View Full Version : Guitar question for the FSL (or anyone else for that matter...)

1st Sep 2010, 12:43
Mr Draper, esq.,

I realise there have been numerous threads on guitars within these hallowed halls, however I have a specific question and, being a man of the world, you may be just the chap to give a considered response...

I am contemplating the purchase of a guitar of the stratocaster variety in order to better emulate the noise made by the Strat King (Knopfler). However, I can't quite stretch to a '60s model, fiesta red or otherwise. Having said that, I don't mind spending a few squids - I just want to make sure that I don't get robbed.

I have been offered a 1972 sunburst transition strat ('transition' in that it is 3 bolt neck but only one string tree on the headstock and pick-ups that really do sound very quacky and sixties-ish).

It has all the original bells and whistles including the original case, and while it displays (very) obvious signs of use, it does not demonstrate evidence of any abuse.

What sort of money should I expect to pay for this in your respected opinion?

RJC :ok:

1st Sep 2010, 12:45
I can't wait for the answer to this one...:)

In fact I can't, so I'll weigh in. The guitar you're describing is a CBS era Strat. As no doubt you know, Leo Fender sold the company to CBS in 1965 & the subsequent big idea was to drive down costs by making cheaper guitars. So, the most collectable strats are pre CBS & the most playable ones are post CBS I.e. 1986 on.

I own two, a 1974 & a 2008, both USA models, the later one being the main instrument I play on & the earlier one hardly used, but sentimental to me & since I'm not starving, not for sale.

The 'transition' is a meaningless term, which no doubt the seller has laid on you - the three bolt neck was a CBS idea - one bolt less, so 25% saved on bolts. Upshot, the neck is less stable & condequently the guitar stays in tune less well than four bolt necks. Don't be fooled by talk of transition & innovation -those strats had dollars shaved off them.

Having said that, my '74 cost me £400 twenty years ago & I am confident I could get £2000ish for it now - for some reason, 70's strats became popular for a while & the prices went up - I guess because they aren't making things in the 70's anymore.

The upshot is if you want a modern, light, highly playable strat, buy a USA standard - £6-£800, but if you have your heart set on this '72, expect to pay anywhere between £1000-£1500 depending on the individual provenance of the guitar.

Further note of caution - if you are handing over collectors quantities of cash for an old Fender, be sure it is what the seller says it is. Fenders were designed to be very easy to repair, so if it's top money, be sure the neck, pickups, scratchplate etc. are original - Fenders the original rat guitar, as Drapes will confirm.

1st Sep 2010, 12:51
Take a wee browse here.

Used Equipment Value - Fair Market Value & Online Price Guide - UsedPrice.com (http://www.usedprice.com/items/guitars-musical-instruments/index.html)

1st Sep 2010, 13:05
Thanks for that Parapunter.

Your thoughts on the valuation are genuinely useful and appreciated.

Actually, the 'transition' word was all my own doing - I just wanted to most accurately describe the fact that the guitar was not a 'pure' '72 or a 'pure' '70 model, but rather somewhere in between. As such, I would certainly not ascribe value to the guitar on this basis - indeed possibly quite the opposite.

I have a '94 US Custom as well, but the primary driver for getting an older guitar in addition is because the sound is (to my humble ears at least) genuinely different. Whether ir not it could be described as 'better' is of course entirely subjective.


tony draper
1st Sep 2010, 13:08
Getting a particular guitar to give a particular sound can end up being a expensive hobby,there are Knopfler signature Strats out there but they are the thick end of 2000 quid,gave up on chasing a parcular sound a while back,my favorite guitar at the mo sounds nowt like knopflers but I doubt anybody but meself would notice.
Knopflers early sound is a combination of the way he played with his fingers rather than a plec texas special pups and I think a fender amp,but his modern sound is completely different.
There are always loads of Stratocasters on Ebay and loads of websites that describe the exact equiptment that any particular player uses or used.
I find tiz hard enough playing knopfler stuff without chasing the sound as well but good luck to you in your quest :ok:

1st Sep 2010, 13:11
Many thanks Mister Draper

tony draper
1st Sep 2010, 13:14
Here be a website about Mr Knopflers gear.:)
Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler Guitar Site (http://ds.mk-guitar.com/)
Tiz the flamed Pensa I lust after.

1st Sep 2010, 13:16
I'm thinking about a Les Paul at the moment. A decent one of those is anything from £1500 - £3000, so it's looking like an Epiphone until one's Polly Peck shares bounce back.:rolleyes:

Being a confirmed Fender man, one is not knowledgeable about the Gibson dark side, least of all the Gibson cheapy Korean dark side, but one hears the Epi's arent't bad as ringers go.

Any opinions?

1st Sep 2010, 13:26
Thank you Mr Draper - very interesting website. I too have a hankering for that Pensa, though I have thus far managed to avoid getting into 'lust' territory.

Parapunter - I have played a few LPs but don't own one - I'm sure there is a multitude of people better placed to comment than I.

tony draper
1st Sep 2010, 13:44
Got a reasonable Chinese Les Paul copy,I find the neck a tad chunky tried the real thing in the Guitar emporium and found it the same,slightest difference in a neck from what you are accoustomed to fingering seems greatly exagerated,mine spends most of its time hanging on the wall,should really play it more often poor thing.
PS I have a Korean Pensa copy made by Shine that I cannot fault in terms of playability sound and build quality,there are some really good oriental guitars out there,I know many that reckon the MIJ Strats cant be beat:)

1st Sep 2010, 13:57
Punter brother has a Les paul Studio - one finds it chunky too & the frets exaggerated when compared to a Fender, but one is playing lots of fiendishly difficult John Squire stuff lately & once again, it's a tone chasing thing.:)

1st Sep 2010, 14:03
...not knowledgeable about the Gibson dark side, least of all the Gibson cheapy Korean dark sideGreg Bennett, an American chap, got together with Samick to produce the Avion versions. They're certainly not Gibsons, but the best of these Koreans aren't too bad. The necks are produced in the US and have the right feel, better than some of the Epiphones I've encountered, anyhow. I have one but I ripped out the wiring and electrical bits and fitted my own Seymour Duncans and Gibson pots. The build of the guitar was very good but the wiring was crap, actually. If you're into mucking about with pick-ups, pots and amplifiers, one can produce all sorts of interesting sounds (Gary Moore's Peter Green job for example) and fiddling about on a cheap Korean body is a good way to start.

(..or maybe I should re-phrase that? :suspect: )

1st Sep 2010, 14:30
As another poster knows, (thread drift here) I am currently exploring the much cheaper option of a late model Gretsch Pro Jet - anybody got one/experience?

Tyres O'Flaherty
1st Sep 2010, 18:02
Parapunter LP type eh ?

I have had a revelation of late.

I had a lead go down at the start of a gig (:sad:) couple of weeks ago. So

I popped into the top emporium in oxford to replace, & found they had 10 guitars half price, so checked out a Fret King Eclat 2.

Walked out with it & havent touched anything else since. Instant perfection.

Of course being £200 helped, but even at full I think it's a real bargain, quality build & equipment way better than RRP, I'd go so far as to say incredible

1st Sep 2010, 20:03
I honestly never heard of them. I've just come back from playing squash, where i took a good one in the eye. Once my vision comes back, I feel a trip to the money hoover (guitar shop) will be in order.

It's a well known fact amongst guitarists that stepping over the threshold of any guitar shop instantly removes any talent one harbours for the duration of the visit.

1st Sep 2010, 21:43
Here is the King, taught me to play (sorry slight drift)...................

The Official Bert Weedon Website (http://www.bertweedon.com/)


1st Sep 2010, 21:52
Tyres, very nice looking, looks like a version of the (recent) Les Paul Melody maker of mine, http://www.productwiki.com/upload/images/gibson_les_paul_melody_maker.jpg
but with 2 P90s :{ With the quality you say, looks like a bargain.
Need the chambered body tho' :O

With humble apologies to Herr Draper, who linked this first, a response to
stepping over the threshold of any guitar shop instantly removes any talent
YouTube - What it's really like to work in a music store (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-xX7iWvzbo&feature=player_embedded)

1st Sep 2010, 22:07
I have a shine telecaster copy and the action is great. Better than my fender strat in fact.

Tyres O'Flaherty
1st Sep 2010, 23:06
Mustpost, amongst other things, the trev Wilkinson one-piece bridge is a smart piece of kit, intonatable

The P/U's I believe are Wilkinson designed, I play in a 2 guitar Very noisy Prog-noisecore (c/o the local music rag) band, & it's the best I've ever been able to hear myself onstage. Great clarity even with lots of drive.

So I'd say, yes some similarity, but a much deeper solider body, nearer to an LP studio, but better, great tone etc.

I'm seriously considering getting rid of my Gibson LP junior DC to finance another :eek:

2nd Sep 2010, 08:31
The Gibson Les Paul Studio is a great guitar for the money.Plenty on E-Bay.Its as good as most Les Paul's.You just don't get all the fancy trimmings and paint jobs which don't actually make you a better player.

2nd Sep 2010, 08:36
stepping over the threshold of any guitar shop instantly removes any talent I'm only allowed to go into a guitar shop after depositing wallet and plastic with SWMBO. :(

2nd Sep 2010, 09:09
I have a shine telecaster copy and the action is great. Better than my fender strat in fact.Whilst I don't doubt this for a second, action is of course in the hands of the player. Both my strats have been fret buzzy, so I took them to the strat doctor & got a new nut, then loosened off the truss rod a touch, to put a but more curve in the neck & raised the bridge a touch - still low & fast, but no more buzzing.

tony draper
2nd Sep 2010, 09:58
I do me own setting up Mr P,only thing I just cannot get right is the intonation,not matter how much I move the saddles back and forth sharpen or flatten I cannot get the tuner in me rack to say the open and octave are the same,just get them as close as possibl now,I reckon perfect intonation is impossible to achieve.
Did see a add for a new type of nut somewhere that supposedly removes the inherent tuning errors in all guitars.

2nd Sep 2010, 10:04
For some reason, on every Fender I've ever messed about with, it's the g string that I can never quite get right. Always sharp or flat, never on the nose. Maybe I have some hangover monkey gene that makes ones ear 'oles overly sensitive, but that g is a pain.

I agree Mr. D, set ups are pretty straightforward -the only thing I don't fancy is removing & replacing the nut, I reckon there's a lot of ways to wreck a neck mucking about with your nuts.:bored:

One of course does own the Haynes Fender manual & a set of feeler gauges so that one can achieve musical communion with what His majesty King Leo intended as one's shredding monster exited the Corona cathedral of musical excellence.

One has been learning the chops in this lately. It is a fiendish piece designed to defeat the average Johnny come lately, but no trouble at all to Mr. Punters seasoned finger tips.:rolleyes:

YouTube - The Seahorses - Love is the Law (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9jDtwa23mI)

tony draper
2nd Sep 2010, 10:13
likewise Mr P I seem to be able to hear the slightest sharpness or flatness that others cannot,my mistake was buying fancy rack kit with built in very accurate tuner so one spends a inordinate amount of time tuning,seeking the impossible,in standard tuning for me tiz always the G for some reason.
Well there is a reason actually, apparently tiz agin the laws of physics for a stringed instruments with a fretboard to be perfectly in tune,there are learned articles about this phenomenon on tinternet.

2nd Sep 2010, 11:15
You think tuning a guitar is hard? Try tuning a Great Highland Bagpipe. Once you've got that off, try tuning the whole band to the same pitch - one was Pipe Major once, but I've turned into a gentleman now. :)

Theoretically, tuning a guitar is simple enough - stike two strings at the same note and identify the beat frequency, then bit by bit, tune it out. But as tony says, it just ain't possible to get them all "in" at the same time. Changing the tension on one string will always alter the set of the neck and affect all the other strings. The mystery is why is it always the "G" string that refuses to cooperate?

(Definitions: Gentleman - A chap who can play the bagpipes but doesn't)

2nd Sep 2010, 11:25
One does use a soft pencil in the nut, which helps a bit, but always with the open g string.

One is also lusting after one of these at the mo, which is to say how many guitars does a guitarist need? One more, just one more.:)


tony draper
2nd Sep 2010, 11:37
I've stopped at seven,bought a Electro Acoustic orf a chap in me road a month or so back and have taken a oath to buy and build no more.:(
Tuning the open strings to one another by ear is indeed a simple matter Mr Blacksheep and it is what most folks do and is fine for folk singers, singing nuns and such who do not venture past the third fret,buying a prpper accurate tuner is a big mistake,it shows up how far out you are further up the neck.:(

2nd Sep 2010, 11:44
You can take it too far. One once consorted with a young lady, whose dad was a burglar alarm fitter & keen guitarer. He had fitted an alarm system in a country pile. Turned out the guy was a record producer & had a full studio at the manor.

The conversation turned to music & it emerged that the guy was having a spiffy brand new mixing desk - you know the kind of thing - twenty foot long & two hundred channels delivered the folowing day & would you like the old one as I really can't be bothered to sell it?

Yes indeed said the chap, foolishly failing to consult the wife. Thus it was that one was invited to muck around in this chap's dining room, complete with several strats, acoustics, drum kit & keyboards & what can only be described as a full, professional studio, that kindly record producer man had delivered & sent a nice chap to spend two days teaching the ins & out of the the beast.

One thought it best not to ask mum what she thought of the whole affair.:uhoh:

2nd Sep 2010, 11:45
...have taken a oath to buy and build no more:}:}:}:}

As if... :hmm:

Q: Do they have a Guitarists Anonymous?

Mrs BS imposed the same rule as that imposed on our grandson - If you want to play with a new toy you must first put one back in the toy box.

Monkey Boy
2nd Sep 2010, 12:44
I'm thinking about a Les Paul at the moment. A decent one of those is anything from £1500 - £3000, so it's looking like an Epiphone until one's Polly Peck shares bounce back.:rolleyes:

Being a confirmed Fender man, one is not knowledgeable about the Gibson dark side, least of all the Gibson cheapy Korean dark side, but one hears the Epi's arent't bad as ringers go.

Any opinions?

I've got an Epiphone Les Paul Custom and a Gibson Les Paul SVOS. To be honest, gigging with the Epiphone is no problem at all, and sound wise not too many people in the audience would notice the difference. Another guy in the band had an Epiphone Les Paul Standard, which when played through a Marshall Combo sounded superb. Sadly, when looking for a "sound" it's as much to do with the player as the instrument. :{

If you can live with a Floyd Rose trem, check out the Washburn N4. It's got a Steven's cutaway and the neck has to be one of the best out there, looks good too. Like you Parapunter, I'm also on the look out for a Parker Fly, preferably one with MIDI (is that the Mojo version)?

Oh, and you can NEVER have too many guitars :E

Ace Rimmer
2nd Sep 2010, 14:37
The right number of guitars is, of course N+1 where N is the number you currently own....

2nd Sep 2010, 14:43
Ace, I've been telling MrsP that for the thick end of 40 years.

And why does she need 3 sewing machines?

7th Sep 2010, 21:43
Woo hoo! Just bought this on Fleabay! All I need now is a tele & I got me the full set!

7th Sep 2010, 22:28
PP, well done sir, saw it but was trying to work out if it was OK to fit a Bigsby to...:O
Copy the G tuning issue on any guitar I've had, as I've told FSL tho' , for home practice the Valvetronix is the equivelant of x-factor autotuning..
tiz agin the laws of physics for a stringed instruments with a fretboard to be perfectly in tune
There you have me/us - as part of our combined school physics/woodwork class we designed and built an electric guitar. So far, so good, we used plans from a 60s geetar mag, thought we understood fretting maths etc.
Nope, it would not play a single thing that sounded right, and only the other day I borrowed an Aria Elocord which seemed to suffer from the same thing.

Then again the school wah-wah pedal and 4 x 12" baffle board projects were also dooomed to failure.

OK, question now for all you knowledgable folk, what was the name of the 'Fuzz Box' one plugged directly into the input socket of the amp - oblong maroon coloured metal box with pp9 batt, and jackplug integral to it?

7th Sep 2010, 22:34
That's five now. Two strats, an Ovation, a Martin & this thing. Think I'd better stop - can't afford the strings.:uhoh:
One has a valvetronix & to be perfectly honest, the manual confuses one, it does far more things than one can possibly understand.

tony draper
7th Sep 2010, 22:36
As I said earlier there exists a special kind of nut with some fancy name I have fogoten,it is supposed to make perfect tuning possible, it can be found on ebay and various other guitar websites,was tempted but 25 quid for a two inch piece of plastic seemed a bit steep to me,got me fingers burned buying a thing called a Tremsetter which was supposed to stop a floating tremlo from constantly causing the instrument to go TU as far as tuning is concered.
It didn't.
The wee fuzz box was called the electro harmonix Little Muff Fuzz if I recall I have one about the place somewhere,Electro Harmonix stuff was Cheap and cheerful, and often much better than the more expensive pedals the Small Stone Phaser beat the rest hands down.

Tyres O'Flaherty
7th Sep 2010, 23:44
Your average guitar is subject to something called ''even tempering'', a compromise in fret spacing/placements. It causes a difference, particularly between the D & G strings (iirc !), in their relative pitches that the ear most often acommodates.

However, a clever colonial invented a solution, is this what you were thinking of Mr Drapes ?

Buzz Feiten Tuning System (http://www.buzzfeiten.com/)

8th Sep 2010, 08:15
Re: Guitar Tuning. In the seventies "Hi-Fi" was all the rage and ardent Hi-Fi nuts would buy odd mixtures of various expensive decks, amplifiers, tuners and speakers. Paddy Mullen invites us all to his room to check out his latest set up. He puts a Led Zeppelin LP onto the turntable and cranks it up.

"There you go!" says Jock Watson "...accurately reproduced distortion." ;)

All I need now is a tele... All you need now is to replace those pick-ups and pots with a decent set. :suspect:

8th Sep 2010, 08:40
Why? I would become a better guitarist by so doing?

8th Sep 2010, 11:46
No, but you'd improve the guitar. The sound comes from the pick-ups.

8th Sep 2010, 11:48
No, the tone comes from the pickups, the sound comes from my years of practice.:=

8th Sep 2010, 12:00
Touché, Para.

...though mebbe its the music that comes from years of practice and the tone from the rig?

8th Sep 2010, 12:09
The tone is an element of course, but with the trickery boxes at ones disposal, it's possible to recreate just about any sound you would wish to hear.

Besides, tone is a subjective thing, Most Fender owners turn their noses up at Squier strats as cheapy versions, yet John Mayall & Jeff Healey are happy enough to use them, amongst others. One mans authentic shredding tone is another's screechy noise etc. etc.

8th Sep 2010, 12:36
Also Frank Dunnerty (It Bites) and Steve Vai (on the studio version of Boy From Seattle).

8th Sep 2010, 17:06

Jeff Healey used to use a Squier at one time. Unfortunately he died two years ago. And way too young.

8th Sep 2010, 17:12
I didn't know that. I haven't kept up with things - clearly.:(

tony draper
8th Sep 2010, 17:17
I think as in most things the quality of Squires has varied over the years and upon who is building them,as I understand it the Japanese ones bring a high price,I bought a Japanese Squire Rosewood neck from ebay and it was a beauty.

8th Sep 2010, 17:19

Jeff Healey died in March 2008 of cancer in Toronto Canada, his hometown.

He left behind his wife and, I believe, one son who inherited, genetically, his blindness.

Tony D:

I own several Squiers. One is a real cheap piece of crap, a couple are decent and one is superb. The latter was hand-crafted in, of all places, India. Squier names it the 'Squier Vintage Modified Stratocaster'. To me it sounds just as good as, if not better than, any Strat made in Mexico. And it's very sweet to play as well.

Here's a pic:


Here are the specs:
Body: Indian Red Cedar
Neck: Maple
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Frets: 21 Medium Jumbo
Scale Length: 25.5." (648 mm)
Width at Nut: 1.650" (42 mm)
Hardware: Chrome
Machine Heads: Die-cast
Bridge: Vintage 6-saddle tremolo
Pickguard: 3-Ply (White/Black/White)
Pickups: 2 Duncan Design SC-102 Stack pickups (neck and middle) and HG-112 B/50 (bridge)
Pickup Switching: 5-way switching — Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup, Position 3. Middle Pickup, Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup, Position 5. Neck Pickup
Controls: 1 Volume, 2 Tone
Strings: 9-42
Unique Features: Custom pickguard, custom finishOne more shot:


Monkey Boy
8th Sep 2010, 17:32
So if it's variety and tone you're after, does anyone here have a Line6 Variax? I use one in my home studio and it does a fantastic job, especially the acoustic sounds (althought the 12 string settings are a little synthetic). Used to gig with it, but the volume knob keeps falling off :ooh:

9th Sep 2010, 22:20
well I bought a Jap Squier tele (1983) in 1987 for buttonpence, sold it in 1993 on daughter arrival (for buttonpence). Knowing now what good build and play they were, and knowing about daughters, not sure if I made the right decision..:} Worth an awful lot more now, and rightly so, very easy to tune and didn't go out either..
Don't we all just l*ve these little monsters..
YouTube - Jerry's Breakdown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSepDlJEuwU)
Grrrr :oh:

10th Sep 2010, 00:39
Busy day. The Epiphone turned up this morning, so I had a pleasantly enjoyable fettle, getting that one right for me & then off to the first session with a new bunch of chaps in a big old set of rehearsal rooms, which went surprisingly well, far more flowing & fluent than I could have expected.

Thing about rehearsal rooms is you hear Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page wailing next door, then when the door opens, out pours a pair of spotty fifteen year olds & you realise at that point, exactly how far behind the curve you actually are.:uhoh:

10th Sep 2010, 07:57
I remember when Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton were spotty faced teenagers. :(

tony draper
10th Sep 2010, 09:12
I can remember when guitars didn't need electricity.:)

10th Sep 2010, 09:20
. . . and now we have acoustic amplifiers.

10th Sep 2010, 09:43
and now we have acoustic amplifiers

I got me a Marshall one of those, very good it is too:)

10th Sep 2010, 10:53
mustpost,check this out!

YouTube - John Butler Trio - Ocean (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VAkOhXIsI0)
Regards, Den.

10th Sep 2010, 17:12
I have still got (bought new in 1961) my Chet Atkins Gretsch Country Gentleman and still occasionally gig with it. It was said to be the first of its kind in the UK. Been re-fretted only once (although probably well overdue for it again). It is still the one that can (with the appropriate electronic aid) mimic just about any other guitar sound. Also, it can give a great jazz sound. (My preference of music). I am not a great technician as in talking about the technicalities of the instrument but it has served me well over many years of broadcasting, recording and playing at all the usual crap venues as well in all the styles of jazz/rock/pop/country/heavy.