Category Archives: Fender

Elvis Costello Signature Fender Jazzmaster

Earlier this year saw the addition of the J. Mascis Jazzmaster to the Fender Artist Series and it looks like there will be an addition of a Elvis Costello Jazzmaster to the series shortly.

This upcoming announcement can be assumed from a recent Ebay auction claiming to be the first prototype of the signature guitar.

The guitar is based on Elvis’ vintage jazzmaster that appeared on the cover of his fantastic debut album My Aim Is True.

Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

The jazzmaster will feature a satin brown transparent lacquer finish. Other details are not known as of yet.

Elvis Costello Signature Fender Jazzmaster

Fender Toronado GT HH Review

(As posted by Fran in the forums. Nicely written Fran!)

I thought i would write a review up on this, video clips would’ve been nice but nothing much seems to be working on my pc at the moment. I purchased this guitar off ebay for 217.00 quid after playing a model in a shop a month before that impressed me.

Toronado Body

Construction
When i first purchased this guitar off ebay my only concern was the guitar may look a little too ‘bright’ for my tastes. The bright red finish and racing stripe made me think ‘starsky and hutch’ and F1 racing immediately. But upon collecting the guitar it does not look as garish as the pictures suggest. Although different lighting does affect how it looks, something common with a few Fender colours.
All this aside the finish is very good.

This model is Korean built. You might not think this at a glance especially with the high spec hardware, but the ‘feel’ of the neck gives it away.. something i will talk about later.

The set up is similar to a Les Paul (TOM bridge, 4 controls and toggle selector), the pickups are seymour duncans (supposedly a ‘Pearly Gates’ in the bridge position and a 59′ in the neck position), the frets are medium jumbo and the abalone inlays are a nice touch.

The neck carries a matching red headstock and is bolted to a solid mahogany body with 4 new type large black screws.

Playability/Feel
This is where i suspected the Korean construction would become apparent… and it does.

The neck feels more like my Les Paul Junior than my other Fenders, the med/jumbo frets are comfortable and well finished making string bending effortless.

I would say it is a fairly fast neck and it has a very new non glossy feel to it. I’ve noticed MIM and Korean made necks feel much more modern than Jap and US necks. Even when i have played brand new Jap Fenders the necks have an old feel to them. Strapped on it is comfy with a rib contour and well balanced, not too heavy – not too light.

Sound
The construction and hardware suggests what this guitar is going to sound like and it is pretty much right.

Playing straight into a Marshall JCM 2000 the mahogany body creates a warm tone. On clean settings the Pearly Gates is bold and defined but nothing much more. The 59′ has a reasonably good neck tone but by far the best on a clean setting has to be the inbetween position. Sonically this is as close to a traditional Fender sound this guitar is going to get.

On a crunch setting the Pearly Gates is already struggling to behave itself, it starts to dirt up with the guitar volume set at 2! The other two positions stay similar to the clean setting buy with more bite and sustain. I got some nice Bob Mould style ringing chords on the inbetween position.

On the full distortion channel the nitros injection kicks in (Lolz). The Pearly Gates screams “Zak Wylde” with every note.. harmonics galore and thick punchy chords. But i soon select another setting as i become aware i am pulling faces with each string bend..yeah anyway … The 59′ as you would imagine isn’t quite as aggressive but is still lively, the inbetween position becomes a diluted version of the two.

Conclusion
After owning several Fender models with humbuckers and also modifying a few single coil models with humbuckers i can honestly say the Toronado puts them all to shame in that particular tonal ball park.

I assume the mahogany body and bridge have something partly to do with this.
The neck will not suit some people but is not poor quality by any standard.
Personally i like the retro type looks, especially the Jaguar-ish top horn and matching headstock. I also like its weight.

On the downside the Toronado does not shine on clean settings like say a Jaguar or Telecaster….. but i never thought it would. This is a different animal.

Unfortunately in the UK Toronados are quite expensive and you would be able to buy a Jap Tele, Strat or Jaguar for around the same price.

All in all i am happy with the purchase. I love Fender looks but miss Gibson tones at the same time… this guitar has both.

Toronado Full

RAWK ON!

-Fran

What happened to the Fender Cyclone?

Since earlier this year when it became clear the Fender Cyclones were no longer being manufactured, that is the question I asked myself. “What happened to the Fender Cyclone?” We’ll put down some cyclone facts and see what kind of conclusions we can make.

Graffiti Yellow Fender Cyclone

First a quick overview of the history… The original Cyclone was introduced at Summer NAMM 1998. (press release) Just for reference, the jag-stang was introduced at Winter NAMM 1996. The Cyclone II, which added jaguar like switching and jaguar pickups, was introduced at Summer NAMM 2002. (press release) Summer NAMM 2003 saw the new Cyclone HH model with dual humbuckers. (press release) Also in 2003 a Squier model of the Cyclone was introduced.

Daphne Blue Fender Cyclone II

When you consider the features of the Cyclone, and then consider what was being said in many of the jag-stang reviews prior to the Cyclone’s release, it makes you think that Fender tried to appease many of the major complaints seen in the jag-stang reviews. The most notable cyclone features being:

  • larger 24 3/4″ scale neck – Many jag-stang reviews complained about how tiny the neck felt which was the 24″ scale neck.
  • contoured body – many jag-stang complaints about lack of contours.
  • Synchronized tremelo – the floating bridge/tremelo system on jag-stangs/mustangs/etc can be pretty daunting to new guitar players/owners.
  • Single 3 way switch – another common complaint of the jag-stang/mustang was the switches positioned above each pickup.
  • straight humbucker in bridge position – the jag-stang’s angled humbucker was another common issue.
  • jaguar-like electronics (with Cyclone II) – alternative guitar fans should automatically like anything with jaguar parts on it, right??
  • competition stripe paint jobs (with Cyclone II) – another feature aimed at the alternative guitar crowd.

So considering the feature set and how it addressed so many jag-stang and mustang complaints how is it that the cyclone is no more and the mustang is still available? Why didn’t it catch on?

Candy Apple Red Fender Cyclone II

An issue may have been visibility of the cyclone in guitar shops. Between 1999 and 2005 I rarely recall seeing a cyclone in any of the guitar shops I visited at all. This may have just been a geographical or coincidental thing, but even many of the sales folks wouldn’t know anything about the cyclone.

Possibly the most important issue with the popularity of the Cyclone was it’s lack of being identified with any popular guitarist or group. As popular as Artist Series guitars have become for Fender and Gibson that kind of artist recognition would have obviously been a huge benefit.

Kurt Cobain playing Fender MustangIt really makes you wonder if it were not for Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, etc… and the alternative guitar popularity of the 90s would the Mustang, Jaguar, or Jazzmaster be available today?

If you have any thoughts on what happened to the Cyclone, please feel free to post em in the comments.

J. Mascis Jazzmaster added to Fender Artist Series

The increasingly popular Fender Artist Series has added the J. Mascis Jazzmaster to the lineup.  Mascis, of Dinosaur Jr (recently re-united) fame, has always been known for his alternative guitar sonic palette which was often produced by various Fender Jazzmasters.

 J. Mascis Jazzmaster

The unique features on this model include:

  • 60s Styling
  • Jumbo Frets
  • Purple Sparkle Finish
  • Satin Finish Neck
  • Adjusto-Matic Bridge
  • Gold Anodized Pickguard

Fender product page [Fender.com]

I’m not sure how many folks would fork over the $$$ for a sparkly purple guitar. But maybe Shakira will add it to her collection.

Shakira Mustang

Fender Launches the Joe Strummer Telecaster

Fender has released the Joe Strummer Telecaster based on the Punk Icon’s 1966 Tele.¬†Reproduced down to each brutally worn detail you can almost see the sweat dripping from this Tele.

Joe Strummer Tele

The legacy of punk rock legend Joe Strummer continues to live on and grow louder with the release of Fender’s new Joe Strummer Telecaster guitar. Designed with the guidance and support of the Strummer estate and featuring distressed “road-worn” treatment, a “Revolution Rock” engraved neckplate and a limited edition art customization kit, the Joe Strummer Telecaster will be available at music product retailers worldwide beginning July 2007.