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As a Custom Shop dealer I have purchased many guitars following a showroom visit by the UK product specialists – It gives me the opportunity to hand pick a few nice examples – I also order a few guitars following the release of Limited Editions models at the winter NAMM Show in LA – Equally I custom order many Strat’s and Tele’s via the Custom Shop ‘ala carte menu’ – Orders are often based on a specific model I had in stock a while ago, that I felt captured some magical mojo – I’ll take such a ‘chassis’ and then tweak a few features accordingly – The latter is how this new Fender Custom Shop 59 Journeyman Relic Tele, with an ultra cool taos turquoise, recently arrived into stock – Its aesthetic qualities are more than matched by how it feels, plays and sounds

Could I make a statement that this Fender Custom Shop 1959 Journeyman Relic Tele is the finest Teles I’ve played ? – I could but would it be true ? – After all ‘the best’ is a matter of opinion – Furthermore, I’ve sold so many excellent Tele’s, over the last 40 years, that in reality I’ll never get all the leading contenders together for a side by side evaluation – So I can now adjust that statement to read ‘that this Tele is certainly one of this finest Teles that I have ever played’  – It certainly has many great attributes going for it – Some that are  a list of features and some that are generally referred to as that magical mojo, a phenomena that you can’t explain what it is , but your hands and ears feel it and hear it – So let me update you with all the details, spec + info :-

Lightly aged ‘Journeyman’ character :-   I fully appreciate that not all guitar players buy into the seriously aged vibe that you’ll find on many  Custom Shop Teles – With this in mind, a thin nitro Journeyman finish takes on more of a  lightly aged approach, that some might say is more authentic – This supa cool taos turquoise finish possesses a worn and faded character, with far less scars and wears than many other Relic models  – You’ll find no shortage of lacquer checking , yet overall it receives far less dings and dints, with very little in the way of a worn finish that reveals the alder body – Aged, but not abused, might be a fair remark, therefore the Journeyman 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

Tonal character :- It totally captures the magical mojo of a great Tele from the golden era – Snap, attack, balls, body and bite yet chilled out when required – An initial unplugged test drive is always a great place to start when you first check out a Tele – I always state ‘it don’t mean  a thing if it ain’t got that ring’ – Just play one big open E chord and listen and you’ll find this Tele possesses a vibrant acoustic voice, that is full bodied and crisp – This translates into good news when you get round to hooking it up to your amp – It is totally loaded with soul, expression and emotion with the ability to morph from chilled out jazz to snarling punk and everything in between – On clean amp settings the hand wound neck pick-up is warm and smooth, with a crisp poppy character when the tone pot is left on 10 –  So roll it off a touch as required for those moody jazz tones – You’ll hear a melodic bell like chime as you try out a few tasteful licks – On clean amp settings the hand wound bridge pick-up delivers plenty of snap and attack, but is also loaded with depth and body, so twang and not clang – Ideal for those country picking licks – Both pick ups on together is that classic jingly jangly tone that is ideal for 60’s pop styles

On overdriven amp settings make sure you fully utilise the Tele’s volume pot to maximise the guitars emotional content – Roll off the volume pot to around 6 or 7 and use this setting as your ‘base camp’ – It still retains all the Teles goodness but allows the amp to clean up just enough – Then as you require additional bite and boost, wind it back towards 10 – This approach will deliver those awesome crunch rhythm tones from the bridge pick-up that a Tele is so well known for – Again delivered with body and bite – The same setting is ideal for hot country licks, raw blues of Muddy Waters etc. and ideal for the riffs of Indie/Brit Pop – Now drop to the melodic neck pick-up and those Robben Ford style licks sound so rich, warm and lush, with a vocal/flute character – Chords are clear with excellent articulation, so even complex jazz flavoured chords posses a bell like chime – It is the Jekyll and Hyde character of a good Tele that it can be soft or kick down a barn door – Move on to a hi-gain amp setting and again use the volume pot to dial in gain as required – With the volume rolled off  a touch, the neck pick-up almost delivers fat Les Paul moody flavoured tones, whilst the bridge pick up will snarl if you leave everything on 10, but roll the volume pot of a touch for a more in control voice that possesses a softer character

When you play and  hear a good Tele you’ll instantly realise why they can sit in so many different musical environments – And why they are loaded with so much soul and character – This is everything a good Tele should be – Attack and balls to melodic and lush

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For additional product info, to arrange a showroom visit + viewing, or indeed any other questions, then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Call: 01335 345777 or email: mark@guitars4you.co.uk. Please note that showrooms visits are strictly by appointment only.

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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.