Tuesday, December 11, 2007


(click on the pic for a bigger view)
I went for a visit to the local Long and McQuade this afternoon. Amongst the new gear in stock they had the new Fender Joe Strummer Telecaster. Thinking about it the whole idea of a mass market Joe Strummer tribute guitar, including the "Revolution Rock" engraved in the neckplate, seems kind of contradictory towards the kind of things Strummer believed in. Even the fact it's part of Fender's Mexican produced line has it's contradictions, as while it's far cheaper than guitars like the Andy Summers Telecaster made by the Fender Custom Shop one has to wonder what Strummer would have thought of Fender's use of Mexican labour to keep production costs down, no matter how good Fender may be to it's Mexican employees. I doubt if he was currently alive we would have seen this guitar hit the market.
If you're not familiar with the current guitar biz the picture may be a bit confusing given that the guitar looks all beat up. No, it's not a mistake, rather the Strummer Tele is based on his favourite Telecaster and duplicates the wear and tear on that instrument. This kind of thing, commonly refered to as relicing, has been done a lot in recent years, to much controversy. Many people think the idea of artificially wearing an instrument is silly, while others like the idea of playing a guitar that is already broken in. Of course it's not exactly a new idea. For example copies of famous violin designs such as Stradivarius have often been produced with the appearance of aging to mimic the originals, and the same kind of thing has been done with furniture as well. Although I would generally prefer a new condition instrument or a carefully used one I wouldn't turn down an artificially worn guitar if I liked the way it played and sounded.

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