Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Keeping It Real - Or Not

It can get a little frustrating when I look back on my teenage years frequenting the legendary music stores of New York City. I could have plunked down a few hundred dollars and walked away with a Fender Stratocaster that could be worth 30 grand right now. And don't even get me started on the Strat that was stolen from me back in the 1980s. That's a permanent "Ouch!"
Of all the stores on the same New York block, the most amazing was Manny’s, where I once looked at some boxes ready for shipment to Led Zeppelin. You could spend a lot of time just checking out the autographed pictures on the walls. The clerks were mostly cool musicians and the place rocked with Big Apple electricity. It was the early 70s, and I was a bass player. Life was bursting. One time when I was probably 16, I left my school in New Hampshire, flew from Boston to New York on the airline shuttle, bought a bass amp, arranged for it to be shipped to Saudi Arabia, and made it back to the school by nightfall. Music was in the air so it was fitting, indeed, that standing near me ready to board one of the flights, was an obvious rock and roll band. It turned out to be Poco, the version with Timothy Schmit, the bass player who would later join the Eagles. I can still remember watching him put his bass in the overhead bin. Another bass player – this was a sign!
So Fender guitars, etc… are sacred subjects to me and I still pour over the guitar catalogues like other people stare at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. That’s why I’m a little turned off right now. I don’t mind the reissues of great vintage guitars. That’s fair. But what gets me is the phony worn appearance they’re giving them now. Here, let Fender describe it:
"Relic - Like an old friend that's been with you through it all.
A note about the finish:
Completely worn in, like your favorite pair of jeans! Shows natural wear and tear of years of heavy use - nicks, scratches, worn finish, rusty hardware and aged plastic parts. The Relic® looks, feels and PLAYS like it's taken the punishment of many long nightclub hours."

Ouch, so those worn spots in the picture below are fake. Whatever happened to buying a new guitar and wearing it out yourself?


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