Claescaster

Tag: Fender

Paul Bigsby

Paul Bigsby
Paul Bigsby died on June 7, 1968. While most guitarists know him because of his wildly popular Bigsby vibrato, most are not aware that Bigsby is widely considered to have crafted the first true solidbody electric guitar. Bigsby was a motorcycle mechanic during the 1940s in Southern California. He became friends with noted country star Merle Travis when the two met at a motorcycle racetrack. Travis discovered that Bigsby was a notorious tinkerer, and asked Paul if he could fix a vibrato tailpiece on a Gibson L-10. Bigsby ended up replacing the vibrato with a better one of his own design. Travis then asked Bigsby in 1946 if he could build an entire electric guitar, complete with pickups that wouldn’t feed back. Using a design from Travis, Paul created what may have been the first solidbody electric guitar. The guitar had a single cutaway and a headstock that featured all the tuning pegs on one side instead of the standard three per side arrangement. This was similar to a design used a centrury before by German luthier Johann Stauffer. It would later show up in a very similar form on the Fender Stratocaster.
Taken from National Guitar Museum

Merle Travis Paul Bigsby guitar
Merle Travis guitar built by Paul Bigsby in 1946, the first guitar that Bigsby built

THE STORY OF PAUL BIGSBY - FATHER OF THE MODERN ELECTRIC SOLIDBODY GUITAR by Andy Babiuk
If you want to read more about Paul Bigsby there is plenty of info at Premier Guitar, or you can by the book.

Update: December 18th 2014, I just found this pretty cool video about Paul Bigsby’s third guitar he built in 1949 for “Butterball” Paige

Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan
Roy Buchanan and Nancy, from the 1977 album Loading Zone

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I’m a huge fan of Roy Buchanan. I even got myself a Nancy, well it’s a Japanese Fender ’52 re-issue Telecaster from the late 1980’s but close enough. I was watching Youtube documentaries on my lunch and came across Roy Buchanan – P.B.S. Greatest Unknown Guitarist in the World from 1971. Roy’s life story is both sad and quite amazing, you can read more about him if you click the links above. I love the fact that he had give up on music and trained to be a hairdresser when he found Nancy and that he was kicked out of The Hawks for being too weird. This is the song that made me fall in love with him and I’m still not sure if I’m more impressed by his singing or his guitar playing, Roy Buchanan – CC Rider.

Fernandes RST-50 ’57

Fernandes The Revival 57 Stratocaster
Fernandes The Revival RST-50 ’57 Stratocaster Made in Japan, 1988
I just realised that the Fernandes that I sold back in July is on the market again. If anyone needs a Strat, a proper “Blackie”, I could highly recommend this one. Here is the ad at Guitarristas

Fender Telecaster Japan TL52-75

Fender Telecaster Japan TL52-75
Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan by FujiGen between 1987-1989

I have thought long and hard about it and now decided to put “Nancy” up for sale. It’s going to be sad to see her go but sometimes you have to sell things you love for the greater good of the collection. I’m going to focus more on Greco and Levin from now on. I also have two guitars on their way so I need to make some room for my new babies.

Fender Japan TL52-75
Fender Telecaster TL52-75,
’52 re-issue Made in Japan, FujiGen 1987-1989.
900€ SOLD
In mint condition, all original, without any doubts the best Telecaster I have ever played. Imported straight from Japan. The only reason for selling is because I prefer fat 70’s necks. There is no way to find the production year of these A-serial Telecaster with the serial number on the bridge plate. However, it must have been made between 1987 and 1989 since it’s a TL52-75. They were called TL52-70 between 1984-1986 and then changed to TL52-700 in 1990.

Fender Japan Twang catalogue 1989
Fender Japan Twang catalogue 1989

Guitar of the day

Rory Gallagher's 1961 Fender Stratocaster

Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster with the serial number of 64351. Bought on credit from Crowley’s Music Store in Cork in 1963 for £100, this is the guitar that formed the bedrock of Rory’s sound and became synonymous with the bluesman. It was also possibly the first Fender Stratocaster to reach Ireland. Almost all of the original finish is gone, due to the heavy use, and a medical condition that caused Rory’s sweat to be acidic, which would wear away the thin nitro finish.

Rory Gallagher's 1961 Fender StratocasterRory Gallagher's 1961 Fender StratocasterRory Gallagher's 1961 Fender Stratocaster

Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH

FENDER JAPAN TN72G-FT/MH SWH

We went and saw Crosby, Still & Nash when they played here last Monday. They were like I had expected, old. Crosby and Nash did pretty well but Stills has lost the plot completely, but I think he did that 40 years ago with his cocaine fueled hubris. He can’t sing any more, which could happen to the best of us, so he decided to just play endless guitar solos instead. I’m not sure if he is in to free-jazz but the solos sounded horrible and they seemed to never end.

Crosby, Stills & Nash Setlist at Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain 2013-07-08
They looked a bit like this

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151824462428714&l=994714882144620479
And they sounded a bit like this, without Stills of course. Please excuse the shaky hand of the camera man, he was trying to drink bourbon out of a hip-flask at the same time.

It was nice to see a couple Gretsch White Falcons on stage though, which reminded me of a pretty awesome new Japanese Telecaster I saw a few months back. The Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH, a Telecaster version of a White Falcon. I guess it could be a bit much for a lot of people with all the gold but I love it. However, I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay ¥230,000 for it, it’s about $2,270. They seem to be pretty hard to find in Europe but here is an eBay seller that sells them for 1740€ plus shipping and import taxes. I guess I have to wait a few years until they appear second hand for hopefully a bit less.

Fender Japan '72 Rissue Telecaster TN72G-FT MH

Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH

FENDER JAPAN TN72G-FT/MH SWH

We went and saw Crosby, Still & Nash when they played here last Monday. They were like I had expected, old. Crosby and Nash did pretty well but Stills has lost the plot completely, but I think he did that 40 years ago with his cocaine fueled hubris. He can’t sing any more, which could happen to the best of us, so he decided to just play endless guitar solos instead. I’m not sure if he is in to free-jazz but the solos sounded horrible and they seemed to never end.

Crosby, Stills & Nash Setlist at Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain 2013-07-08
They looked a bit like this

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151824462428714&l=994714882144620479
And they sounded a bit like this, without Stills of course. Please excuse the shaky hand of the camera man, he was trying to drink bourbon out of a hip-flask at the same time.

It was nice to see a couple Gretsch White Falcons on stage though, which reminded me of a pretty awesome new Japanese Telecaster I saw a few months back. The Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH, a Telecaster version of a White Falcon. I guess it could be a bit much for a lot of people with all the gold but I love it. However, I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay ¥230,000 for it, it’s about $2,270. They seem to be pretty hard to find in Europe but here is an eBay seller that sells them for 1740€ plus shipping and import taxes. I guess I have to wait a few years until they appear second hand for hopefully a bit less.

Fender Japan '72 Rissue Telecaster TN72G-FT MH

Fender Telecaster Japan TL52-75

Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan by FujiGen between 1987-1989

As a Roy Buchanan fan I always dreamt of owning my own “Nancy“. The story how Roy found his Nancy is pretty interesting. In 1969 Roy got fed up with the music industry and enrolled in a school to learn to be a hairdresser. One day during class he saw a guy walking pass the window carrying an old butterscotch blonde Telecaster and Roy fell in love at first site. He chased after the guy and told him that he could pick any guitar he wanted in a nearby music store and in the end bought him a new purple Telecaster to trade for the 1953 Fender Telecaster, serial number 2324, that later became his beloved Nancy. My story wasn’t that interesting. I had kept an eye out for a Japan made ’52 reissue and one day I saw that my favourite eBay seller in Japan, Tokyowax had one for sale. So in October 2012 I became the proud owner of a Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan by FujiGen between 1987-1989. There is no way to find the exact production year of these A-serial Telecaster with the serial number on the bridge plate. However, it must have been made between 1987 and 1989 since it’s a TL52-75. They were called TL52-70 between 1984-1986 and then changed to TL52-700 in 1990. I do love Nancy, she is an extremely heavy and amazing sounding Telecaster but I still struggle a but with the neck. She has a typical mid eighties Japan neck, really flat and fast playing, without any doubt the fastest guitar I have after my 1975 Hagström HIIN OT. The problem is that I’m not such a huge fan of slick and easy to play necks. I like quite high action and really fat necks so I have to make an effort to play, it’s a part of the feeling for me. Nancy is still an awesome guitar and sounds great from stock, everything is made in Japan, machine heads, pickups, switch and pots. However, there was one thing that really annoyed me, the brass saddles. If you live in a Mediterranean coast city like Barcelona, you will have to adjust your guitars a lot to cope with the humidity. I have to adjust the truss-rod and saddles on most of my guitar when the seasons change and with Nancy it was a nightmare. The only screwdriver that was small enough to fit for adjusting the height of the original saddles was a tiny little weak thing that I got for my watches. Since I didn’t have strength enough to move the screw while the guitar was tuned I had to loosen the string every time, then tune it again. I was also a bit disappointed with the intonation high up on the neck so I decided to change for my favourites, Wilkinson compensated brass saddles. I found a set really cheap from Swivel Electronics in Singapore and a couple of weeks ago I got around to change them.

♪ ♫ Roy Buchanan – CC Rider

Fender Telecaster TL52-75 The old ones might have had more sustain since they were heavier and seemed more solid but to be able to adjust the height with a simple Allen key, without having to loosen the string is more important to me.

Fender Telecaster TL52-75 All done, I’m sure they will look old in a few month and blend in perfectly with the rest of the hardware. The humidity here in Barcelona seems to age metal very quickly.

Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan I bought Nancy because I wanted a blackguard ’52 re-issue but quite soon I realised that everyone else in Barcelona had one too, well not a Japanese but still. It suddenly felt and looked more Bruce Springsteen than Roy Buchanan so I decided to change to a tortoise shell 5 hole pickguard to make it look a bit more Country-,  Swamp-, Southern rock. 

Guitar of the day

Roy Buchanan's 1953 Fender Telecaster Serial #2324, Nancy Roy Buchanan’s 1953 Fender Telecaster named “Nancy”. Taken from the Fender Exhibit. It must have been a fairly well lit exhibition since she looks so pale.

Roy Buchanan's Roy bought Nancy in 1969 from a guy that passed him in the street carrying the guitar.

Roy Buchanan with Nancy In 1960 Roy Buchanan replaced Fred Carter Jr. as guitarist in Ronnie Hawkins’ Hawks. After a short period, he left the Hawks and teenager Robbie Robertson took over the lead guitar. Buchanan, one of Robertson’s main guitar influences, also performed as an opening act for the reunited Band on their 1987 tour. Levon Helm mentions in his book, This Wheel’s on Fire – Levon Helm and the Story of The Band, that they thought Roy was an amazing guitar player but he was too weird to have in the band, hence they let Robbie take over once he had taken a few guitar lessons from Roy.


Roy Buchanan – Live from Austin TX 1976

Guitar of the day

Stevie Ray Vaughan number one Stevie Ray’s Number One, also known as Vaughan’s ‘First Wife’, was a ’62/’63 Fender Stratocaster used by Vaughan for most of his career; it was “rebuilt more times than a custom Chevy.” Vaughan always claimed it was a 1959 model, since that date was written on the back of the pick-ups; Rene Martinez, who maintained the guitar since 1980, saw the year 1963 stamped in the body and 1962 on the neck. The guitar was given to him by the owner of Ray Henning’s Heart of Texas music shop in Austin, Texas in 1973, it was his main performing instrument and companion. Although the original had a white pickguard and strangely hot ’59 pickups, Stevie replaced the pickguard with a pickguard featuring the now famous SRV lettering. Remarkably, Stevie had the frets replaced with jumbo bass style frets while he played on a reportedly .013 (going as high as .018) guage strings. Number One now resides with Stevie’s brother Jimmie. It’s been permanently retired in memory of Stevie. Here is an interview with Stevie’s guitar tech Rene Martinez.

♪ ♫ Stevie Ray Vaughan – Little Wing

Stevie Ray Vaughan Stevie Ray Vaughan – Live in Japan, January 24, 1985

I love that he is smoking a pipe when he comes out on stage, a bit unexpected.