Guitarists' Corner

The Stratocasters
You can't go wrong with a strat. It's the ground-zero guitar for me. It feels great, it has a contoured body, it has 5 pickups to produce the tones you hear from radio, and it just looks so good.

Fender John Mayer Stratocaster
Christine has amazing taste in guitars. She chose this John Mayer strat primarily because it looks great in two-tone burst. She didn't know what was under the hood: an Indian rosewood fingerboard which makes the tone more mellow and compressed compared to a maple fingerboard, Big Dipper pickups (which sound like over-wound Texas Specials to me), which can handle medium to mild-heavy gain, low-mass bridge pieces, and medium jumbo frets on a modern C-shape neck. This is a great strat!

Fender 1957 Reissue Stratocaster
I changed the 3-way pickup selector to a 5-way, and wired the 2nd tone knob to the bridge pickup to expand the tonal possibilities of this wonderful strat. The hard-V shape of the neck took a while to get used to, but I soon discovered that it was part of the Blues vibe. The contour of the neck forces your hand to make bends in a particular way that will automatically sound Bluesy.

The Les Pauls
"Thick", "heavy", "beefy"--these are some words used to describe the tone from the Les Paul, which every rocker will acquire at one point in time or another.

Gibson Joe Bonamassa Les Paul Studio
For the classic/blues rocker in me, I had to get a Les Paul. This Studio model really hit home for me, with its atypical trapezoidal inlays in place of the standard dots, a Burstbucker 2 in the neck and Burstbucker 3 in the bridge for fat, warm, singing humbucking tones, and a chunky late '50s neck with a 12" radius for a meaty feel.

Yamaha AES 820
Obviously paying homage to the Les Paul, this guitar has a pickup splitter that allows for both humbucking and single-coil tones, with a "high cut" variation which runs the pickups hotter for high gain applications. I'll bring this guitar for sessions where the songwriter hasn't decided on a particular guitar tone, or if I need to play Jazz and Rock in the same session.

The Others

Fender Classic Player Baja Telecaster
I have modded this guitar to the point that it's so far removed from its original specs. An obvious difference that this tele has over a stock Baja tele is the Bigsby vibrato, which adds a nice, gentle warble when used, and a noticeable difference in the rounding-out of the tone to make it less harsh. This has a 4-position switch that has the neck and bridge in parallel for a really fat-sounding neck pickup tone. It also has an S1 switch to have the pickups in or out-of-phase for funk tones, or a different chunk when overdriven. With a Broadcaster pickup in the bridge and a Twisted Tele pickup in the neck, this guitar tends to sound warmer and rounder, and isn't as bright or trebly as a modern tele.


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