tuners and one-piece maple necks matching headstock overlay. The highly are all vintage-correct, but nothing quite figured, double-bound body is like this ever came outMASTER of theBUILDER Fender URI MASTER BUILDER DALE ash ILSON MASTER BUILDER JASON SMITH equipped with a Bigsby™ tremolo and factory MASTER in the 1960s! TV BUILDER AUL A LLER BUILDER JOHN RU MASTER Jones Filter’Tron™ neck pickup.

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“brownie” reborn The guitar behind “Layla” and the unforgettable, soaring sound of rock’s greatest love song. The Fender Custom Shop presents the Eric Clapton “Brownie” Tribute Stratocaster

CUSTOM SHOP PHOTOS: Mark Keraly

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s the 1960s whirlwind of the Yardbirds, Cream and Blind Faith drew to a close for Eric Clapton, a new, pure voice arose within him, crystallized by a new choice in wood and steel. “Brownie” was Eric Clapton’s first Fender Stratocaster and it played a pivotal role in his transition from the psychedelic rock maelstrom of the 1960s to his successful solo career, to which he remains dedicated today. ➽


Tribute in the Making

Fender Custom Shop Director of Marketing Mike Eldred, Senior Master Builder Todd Krause and EMP Assistant Preparator of Collections Doug Keith view Eric Clapton’s original “Brownie” Stratocaster at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington.

Brownie

A neck signed by Master Builder, Todd Krause and destined to become an Eric Clapton “Brownie” Stratocaster.


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Working on an early “Brownie”; Clapton the legend plays a legend.

Case Study

Eric Clapton “Brownie” Strat Now you too can play “the Layla guitar” … ew for 2013, this is an exact replica of the Stratocaster that Eric Clapton bought secondhand at Sound City in London on 7 May, 1967. It was just a few days before Cream flew to New York to record their second album Disraeli Gears. It was a 1956 Stratocaster with an alder body, two-color tobacco-sunburst finish and, even when Eric bought it, a wellworn maple neck and fingerboard. Clapton quickly dubbed it “Brownie.” “I played it for years and years, a wonderful guitar,” he recalled in Tom Wheeler’s book, The Stratocaster Chronicles. In Eric’s storied hands, it became the “Layla” guitar, used to great effect on Derek

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and the Dominos’ only studio album, the classic Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in 1970. It can also be seen on the cover of Clapton’s self-titled debut album. The Fender Custom Shop got all the details on the guitar right, and authentically reproduced every scratch, ding and cigarette burn. They even x-rayed the original to determine the style of truss rod. It also comes packed with a fine selection of extras: a numbered certificate of authenticity hand-signed by Clapton himself, the 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition box set of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, a Fender Custom Shop story and photo album booklet, and a Crossroads Antigua brochure.

The “Brownie” Strat is authentically recreated right down to its flight case, which is dedicated to the band that made the guitar famous: Derek and the Dominos.


Custom Shop

Fender Stars At The Crossroads

Crossroads Pictures: © Eric Clapton: Kevin Mazur / WireImage. © John Mayer / Keith Urban: Kevin Mazur / WireImage. © Jeff Beck: Larry Busacca / Getty Images

Eric Clapton’s New York festival brings a host of stars together

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Eric Clapton brought John Mayer, Keith Urban, Jeff Beck and more …

ric Clapton’s 2013 Crossroads show at New York’s Madison Square Garden was something of an informal Fender festival. As well as Clapton, stars included Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, John Mayer, Sonny Landreth, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Robert Cray and Robbie Robertson. Even Keith Richards popped in for an unannounced duet. Like Clapton, Beck and Cray both have signature Stratocasters built by the Custom Shop. Beck’s Stratocaster features a thin “C”-shaped maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, dual-coil ceramic pickups and a contoured heel for easier access to the higher registers. Cray’s favorite is a stunning Inca Silver color with a regular “C”-shaped neck, custom-wound vintage pickups and a hard-tail bridge.

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“2013’s Crossroads show was something of an informal Fender festival”

Urban has a stunning custom “Shattered Mirror” Telecaster created by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov. The Custom Shop’s Mike Eldred says, “It’s like a mirrorball. When the lights hit that thing, it’s beautiful.” Go to www.fender. com/custom-life/keith-urban for a fascinating Custom Shop video about its build. “It’s exceeded every one of my expectations,” says Urban. “You couldn’t make it better.” Clapton’s Crossroads festival was held indoors for its fourth edition, after single-day outdoor extravaganzas in Dallas in 2004 and Chicago in 2007 and 2010. Proceeds from the shows go to the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, founded by Clapton. For more information on this charity, go to www.crossroadsantigua.org

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’S SONGWRITER Essentials

Acoustic or electric, rock or indie … whatever your style, surround yourself with these essentials to inspire the muse

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ILLUSTRATION: Dave Hopkins 13

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FENDER CAPO

A vital part of any songwriter’s arsenal. The trusty capo makes for a fantastic compositional tool by opening up new tunings and fingerstyles. Ideal for when you’re stuck for inspiration and need something to push you in a fresh creative direction. 19

A GIG BAG

You never know when that call is going to come! Be ready to play out at a moment’s notice with a sturdy gig bag.   18

CHORD BOOK

Having trouble keeping all of those chord sequences in mind? A chord book is the answer. It’s a dictionary for music, with all the majors, minors and every other kind of chord you could ever need in it. Essential.

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RAMEN NOODLES

It doesn’t matter if you like them or not. You’re a bohemian now – start eating like one! 16 FENDER UKULELE HAU’OLI

Add a dash of Hawaiian flavor to your sound with a uke! The Fender Ukulele Hau’oli (Hawaiian for “happy”) is a beautiful, lilting instrument that’s sure to add new tones and textures to your repertoire of songs. 15

PRACTICE AMPS

Stay on top of your game with regular practice at home. The Fender Mustang I, for instance, offers the perfect balance of tone, volume – and a handy headphone input so you can play to your heart’s content.

JOSS STICKS AND CANDLES 14

Conducive to meditation, concentrating on your writing, flaunting your hippy side and hiding the stench of all that washing up you haven’t done.

FENDER ACOUSTIC STRINGS 13

Like your heart, guitar strings will always eventually break. Make sure you’re ready for this sad inevitability with some handy replacements.

SPIRAL-BOUND NOTEBOOKS 12

Carry them with you everywhere. Notebooks are essential for jotting down lyric ideas when the muse comes calling, and also for playing up to your image as a sensitive artiste.

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BERET

Complete that image by adding some stylish headwear. Unconvinced? Think again – cool famous beret wearers include Thelonious Monk, Chuck Berry, Rickie Lee Jones and David Bowie – not to mention Pablo Picasso, Che Guevara and Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore. Okay, that was a movie, but you get the idea. 10

A CLIP-ON TUNER

A tuner is a vital tool for all guitarists, whether you’re a novice starting out in your room or a member of a world-famous band. Fender’s FCT-12 is a great choice. It works in any light conditions – making it ideal for use onstage – and it offers guitar, bass, ukelele, violin and chromatic tunings.


The Countdown 9

5 7

10 17 19

4

14

2

3

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SQUIER BASS

Add some low-end rumble and groove to your recordings by picking up an affordable bass. The Squier Affinity Series Precision Bass is a good choice. It’s beautiful to look at and sounds fantastic!

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PART-TIME JOB IN A RESTAURANT

Because even the greatest songwriters have to pay the bills. Plus, meeting new people and getting shouted at by angry customers will give you plenty of things to sing about.

7

LOFT APARTMENT

6

HEADPHONES

Preferably above a barber shop in one of the shabbier parts of New York City.

Keep your neighbors happy and mute your amp by practicing with headphones. Also handy for listening to Scott Walker’s new album without inducing psychosis in your roommates.

5

FENDER VILLAGER 12-STRING

Get in touch with your inner folkie via this gorgeous 12-string. Named in honor of New York’s artist’s hub, Greenwich Village, it’s a beautiful instrument with an instantly recognizable “hockey-stick” headstock.

4

FENDER ZIPPO LIGHTER

Useful for joss sticks and candles, offering your hordes of groupies a light and even, in some cases, stripping wires. The humble lighter is an absolute essential. Stay classy with this Fender-branded Zippo.

3

GARAGE BAND AND A BLUE YETI MIC

The easiest way to record your music quickly and directly. Simply get a copy of Garage Band (if you’ve got a recent Mac, then you’ll probably already have it installed), your guitar, and one of these brilliant USB mics from Blue Yeti. Plug the mic into your computer, hit “record” and rock out.

Original photography: Beret: © wexperience – Fotolia.com, chord book: © lina0486 – Fotolia.com, ramen: © Creativae – Fotolia.com, key: © Oktavae – Fotolia.com, joss stick: © Mushye – Fotolia.com, pad: © silvaee – Fotolia.com, hello sticker: © gunnar3000 – Fotolia.com, headphones: © Warren Goldswain – Fotolia.com, garland: © Le Do – Fotolia.com.

2

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FENDER ACOUSTIC GuITAR

The number-one must-have instrument for songwriters in any genre. A good acoustic is a direct way of channeling all of your anger, lust, sensitivity, agony or ecstasy. And it looks cool, too. Get one with a pickup, so you can plug in and take your show on the road.

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An intense RELATIONSHIP

It will inevitably end in bitter recriminations. But don’t worry, if nothing else, it will give you more material for your songs.

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The Power and the Glory behind

‘Who’s Next’ It was The Who’s fifth album, and the one that holds many of their best-loved hits. Pete Townshend talks us through the rig he used, and his precious Fender Bandmaster amp …

I

n 1971, The Who were at the top of their game. Tommy had been released two years previously to enormous critical and commercial success. But what would their next step be? The follow-up, Who’s Next, was born amid the ashes of “Lifehouse” – a planned rock opera that sprawled out of control. Salvaging what they could from the recording sessions, the band decided to release a more conventional collection of songs instead. From “Baba O’Riley”, into the raging “Bargain” all the way through to the righteous fury of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, this is the Who that everyone knows. The Who that packed venues, and changed rock. Central to the album was guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend. With the exception of John Entwistle’s “My Wife”, he wrote every song on the album. And his guitar sound defines it. The origins of that sound come, however, from outside the Who. Townshend had previously gifted his friend Joe Walsh

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Fender Magazine 2013

with an ARP 2600 synthesizer. In return, Walsh presented him with an entire new setup that included a tweed 1959 Fender Bandmaster amp with three 10-inch Jensen speakers. We caught up with Townshend, and asked him to talk us through the rig … Do you know if Joe Walsh had used the rig he gave you, or if he acquired it just for you? Joe knew I liked Neil Young’s work with Crazy Horse and decided I needed a little variation in my sound. At the time I was stuck on the Gibson SG with a Hiwatt stack. And yet in my home studio I used a small Fender Deluxe with my SG to do the electric guitar on my demos for Tommy, for example. I always had an old Strat knocking about too. I felt I had a fairly broad scope of sounds, but Joe provided me with the Bandmaster, the Gretsch [a 1959 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body] and the secret ingredient: an Edwards [Light Beam] volume pedal designed for pedal steel work. This, combined with the Gretsch, lowered


Fender Bandmaster

“ I liked Neil Young’s work with Crazy Horse and decided I needed a little variation in my sound.” the output level and the impedance of the guitar and made the old amplifier sound clean. So with a push of the pedal you could go from a Nashville clean sound to a kind of ragged, dirty Neil Young sound that was on the verge of feedback. I have no idea where he got them. I broke the Gretsch on a TV show, but Who sound man Bob Pridden got it repaired and I still use it. I used it for the feedback on the “My Generation” track Roger Daltrey produced for the Olympics closing ceremony. What was it about that particular combination of guitar and amp that worked so well for you? The combo was always an overdub system for me. The sound was too complex for me to use for backing tracks as I needed a simpler and more reliable sound where there might be many takes. The best example of this combo at work is on Who’s Next, especially on “Bargain.” On “Won’t Get Fooled Again” I doubled my SG track part using the Gretsch and Bandmaster as an overdub and thickened up the sound of the guitars. I also used it a lot on Rough Mix, the album I made with Ronnie Lane. What other Who tracks did you use your Bandmaster amp on? It was used quite a bit on Quadrophenia and all the subsequent Who albums. I’ve used it on every solo album somewhere. I now have the rig in my home studio and I use it all the time. You’ve used a Vibro-King amp onstage for years now. What do you like most about it? I like this rig because it has a lot of treble and volume, but the FAT setting gives enough extra distortion to compensate for the loss of the Master control I’d got used to on my Hiwatts in order to get overdrive. I never used pedals of any kind except for solos, at least not until this current Quadrophenia tour when I am playing ➽ Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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“The stack sound is passé. Concorde is in the past and so is Pete Townshend trying to sound like World War III.”

Pete Townshend has been a Fender fan since he fell in love with its guitars and amps as a kid in the early 1960s.

76 Fender Magazine 2013


Fender Bandmaster

➽ much quieter than usual and need a bit of help here and there. I use the Vibro-King at home as my main amplifier, alongside an old vintage Deluxe (that I use with a vintage Telecaster). This is “plug-in-andplay” for me. I rarely have to work on the guitar sound for long.

© Kevin Mazur/WireImage

How does it compare to the Bandmaster? The two amps are very different. The old Bandmaster would suit one of the clean-sounding Fender guitars, and make it sound a little dirtier. I have an old Jazzmaster that sounds astonishing through it. But these old amps tend to buzz a little and are hard to maintain. The new range of vintage amps by Fender are all superb. I tried them all at the beginning of the Quadrophenia tour and I much prefer them to boutique amplifiers by specialist builders. They are, in fact, boutique designs, almost totally handmade and certainly built with immense love and passion. What is it that you find compelling about the Stratocaster/Fender amp combination onstage and in the studio? The Vibro-King is a great amp for an R&B sound. It will run clean or dirty and the input stage doesn’t fold up when you use a lot of pedals that overdrive. This amp can be made to sing because the highs are so beautifully balanced – the harmonic content is high even when the amp is set low. It also compresses itself slightly in the highs when overdriven. That’s a truly smooth but stimulating sound. My guitar techs now play around with the tube biasing too, to get the most out of the output stage of the amps. I was one of those kids who stood outside the music shop window back in 1960 looking at the Fender Strats and Fender Bassman amps, and falling in love. These designs sound great, but they are also truly beautiful to look at; American design elegance at its height, and hardly modified over the years. Today – except for a few very loud metal bands – the stack sound is passé. Concorde is in the past and so is Pete Townshend trying to sound like World War III.

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search www.youtube .com/ fendermusical for Alan Rogan talking ab out his guitar teching with Pete Townshend.

Past Master Fender’s Custom Series ’57 Bandmaster is a lovingly crafted reissue of one of the holy grails of the vintage amp world is guitar designs may rightly take all the plaudits, but the other half of Leo Fender’s musical legacy resides at the far end of the guitar cable. The Twin, the Deluxe, the Bassman, the Champ … each name conjures up a different facet of the same essential flavor. Yet Fender’s amps aren’t just a part of guitar lore, they’re a part of culture. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, the sounds that powered rock ’n’ roll were most likely presided over by the steady gaze from a glowing jewel light on a tweed or black vinyl-covered box with the Fender insignia. One name to add to the list above is that of the Bandmaster. There have been various versions of it in Fender’s catalog over the years, but the late-’50s iteration that sets the hearts of vintage amp fans aflutter is the very one that’s being reissued here, as part of Fender’s prestigious Custom Series. Sitting somewhere between the single-speaker Deluxe and the more powerful Twin, the ’57 Bandmaster’s classic 5E7 circuit outputs around 26 watts through an unorthodox setup of three 10-inch alnico-magnet speakers.

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The speakers in the Custom Series version are specially commissioned, Fender-exclusive P10R-Fs created by speaker experts Jensen, who created the 10-inch drivers for the original. Vintage, Modified As with the new American Vintage Series guitars on page 36, reverse engineering a design from the past obviously involves going back to the source. Shane Nicholas, Fender Electronics product marketing director, says: “Most vintage amps that are well used have been modified in some fashion. Sometimes it’s simply the addition of a safer three-prong AC cord; other times it’s a bit here and a bit there due to years of maintenance. The three vintage examples we looked at for this project were all slightly different from the originals in that they had 5AR4 rectifiers, larger-value filter caps and a 12AX7 instead of the original 12AY7.” The Custom Series ’57 Bandmaster incorporates these changes for increased reliability and improved bottom end. Plus, the new version is bias-adjustable. The resulting sound delivers harmonically rich clean tones perfect for blues and country styles, while its naturally touch-sensitive overdrive delivers warmth and crunch aplenty for blues and classic rock’s hairier moments. If the Bandmaster was good enough for Pete Townshend on Who’s Next, it’s certainly good enough for the rest of us. Without tracking down a rare, battered vintage example, this is as close as you’ll ever need to get to one of the mother lodes of Fender tone.

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See www.fender.com/ serie s/custom/57bandmaster for more info on the Fender Custom Serie s ’57 Bandmaster Reissue.

Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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Mic’ing Your Amp You love the sound of your Fender amplifier – here are some tips on how to mic it up and get those great tones recorded PHOTOGRAPHY: Joby Sessions

ot so VERY long ago, getting a great tone from a mic’d guitar amplifier was the preserve of expensive recording studios. But not any more: Recording technology and quality microphones are now so affordable that every one of us can be recording high quality sounds in just a matter of minutes. Whether you’re tracking direct to a tablet device, a portable multitrack recorder, or to your computer and recording software, we’ll show you some sure-fire methods of capturing the best tones with mics. After your favorite Fender guitar and amp, the next most important things in the whole process are already attached to the sides of your head: your ears. So listen up … 78 Fender Magazine 20 13

One-Mic Solution Using one mic is the simplest and quickest route to achieving good tones when playing live, but it works great in the studio and at home too. When you’re setting this up, start with the mic around 1-2 inches away from the grille cloth. Keeping that distance, move the mic across the front of the speaker in your amplifier or cabinet (you might need to gently feel the grille to locate the position of the speaker). You’ll notice a radical change in tonality as you move the mic from the speaker’s outer edge, towards the center. It will get brighter as you move towards the center. It’s also worth trying the mic slightly farther away from the amp grille and hearing the difference that makes. As you move the mic back, you’ll notice the tone becomes less direct sounding as the mic starts to ➽


Making the right mic setup work for you is now easier than ever.

Fender Select


Magazine

pick up more reflected sounds from the recording environment. Even just a few inches can have a big effect. The best position for the mic is a matter of taste, but for one mic, many artists and engineers choose a spot just an inch or two from the grille – slightly off the center of the speaker – for a balance of directness, highs, mids and lows. There are inevitably compromises with positioning, so you might want to try …

Using two mics Wherever you go in the world you’ll find professional recording engineers using two mics on amps and cabs. Rather than balance out the positional and tonal compromises of one mic, using two enables you to balance a blend of both and give more flexibility when mixing. The basic principles for using two mics are the same in terms of position on the speaker. You may find that you can place one nearer the center than you would with a single mic to accentuate highs, while the other is placed further away to get the best mids and lows. When mixed together, you have a fuller picture of your tone. The accepted method for two mics is to have them the same distance from the grille, but there are many who approach it differently. Blues guitar legend Robert Cray, for example, uses one microphone close to his amp for the direct punch, and another further away to add ambience and room reflections. The rule of thumb is to use those ears. Start with one mic and see what happens when you adjust its position in relation to the amp. When you’re comfortable, add a second – maybe a third – and see what you come up with!

Setup 1 A Blue Spark Digital condenser mic set three or four inches away from a Hot Rod Blues Junior III, recording straight into GarageBand on an iPad. We’re using a Cabronita Telecaster. The result is less direct tone with slightly more room reflection than you could expect from a dynamic mic right near the grille. This works well in anything from jazz to rock ’n’ roll to Texas blues. A great all-round solution for recording at home.

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The positioning of your mic has a dramatic effect on the sound you record.


Mic’ing Your Amp

Setup 1

Setup 2

Mic Types – What You Need To Know Setup 3b

Setup 2 This uses the Blue En-Core 100i dynamic mic paired with a Blue Bluebird condenser, both around 1-2 inches from the grille of a ’65 Deluxe Reverb. They’re plugged through an audio interface and into a computer recording package. The closer positioning of the dynamic mic returns a direct sound from our Fender Select Series Tele Thinline that works well for tracking rhythm tones, especially if you’re using overdriven sounds: fewer room reflections keep the sound focused so that multi-tracked parts will end up sounding big and tight. The condenser sounds bigger, with a wider frequency response giving a greater sense of sound and space.

Setup 3a Pair up an Encore 100i dynamic with a Blue Reactor condenser on a ’59 Bassman. The mic responses are similar to those we achieved with the two mics on the ’65 Deluxe. However, the 10-inch speakers in our Bassman have more sizzle and punch, so mic placement is crucial to get the optimum blend.

Setup 3b For a fuller sounding guitar track, we’ve pulled the Reactor around 18 inches away from the amp. You’re getting a mix of all four speakers, so this isn’t a super-tight sounding tone because there’s a lot going on there. For a blues trio or a rock ’n’ roll band, it can sound massive and alive. Background image: © humbak – Fotolia.com

The sound will vary significantly depending on the size and shape of your room and the materials within it. If you’re in a small space with lots of hard surfaces – a bathroom, perhaps – you can expect to hear a lot of quick, hard reflections back through the mic. If you have the luxury of a bigger space with softer surroundings, the reflections will be longer and softer. As always, the rule of thumb is to use those ears. Perhaps try starting with one mic and learn what happens when you adjust its position move it around the speaker and then closer to, or further away from the amp. Remember to always keep experimenting; changing guitars, amps, rooms, mics or mic positions all have an effect on the sound of your recording.

Setup 3a

Condenser mic (also referred to as capacitor mic)

This is a mic that requires power (either battery or phantom power) for its own capacitor. They tend to be more sensitive and have a wider frequency response than dynamic mics. You’ll often hear them used on studio vocals, acoustic guitars and countless other instruments. For guitar amps, they’re usually – but not always – the second mic. Due to their sensitivity they can be prone to a lot of handling noise and feedback.

Dynamic mic

Quite possibly the most common kind of mic used for live performances, these are mainly used for mic’ing up vocalists and guitar amps. Dynamic mics don’t require a separate power source and are usually less sensitive, so that they don’t capture all the detail and nuance that a good capacitor microphone will. On the other hand dynamic mics tend to be more robust for live use and more resistant to feedback too.

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When jazz-guitar legend

George Benson approached Fender to

create his signature amp, the Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe, it marked the culmination of a 50-year obsession with the Fender sound.

And when he plugged it in … PHOTOGRAPHY: Eric Fairchild

Can you hear that Fender thing coming through?” asks George Benson with a grin, as he reels off another one of his lush, laconic and seemingly effortless jazz runs. The jazz legend is showcasing the new Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe 40-watt combo, a signature amp created by Fender in close collaboration with the ten-time Grammy-winning guitar virtuoso and crossover pop artist. “That’s a blues sound and you can get happy with it, you see?” says Benson, the grin growing ever wider. “It ain’t going nowhere, it ain’t going to fluff out on you, it ain’t going to wrinkle up and distort, unless you want it to.” 82 Fender Magazine 2013

Signature Sound Benson is at Fender headquarters to discuss his involvement in the development of his signature combo. The Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe has clarity, range, bass response and the ability to reproduce the sweet spots – a good job too, because Benson’s fluid tone and dazzling technique make liberal use of beautifully vocal lead lines, doublestops, rhythm comping, touch-sensitivity and incredible dynamic range, often seemingly all at once. The GB Hot Rod’s versatile all-tube preamp drives a business end that relies on the full bottom-end characteristics of 6L6 tubes; a sound familiar to legions of Fender amp users. The combo packs a Jensen C12K 100-watt speaker, which provides more volume, bass and wider coverage than the standard driver in a Hot Rod Deluxe. This Jensen speaker ➽


Signature Amps

Guitar man: George Benson has an astonishing 36 studio albums to his name, including 1976’s tripleplatinum, Breezin’ and The Other Side Of Abbey Road.


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Solid Body

The solid pine cabinet increases tonal resonance while still keeping the amplifier light and portable.

➽ also handles the immediacy of Benson’s singing soloing style with clarity and range, and the solid-pine cabinet increases tonal resonance while reducing weight. Critically, one of the stock 12AX7 preamp tubes has been replaced with a 12AT7 for a cleaner sound with humbucking pickups. The result is immense presence, clarity and tonal range.

Clear Vision “When I told Fender engineers what I wanted, they instantly identified the first thing that bothered me the most,” continues Benson. “They said: ‘George, what do you look for in an amplifier? What kind of amplifier do you like?’ I said: ‘One that reproduces the guitar in the way that it’s supposed to sound. It does not hype anything. It just makes it louder.’” Fender’s engineers duly replaced one of the Hot Rod Deluxe’s stock 12AX7 preamp tubes with a 12AT7. The transformation, explains Benson, was profound. “All of 84 Fender Magazine 2013

a sudden, I heard Fender from a whole different point of view,” he says. “They gave me more headroom so I could turn the amplifier up to five or six and still be close to the amp, and the sound got bigger. That, to me, was a revelation.”

Body Talk Standard features on the Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe include Normal, Drive and More Drive channels, Fender spring reverb, and an effects loop. Personalized exterior touches specified by Benson himself include gray-black vinyl covering, silver-strand grille cloth and a “GB” logo badge. Benson says he was delighted when Fender also asked him to design the look of the Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe. “The fact that they allowed me to design the cover and the way the amplifier looked, I thought that was outstanding because it was a great privilege,” he says. “Connecting my name to Fender, it should be something that comes from

my head and my experience, and I think we came up with a great look. I love this covering that we have on here,” he continues, affectionately patting the top of the Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe. “And the way that you’ve incorporated my logo here – I think that’s enough prestige for one guitar player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” he laughs.

Amazing Versatility George Benson is one of the greatest guitarists in jazz history, but he is also an amazingly versatile musician, a factor that has frustrated critics who seem keen to pigeonhole him in the jazz genre. Benson certainly is primarily a jazz guitarist, beginning his career at the age of 21, but by the ’60s he was playing soul-jazz with artists such as Jack McDuff. He then launched a successful solo career, alternating between jazz, pop and R&B, developing his singing and distinctive scat-singing style along the way. In 1976,


Signature Amps

Hot Stuff Add some fire to your sound with the GB Hot Rod Deluxe he GB Hot Rod Deluxe is a 40watt 1x12” combo that packs 6L6 tubes, an all-tube preamp and a meaty 100-watt Jensen C12K speaker into a solid pine cabinet. It’s all dressed up, too, with a personalized design specified by George Benson himself. It also comes with a twobutton footswitch and a road-worthy deluxe padded cover.

T

Left

The GB Hot Rod Deluxe has an all-tube preamp, with a 12AT7 in the gain stage for cleaner tones. It sounds especially good when used in conjunction with humbucking pickups.

he topped the Billboard 200 with the Triple-Platinum album Breezin’, going on in the ’80s to build a large live following, that remains to this day. One aspect that defines his playing is his unique, articulate take on the rest-stroke picking technique, pioneered by gypsy jazz players such as Django Reinhardt. Unsurprisingly, his choice of amplifiers has been pivotal to Benson, with the Fender sound being a prevailing inspiration throughout his career.

Revelation “In the days when we couldn’t afford an amplifier at all, we only wished we could have had something as sophisticated and dynamic as a Fender, because one Fender amp could handle all our needs,” he says. “All the guys who I saw playing Fender amplifiers all had that nice, crispy, instant sound. That’s what made Fender stick out.” In recent years, Benson recalls performing at a “big party” in Russia

and playing through a rented Fender amp that was wholly unfamiliar to him, yet revelatory in the sound it provided. The previous user had left the overdrive switched on. “Boy, I sounded like Eddie Van Halen,” he laughs. With virtually no time to change the settings, Benson started his performance with the overdrive on, and was so impressed by the sound at the end of the show that he attempted, in vain, to buy the amp. “So when we started talking about amps [with Fender], that’s when I asked if we could have that device left in the amp, because a little bit of that, under the right circumstance, works wonders.” And if that still isn’t enough, for artists who want extra stage presence and even more volume, Fender also offers the GB Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Enclosure, which adds the power of an extra 100-watt Jensen C12K loudspeaker to the combo amp’s output in a closed-back cabinet. That’s some seriously impressive sound.

George Benson’s late st album, Inspiration, is out now on Decca. For more information, go to www.georgebenson.com

Tonal Control Listening to Benson talk about his tonal preferences and love of the Fender sound, it’s clear that the collaboration on the GB Hot Rod Deluxe has been a fruitful one. And he was not disappointed with the amp itself when he finally got to use it. “When I plugged my guitar in,” says Benson, “it gave me everything I was looking for – punch, power and tonality.” As he concludes the interview, he walks around to the back of the amp that bears his name and faces the Fender engineers. “Ain’t that nice,” he laughs, gently lifting up the combo with his right hand, and slowly walking away. “Take this to the gig, and come home with some money!”

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For more info ab out the Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe, visit www. fender.com/serie s/artist-signature/ gb -hot-rod-deluxe.

Fender Magazine ||| Fender.com

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF

Chris Chaney What’s it like to be an in-demand session musician, playing on albums and soundtracks? We asked a consummate professional … PHOTOGRAPHY: Eric Fairchild

Chris Chaney must be one of the hardest-working bassists in the industry. Best known for his work with Jane’s Addiction and Slash, he has also played with artists as diverse as Joe Satriani, Alanis Morissette and Joe Cocker. On top of that, he’s in increasing demand in Hollywood, having performed on the soundtracks of high-profile films like Red and The Hangover Part III. But what’s his day-today life like? We called him at his home in California to find out … ➽


A Day A day In The in the Lifelife Chaney Gang

In addition to his session work, Chris is a member of Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders and cover band Camp Freddy with Dave Navarro.


Magazine

FM: Hi Chris, how are you? Are you going into the studio today? CC: No. I’ve been in the studio the last three days, but I had to cancel because there was a flood in my house. It didn’t affect my studio though. No basses destroyed! That’s a relief! Can you tell us what you’re working on at the moment? CC: I was just working on a video game with a bunch of great musicians, including Bryan “Brain” Mantia from Primus. And I’ve just finished doing bass on The Hangover Part III and a movie called R.I.P.D. that will be out shortly. And I was in the studio last week working with an artist named L.P. She’s got this amazing talent – a great songwriter, with a really unique voice and style. So what is a typical day in the studio like for you? Talk us through it. CC: A typical day in the studio for me depends on when the downbeat is – which is the time you have to be there in the studio, ready to play. If they say it’s a 10 a.m. downbeat, I like to get there a good half hour before. I always ask the producer if they want me to bring an amp, and I usually bring about five, six – sometimes seven or eight – basses with me, depending on what the session is for. Do you practice at home first? CC: I’ll usually do a little warm up. If I don’t have time I just sort of do it when I get there – except on film dates. Film dates start on time. It’s strict union rules. They’re really organized, because there’s a lot of people and a lot of money being spent. And if I haven’t been using my reading chops, I definitely do a little homework, y’know, just to freshen up so I’m not going to stress out. What happens on a film session? CC: I usually have a stand with charts on it, and they’re all numbered. The composer’s there and he’ll call out the first chart. I try to get a look at the music, before that, just to see what I’m gonna be dealing with. The things I look for are tempo and range – what’s the lowest note and highest note of this next cue? Sometimes the parts are 88 Fender Magazine 2013

a little unorthodox. They don’t always fall under your fingers, because a lot of composers in film work on keyboards, so you occasionally get these kind of MIDI bass charts. Do you do more sessions for records or movies these days? CC: It’s pretty even. You have to be adaptable because there aren’t the same levels of work ... I’m 42, but I have friends maybe twelve years older and that was a different era. They did record after record after record. But, y’know, I mix it up. I just like being able to keep a diverse career. It keeps it interesting. What Fender gear are you using? CC: I’ve been using this Fender Select Jazz Bass and it sounds incredible. I’m a bit of a collector too, so I have a bunch of awesome old vintage basses and I bring a bunch of those on sessions. I have a bass that Jim Scott, the producer, calls “the Money Maker.” It’s a ’58 P Bass with flats that’s just hard to beat. But yeah, this Select I’ve been playing is mind-blowing. I want to get another one. I also play Mod Squads, and I have one Master Built Lake Placid Blue Jazz Bass, with a tortoise pickguard that has a light Relic finish, that I absolutely love too. There’s a handful of Fenders on every session, always. I couldn’t go to a session without them, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. If I were to get there and there wasn’t a Fender bass, I’d be a little worried! What’s the toughest session you’ve worked on? CC: There are challenges with every session I do. They range from complexity to simplicity. Fast tempos, slow tempos, dynamics on cue. Whatever’s required. You have to be real musical and keep a headsup attitude every step of the way. How’s the rest of 2013 looking? CC: I’m recording with Jane’s Addiction and then on tour with Alice in Chains. And I have sessions sprinkled around throughout summer. I’m adaptable and flexible with my schedule.


A Day In The Life

“You have to be real musical and keep a heads-up attitude every step of the way.”

Chris Chaney test drives the beautiful new Fender Select Jazz Bass.

Select Appeal Chris Chaney on the Fender Select Jazz Bass hat’s the appeal of the bass to you? CC: There’s an organic quality that has such a powerful effect. It can control the harmony, where a song’s going, and the rhythmic side of it as well. Every instrument has it’s place, but the bass is the glue of the song.

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Do you remember buying your first Fender bass? CC: Prune Music in Mill Valley, California, was a store a few

blocks from my house. The P Bass was just sitting there. I couldn’t afford it at the time. When I finally got the Fender, that was the holy grail! What do you like about the Fender Select Jazz Bass? CC: There are a few features I really like. One is the block inlays – I always really liked that look. Also the hand-stained body. It’s a beautiful instrument. A feature that Fender really got right is the

option to have an active pre amp and, at the flick of a switch, you’re back into passive mode. If you want to beef up the sound, you have it right there. A thing that’s cool about the neck is it doesn’t have too much varnish on the back. It’s a thinner coat that I can see wearing off in no time, just by a lot of playing. There’s an ease to playing a neck like that. I’ll play

from the lowest to the highest note, I use the whole range of the bass and I wanna be able to get from A to B quickly. And how does it play? CC: Amazing. I love this bass, right out of the gate, as usual. I expect nothing less than perfection, and this bass provides that. I’ve never had a day where I’ve plugged my Fender in and it gets a complaint. It’s always on. They serve you in a way no other bass can.

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The upmarket Fender Select series debuts a new, silky-smooth fingerboard innovation

The channel-bound rosewood fingerboard fits snugly into the recess in the neck, providing a sculpted, effortless feel.

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nnovation and stylish design have always gone hand in hand at Fender, but the new line of Fender Select series guitars (featured on page 26) offers up a development so smart that it’ll make your fingers fly up the fretboard, and so simple you’ll be amazed you didn’t think of it yourself. When it comes to producing limitedrun models outside of the Custom Shop, the highly-acclaimed Fender Select series guitars and basses showcases the best of what the company’s luthiers can dream up. Fender Select series instruments revisit familiar blueprints using the finest materials, often achieving their high-end feel through a twist of design ingenuity. The principal Fender Select series innovation for 2013, the “channel-bound” fingerboard, takes a compound-radius

90 Fender Magazine 2013

fingerboard and inlays it into a thick modern “C”-shape maple neck, whereas traditionally, it would be bonded to its topside. The benefits of this new design are two-fold. Not only does this create a stylish new look, with the fingerboard nestling cosily in the neck’s snug embrace, but there’s no seam between the fret and the fingerboard, so it imparts an incredibly comfortable feel to your fretting hand, as both edges are pleasingly rounded. And where there was always a delicate ridge between the two separate elements, these

rounded edges have now become the binding for the fretboard, so the whole package creates a velvety-smooth feel. It may sound like a minor, almost imperceptible change, but you’ll feel the difference immediately as your hands glide up and down the neck. While the idea may sound simple, it requires an incredible amount of skill from the luthiers to make each piece fit so snugly, which is why this new production technique is making its debut on the highend Fender Select series guitars. This extra little piece of luxury perfectly rounds off what was already a beautiful set of guitars – it’s a fretboard that truly needs to be played to be believed.


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Inside this issue

Foo Fighters Chris Shiflett Telecaster and Nate Mendel P Bass Mustang V.2 amps Custom Shop acoustics Pawn Shop series Bass VI Custom Shop Eric Clapton “Brownie� Tribute Stratocaster

Fender Magazine Vol. 2  

The sophomore edition of our handsome 92-page publication features all of the great Fender history and gear information you loved from Vol....

Fender Magazine Vol. 2  

The sophomore edition of our handsome 92-page publication features all of the great Fender history and gear information you loved from Vol....