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New toy coming!

So we had a jam session Sunday night: me, Joey, and Bernie on guitar, Erika on bass and Eric Rhodes on drums. And it was a BLAST. It felt so good to be playing guitar again.

I was in two bands in college: a five-piece metal cover band called Nobody, in which I played bass and occasionally rhythm guitar, and a three-piece blues/folk/classic rock/whatever band called Briefs Or Boxers, where I switched between acoustic and electric guitar. I played one gig with Nobody before the headaches got to me (you can only handle so much Megadeth, it seems), and we found most of our acclaim in BoB playing in front of the Electric Fetus record store in Duluth.

And I didn't realize how much I missed playing with other people until the other night. I've kept a guitar around all along, but without other people, it just isn't the same.

On Sunday, since I haven't owned an electric guitar in a couple years, I used Erika's jet-black ESP. It's a fine instrument, but it's not really my style, and more important, it's not mine.

So I started thinking, and came up with the idea of adding an electric pickup to the old Epiphone acoustic I inherited from my mom, since I love how that guitar feels. I went poking around on the internet, and found a couple pickups that would work...

...but then I found this:

The Squier '51 Custom, by Fender. On closeout sale. For $99.

I loooove Fender guitars. I love the feel, the style, the sound... just like there are "Ford guys" and "Chevy guys" in the car world, so too are there "Fender guys" and "Gibson guys" among guitar players. And I am definitely a Fender guy.

Don't get me wrong; I love my Epiphone acoustic (made by Gibson), and I once had an Epiphone Les Paul that I liked. Even the most diehard Chevy guy can appreciate a nice Shelby Mustang. But given the choice, he'd rather have a Malibu SS. And given the choice, I'd rather have a Fender or Squier than a Gibson or Epiphone.

What's the difference, you non-guitar-players ask? Well, there are a few. In terms of sound, Fenders are a brighter, more biting sound (think Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimi Hendrix) while Gibsons are darker and smoother (Slash or Angus Young). Gibsons tend to be more ornate, and have more of a handcrafted feel, while Fenders are mass-produced but more friendly towards modification and experimentation.

Like Ford vs Chevy, it mostly cones down to personal preference. And I've just always preferred Fenders. I've owned three Stratocasters (natural finish '71 with a bunch of modifications, black '91 Squier Fat Strat, and black '96 50th Anniversary Mexican-made Standard), a Lake Placid Blue Squier P-bass, and a red Duo-Sonic reissue. The last one I had, which I sold right before I moved to California, was the '96 Strat. (It occurs to me now that I should have kept it.)

The one problem I've always had with Strats is that damn floating bridge. It's next to impossible to keep in tune unless you lock it down. Which made me think of a Telecaster, which has a fixed bridge, but I never really liked the style of them as well. The little Duo-Sonic I had sounded cool, but it was small, and felt like a toy.

But now, along comes this '51, which is a part of their "reissue" line, but isn't really a replica of any guitar from the past. Instead, it's like a Chrylser PT Cruiser: a bunch of styling cues representing an era. It has a Telecaster headstock, a Strat body shape, and a Jazz bass pickguard. The angled neck pickup is very Jaguar/Duo-Sonic/Mustang-like, and the controls look like an old Jazzmaster. It's sort of a "Fender's Greatest Hits" of guitar design. Yet somehow it all works, and it looks like a guitar that could have been around in the '50s.

So I ordered one. Sunburst finish with a white pickguard, like the one shown above. It'll be here, well, not soon enough, but soon. I was a little concerned about buying a guitar sight-unseen (which can be as much of a crapshoot as buying a prom dress without trying it on), but hey, it's a Fender. So I know what to expect. And since I've had a couple Squiers before, I know about their quality strengths and weaknesses. So it's not a total shot in the dark.

And if nothing else, I just start modifying things until I get what I want. Hell, there's a whole forum just for modifications to this one guitar. Plenty of info and support. (Mine will get a couple little tweaks anyway; I can't leave anything well enough alone.)

The only trouble is that now I'm like a kid three days before Xmas... I want my new toy now! Now now now now NOW!!!
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Oh, it's gorgeous! You have to post about sound quality...I'm a gibson girl myself, but I love fenders too, just not my first choice, you know?