Bjorn's Drum Site

Guitars

Getting to grips with the Strat, I love this guitar!

I have played drums since I was 17ish in a few bands. When I moved into a flat I had no room for the kit and too many neighbours. I still felt the need to play something so I bought an electric guitar and amp one day (the Jim Deacon Les paul copy). I had no idea wether I'd be any good or wether I would even enjoy it, but my philosophy is 'try it, don't like it? you can always sell it, and that was that. My first drumkit was bought on that same premise and it remains one of the best things I have ever, ever spent money on.

An impromtu jam with my mum. Yep, she plays a bit too!

Anyone thinking they might like to play but think it's too difficult really need to try it. Yes, to become very good may take a while, and lots of practice, but to learn some chords and strum away to your favourite songs really is a piece of cake. A simple chord book will show you exactly where to put your fingers and sites like Harmony Central have thousands of songs listed with chords and tablature (an easy way to learn lead guitar, solo's etc.) so there's no excuse for not giving it a go  Below are the guitars I have/had and a little information about them.

 

Giving family friend Stuart a guitar 'lesson'. Well, showing him a few chords anyway!


Gibson Les Paul - 'The Paul SL'

This is my 'The Paul SL' which is to all intents and purposes, a very stripped down Les Paul. I believe these were made for one year only (1998) in the USA. The Paul has the same pickups, tuners, bridge, electrics etc. as the more expensive Les Paul Studios and Standards, but the body is slightly thinner, it has no binding, no scratchplate, no pickup covers, and dot (instead of crown) markers on the fretboard. The 'SL' in its name stands for 'Sans Lacquer', meaning 'without lacquer', another way to keep the cost down. That said, the Cinnamon finish is still nice and shiny. It's a great guitar with that unmistakable Les Paul humbucker sound, yet almost as light on your shoulder as a Strat.






Fender '62 re-issue Stratocaster

This Fender is a Japanese re-issue model. These are fairly collectable now as Japanese Strats haven't been available new in the UK and USA for some time (apparently because they would take such a chunk out of the Fender USA and Mexican models sales!) Mine was made in '98 but is a 1962 re-issue, meaning it has the 3-tone sunburst body and rosewood fretboard, vintage tuners, aged plastics, and 'spaghetti' logo. It all looks like a '62 model would have. With Fender US Vintage pickups it sounds great too, from smooth bluesy tones from the neck pickup to bright glassy sounds from the bridge pickup, and everything inbetween. In the second-hand market these guitars go for around half the price of a similar second-hand USA model, making them good value!




Fender standard telecaster

I'd never thought about owning a Tele but this came up for sale locally at a bit of a bargain price so I bought it on a whim... and I love it! It's is a Mexican (MIM) Standard Telecaster from the '90s in some kind of blue. It's the guitar I now pick up more than any other, and it's actually improved my playing a bit too. I play (badly it has to be said) mostly rock & blues type songs and while the Telecaster is probably most associated with country music it sounds great in any genre. I love the twangy sound from the bridge pickup and those sounds, coupled with the thin neck have encouraged me to do more hammer on/off and stringbends etc. and generally be a little more adventurous.




Fender Modern player Jaguar

This is one of Fender's recent 'Modern Player' series of guitars. A genuine Fender, based on a classic model but with a more contemporary look and feel, at an inexpensive price-point due to being manufactured in China. The original Jaguar was most noted for its numerous knobs, wheels and switches to get various sounds from its single coil pickups, this Modern player does away with all of those, having P90-style pickups and a pickup selector switch, volume & tone control. Unlike the original, there's also no trem, but a Gibson-style stoptail bridge. And there's a Stratocaster jackplate, vintage style tinted neck, '70s headstock and vintage Kluson-alike tuners. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but I liked this guitar a lot (although not enough to keep it, it was bought for my son but I ended up selling and buying him Flying V copy which he really wanted) and it's cool that even those on a budget can own a 'real' Fender.




Squier Classic vibe '50s Stratocaster

I bought this on a whim when I saw it in a local Cash Converters (pawnshop). It was priced as cheaply as an 'Affinity' Squier but I remembered reading something about these Classic Vibe models and realised it was little more special so bought it. It's a beautiful guitar indeed, it's almost like a '50s reissue model, with vintage style bridge and tuners, gorgeous tinted maple neck & headstock and cream plastics. The colour is Olympic White and the scratchplate is an anodised gold finish. It's very reminiscent of the 0001 Stratocaster owned by Dave Gilmour. It sounds great too, quite hot but with the classic Strat quack... some googling on the internet shows that the Classic Vibes apparently use Tonerider's 'Surfari' pickups which are made in the same factory as these guitars, that would explain the fantastic sound. I ended up selling this as I'd bought a Tele and really couldn't justify 2 Strats but if you see one of these on the 2nd hand market, and you can live with the Squier logo on the headstock, it's a fantastic guitar!




Sigma DM2CN

The Sigma is a great value acoustic guitar. Sigma is the budget line of CF Martin guitars and are good quality. For some reason you don't see them around a lot and it's like CF Martin deny they exist as there is no mention of Sigma on their sites etc. I'm not sure how old this particular guitar is as I bought it second-hand, but I think it dates from some time in the 80's. It has Grover tuners and a tortoiseshell scratchplate and has a nice sound to it although I do find the action quite high (apparently quite a common issue).




epiphone dove

Reluctantly, I sold the Sigma above a little while ago but really missed having an acoustic guitar in the house. When I could afford it I started looking for another guitar and this came up for sale locally in as-new condition. It's an Epiphone Dove, based on the original Gibson Dove from the '60s. The Epi is a bit of a budget guitar, nonetheless, it has a solid spruce top, is nicely detailed with the Dove pickguard, bridge and split inlays etc. and sounds really nice.




Jim Deacon Pro (Les Paul copy)

This red guitar was my first. It is obviously a Les Paul copy and is made by Jim Deacon. It had a nice finish and decent hardware but went out of tune quite easily, but still, as a first guitar it was very good. I have to admit though, that I bought it pretty much based on its looks! If I was buying a first/budget guitar now, it would probably be something like an Epiphone Les Paul, or a Yamaha Pacifica. I sold this guitar to help fund the Strat and a better amplifier than the little 10W Squier practice amp I had.




Encore 3/4 Student Guitar

This little acoustic was bought by my dad for my mum many years ago. He bought her another, full size acoustic some years later and this one lay around for a while (no-one else at home played guitar then). Not long after my dad passed away I found this guitar again, outside in the rain (my brothers had been clearing out a shed and left it out with a lot of other stuff). I'm sentimental about a lot of things and took the guitar. I sanded it down and re-varnished it, and painted a 'sun and moon' design around the soundhole and headstock. It sounds pretty bad, and doesn't play very well either, but is the ideal thing for my 4-year old son to strum on for now.




Fender Champion 300 DSP

I started off with a typical little practice amp, a Squier SP10 but then bought a Fender Champion 300 DSP. This is a great little 30W amp. I could have bought something louder but most bigger amps don't have a headphone socket, and with the amp being for home and practice use only, it was important to have that. I reckon the amp could be gigged aswell though as it's pretty loud. It has a great clean tone and nice overdriven gain and the DSP (digital signal processing) features are good too, with inbuilt reverb, chorus, tremelo etc. Another bonus this amp has is it's two inputs.