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  Fender CBS American

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Fender CBS, the pro arguments

Fender pre-CBS is a legend, a myth! But why always complaining about the CBS years and its reputed crappy manufacturing? There are quite a few nice developments we musicians can enjoy! Look at these:

truss-rods adjustable at the top of the neck.

rosewood fretboards with white ivory binding, block-inlays instead of dot-markers. You find beautiful Jazzmasters und Jaguars of that period, instruments with a certain appeal. Or think of the the 1975 Jazzbass in natural-ash-finish. What would it look like without those typical black block inlays?

maple-fretboards again end of the '60s. Not the one-piece maple necks like in the 50s, but maplenecks with maple-caps. Advantage: Necks more stable, clearer tone with longer sustain.

new pickups:
From 1965 on Stratocaster-pickups with grey bobbins, which also became a legend. Instead of Formvar now Plain Enamel (and since 1974 cheaper polysol) was used for wire-insulation, and these Alnico 5 pickups provided a special sound: Not as thin and crystal-clean as before, but more solid with clear transparent highs and deep growling lows. Output values still kind of weak, like before. Stratocasters with those Fender-CBS Pickups were played e.g. by Jimi Hendrix, Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple) or David Gilmore (Pink Floyd). Today this '60s model is still available at the Fender Custom Shop labeled “Custom 69“. Abigail Ybarra, winding pickups for Fender since the late '50s, created this unique model. Nowadays Mrs. Ybarra winds only a few of these “Custom 69“ by her own personal hand, but all models have Abigail's specifications like method of winding or choice of magnet material. By the way: On the backside of every “Custom 69“-pickup You will find Abigail's personal initials incl. the date of manufacturing.

Fender Widerange-Humbucker, created by ex-Gibson employee Seth Lover (“Mr. PAF“).

There's one guitar-model, Fender took care of in the CBS-years in an exceptional way, without any influence of Leo Fender himself: The Telecaster.

1968 Telecaster available in psychedelic Paisley look (red and blue).

The Rosewood Telecaster. 1969 some few models were completely made of rosewood. Pretty heavy, but classy look and special clear sound. George Harrison played a rosewood Telecaster, e.g on recordings like “Let It Be“ and “Abbey Road“. (See movie “Let It Be“ or the famous Rooftop-Concert)

Telecaster Thinline - approaching the sound of semi-acoustics.
The Thinline provides 2 chambers in its body and a F-hole. Instrument lighter with a more airy sound. First years with classic pickup combination, later on with humbucker in front-position like the new Telecaster Custom. The Thinline was the first guitar by Fender in natural ash look, which became very popular in the '70s.

Telecaster Custom 72 - with humbucker in neck-position and classic bridge pickup.
The Telecaster's neck-pickup was considered too weak by a lot of musicians, who replaced it with a stronger Gibson humbucker. Therefore some additional carving had to be made. Fender followed this trend, providing the front-position with a special humbucker (the “Widerange Humbucker“).

Telecaster Deluxe with 2 humbucker pickups, thinner Stratocaster neck and Vibrato-System (vintage-tremolo).

Yeah, let the music keep our spirits high!

Lutz Wernicke, Berlin/Germany 2010     Website Lutz Wernicke

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