Today’s edition of cool guitar pics is brought to you by, the very popular and sought after Fender Squier JV Stratocaster 50’s Re-issue.
Now straight up, I am no expert on these older Japanese Fenders, I had an inkling they were made by the FujiGen Gakki factory and I’ve read and heard so many rumors that these were originally made by Tokai, but after purchasing the book, Squier Electrics: 30 Years of Fenders Budget Guitar Brand by Tony Bacon, which is an excellent resource on the history of the Fender Squier, and where I sourced my information for most of this article, I discovered that the FujiGen Gakki factory were at the time making Greco guitars, which were superb Fender copies and Japans best selling guitar at the time, so the rumor that Tokai were the original JVs is completely false based on the information presented by Tony Bacon. I must add, the birth of the Fender Squier is a very interesting topic to study if your into Japanese guitars like I am.
The JV Squiers are renowned for their high quality and were born out of the whole ‘Lawsuit‘ period that so many other guitars from that era are famous for, Tokai, Aria, Fernandes, Greco, Ibanez, to name a few.
Looking at an Aria Pro II LS-500 Standard today. I love these vintage Aria Pro II MIJ guitars. This particular guitar is the third Aria Pro II that I have owned. One is an LS-500 Leopard model (which I am yet to post pics of…) and the other is a 50s Strat clone which I had reliced.
Ok, so here is a post I have been meaning to do for a long, long time. Ages ago I bought a Fender Classic Series 70s Stratocaster but I absolutely hated the thick poly coating. The neck, although had a really comfortable profile felt so slippery and hard to play and the body had so much poly finish on it that it was like it was dunked in a big bucket of poly goop and hung out to dry… The poly finish on it was horrible.
The following pics are the finished result. The pics are taken at two different time periods. The ones with the pavers as the back drop are the photos I took not long after it had been painted in September, 2012. The photos taken on the plush back drop were taken in May of 2015.
Today I am posting about one of my all time favorite guitars, it’s a Fernandes Super Grade Goldtop. As you can see it is obviously a Les Paul clone, which was made in Japan around the early to mid eighties.
Today, for your viewing pleasure is a Fernandes Stone Logo 70s Strat Copy from the very early 80s. For those of you who don’t know, Fernandes is a Japanese company who originally manufactured flamenco guitars and has been around since 1969. The Fernandes parent company (Saito Musical Instruments) also make Gibson copies under the Burny brand name.
For more information about Fernandes, there is a really useful article on the www.music-trade.co.jp website…
Okay, so this particular Strat copy is one of the Stone Logo series, which were produced between 1980 and 81, according to the article linked to above.
Here’s a look at my old 2002 Crafted in Japan Fender Jaguar.
Unfortunately, the only video I have of this guitar, other than how I added a BuzzStop Bar, was one of the earlier recorded demos, so the audio isn’t very good. In the video below Darren is playing some rock into a Marshall JCM800.
I know the guitar community stands divided when it comes to relicing a perfectly good guitar, but I must admit, I really enjoyed doing this project. There is something cool that happens with your bond to a specific guitar once you do your own little mods to it, like my recent Telecaster project, where I stripped off the poly coating and finished it with a clear lacquer. I found that with every guitar I have either re-painted, re-fretted, swapped the pups, or done some modification to it in some way, I have always found it really hard to part with. Whereas the guitars I buy and leave alone, I don’t seem to worry too much when it comes time to sell them. It’s kinda weird, but you just seem to bond with a guitar a lot more when you invest more than just play time into it.
Any ways, if you want to go back through the steps I took while doing this relic job check out all of the posts tagged with Relic Project. Unfortunately I didn’t get every single last detail along the way, especially the last few steps, but you will get a pretty good idea of how this whole project got started and the initial steps involved.
So the guitar itself is an Aria Pro II Strikin Sounds 50s Stratocaster copy. When I bought this guitar I was so impressed with the body, weight, how the neck felt, the wood grain, etc… but there was something about how the guitar looked that was just wrong. Obviously the guitar just had a recent fret job, where the guy who replaced the frets striped all of the fretboard down, so the fret board was un-painted and the timber looked brand new and very light in color, whereas the rest of the guitar was pretty old and worn looking. To me it was just wrong, so I didn’t really bond much with the guitar initially. But, the reason I bought this particular guitar was that I really wanted a 50s style Strat, and at the time I was totally keen on the Road worn Strats Fender were making. So, I had two choices, try selling the Aria to buy the Fender or just relic the Aria. Hence the decision to do a relic project was made.
Okay, so ever since I have been playing guitar I have heard of Gretsch, but for some reason, I have always associated Gretsch with country, chicken pickin ‘hillbilly‘ music, which just isn’t true. Some of the music industries most iconic figures, such as Chet Atkins, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley, George Harrison and John Lennon, to name a few, have all played a Gretsch. And many modern Gretsch players such as the legendary Malcolm Young of AC/DC, THE CULT’s guitarist Billy Duffy, punk guitarist from the 90’s Tim Armstrong all prove that notion to be completely wrong. I have even seen my own guitar hero, Dave Gilmour pull out a nice vintage Gretsch Duojet and play Comfortably Numb on it.
Okay, so usually before we start a review, I always like to add a video, but unfortunately, we don’t have our own, so here’s a great demo from Pro Guitar Shop.
I don’t know about you, but I love mucking around with low priced guitars that actually play and sound really good. It must be the Scottish in me, that loves the idea of getting a nice sounding Strat for about $100.
So first up let’s have a listen to how the Squire Affinity sounds. In the video below Darren is plugged straight into a Marshall JCM 800.
Howdy, you may remember my review on the Epiphone Sheraton, a jazzy and bluesy black number, where I shared a little bit about Epiphone’s very Greek history. Well, today we have a similar beast as the Sheraton, but no history lesson, it’s Epiphone’s Dot ‘Super VS‘.
As with most of our reviews, first up a couple of vids…
For this first video, the guitar is plugged into a Ceriatone JTM45 and a Hiwatt 300W 2×12 speaker cab loaded with Fane speakers. Darren is also using a mid 90s USA ProCo Rat for the distortion.
So here we are again, this time we’re looking at a very nice made in Japan Orville Les Paul Gold Top. And to start off, before we get into looking at the pics, lets have a listen to her. Dazza was kind enough to demo this guitar using a couple of amps.
First up lets check out how she sounds through a Ceriatone JTM45, the cab is a 1×12 Fargen, fitted with a Celestion 70th anniversary G12H. The distortion used in the video is my ProCo Rat2 pedal, which is a made in the U.S.A model.