MySpace, Mymusowanker….

I was reading one of those free “Reverb” magazines that you get from Soundcontrol on a train today. When my eye was cast towards the Myspace/PRS guitars advertising campaign.

For those of you who havent seen this. In the United Kingdom PRS are asking guitarists to send in their pics and their bands myspace urls, the best of which will be put in PRS adverts across music media throughout 2007 and into 2008. From the looks of it lots of guitarists have responded to this.

Now you could argue that this is a good thing, PRS giving exposure to new bands/players etc… however I’m afraid its worked in reverse for me.

When I look at that ad, I see 2 types of guitarist

1: Young Lad in a metal band about 14 with his SE Tremonti or Santana pulling his best lead guitarists face, photo taken by mum/dad/care giver. Awwwww Bless him… least he’s not out on street corners kicking working class fathers to death.

2: The other sort of contender is older…wiser and erm…. what I’d call…er…theres no easy way to say this….

Muso Wanker!

Yes thats right, you know, the sort of guy who comes in with his band at your local 3-4 band indie night, tries to intimidate every other guitarist on the bill. Has top notch gear and at least 2 PRS guitars (one for spare right?). One of the band members will work in a music shop and the singer will be barechested onstage, the singer and bassist are usually the ones that have long hair, I dont know why… just is. They always take years to soundcheck too.

He will scoff at your guitar and remind you that he’s carrying 4 grands plus woth of guitars with him, he will not share amps or cabs and try and maintain a disctinct sense of superiority to any guitarist on the bill, even if they are better than him. He may walk up to your pedalboard…and sniff at it in a dismissive fashion. If he owns a distortion pedal it will always be a Keeley modified one.

Sounding familiar yet?????

The band will have usually managed a decent following, and can usually play, but musically will always be the kind of derivative sub Reef/Stereophonics type “Classic Rock”. Y’know that sort of crap that almost became fashionable after the Darkness first got famous. For this reason alone, they will never become bigger than local heroes to their mates in the local bars and usually struggle on the wider toilet circuit. They will also be angry at promoters as they usually bring a crowd and feel they are not respected and cast aside by the promoter giving attention to more….esoteric fayre.

These guys….theres one in every town, the PRS ad actually confirms that for us. Theres actually 2 or 3 in my town. I’ve seen their bands and….well…..its not pretty. PRS guitars are very very expensive in the UK, people used to call them “Dentists guitars” as it was only the well heeled middle class hobby player who could afford them. Now this advert doesnt have any of those guys in, instead we get much worse.

In a way this ad campaign has put me off PRS guitars. After my dissapointment at my Gibson Les Pauls performance. I’d been impressed with my nephews CE22 and then missing a set neck guitar with a pretty maple top. I was seriously considering a McCarty as a potential purchase in late 2008. However I feel that if I turned up at a gig with a PRS….people might think I’m y’know……one of them!

Back to the drawing board I’m afraid. Ooooooh the power of advertising!

Yet Another New Strat….Yawn….

1987, 20 years ago, how little has changed

Fender have chosen to update the Standard production model of the US build Stratocaster/ Telecaster/P & Jazz basses, you will probably see this as a cover story in Guitarist Magazine very soon. But the gushing press release has all the usual hyperbole

<em>Significant improvements to the electric guitars include a redesigned bridge, new bent-steel saddles with elongated string slots, a new neck and body finish, and a Fender-exclusive high-tech molded case. Similarly, the bass guitars feature a new neck and body finish, a Fender-exclusive high-tech molded case, lightweight tuners, height-leveled pole pieces, and the new HMV high-mass vintage bridge. And for the first time, Fender will be offering the traditional Precision Bass® in a five-string passive version, taking the classic platform to a new level.

Aw man, could I be any more confused as to which Strat to buy. Also does any of this PR shit mean anything anymore? The Classic platform to a new level???? So that must mean that as players we can be even better than those that went before??? Aw….no…..err…..?

I’m all for choice, but FMIC is a triumph of Marketing over content now.

As someone who uses a Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster as his main guitar, I do like a versatile instrument that looks traditional.

But I’ve yet to find the perfect Strat, despite having tried a shedload of em. I have a few suggestions for the boys and girls of FMIC to make the guitars better.

Simplify the fucking range, why have 180+ variations of essentially the same thing?

Just make 2 types of pickup option 3 single coils or 2SC & 1HB

A choice of neck profile would be nice – Yes I prefer a 50′s soft vee nck ala Clapton, but the only way to get that with modern Jumbo fretwire is to buy an American Deluxe V neck and pay a grand.

Put the nice hardware and pickups on as Standard from the start

There are other choices regarding, pickups,fretboards, woods and finishes, but by my reckoning, there are only about 40 realistic variations of this guitar before the silly marketing men get involved and we see this most celebrated of instruments used as a billboard for an alchohol company or endless Signature guitars, which curiously all sport the same essential neck profile.

Despite the fact that Jeff Beck’s Strat originally had a thick U profile ala a 50′s Tele, the modern JB strat has a modern C shaped neck. Fender said that this was cos people had problems with the mass of the original necks…..Fucking wimps! its easy, my main guitar has a U profile neck, they are a piece of piss to play, so long as you actually play the fucking thing and not spend your time in guitarshops telling people you own a JB Strat!!!

What really happened is I suspected in order to maximise profits, Fender changed the design as no other production guitar used that neck profile. Sneaky huh?

Poor old Jeff actually plays a modern JB Strat with the bigger neck taken off the original JB signature model. So why on earth pay £1200+ for a guitar that is not like the one El Becko uses onstage in the first place??

A quick glance at a fender catalog shhows they only really make 3 neck profiles, so surely mass production is a peice of piss. Yet you are made to pay more for the tinyest variation.

And finally….

Stop being silly on pricing, you have the most automated guitar factory on earth, your so called Custom Shop churns out more guitars in a week than some proper “hand” builders do in a year. So get real on pricing, especially in the UK. Theres so little between an American Deluxe and a Custom Shop “Classic Player” Strat in terms of features, why does one cost £400 more?

Will I be trying the new Strat? Probably not

I’m off to browse the used guitars on Ebay rant over;)

Happy 2008