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Tokai Springy Sound "Mary Kaye" made in Japan
About Guitars Buying a new guitar is a considerable investment for most of us. An instrument is all about inspiration. You are the musician and the guitar is the tool you use to express your feelings and music. This has nothing to do with what models you choose or how much they cost. Some basic knowledge about the different wood types, neck and body profiles, pickups etc will help you in making the best choice. However, over the last decade or so, the MIMs has gotten a considerable face lift and the overall quality is very high. In fact, the reason why they are cheaper, ha sless to do with quality but rather lower labour costs, cheaper type of laquer and apply methods etc. Japanese Fenders are considered to be above the Mexicans and perhaps even just as good as the US. In the 80s and early 90s, Japanese Fenders were well known for being superior to any other models and the quality is still top notch. Maple or rosewood necks? Neck wood and contour plays an important role in how the guitar sounds and how it feels to play. Some like thick necks and some prefer a thinner contour. Some like the vintage glossy nitro finish and some prefer the more modern satin finish. Depending on the radius, thickness and contour of the neck, maples are generally brighter sounding with a bit more top and less mid range. Rosewood necks or rosewood fretboard has a slightly warmer tone with more mid range and perhaps an overall more balanced character. Alder, ash or basswood bodies? Like the neck, the wood used for the body, and its quality, plays a role in how the guitar sound. Alder is also the most neutral sounding of the commonly used wood types with a full tone, well balanced lower end a hint of mid range. Its high density makes it a bright sounding wood with a strong punch and rich sustain. Basswood was often used for Japanese Fenders in the 80s and 90s. Although a soft wood, it has a rich and warm tone with a smooth sustain. Basswood has long been favoured by jazz musicians and it can also help to balance a bright punchy maple neck. Now, there is the never ending debate on whether or not different types of wood plays a role. In my experience it does. Consider it a bonus if the stock pickups are to your liking. The string and pickup height and the tremolo action is often set to a so-called factory standardized setup. Over the last decade, Squire has regained much of its old reputation of producing high quality instruments for even the tightest budgets. Squier Bullet Stratocaster The Bullet Stratocatser is possibly the best guitar out there in the lower budget range. They offer classic specs, with vintage style tremolo system and pickups. These are excellent for the beginners and tight budgets and easy to upgrade later on. They capture the essence of the 50s and 60s models with all the characteristics and looks. These guitars are well built and they sound great. Awesome beginners guitars but well worth checking out regardless of your budget. Classic Telecaster tones with a nice bite and the looks and quality of this guitar is just impressive. David used a couple of these in the 80s and 90s. Again an impressive instrument in the budget range. From being the black sheep of the catalogue, the MIMs has gotten a thorough face-lift and are now great alternatives to the much more expensive US counterparts. This model has gone through many changes during the last decade and the result is a very good guitar with a great tone and feel that suits a wide range of genres and styles. The Classic series includes faithful reissues of the original 50s, 60s and 70s models with the best features and tones from each decade. Excellent quality and tones! It comes in a lovely blonde body finish, similar to the Custom Shop model David used during the On an Island tour while performing Arnold Layne. Considered superior to the US Fenders in the 80s and early 90s, the Japanese instruments still holds a very high quality. The attention to details and the quality of the wood is in most cases just as good as the US counterparts — in many cases even better. Common for all the models is the overall high quality of the electronics, hardware and wood. The Relic model also feature all those little dings and scratches as the original. Fender Fat 50s N , Fender Custom Wound M , S Duncan SSL5 B Fender American Standard The recently upgraded model feature a combination of a glossy fretboard and satin back maple for better tone and grip, two-point mounted bridge for better tuning stability and a bypassed tone circuits. Compared to the Mexican Standard, the US model feels and sounds noticeably better — hence the price. Authentic specs and details, high quality wood and parts makes these a dream to play. Fender reintroduced the series in early with a new range of guitars — all to get as close to the originals as possible. David Gilmour is known for having used Les Pauls over the years, mainly Goldtops with P90 single coils. P90s are also a great alternative if you find Stratocasters and Telecaster a bit thin or flat sounding on your bedroom setup. Epiphone P90s Pro Feel free to use the comments field below and share your thoughts on this guide and your experience with other models!
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