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FDP Forum / Fender Custom Shop / Long time no talk to

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Chris Greene
FDP Host

USA

I don't know why you can't post...
Feb 23rd, 2005 11:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm gonna open a book on how long John sticks before burnout. Still working on the odds... ;o)

John Page
Contributing Member

USA

Feb 24th, 2005 12:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Mike, the wood was found by a friend of mine, Bill Giles (Bill also was the builder of the Custom Shop amplifier cabinets) at a supplier in the South. I was told it came out of an old church and it was about 100 years old. From the way the growth rings looked on the wood, it was really old growth, something you don't see today. Most modern pine is plantation grown with wide rings. Fred Stuart was the MB in charge of that project, and we both believed that a good, quarter sawn piece of fat maple would hold up... but it's good to hear that it actually did!

Dreghead, The guitar that was produced was different than the original that I designed. I initially designed it to be made in the US, but it ended up being made in Japan. When that transition happened, things were changed. The peghead went from the Strat to the Swinger, for example, so I don't remember what pickup they actually went with. I angled the pickups to thicken up the top end a bit... and it looked cool. Well, at least to me, I like "off-line aesthetics". Why weren't they successful? Look, I was a designer in Fender R&D for years before I started the CS. I was always trying to design something new and different. When we started the CS, I tried to do the same. Reality is, the public wants Strats, Teles, P & J basses from Fender. So it's really tough to get them to accept any "new & different" designs in any great quantities. I'm afraid I have no idea how many were actually produced.

Yes, I was the design engineer on the Elite Strats as well, but I try not to remember and/or tell anyone (ha ha). The Elite design was done by a group, Dan Smith in Marketing and Chip Todd, Charley Gressett and I in R&D (gotta share the blame and shame!). Marketing was looking to have us design guitars that were basically "not Fenders", to address other market shares. We did some pretty extensive artist and player evaluations of the original prototypes, but the production models just didn't get accepted. Again, the public not wanting us to stray from the original too much, and the fact that the guitar had some issues. Also, that came out right before CBS decided to sell us, so we couldn't go back and clean up the bugs.

iggyziggy

twin cities - usa

...no more 'beatin my brains...
Feb 24th, 2005 02:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hello John! I've got a 35th anniversary CS strat ... i have always wondered if these were 'masterbuilt'...even tho i don't think 'masterbuilts' were noted then??? The COA is signed by you, but I remember, i think, i could have bought a different one (same dealer/same time) w/COA signed by Fred Stuart???


iggyziggy

twin cities - usa

...no more 'beatin my brains...
Feb 24th, 2005 02:41 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

john, another question? it's the 'weight of a strat' question...is there really a noticable difference in tone (or other difference) between a strat weighing 7.5 lbs, and a strat weiging 8lbs??? i can't imagine there is, but you're the expert! there is SO MUCH talk on this...and i think it is purely opinion...FYI, i got a 50th Anniversary '54 FCS (Art Esparza 4084) that weighs a ton (just kidding) at 8.2 lbs...your thoughts? I love the Esparza!!! Great tone!!! but, that xtra 1/2 lb is just killing me! (again, kidding!)

John Page
Contributing Member

USA

Feb 24th, 2005 02:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

iggy ziggy, the 35th Anniversary Strats were not Master Built. They were built by the CS apprentices while being overseen by myself and other MB's. Masterbuilts were indeed noted then. On a couple of the early limited edition runs, the certificates were signed by a couple of different folks, but I don't think Fred was one. He was still apprenticing at the time I believe. It would have been signed either by myself, Mike Stevens or Bruce Bolen.

iggyziggy

twin cities - usa

...no more 'beatin my brains...
Feb 24th, 2005 03:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

john, i want to thank you for responding. Thank you!

One more, then i'll let everyone else benefit f/your presence here/now...i know you were at the museum by this time, but:

i have a (oct 2000) '61 strat relic - seafoam green - with ser# SM011. Neckplate reads:
"custom built for Speir Music - SM011" Speir Music is now out of biz...the only info Customer Service (good people there!) have is that it was a "custom instrument shipped to Speir Music Oct 2000" ... nothing more. I was told the FCS did not have the '61 strat as part of it's regular production models at the time. Did Speir special order, and if so, is this masterbuilt (has no sig/headstock)...or would special order by xyz music stuff be teambuilt as it was not 'regular production pieces' ... any thoughts at all?


Elliot
Contributing Member
*

Cheshire, UK

Feb 24th, 2005 03:17 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi John,

Many thanks for taking the time to share your experiences on the forum, it makes very interesting reading :-)

May I ask a question about the highly figured flamed maple necks fitted to Eric Claptons personal "Blackie" Strats (from around 95/96). They all seemed to feature what appeared to be dark "wear marks" on the face of the neck.
I think this looks really cool and would like something similar on the guitars I purchase.
Do you have any information to share?

Thankyou, Elliot.


ganzonomy

Binghamton, NY, USA

GANZONOMY!
Feb 24th, 2005 03:22 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

ok, since ur here, i may as well ask.

the "average" weight of a strat is 7-8 lbs. When i bought mine, it was 12 lbs 3 oz. What on god's grey earth could make a normal sized MIA HSS Strat weigh so much (though it's perfectly balanced, and it's my #1 guitar).

My uncle has 6 late 60s early 70s strats, and has one of the sooper rare rhinestone strats, and he says that mine is the heaviest post-CBS strat he's ever held. He too wants to know why my strat is more than 50% heavier than a normal strat.

PS, it's a 2004 MIA HSS Strat, if that gives you any help.

(This message was last edited by ganzonomy at 03:33 AM, Feb 24th, 2005)

John Page
Contributing Member

USA

Feb 24th, 2005 03:41 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

iggyziggy, first off, as you said, I was not there at the time. I will give you my opinion. We used to make what we called "spec" guitars. These were guitars that we put together, usually bits left over from small limited runs. In other words, if you had an order from a dealer or distributor for 25 61 Strats, you may run 26-27, just in case you had any fall-out. If they all made it, we'd put them together and offer them to dealers. You may haave one of those. It would not be masterbuilt if if has no signature decal on the peghead.

Elliot, thos "dark wear spots" are exactly that, wear spots, but not "wear through" spots. On Eric's personal guitars we used to put on a "Super Glue" finish. This was a few of coats of cyanoacrylate, steel wooled in between coats and after. It seals the neck wonderfully and yet wears through (in a sense) rather quickly. The glue actually penitrates the woods quite a bit, but if you dont load it up, you still have the texture of the wood grain. The oils from your hand would discolor it rather quickly. Unfortunately the use of the glue in this manner is pretty toxic, and not do-able on anything but a one-off basis.

Benbuddy

France

Feb 24th, 2005 03:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi John,

I thought I'd take the opportunity to say hello and thanks to the guy who made the Custom Shop come true. Fender CS guitars haunt me since you started this great story years ago... I finally recently had the means to get one and I'm sooooo happy with it. My guitarist dream come true :)

It's a '54 MB signed by Chris Fleming (I don't know if you worked with him when you were there).

Anyway, thanks for all and keep on grooving.

Ben




John Page
Contributing Member

USA

Feb 24th, 2005 03:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Gazonomy, the last time I heard of a Strat that heavy was when I was working in the Fullerton plant in the 1970's... that's freekin' heavy. My guess is that you have an incredibly heavy piece of Ash. I don't believe that I've ever heard of a piece of Alder that heavy.

ganzonomy

Binghamton, NY, USA

GANZONOMY!
Feb 24th, 2005 03:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

it's silver and has the poly finish. so i'm not sure if it's ash or alder (or lead) or what.

but goooooood lord does it haul. I call it "jimi" (think why), and my roomie says it looks like a battleaxe with strings and a lot of power in it.
(it has a bridge pup in the neck, a hot bridge in the middle, and a black cobra in the hum)

But i dont think fender messing up merely with pups can cause such a BIG weight hike.

(it came from the factory that way... which i like)

John Page
Contributing Member

USA

Feb 24th, 2005 03:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ganzonomy, There's no way it's the pickups... that's way too much weight. The pickups may weigh several ounces at most. A 7ish pound Strat usually has about a 5ish pound body. Your Strat must have a body that weighs close to 10 pounds.

(This message was last edited by John Page at 04:15 AM, Feb 24th, 2005)

Crumblebum
Contributing Member
**

England

Still can't play a note!
Feb 24th, 2005 04:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi John,
May I firstly thank you for guiding the CS during your years there and for overseeing the production of such fine instruments. My question is this:-
Are you able to shed any light on the background to the Hank Marvin signature Srats produced by CS in 1990? I have been told that 25 were produced of which 20 were sold to the public. They were all prototype guitars and HBM kept changing the spec, sometimes in minute detail, such that the whole project was dropped for a while and never officially sanctioned by HBM. These guitars were apparently built by Masterbuilders but only have the oval CS logo on the rear of the peghead, and Certificates may not have been produced for them. Further, when it was discovered that those 20 had been sold, Fender wrote to the respective owners and tried to get them all back again.

Any truth in that or is it just legend?

Many thanks, Crumblebum

John Page
Contributing Member

USA

Feb 24th, 2005 04:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

crumblebum, I never heard anything about Fender trying to get them back again. We did produce about 25 Hank Marvin Strats for Fender's UK distributor, Arbitor. I was actually the one who met with Hank while I was in London visiting the newly opened Custom Shop office in the Nomis recording complex, and spec'd out his guitar. As I recall, Fiesta red, Gold bits, I think Lace Sensors even. To be honest I don't remember all the details. The thing that sticks out most in my head was the specific way he wanted his stubby tremolo arm done. I remember having to trace it on my wallet calendar and take it back to the shop. I wish my recollection was better and I could give you more details on this one, but as I recall, Hank was great and the project went fine. However, I have been corrected before, so if one of my old shopmates remembers something differently, please comment.

ganzonomy

Binghamton, NY, USA

GANZONOMY!
Feb 24th, 2005 04:13 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

hmm, idk what it is... i dont think poly coating adds 4 lbs, the pickups being swapped cant do it. What on earth could make a normally 7 to 8 lb guitar weigh over 12 lbs? it is a 2004 amse HSS strat in silver w/ black pickguard.


Elliot
Contributing Member
*

Cheshire, UK

Feb 24th, 2005 04:30 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for your reply John :-)


Crumblebum
Contributing Member
**

England

Still can't play a note!
Feb 24th, 2005 04:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks John - looks like legend then.

telesforengland
Contributing Member
*

UK

Feb 24th, 2005 04:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi John thanks for visiting us.One question thats been burning in the back of my mind is that I saw a Fender Broadcaster Relic from your era in the first Clapton Crossroads auction and I was wondering did you have to seek permission to use the Broadcaster name?I have since seen a couple of other examples(Not the ones with the Leo signature on the headstock)for sale and have been led to believe that these may have had the decals fitted after leaving the shop.Did you produce many or indeed any?
I still have my 1996 relic Nocaster which has matured nicely with age,but I'd dearly love a Broadcaster.
I bet you smile when you see all these ads for Custom shop guitars headed 'Custom built by John Page' just because they've seen your name on the COA.Did you build many whilst you were there?I still rue the day I parted company with my 40th Anniversary Tele!
On behalf of RELIC lovers everywhere...thanks for igniting the spark.....new beat up guitars who'd have thought they'd sell!!

Butterscotch
Contributing Member
*******

UK

Vintage.
Feb 24th, 2005 07:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

ganzonomy, the American Series HSS Strats can be either Alder or Ash bodied. It sounds to me as though yours is a heavy chunk of Northern Ash!

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FDP Forum / Fender Custom Shop / Long time no talk to




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