September 3, 2015 in Blog, Historic Fenders

Bill Carson – Mr. Stratocaster

17973318_117181275623In 1951, Fender began working closely with a Texas swing guitarist named Bill Carson. This Oklahoma-born, California-raised picker worked with artists such as Lefty Frizzell and Hank Thompson, and he soon started a close friendship with a certain guitar-builder named Leo Fender.  A working relationship with his company was born, as Carson became a field tester and was shipped the newly remodeled Fender Broadcaster, now known as the Telecaster.  Bill began his testing and research of the design, but quickly found the Telecaster wasn’t suited for him and shared his findings with Fender.  Carson noted that the body shape of the Telecaster pressed against his rib-cage during gigs, and often caused bruising from an … Continue Reading

August 12, 2015 in Blog, Historic Fenders

Mike Campbell – Broadcaster Breakdown

mediumTom Petty’s six-string savant Mike Campbell has built an impressive career of weaving his tasteful licks and phrases all over Petty’s classic rock anthems. Campbell’s signature sound and restrained blues-rock phrasing has inspired countless guitarists and musicians all over the world, this coupled with a stinging overdrive tone and his trademark bending and open-string licks. In many ways, Campbell has become the standard in which a modern rock guitarist plays their instrument. From the ringing diads, triads, and double-stop fills heard during verses and choruses, to the biting and soaring lead tones he uses during solos, Campbell has shown plenty of players how to weave around the vocalist during the song, and take … Continue Reading

July 27, 2015 in Historic Fenders

The Hellecasters 1997 Fender Signature Models

51499MQ-4RL._SL500_SY355_In 1990, two musicians sat down and talked about forming a guitar-focused instrumental music group with plenty of room to stretch out, but with serious focus and attention to melody and harmony. Soon these two guitarists – named Jerry Donahue (from Fairport Convention fame) and Will Ray (a session player from Virginia) – joined forces with The Desert Rose Band and Elton John studio/touring ace John Jorgenson, and The Hellecasters were born.

The trio of talented players named their group and together they started writing their own blend of guitar licks, riffs, and solos – in three-part harmony. Together, they quickly made a name for themselves, as plenty of gossip appeared in … Continue Reading

July 12, 2015 in Historic Fenders

Dick Dale – The King of Surf Guitar

S60s21Dick Dale is a landmark of American music, as his signature musical style, trademark sound, and interesting technique are unique and inspiring, to say the least. Anyone searching for something new should give any of his recordings a listen, as those who explore Dale’s music will discover something fresh and melodic, even though it happens to be vintage.

Part of Dale’s magic lies in the fact that he’s a very aggressive player, and his pickhand literally pummels the strings as he plays. If you carefully watch video of the surf guitar master playing live, you’ll see that he attacks the strings with a lot of muscle, and extended viewing can lead you to wonder … Continue Reading

July 6, 2015 in Historic Fenders

Gilmour’s Strats Part 3 — Gilmour’s Red Stratocaster

blog_shineon_redstratAnother notable guitar in David Gilmour’s collection became his main instrument during the post-Roger Waters era of Pink Floyd – from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s. Gilmour purchased this candy apple red ’52 reissue in 1983 (along with two cream-colored models), and it can be found in his hands for promotional photos and live concerts during his solo period during the mid-1980s. This includes his acclaimed solo album About Face, the first post-Waters Pink Floyd album A Momentary Lapse of Reason, and the live albums Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse.

The guitar itself features a number of differences compared to Gilmour’s previous guitar preferences. In addition to finally selecting a maple fretboard and alder body, Gilmour also chose EMG-SA … Continue Reading

July 3, 2015 in Historic Fenders

Gilmour’s Strats Part 2 — Gilmour’s Black Stratocaster


The most iconic of all of Gilmour’s guitars, this 1969 black “Frankenstrat” has become synonymous with him from the 1970’s to today. This is the guitar that Gilmour used on basically every Pink Floyd recording and tour from 1970 to 1983, and became his consistent and reliable workhorse during the meteoric rise that Pink Floyd experienced throughout the 1970’s, the 1980’s, and beyond. This Strat has a long history of use and abuse, and aside from the fact it was repainted before Gilmour acquired it, he’s changed the neck, pickups, and electronics of this guitar numerous times. He also appeared to have trouble deciding between using a rosewood or maple fretboard. … Continue Reading

June 10, 2015 in Historic Fenders

Gilmour’s Strats Part 1 — #0001 White Stratocaster

tumblr_lha3he6LvS1qhzsyio1_1280The most frequently discussed guitar in Gilmour’s collection is the treasured 1954 white Stratocaster #0001, a guitar he acquired during a North American tour in 1975. The instrument is surrounded with speculation as to whether it’s authentically Fender Stratocaster #0001. Several respected guitar experts have taken a closer look at #1, and a mix of reports have indicated that the stamping of the neck and body are the same year (1954), but from different months (June and September specifically), while other reports declare that the instrument is completely original and attempt to dismiss the controversy.

The interesting history of the guitar itself goes something like this – the guitar was originally a gift from … Continue Reading

June 10, 2015 in Historic Fenders

David Gilmour’s Strats – A 3-Part Series

gilmour collage
Historically, you can find plenty of guitar legends that use a main guitar for decades, only to abruptly switch to a different guitar at another point in their career. From Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” and “Brownie” to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “No.1” and “Lenny” – it won’t take very long for you to find an extensive group of guitarists known for wielding a specific six-string, but then they make the switch to something else, even if it’s only for a single album or tour.

Look no further than Jimi Hendrix to find a player that constantly changed his main instrument throughout his career, although he primarily reached for various late 1960’s Stratocasters. It’s … Continue Reading

August 30, 2013 in Historic Fenders

Historic Fenders: George Harrison’s Rosewood Telecaster

rosieGeorge Harrison’s 1968 Rosewood Fender Telecaster (Serial No. 235594) was used in the Let It Be movie, in the Abbey Road album recording, and in the Cream song Badge. It was also used in The Beatles’ memorable live roof-top performance at the Apple building in London.

The Telecaster is one of the staples of Fender’s line of electric guitars. It is Fender’s original solid body and in the late sixties, there were only a few versions of it available. It was around that time that German Master Builder Roger Rossmeisl designed two innovative Telecasters: the Thinline Telecaster and the Rosewood Telecaster.

The first Rosewood Telecaster was Fender’s gift to Harrison to be used in the movie Let It Be. Rossmeisl and Philip Kubicki … Continue Reading

August 22, 2013 in Historic Fenders

The Fender Mustang

mustangFender’s Mustang is one of the most popular electric guitars ever made by the company. It was introduced in 1965 as the basis of a major redesign of Fender’s student models, which used to consist of the Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic. It is one of the most collectible of all the short-scale Fender guitars.

The ’65 Mustang featured a larger headstock compared to the Mustangs that came before it. The tuners were changed to “F-keys” with square, white plastic pegs. The neck plate was also changed to “F-series” plates. The pickups’ base plate was gray and an additional patent number appeared on the headstock. It also had two single-coil pickups with an unusual switching … Continue Reading