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The yearly NAMM Show in LA allows guitar builders to launch a host of new models – Yet for the Fender Custom Shop team, it is more a case of releasing a run of highly spec’d Limited Edition models, that pay homage to the classic guitars from their own golden era  – With current vintage prices well in excess of the cost of a very nice German sports car, few of us will have access to the funds that are required to purchase an original early 50’s black guard Nocaster or Tele, but thankfully the guys at the Fender Custom Shop facility pay tribute to guitars from the golden era – Coupled with a few modern features that are designed to enhance the playing performance, this Nocaster captures the mystical magic of a good old ‘un – So let me introduce you to a Fender Custom Shop NAMM Limited Edition 51 Relic Nocaster, with a ‘faded nocaster blonde’  finish  – Nostalgia will always ensure we’ll find something of interest in an old original model, but your hands, ears and indeed your wallet, will appreciate all the attributes that this Custom Shop Strat possesses

Aged vibe :- I fully appreciate that not all guitar players buy into the seriously aged vibe of many  Custom Shop models, so with that in mind you may well prefer a Tele with more of a lightly aged vibe  – Here you’ll find the classic Nocaster blonde finish possesses a faded worn character  – You’ll find no shortage of lacquer checking , yet overall you’ll view far less dings and dints, with far less wear and tear that reveals the ash body – Aged, but not abused, might be a fair remark, therefore the light relic finish is a far more subtle approach to finding a Tele  with some played in character – Hence you can  buy it and play it, without having to give it the kids gloves treatment, then getting upset regarding any nicks and grazes that it will inevitably acquire – It is generally accepted that a thin base coat and finish allows the guitar to ‘breathe’ so as to maximise the guitars natural vibrant character and this is a big plus factor of the aged approach – So if you like a dirty blonde that is not to worn then check out this Nocaster

That chunky early 50’s U neck profile :-  Is it big compared to other Teles ? – Yes – Is it to big to handle ? – No – Does it enrich the tone ?- Probably a Yes for this one, as it will certainly help – Even with a  set of 10’s you can make that big lump of wood vibrate and that will be further increased with a set of 11’s – The more vibration you can get out of the quarter sawn maple neck and the select lightweight ash body, then the bigger the tone – I certainly think if you play a big neck with a set of vintage frets and fingerboard radius, coupled with a highish action, then yes you’ll find it far harder to play and certainly less forgiving  – Yet thanks to a set of 6105 narrow/jumbo frets, a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, plus set up with a well balanced fluid action, then it will respond to a light touch, hence it is far more easy to handle – I find you quickly get used to it, so before to long you don’t notice the size of the neck, but you will appreciate that big tone – A thin nitro satin finish ensures it captures the played in from day one vibe, that you don’t experience with a shiny new gloss finished neck – In short it feels familiar and user friendly – The chunky U profile starts of meaty at .970″ at the top nut end then gently fattens out to 1.00″ at the 12th fret

Tonal character :- An unplugged test is always a good place to start any tonal evaluation of a Fender – ‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring’ is a favourite phrase of mine and this Nocaster is certainly not short in the vibrant acoustic department – Lively, springy and big open voice is clearly audible when you play a few big open chords at the top nut end – This bodes well when you get round to hooking it up to your favourite amp – Start of on a clean amp setting and it instantly sounds full, rich, warm and organic – The bridge pick-up possesses body, twang and bite in a musical way, without any of that nasty clang that you’ll find on so many budget Teles – Big chords and riffs have power and body with that tight controlled edge that allows them to cut through in the mix – The neck pick-up is chilled out and warm with a laid back character that sounds sweet , crisp and clear on single notes and lush on jazz flavoured chords – Roll off the tone pot as required for a deeper jazz flavoured voice – Lots of character to prevent it sounding bland in anyway – Both pick ups on together and you’ll hear that jangly pop voice that is instantly Beatles pop

Add some gain on the amp and you’ll instantly find it is loaded with character, especially as you play around with the volume pot to adjust the level of gain as required – As such you and the guitar control the amp – Utilise this approach with the guitar’s volume pot around the 6 mark and you’ll find this is great place to set up base camp for the hard core of your tone – Now wind the volume pot back towards 10 as and when you require more gain, bite, snap and attack for lead work, hence a built in turbo boost as and when required – Hit the hi-gain amp setting if you require more overdrive – With the guitar volume pot on 10, you’ll just about reach the point of going out of control, as you approach the red line, so again just roll off the volume pot a touch to control the fizzy edges, yet retain the gain, so again all the soul, emotion and passion that is in this guitar is at your finger tips – So from succulent warm and chilled to brutal attack and everything else in between this Nocaster can mix it with the best of them – Hot country, classic rock, raw blues, sweet blues, jazz, indie or pop and somehow, such a Tele can find itself on home turf  – On overdriven amp settings the neck pick-up is so rich and smooth with just enough sparkling highs – Add more gain and you can almost obtain those smoldering LP flavoured tones with excellent sustain – The bridge pick-up can morph from tight crunch to hot lead – Controlled or on the verge of kicking down a barn door

Grease bucket tone mod – A simple mod on the tone pot that many players now utilise on their own guitars, that is subtle yet effective on overdriven amp settings – As you roll off the highs on your tone pot, it still preserves the same level of gain on the amp – So it still acts as a tone pot, but not to the detriment of gain and sustain you require – As such if you find at times that the bridge pick-up is a touch to fierce, with more bite than you require, so you want a softer voice, that sounds more in control, but still require plenty of gain and sustain, this simple mod will work in your favour

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Guitars4You Offers Reliability, Integrity and Expertise

Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A 35 year journey has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.

I have no desire to run an Amazon style 'click to buy' guitar shop, that lacks any soul or passion, or indeed to fill a showroom with a selection of dirty, shop soiled or dusty guitars that are in need of a set-up.

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