Happy New Year!
It’s been a while so I have many things to write about which I’ll spread out over several posts. Big news first…. My new baby!
I’ve been looking for nice Telecaster of my own ever since I laid my hands on the juicy vintage and custom ones in L.A. Sadly, those are still out of reach for me but that doesn’t mean I have to settle for less than average. If my last major purchases are anything to go by, I developed a real penchant for finding hidden vintage gems on Trademe. I’m still really happy with my 1974 Yamaha Gibson L-5 copy and my 1990 Fender Precision Plus bass which both took a bit of patience to find.
I knew I wanted a Tele, specifically one with a single coil neck pick up. This is because I need a bright jangly clean sound for the rhythm guitar I play in my duo. I already have the dark fat jazzy sound covered by the humbuckers in my Yamaha but it’s just too muddy sounding if I want to strum open chords. I tried playing a Stratocaster for a while which worked ok but sounded a bit thin on it’s own. The duo is just guitar and voice with a bit of percussion, no bass. A Tele has a slightly fatter and warmer tone with a bit more highs and lows which sounds bigger without accompaniment.
To the average person, these differences are subtle. When I first started playing guitar, I didn’t know very much about tone. All guitars sounded the same to me and I based my purchase on aesthetics. Now, after having played many different styles in different settings, I can hear what’s appropriate for the situation. Having the right tone affects how you play too. If it sounds good to me, I tend to play in a more inspired way and be more adventurous. But it’s not just about the guitar, a truly great player can make any old junk sound good.
It’s a 1995 Made in Japan Fender Foto Flame. It has an unusually light and therefore very resonant body. Lovely vintage V neck. I love a ‘played in guitar’ but this one has quite a bit of fretwear, which will need attention soon. The pickups needed upgrading too. I’ve taken it to Mr Glyn for a setup. He’s a great luthier who has always improved my guitars. Interesting blog too.
I almost bought a brand new already ‘finished’ guitar but I decided to go with a cheapie with a lot of potential and do it up slowly. This way I not only save money but also learn a lot about the instrument. Will keep you posted on upgrades and their effect.
If free improvised music (by free I mean not constrained by rhythmic or harmonic conventions, not free free… it’s $10 on the door) is your sort of thing then come down to the Whammy Bar on K’road this Tuesday (the 18th) 8pm, for an unforgettable experience. The Scandinavian extreme free jazz punk power trio “THE THING” is currently touring NZ. I’ll be supporting on double-bass as part of a local 8 piece group The Palcontents led by Paul Buckton. It’s going to be fun but also very challenging. I’ll let you know how it went in my next post and maybe even put up some recordings if I’m feeling brave.