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Two bits of wood bolted together
March 27, 2012 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Fender Factory Tour 1959 - Leo Fender in the second shot. Freddie Tavares at 7:26. A day when "everything was done by hand... It is amazing to realize that every guitar made that year is now worth a small fortune." The 1959-63 era Stratocaster is called one of the 50 guitars to play before you die. (via the q-ster)
posted by madamjujujive (15 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Like a Dunkin' Donuts in Mattapan.
Jonathan Richman - "Fender Stratocaster".
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:43 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a 1960 Strat. It's beat-up, needs a few tweaks that I don't know how to do and don't have the money for right now. But I love it.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:51 PM on March 27, 2012


Love this. Gotta send it to my dad whose P-Bass turned the big 5-0 last month.
posted by triceryclops at 7:58 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I cringed when the antiques roadshow guy just unscrewed the neck so casually and under tension and for what? I mean, they had a serial number and original case.
posted by princelyfox at 8:10 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guess the closest I'll come to any of those is having shot #50 also....
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:10 PM on March 27, 2012


That killed me, too, princelyfox. Painful!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:15 PM on March 27, 2012


Christ, what an asshole. I remember seeing that Roadshow when it first aired. And his comments, "That's the kind of tension you want to feel on a screw that's never been cracked before." Yeah, that was one of the things that made the guitar so valuable, no idiots ever fucked with it. And then there were no markings under there. Showboating jerk.

Anyway, a cheap beater strat was my first electric, but soon I got a used tele in mint condition, must have been from around a `65. Fenders never really seemed so playable to me, and the tele sound was too shrill for me, it sounded like a pedal steel. And the tailpieces drove me nuts. Strats in particular are notorious for not staying in tune, partly because everyone liked to whang on the tremolo bar and stretched out their strings, and partly because the bridge was held down with springs on the backside and it just wasn't anchored as solidly as a fixed bridge. Everyone I knew took out the springs so the bridge stayed fixed and then took off the lever so they weren't tempted to whang on it until it got out of tune.

I'm still a Gibson guy. But oh man watching those guys carving out perfectly shaped guitar blanks and necks by eye was a thing of beauty.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:07 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Listen, just listen to it for a minute... the sustain, listen to it.*

*I know it's not a strat but I just love that whole scene. Carry on!
posted by not_on_display at 9:07 PM on March 27, 2012


I used to play a 1962 Jaguar. I used to wonder at all the hands it had passed through before mine, wonder what the kid who owned this thought of the British Invasion, wondered what the same or different owner might have sat down in front of a turntable and taught himself "Purple Haze" a few years later, then wonder who might have been playing Clash tunes on it in his garage band a decade after that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:20 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh I always figure the old owners were just the opposite of that, like the '59 Strat that belonged to Grampaw who played in the church band, and then it sat in his closet for decades.

But I am disappointed in that 50 guitars list. It had a few safe choices like a vintage Martin and a 59 Les Paul Jr (You will often hear me lament selling my old 61 Jr). But the other choices were purely eccentric and weird. No early 60s Gretch Country Gentleman? No Gibson ES-175? No Kramer aluminums? Man, I could go on and on, those are guitars to die for, not junk like the Danelectro or cheap Ibanez they liked.

And it's been an hour since I watched that clip, and I can still hear the sustain.................
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:10 PM on March 27, 2012


I cringed when the antiques roadshow guy just unscrewed the neck so casually and under tension and for what? I mean, they had a serial number and original case.

It was fair enough - the year does help determine the value and the owner wanted to know the value. Be glad he didn't unscrew the pickguard and take a look at the pot codes. The point he made about the serial number not necessarily being the best guide to when the instrument was made was valid. Often parts were manufactured in overrun quantities and would sit in the parts bins until they were need again - sometimes many many months later.

The other thing to remember is that the Stratocaster was designed to be reassembled - imagine if he'd taken the neck off and there was a date on the neck of 1966. Could easily happen - people part out guitars and sell them on eBay all the time.

Now personally I wouldn't really give a crap as long as it played well, but collectors want to know exactly what guitar they are buying, because to players there are some production runs where the guitars are just better - no-one really knows why, but they are. And collectors will pay large amounts of money for those guitars, because of their perceived value (amongst other factors e.g. rarity).
posted by awfurby at 10:42 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the finest moments of my life? Unbolting the neck of a Fender, and seeing the initials FT written in fading pencil on the neck.
posted by timsteil at 10:51 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The high-speed factory of today.
posted by swift at 6:18 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awesome video. Thanks.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:37 AM on March 28, 2012


I'm still a Gibson guy. But oh man watching those guys carving out perfectly shaped guitar blanks and necks by eye was a thing of beauty.

Wasn't it though. Takes expensive machines a fraction of the time to do the same thing, probably with much better precision these days, and yet those hand-crafted pieces of yore are still held up as the sonic masterpieces.

Watching the video just brings back a whole long-lost American era, in more ways than one
posted by kgasmart at 10:44 AM on March 28, 2012


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