Fender George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster. Whoa.

One of my all-time favourite guitars is George Harrison’s famous rosewood Fender Telecaster – y’know, the one he played on the roof of Apple headquarters on January 30, 1969 in those spectacular green pants? Well the Fender Custom Shop is offering a reproduction of this iconic guitar right down to the finest detail. Wider nut? Yep. Two-piece rosewood neck? Uh huh. Logo over the finish instead of under it? You got it. And get this: Abigail “Abby” Ybarra came out of retirement to wind the pickups. The only thing it doesn’t include is those pants.

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My Tele

Telecaster

This sexy beast is my Telecaster with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound for Tele pickups. Oh the things this guitar has seen. For example…

My dad and I put it together out of bits and pieces when I was 14.

Got the pickups for my 15th birthday.

For my final year at university this was the only guitar I brought with me, and I gave myself a rule that for a year I would basically play just this guitar with heavy strings, high action and no pick (unless I was working on stuff like “Eugene’s Trick Bag” for hours on end). I would take it to blues jams and just let what would happen happen. That year was huge for my musical development. One of the guitar players in the house band would call out the names of various guitarists and I’d have to imitate them for a few bars, until he called another name. I’d have to go from S.R.V to Jeff Beck to Frank Zappa to EVH to Satriani.

I’ve used it in a funk band, I’ve tuned it to Open C to play Ocean Machine songs, I’ve played it in front of 6,000 people alongside a DJ, and in smoky pubs where I’ve played slide on it using a beer bottle.

And we have lots of years of adventures left in us.

Tele

Fender Expands American Standard Series

Fender American Standard Series

Hello baby.

PRESS RELEASE: Fender is proud to expand its popular American Standard series. The series, which debuted in 1986, has become the proverbial heart of the Fender brand, fusing the best of classic and contemporary features. “The Fender American Standard series is the core of the Fender lineup, the place where we combine our 60-plus years of history with modern innovations in a perfect blend of the best of yesterday and today,” said Justin Norvell, vice president of marketing at Fender. “They are handcrafted American originals, and the choice of professionals worldwide. These seven new models provide musicians with an even greater tonal palette, making the American Standard a great choice no matter what features or sounds a player is seeking. With the American Standard series, we make art in our instruments, so musicians can make their art with them in their music.” Read More …

A Bunch O’ New Fenders

fender-tele-triple-classic-player-black-2

Aah, is there anything sweeter than seeing an email in my inbox about a bunch of new Fender models? Well, maybe that day I brought home my Fender American Vintage ’62 Strat Reissue or perhaps my Squier Bass VI. But in terms of guitar-geek excitement level, there’s something primal about the Fender logo that still makes me giddy after all these years. Today they’ve announced some new Limited Edition American Standard Series guitars, new Classic Player Series models and a Special Edition Blacktop Series guitar, as well as some pretty dang sweet Custom Shop stuff. Here’s the press release: Read More …

INTERVIEW: Shihad’s Jon Toogood

Shihad FVEYShihad worship at the altar of The Riff. Few bands this side of AC/DC have managed a knack for instantly identifiable, eminently air-guitarable riffs. But although they’ve enjoyed a consistent career of killer albums and shows, new album FVEY stands above their immense catalog as The One That Will Probably Move Them Up A Notch. Produced by Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman, this album encapsulates everything everyone has always loved about Shihad – the riffs, the song craft, the energetic performance, the melody, the thought-provoking lyrics. But there’s something more happening on this one. I caught up with vocalist/guitarist/riffmeister Jon Toogood to talk about it.

First thing we all want to know is ‘Where the hell do these riffs come from?’

Okay, we’ve been experimenting with this tuning which is basically standard E with the bottom string dropped to a bass-register A. So you’re doing the A, an octave A, and then the rest of the guitar is tuned normally. And it’s quite hard to play because the low string is really floppy but once you get used to it it makes this wall of sound. You get a decent amp and turn it up loud, and then you play with a great bass player like Karl and a great guitar player like Phil, and when you all play in unison and are in tune it sounds like Satan’s bass player. Read More …

Fender American Design Experience Goes Online

I Heart GuitarOne of the absolute coolest things about my visit to Fender a few years ago was checking out the Fender American Design Experience, a section of the Fender Visitor Center in Corona, California where you could go in and select the parts to build your own personalised guitar or bass. It’s not quite Custom Shop but certainly more personal than a regular production guitar. And now Fender has taken this experience online, allowing you to configure your own Strat, Telecaster, Precision Bass or Jazz Bass from a wide range of options, then have the guitar built and sent out to you all for a pretty dang affordable price. You can make your own design from scratch or use various artist-designed models as your jumping-off point. I used the Configurator to whip up a 65-influenced Strat with Texas Special pickups and a left-handed neck. Oh and I also made a little tribute to the Frank Zappa/Jimi Hendrix Strat in its ‘pre-restored’ configuration. And a tribute to David Gilmour’s #0001 Stratocaster. And a Richie Kotzen-esque Strat. And a couple of SRV-ish ones (one with a rosewood fretboard, one with maple). And a red, humbucker-loaded vintage/modern hybrid something-or-other. And a sunburst-and-gold Telecaster. And on and on. Here they are, followed by the press release.

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Read More …