Gitbox Culture

Musings on guitars, guitarists, guitar styles and approaches, technical matters and guitar design by a professional guitarist with a Ph.D in ethnomusicology. Also covering electric bass, lap and pedal steel guitar. And what the hell, banjo.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"One question....why a Squier?"

Dedicated GC readers may remember my tribulations a few months back regarding my substandard Fender Highway One Strat, bought in Strat-desperation for a Pink Floyd cover gig, with regret slowly creeping up thereafter.
It's gone.
I traded it down to a Squier Classic Vibe Strat, the 50s version. Looks like this and sells for $330 CDN plus tax at Canada's own version of Guitar Center, Long and McQuade.
 It was a bit of a journey to get here, and for now I'm very happy with this guitar. It wasn't long ago that I wouldn't even deign to touch a Chinese-made guitar; there was no point. Dull, weak tone, out-of-tune and cheap-feeling necks and a generally plastic feel top the list of reasons 'why not.' Yet here I am, a cheap Chinese Strat my main rock guitar and me proudly testifying on its behalf when asked the question at the top of this post.
It started with seeing Kevin Breit (see my email interview with Kevin here) playing one at the Orbit Room in Toronto and him commenting on its surprising excellence. From there it was to the online forums and finally to my local big box guitar dealer, where only the 60s version was to be found. Coveting a maple board Strat, I special-ordered the 50s guitar, something I've never done before. When it arrived it was perfectly set up, with an expensive-feeling neck and a nice clear Strat-y tone. I've heard and played better, certainly, but there's something psychologically gratifying for me about my guitar being easily replaceable; there's also something cool about not paying $4000 for what was designed to be the Model T of electric guitars, a populist plank. There's something just wrong about the idea of the Custom Shop for me, and relicing? I just can't get with it. So I strike a blow for the common man, and for offshore CNC machines, with my Squier scepter boldly in hand.
Nice two-colour sunburst, too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Earning my "Badge"

Working today on some of Eric Clapton's music. I was only a casual Clapton fan up to about six months ago, when I bought the Complete Clapton set. I've been working out of the excellent transcriptions in the accompanying book Complete Clapton (Guitar Recorded Versions) from Hal Leonard. I've found Hal Leonard's guitar stuff to be of consistently high quality.  Unfortunately some of the eighties songs are reprints of transcriptions done back then, and they're not as nice. I guess that comes with the territory when you're dealing with a career retrospective.
I remember seeing published note-for-note Clapton transcriptions quite early in that 'movement,' probably the book (Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3) that matched the boxed set. Incidentally, that boxed set, released in 1990, was one of the first really successful CD boxed sets as I remember.
So work continues on "Badge." I'll keep you posted.