July 16, 2013 in Gear Reviews

2013 Fender Custom Shop Models

DSC_8439In 1987, Fender branched out to create the Fender Custom Shop in an attempt to take guitar craftsmanship to another level. The Fender Custom Shop produces special-order guitars for customers through its Custom Shop dealer network. They also create limited-edition guitars and amplifiers and serve as the “test kitchen” for new Fender products.

The Fender Custom Shop has its enormously talented master craftsmen busy at their Fullerton, California headquarters. This year, the so-called “Dream Factory” proudly releases its 2013 collection, a special set of guitars and basses that are exquisitely and meticulously crafted to embody exactly what the Custom Shop stands for, the very best that Fender has to offer. These models … Continue Reading

July 1, 2013 in Historic Fenders

Historic Fenders: Jeff Beck’s Stratocaster

jeffbeckJeff Beck may not have become as famous as his Yardbirds companions Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page; however, he will always be known for his wildly influential instrumental collection and his innovative sound.

The Guitar Hero

Jeff Beck has been discussed as one of the most influential guitar players in rock history in popular magazines. He was actually listed at number five in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Beck’s sound is distinctively his own – bright and edgy, urgent and in your face, yet still having a sweet, musical component to it. You can always tell that he isn’t holding anything back.

“It’s all in his hands,” Eric Clapton once … Continue Reading

June 29, 2013 in Blog

Hell Freezes Over — Fender Selling Bodies and Necks

FenderStoreOld timers might remember the days when you could go into your local Guitar Center or Mom & Pop Fender dealer and see a few prefinished Tele and Strat bodies and a couple of necks in a display case for purchase. But when this ended around 2004 you got the notion that FMIC had learned a lot from that attempt and it wasn’t about to happen again.

Well, don’t look now but, Fender has just unveiled a large assortment of MIA and MIM Telecaster and Strat bodies and necks in all kinds of configurations. And, instead of doing it through the dealers they’re doing it via an Online Store within the … Continue Reading

June 17, 2013 in Blog

Fender’s Acoustic Custom Shop

fasc1When it comes to guitars, amplifiers, and a variety of other stringed instruments, the name Fender has become a benchmark by which others in the industry are measured. Fender Musical Instruments Company has its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizone, but its reach and influence goes beyond its geography, transcending musical styles and touching many generations of music lovers and performers.

Since its founding in 1946 by Leo Fender, the company has been the leader in the conception and manufacturing of popular guitars, basses, banjos, mandolins, violins, and guitar amplifiers. Much of that magic happens at their two manufacturing centers in California and Mexico, but a new facility was more recently opened. The Fender Acoustic Custom Shop in New Hartford, Connecticut is where the … Continue Reading

June 17, 2013 in Tips & Lessons

Tom Petty – Mary Jane’s Last Dance

pettyRecorded on July 22, 1993 while Tom Petty was recording his Wildflowers album, Mary Jane’s Last Dance spiked a bit of controversy as many thought that the song was about drugs, mostly because of the chorus saying “Last dance with Mary Jane, one more time to kill the pain.” “Mary Jane” is a common nickname for marijuana, which is known to altering the state of mind of those who use it, numbing both physical and mental pain.

On the other hand, Heartbreaker guitarist Mike Campbell says, “In the verse there is still the thing about an Indiana girl on an Indiana night. Just when it gets to the chorus he had the presence of mind … Continue Reading

June 17, 2013 in Historic Fenders

Historic Fenders: James Jamerson’s The Funk Machine

jamersonOne of the most historic Fender bass guitars of all time belonged to James Jamerson. Born in January of 1936 in South Carolina, Jamerson later moved with his mother to Detroit, Michigan. He learned to play bass while attending Northwestern High School. He eventually found work with Berry Gordy’s famous Motown record label and the rest was history.

While working for Gordy, Jamerson formed an informal group with other musicians who were regularly in the studio together. They called themselves The Funk Brothers. Members of this group can be heard on most of the big Motown hits of the 60s, however they were not usually credited. Jamerson started out playing double bass with this group, but later switched to the Fender Precision … Continue Reading

June 10, 2013 in Blog

The Mystery of the 0001 Stratocaster

stratgilmourAll great creations begin with a prototype. Iron Man’s armor began with the Mark I, all of the world’s airplanes can trace their roots to the Wright Brothers’ Flyer I, and all Fender Stratocasters started from the 0001 model. This incredibly valuable and sought after guitar currently resides in the hands of Pink Floyd guitar legend David Gilmour.

This famous guitar has been used by Gilmour in many stage performances. It was first seen in 1978 on the live promo clips filmed for his first solo album. It is also featured in Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2. The 0001 Stratocaster can also be heard on Paul McCartney’s Back to the Egg album and … Continue Reading

June 5, 2013 in Tips & Lessons

Pearl Jam – Yellow Ledbetter

Mike McCreadyBy combining a Hendrix-style blues riff, a powerful solo, and passionate lyrics, Yellow Ledbetter is the kind of song that inspires people to pick up a guitar.

Despite never appearing on a studio album, the song became a favorite of Pearl Jam fans as the band has used it for years to close out concerts. While this is clearly not a song for beginners, many intermediate players don’t realize that this classic is well within their abilities.

About The Song

Yellow Ledbetter was actually one of the first songs Pearl Jam ever recorded as a group. Guitarist Mike McCready said that they had just begun recording their first album and the song came about from a jam session. Singer … Continue Reading

June 3, 2013 in Tips & Lessons

Pink Floyd – Money

220px-Dark_Side_of_the_MoonPink Floyd’s Money is the only song on the 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon that made it to the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Money has often been misinterpreted as a tribute to money and greed but it’s really about the bad things these evils can bring. Ironically, it paid Pink Floyd lots of cash as it sold over 34 million copies.

About The Song

Pink Floyd’s founding member, bassist and co-lead vocalist Roger Waters is credited for writing the song. Waters provided the basic music and lyrics for Money. Waters also put together the cash register tape loop that played throughout the song. The track also contains … Continue Reading

June 3, 2013 in Historic Fenders

Historic Fenders: Eric Clapton’s Signature Stratocaster

claptonKnown as the musician’s musician, Eric Clapton is arguably the most famous living Fender Stratocaster player of all time. His music and guitar playing skills have earned him numerous titles and awards. He is the only artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. He has helped popularize multiple different models of Fender Strats and Jazzmasters. In 1988, Fender released their first signature Stratocaster in honor of Eric Clapton.

History & Making

Clapton joined The Yardbirds in 1963, where he played lead guitar. He mostly used Telecasters or Jazzmasters at that time, and his distinctive playing style became well-known in the British music scene. He left the band in 1965 and would later swap his … Continue Reading