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It is now a regular feature for the Custom Shop team to release a number of Limited Edition models at the annual NAMM Show in LA – Such Limited Edition models are rarely revolutionary or flamboyant, as their criteria is to release a run of highly spec’d replicas, based on desirable models from their own golden era – I’ve listed all the appropriate details below, regarding this new Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition 51 Heavy Relic Nocaster, with a classic faded nocaster blonde finish, that shows no shortage of wear ‘n’ tear –  So if you like a dirty blonde, then this guitar may well have your name on it – Note the ‘Limited Edition’ engraved neck plate, whilst a similar decal can be found on the rear of the headstock, as well as on the appropriate certificate of authenticity – Highly spec’d throughout including a select ash body, that is married to one piece 1/4 sawn neck/fingerboard – Then add a set of hand wound pick-ups – Set-up with 10-46 strings, along with a slick action – Includes the deluxe vintage style tweed case, certificate, tags, Custom Shop leather strap, plus travel/spec sheet

Playing 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 Big yes for this one – 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  1/4 sawn neck and the select lightweight ash body, then the bigger the tone – I certainly think if you play a big vintage spec’d neck, with an ‘old school’ 7.25″ radius, that is spec’d with small vintage frets, that requires a highish action, then yes you’ll find it tough to play and certainly less forgiving  – Yet thanks to a set of medium jumbo frets (6105’s – narrow + tall) along with a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, then set up with a well balanced fluid action, that will respond to a light touch, then you’ll find this neck is far more ‘user friendly’ – The thin nitro finish has been fully cut back, for that silky smooth ‘played in from day one’ character and that ‘dirty worn’ appearance – 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 – The big neck is a characteristic of those early 50’s black guard Teles – It starts off at .960″ and gently tapers and fills out to .987″ 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 of that vibrant acoustic character – Lively and springy with a big open voice, that is clearly audible when you play a few basic 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, bite and a throaty twang, in a musical way, without any of that nasty clang that you can 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 on single notes and lush on jazz flavoured chords – Yet retains a clear crisp clarity  – Roll off the tone pot, as required, for a deeper jazz flavoured voice – No shortage 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 and 60’s pop

Add some gain on the amp and you’ll instantly find this Nocaster is loaded with character, especially as you play around with the volume pot, in order 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, to cover a large percentage of your tonal requirements – 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 – Subtle tweaks on the volume pot produces effective variations  – 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 roll off the volume pot just a touch, to control any fizzy edges, yet still retain the gain – Again such an approach will deliver no shortage of soul, emotion and passion, all at your finger tips – So from succulent warm and chilled, to brutal attack, with 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 smouldering 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 passive 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

Full spec and details :- 

 

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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.