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Click to see the Girlbrand Guitar Gallery
Click to see the Girlbrand Guitar Gallery

MORE FENDER (4 guitars, 1 bass, 1 amp)

FENDER STRATOCASTER (USA 1997-81)

FENDER TELE-SONIC (USA `90s)

FENDER LITE ASH TELECASTER (KOREA, 2009)

FENDER JAZZMASTER 62RI (USA, approx. 2008)

FENDER SF CHAMP (USA 1974)

FENDER PRECISION BASS (USA, approx. 1984)

Fender Stratocaster (USA 1979 -81) Polyester heaven, built like a tank and at least as heavy...
Fender Stratocaster (USA 1979 -81) Polyester heaven, built like a tank and at least as heavy...
Bullet truss rod nut, one string tree replaced by a hole. Big CBS-headstock - a better looking design to my eyes.
Bullet truss rod nut, one string tree replaced by a hole. Big CBS-headstock - a better looking design to my eyes.
Gotho HAPM (hight adjustable) locking keys and some nice walnut-coloured filler in the original screw holes to match the skunk stripe on the back of this fat neck.
Gotho HAPM (hight adjustable) locking keys and some nice walnut-coloured filler in the original screw holes to match the skunk stripe on the back of this fat neck.
modded like crazy. Levinson-Blade Fulcrum tremolo with roller saddles and 2 (yes, TWO!) tremolo blocks. One for upbends, one for downbends. One made of brass, one made of ...?... Note the 3-position-mini-switch...
modded like crazy. Levinson-Blade Fulcrum tremolo with roller saddles and 2 (yes, TWO!) tremolo blocks. One for upbends, one for downbends. One made of brass, one made of ...?... Note the 3-position-mini-switch...
... belonging to this Levinson-Blade preamp. It has 3 adjustable mini pots for mid-boost in one position or treble- and bass-boost in the second position. The third position on the mini switch turns the preamp off.
... belonging to this Levinson-Blade preamp. It has 3 adjustable mini pots for mid-boost in one position or treble- and bass-boost in the second position. The third position on the mini switch turns the preamp off.

      Fender Stratocaster (USA 1979)

My first proper guitar. I didn`t know how it sounded, I hardly didn`t know anything about guitars except that there were two religions, either Fender or Gibson. But from the moment I had first seen it I just knew that I loved the way it looked and that I wanted it. I had to convince my dad who hates rock music. I showed him how dangerous my daily route to school was. He didn`t want me to take the bike in all that terrible traffic (Most car drivers in my country are ruthless assholes with small dicks and big cars.) So we made a deal. I had to avoid the most terrible traffic and take an other, longer but safer route. And I got this guitar in return!

Sometimes the old man was pretty generous! 

 

The good old days

Those were the easy days when you had a choice of only 4 Stratocaster models. Either with a rosewood fretboard or with a one-piece maple neck and fretboard, with an ash or an alder body. Yes, there were no other options available!

The body wood depended from the finish. That was all Fender offered in 1980 or 81. I think there were no Squiers yet. Just Japanese copies from competing companys...

 

The Specs

almost four kilos!

pretty well matched four-piece ash body

everything that purists hate about 70`s Fenders ...

big headstock

modern logo

ugly string trees

bullet truss rod nut

three point neck plate

micro neck adjustment screw (never used)

thick polyester finish

skinny, narrow vintage frets

7.25 fretboard radius

the middle pickup is not RW/RP

 

The Mods

I still have the original bridge and the F-logo-Schaller-tuners.

but the whammy bar and the ashtray are gone and the thread for the whammy bar is f..... up.

 

One day, in the mid `90s, when I was in Los Angeles I decided to buy a black Floyd Rose Tremolo for it. There is this famous boulevard - Sunset or Hollywood (?) - were you have like 15 guitar shops in a row...fantastic!

I bought the Floyd and took it to my car and put it in the trunk and went on shopping and site seeing...

When I came back an hour later the trunk had been broken into and everything inside was gone. 

This saved this Strat here from more modding.

Thank God!

 

One fine day I will take this Levinson preamp out and put it in a guitar that really needs it. This Strat here doesn`t.

It is versatile enough and sounds very good in all positions.

 

And I will try different saddles. Brass or steel? We`ll see / hear...

I suspect the original trem and saddles to be cheap cast bullshit and I like the sound of that heavy Levinson Fulcrum tremolo, but I think non-roller saddles could even improve the tone.

I changed the original wiring and have 7 sound options. The tone pot has a push-push switch to add the neck pickup no matter what the 5-way switch does.

I want a treble bleed cap on the volume pot and maybe will go back to two tone pots. One for the bridge pickup only, one for the rest. I may do a refret with taller frets, too.

 

Although this is a late `70s model it is not at all a bad guitar. A virtuoso player from German band "Kingdom Come" called Angie Schilliro, tried to buy it from me. An other great semi-pro blues player, Steff Müller from Groovepack, whom I knew, gigged it extensively in the `80s and then a fantastic swiss songwriter, Matthias Erb from Saltbee and Rondeau, played it for some years. The thing is that I sold this guitar after three or four years because I wanted to play bass... But more than 10 years later I succeeded in buying it back. I had missed it so much! Never, never never sell your first real guitar, dude! Even if you havn`t touched it for years, one day you may start playing again.

 

Fender neck stamp on my 1979 Strat
Fender neck stamp on my 1979 Strat

 

The Fender Neck Stamp Code Number

 

The serial number on the headstock starts with S9 followed by 5 digits.

According to Fender his means the guitar was built between 1978 and 1981.

http://fender-seriennummern.weebly.com

Not very precise...

 

Entering the whole headstock serial number here is even worse:

https://www.fender.com/product-registration/serial-search

Fender tells me: "Sorry, no resluts for S9xx xxx"

 

What?

 

Finally here is the helpul site: 

http://forums.fender.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=99882

 

Between 1972 and 1980 Fender instruments have these neck stamps

consisting of 8 or 9 digits.

 

This here reads:

0902 c 2293

(or maybe the last one is a 5?)

from the left: 

 

09 = Stratocaster

02 = maple neck and maple fretboard

c = unknown meaning

22 = 22nd week:

(Monday, May 28th - Sunday, June 3rd)

9 = last digit of the year, in this case 1979

3 = 3rd day of the week: Wednesday.

 

(This last digit is hard to read, could also be

the 5th day of the week: Friday)

 

This means:

The neck was stamped on Wednesday, May 30th 1979.

 

 

Fender Tele-Sonic, USA 1997... Tele meets Les Paul Special and Gretsch
Fender Tele-Sonic, USA 1997... Tele meets Les Paul Special and Gretsch
dirty sounding and looking
dirty sounding and looking
Modded of course. These Fender locking tuners were not standard
Modded of course. These Fender locking tuners were not standard
one piece chambered mahogany body.Very nice!
one piece chambered mahogany body.Very nice!
More mods! The Wilkinson bridge and the electronics.
More mods! The Wilkinson bridge and the electronics.

Fender Tele-Sonic (USA)

This is a very interesting guitar.  It has a shorter scale of 24,7"  (almost like Gibsons), a one-piece mahogany body and a wraparound bridge and four pots and a three way toggle. But, typically Fender, it has a bolt-on maple neck and six tuning keys on the left headstock side.

And then there are these De Armond 2000 (or 2K) pickups that seem to come from the Gretsch camp.

They look like the famous De Armond Dynasonic pickups but they are construced differently. They are more like smaller P-90s with a better shielding. They differ from the Dynasonics in that the pole slugs here are made of steel and the magnet bars lie underneath the coil. The Dynasonics have 6 rod magnets - one per string, that are individually hight adjustable.

The pickups are hot, around 10 Kilo Ohms, and I like them very much. Tele on steroids! There is twang, sparkle, sizzle, punch!

The neck pickup sounds very dark, the bridge very fresh and powerfull and the middle position delivers exactly what you`d expect.

A great, great guitar. My main guitar for years.

 

Unfortunately the neck is not fat enough to please me completely and the Gibson-style wiring is too complicated for me. Also I never liked how the pots are positioned. It is difficult to reach the lower pots.

The 3-way toggle was lousy quality and broke quite soon after I had bought this new guitar.

The rest is fantastic and very reliable.

 

Wiring Mods

My wiring idea was that a master volume pot and a master treble cut pot are good enough for most of the time. So I replaced the other volume pot by a two-way mini switch with four poles. This switch puts the two pickups in series and brings a 6-way rotary bass cut pot into the circuitry. This is the one with the chicken head knob.

So when I flip over the mini switch to the front position where it says "s" the master volume and master tone are still working, but the 3-way-toggle is out of order. Instead the bass cut selector works on this serial pickup combination and gives you the choice of additional hum-free sound options.


Interestingly the serial mode is not a lot louder than the parallel pickup combination and is very useful! Full, warm and variable due to this useful 6-way bass cut switch (by German electronics guru Helmuth Lemme)


My Fender Korea Lite Ash Telecaster looked like this before it got ...
My Fender Korea Lite Ash Telecaster looked like this before it got ...
...modded, of course! I prefer a white pickguard and ...
...modded, of course! I prefer a white pickguard and ...
... Wilkinson compensated brass saddles for better intonation.
... Wilkinson compensated brass saddles for better intonation.
Smaller knobs for the pots and a smaller switch tip in order to enlarge the distance between the volume knob and the pickup switch knob. Bending the switch tip up improves this even more.
Smaller knobs for the pots and a smaller switch tip in order to enlarge the distance between the volume knob and the pickup switch knob. Bending the switch tip up improves this even more.
I don`t like these dots! I wish they were just black... But look at this fretboard - some bird`s eyes...
I don`t like these dots! I wish they were just black... But look at this fretboard - some bird`s eyes...
I upgraded the not-so-great original tuners by these Gotoh HAPM locking keys.
I upgraded the not-so-great original tuners by these Gotoh HAPM locking keys.
I love this Tele. My first one. I love it because it was cheap but it does just what it has to. Such a great and versatile guitar! Thanks Leo!
I love this Tele. My first one. I love it because it was cheap but it does just what it has to. Such a great and versatile guitar! Thanks Leo!

Fender Korea Lite Ash Telecaster, approx. 2009

My favourite guitar for band rehearsal. It is light, cheap, ugly, undestrucable, very versatile and great sounding.

It came stock with a pair of Seymour Duncan Alnico 2 Vintage style singlecoils and they deliver almost anything you want from an electric guitar.

I really love this ugly and primitive guitar!

It is constructed and looks like some agricultural device from the 19th century. It is all about utility - nothing else.


I dislike the fake abalone dots.

I dislike the pickguard shape with that rear "cut off"-edge.

I find it ridiculous that Fender still does this ashtray-style Tele-bridge with these protruding edges that are good for absolutely NOTHING but to be a hindrance.

And they still offer these brass saddles that can`t be intonated properly.

I hate Fender for that silly Tele plug, that doesn`t work, because it keeps getting loose all the time. (Like that f...... Jazzmaster bride, which is something else these snobs at Fender hq never bothered to get right in 50 years! Check out  the Mastery replacement bridge to solve the Jazzmaster problem! And now they even have a Mastery Tele bridge as well!)


I hate Fender for not noticing that the volume pot and the pickup selector switch tip on a Tele are too damn close so that you can`t operate that stuff if you have bigger hands than Frodo or other Tom Thumbs....

Check out Rockinger to solve that problem...


But the nice thing about the Tele is that you can upgrade and replace anything you don`t like and that the essence of this guitar is FANTASTIC!

if I were a poor fellow, if I were to lose all i have now except one cheap guitar, then this would be it.

 

I upgraded it with locking tuners, a better plug and these Wilkinson compensated saddles. 

I think about modding the wiring like on my Tele-sonic (above), too.

But it isn`t really necessary. These three Tele sounds and a good overdrive pedal that you can control from the guitar`s volume knob is all I need for most of the songs.


Three great overdrive pedals that I use are...

Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive

Carl Martin AC Tone

Robert Keely Luna Overdrive


Dear Fender Company. This here works much, much better than the original plug you havn`t upgraded for 60 years...
Dear Fender Company. This here works much, much better than the original plug you havn`t upgraded for 60 years...
Fender USA 62RI Jazzmaster (approx 2008)
Fender USA 62RI Jazzmaster (approx 2008)
Nice!
Nice!
the color is called "ocean turquoise". I would have preferred "surf green" but I like these three vowels in a row.
the color is called "ocean turquoise". I would have preferred "surf green" but I like these three vowels in a row.
The "Mastery Bridge". The best thing you can do for your Jazzmaster and for your nerves.
The "Mastery Bridge". The best thing you can do for your Jazzmaster and for your nerves.

Fender `62 Reissue USA Jazzmaster

I had an oportunity to buy this beauty second hand in a very good state.

The colour "ocean turquoise" alone was a good reason to do this.

I`m so glad there is no mother-of-toilet-seat pickguard on this vintage speced guitar.

 

Modifiations?

Not yet...

There still are and have always been three criticisms about Jazzmasters.

1. No one needs that upper circuitry.

I don`t understand why the treble cut acts on the neck pickup only. Is this sonic mud intended to sound like "Jazz"?

I`d rather use the treble cut on the bridge pickup only...

Or what about a serial pickup combination with a bass cut pot? We`ll see. I`m working on that one.

 

2. The original Fender Jazzmaster bridge sucks and Fender never bothered to fix this issue.

What a shame, ongoing since 1958!

 

Enter a small US company building the "Mastery Bridge"...

This is the very best material, steel and brass, combined with perfect design and craftsmanship.

It works perfectly, improves the way the whammy works and tuning stability too, improves sustain remarkably, makes your sound a bit fuller and warmer. Strings never pop out, there is no buzzing from strings, no rattling from loose screws and there is no need to re-adjust it over and over again - unlike the original Jazzmaster-pain-in-the-ass-bridge.

 

3. The Whammy bar keeps falling off!

Another catastrophy, another desaster which the fabulous Fender Company never bothered to solve.

What is wrong with these people?

Don`t they have an R & D departement?

SOME whammy bars can be pushed in very strongly until it goes "click" and then will remain where they belong....say some nerds in the www...

Not mine, unfortunately!

So the mastery-bridge upgraded vibrato unit is great - only as long as you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER let go that whammy bar...

 

The only mod I had to do was installing a treble bleed cap on the volume pot. I just don`t understand how anybody out there can gig without one...

 

The Mastery Bridge...

...is worth every cent and finally turns the Jazzmaster into the great, great, GREAT Fender guitar it was meant to be.....

 

Although I would prefer some kind of "vintage hot rod"  workover, like a flatter fretboard radius or higher frets and a different circuitry on the shoulder ... This is a fantastic guitar.

Like a Tele it can be rude and rough, can sound sizzling and sparkling and has a beautiful middle position sound. (That`s the thing I miss most on Strats) The other two pickup options are fantastic as well and very versatile.

The pots and toggle switch are exactly where they should be, the whammy works beautifully -  as long as they are retrofitted with a Mastery Bridge, that is!

The Jazzmasters rules and I love it.

 

SF Fender Champ approx. 1974 with a new Weber speaker
SF Fender Champ approx. 1974 with a new Weber speaker
Fender USA Precision Bass, (approx 1984), modded, of course
Fender USA Precision Bass, (approx 1984), modded, of course
has a preamp but I forgot what the pots do...
has a preamp but I forgot what the pots do...
these strings have lasted 20 years at least. I can`t remember what brand and what gauge I used...
these strings have lasted 20 years at least. I can`t remember what brand and what gauge I used...
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CLICK picture above for FENDER HELLECASTERS SERIES
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CLICK picture above for MY FENDER KATANA-PROJECT and SQUIER KATANA
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CLICK picture above for MY BEST OF-FENDER-PROJECT

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