Christmas in July

10:08 pm Gear, Guitar

I’m worn out.

Two of the items I ordered on Tuesday arrived this afternoon (yay for amazingly fast shipping from!!): the Tascam (see previous post) and a brand new American Vintage ’52 Telecaster. The Tascam is still in the plastic wrap – I’m waiting for some cables for that anyway.

But I must have spent 3 hours already playing the Tele’. If it weren’t for the transients it throws intermittently when I switch pickups, it’d be perfect. The cable it came with just plain doesn’t work at all – not that I’d ever use it anyway. Guess they don’t even test those anymore. All-in-all, a little disconcerting for what is actually a fairly expensive guitar. I’ve emailed Fender to see if it’s something I should bring it in for service on, or if it’ll wear in (like a dirty potentiometer).

Finish-wise, I was initially disappointed (that changed). When I look at this, I see a fairly light colored wood, and that’s what I was expecting – lots of contrast between that and the very black pickguard. The actual color is more of what the finish name – Butterscotch Blonde – actually implies. The wood grain has an almost grey tint and the wood/stain combination is, well, butterscotch-colored. The effect is that at a distance it has a kind of flat look to it, but as you get closer, the surface starts to look three-dimensional. Very cool. The finish itself is like polished stone – smooth as glass and hard. The inevitable first nick in the body of this babe will be a real heartbreaker. They always are. Same will be true of the first scratch on the case. This one is just a work of art – signature Fender beige tweed with leather accents. It’s built like a steamer trunk one might’ve taken on a cruise… in 1950.

Oh and by the way, I think the majority of consumer instruments have a polyurethane finish these days. This one doesn’t. If you’ve ever purchased a lacquer-finished instrument but neglected to read the literature that came with it, it turns out that they’re allergic to latex – as in the surgical tubing that covers most parts of a guitar stand. I’ll be looking for something to deal with that.

Being so completely out of practice, it’s difficult to tell if the neck “plays well”, although what playing I have done has been next to effortless – the way I always envisioned playing an electric guitar should feel like. I’ve never quite managed that with the instruments I’ve owned which, other than a Gibson The Paul II, have always been lesser-brand copies that didn’t have very good action and always sounded “pretty good” but not great.

Very interesting going from the almost manhandling mode of the cello to barely touching the light, almost airy electric guitar strings. Tomorrow we’ll throw in some bass practice – just to really make things interesting!

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