James Wilsey and Four Fender Stratocasters

James Wilsey posted this on his Facebook page yesterday. Pretty cool!

All of the Stratocasters I used in over 13 years playing with Chris Isaak.

I started with the black one, it’s a 1966 I purchased in Missouri for $200. When we got a record out and started to tour, I got the sunburst 50s made in Fullerton. They never quite matched very well sound wise, the sunburst was always darker sounding.

In 1987 I decided to retire those and go with a matching pair of reissues. I talked to my friends at Fender and had them hold the next two white 62 reissues. I got them to be less concerned about wear and tear (and potential loss) I’d be facing on the road again. And I wanted two that matched better sound wise, and might as well match the color too.

I went down to Fullerton and picked them up in the warehouse, it was a fun day. The guitars were really nice and sounded great. I could not tell them apart. In the studio, I did a A/B test of the new guitars against the old ones. The new ones sounded better by unanimous vote.

I recorded the next album with the new white guitars, “Wicked Game” used one of them, not sure which.


My New MIM Standard Tele

I actually got this MIM Standard Tele a few weeks back, but am finally posting pics now. I bought it off Craigslist for $275. This is the guitar I should have bought first when I started playing again–instead of the cheap Chinese Tele (which I recently gave away). It’s rock solid, has a great sound. On the whole, I’d say it’s slightly better quality than my Blacktop Tele–especially the pots. I’m half considering putting on a vintage bridge and maybe a black pickguard, but I think I’ll play it stock for a while. All I’ve done so far is put on new strings–D’Addario 10-52s (light top, heavy bottom). Pics after the jump with my Blacktop Tele and my Robert Cray Strat.


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Fender Factory Tour in Corona, California

Back in January I linked to some very cool pics from the PRS factory in Stevensville, Maryland. So how about some pics from the Fender factory tour in Corona, California? These were shot on an iPhone by Strat Talk member gerryl98 and posted over on Strat Talk. From the post:

…we toured the metal shop where we [saw] them punch out the pickguards, control plates, and amp housings, the area where they CNC the bodies and neck, the area where they skunk stripe the necks, press the frets, trim the fret ends, contour sanding and finish sanding, pickup and pots soldering, and the custom shop!!

From what I remember the inspection is done by employees that are guitar players and then goes to final inspector before it gets sent out. They said they produce about 500 American Fender guitars a day and about another 15 in Jacksons, Charvels and EVH. What’s interesting is that the tour guide said each guitar takes a total of about 8 hours labor but about 2 weeks to complete because of wait times. I think he said drying after painting was several days…might have been 10.

See more pics after the jump and you can get more info on the tour at Fender.com


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The Blackguard Book

In my opinion the Telecaster is the coolest guitar ever built. And the original Blackguards? The coolest of the cool. But if you want an original from the early 50s, it’s gonna cost you, big time. So what’s the next best thing? The incredible Blackguard Book by Nacho Banos, which takes a very detailed look at Fender Telecasters built from 1950 to 1954.

The book itself is huge–you better have a strong coffee table! It measures 12″ x 12″ and comes in a hard case. Nacho is only publishing 5500 copies, and they are each given Tele-style serial numbers from 0001 to 5500 (mine is 2095). Inside you will find 50 guitars disassembled and photographed in stunning detail. The book devotes a chapter to each year from 1950 to 1954 and also provides an abundance of technical details on the guitars.

Be warned: this book will increase your GAS. I originally bought it with the idea it would help me spec out a partscaster. But now it has me pretty much sold on a Road Worn 50s Telecaster. Or maybe I should save a little more for a American Vintage ’52. Hmmm….

So should you buy it? Says builder Ron Kirn on TDPRI: “If you’re into Teles and don’t have this book, who ya tryin’ to kid???”

One note on ordering. I got mine for $85 plus $10 shipping from JK Lutherie. It was shipped promptly with no issues. But the site seems to be down at the moment. I’ll update this blog if I get more info.

More pics of the book after the jump!


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