By the time we arrived in the early 80’s the reputation of the Made In Japan tag was firmly established, with Ibanez and Yamaha in particular leading the way – Yet in the early 80’s Fender were undergoing many changes, with a new management team at the helm – New directions and policies were in place, whilst the USA Fullerton factory was no longer in operation – As such there was somewhat of a fact finding mission in place, as Fender were trying to ‘find’ themselves – One such trial concerned the Jap built Fender Flame and Esprit models, both developed by Dan Smith and built in the Fujigen Gakki factory – Somewhat influenced by the success of the Ibanez Artist and Yamaha SG models, the Flame and Esprit were expected to produce healthy sales figures – With initial prices around the £500 price mark, they just about flopped from day one, with almost zero interest shown by the public – As such Fender discontinued the range and cleared out old stock, at crazy prices, after only 2 years of production -Once on offer, I recall buying a selection of both models to sell for under £300 – They flew out of the door and to a large degree that was the end of it – Then around 1988 Robben Ford released ‘Talk to your daughter’ to much acclaim amongst guitar players – At this stage Robben favoured using the Esprit and ever since then demand and awareness of both models has increased –So let me welcome into stock a used Fender Flame Standard – Part of the original Master Series run from 1985 with a classic sunburst finish
In no particular order let me update you with a load of additional info :-
- Priced at £1299 and that includes the original Fender moulded case
- Made in Germany/Schaller tailpiece and bridge assembly with roller saddles
- ‘Grip’ control knobs with F Fender logo
- 22 medium jumbo frets on a dark rosewood fingerboard – Bound fingerboard with no nibs, so fret ends sit on top of the binding – Frets are low height + wide width
- Glued in maple neck with a medium neck profile with just enough meat on it – measures .861″ around the top nut end and .899″ around the 12th fret – So a touch slimmer than many Gibson LP models
- Fender pearl logo + Flame inlay on the headstock facia
- Bound headstock facia
- Whole guitar weighs a credible 8lbs and 7oz
- Bound alder chambered body that is spec’d with a carved maple top
- All chrome hardware including a pair of Schaller straplocks Custom spec’d and wound humbuckers – built by Schaller – Neck measures 6.49K – Bridge measures 12.49K – Coil tap option, so measurements are now 4.25K and 6.36K, via a push/pull tone pot
- Condition wise :- This Flame is certainly on the cleaner side of life – The gloss finish shows light signs of use, so more superficial surface grazes as against any nasty nicks or dings – Maybe barely noticeable on a quick initial viewing, so look more carefully to find a blemish – I’m not saying there are no grazes, but for a guitar that is well over 30 years, they are close to minimal – Frets are clean, with no nail marks on the fingerboard
- Re-strung and set-up with a set of 10’s and a slick slinky action
Tonal character :- Fat, rich, clear and crisp, with more of a 335 articulation about it, compared to the fat ‘moody’ character of an LP – Maybe this is apparent when you listen to Robben Ford’s Talk to your daughter album – On clean amp settings it possesses enough warmth and character for jazz orientated passages, or indeed the BB King clean style of blues – More lush on the neck pick-up and more bright on the bridge pick-up – Stay on the bridge pick-up, or indeed both pick-ups, then add the coil tap option and you’ll find some useful single coil ‘Chic’ influenced voices for funky chord chops – Add some gain and whilst it will happily deliver the goods with a saturated hi-gain amp setting, I feel it works better with a ‘less is more’ approach, hence less gain – Under such conditions it will reveal far more of its expressive qualities and dynamic range – So probably more Steely Dan and less Green Day – As such it allows those complex jazz flavoured chords to be clearly heard and cut through the mix – Equally, cascading licks, or expressive pentatonic bends can be played with ease on such a guitar – It is hard not to be influenced by Robben Ford when you are looking at the potential of buying such a guitar – No one guitar does it all anyway, but for Jazz, blues, fusion, funk and pop, then I think the Fender Flame will be at home
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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 journey, now in excess of 40 years, 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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