Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fender Telecaster FSR and Yamaha FG-300

This is a great story in a few different ways. First of all, I'll tell you that this guitar is an early 2000's Made in Mexico Fender Telecaster that, from what I can tell, was sold at Guitar Center as what is known as FSR...Fender Special Run. I think Guitar Center gets Fender to make them a certain number of guitars in a color they aren't making in their standard line-up for the year, and that way they have something special they can sell. It's got what I like to call that Springsteen vibe. Natural wood with the 3-ply black pickguard, just like The Boss. When I got mine, it had a white pickguard on it, but that came off before I even plugged it in for the first time.

I bought it from a guy on Craigslist for a mere $275...if you are patient and diligent, these things do happen. You can't even get a Squier Classic Vibe or whatever they are called for that kind of deal. So get your cash together, be patient, and the deals will appear in time. The input jack on this one, like plenty of Teles I've owned, was a little janky, so I got one of those round electro input jacks and screwed it in. Done. The guitar looked great and the deal was good and I had just what I wanted. Until I got antsy and started looking around again. I always do. In this case, I was checking out a Squier Cabronita with a Bigsby and, after watching a video review of it on Premiere Guitar's website, I decided I had to have it. I've always wanted a Bigsby and this guitar has just the right vibe.

I had noticed that the guy selling the Cabronita had listed it many times at $275 and wasn't getting it sold. I figured the Telecaster could easily be sold for $350, but just didn't feel like going through the hassle of listing it myself. So, I contacted the guy with the Cabronita and offered to trade him straight up for my more valuable (and sellable) real Fender. He replied emphatically that he wasn't interested in trading. I pointed out that he could make more money with my guitar, but he wasn't having it. So, the next morning I listed my guitar on Craigslist and sold it within 4 hours. I noticed that the Cabronita guy had lowered his price to $260, so by simply posting a quick photo and description, I actually came out $90 ahead on the deal. Cabronita guy COULD have done the same. I got ready to contact him to buy it (laughing all the while), and when I started to look for his listing on Craigslist, I shockingly came across a vintage Yamaha FG-300 acoustic guitar...a guitar that I had been keeping an eye out for a decade.

I LOVE the old Yamaha FG series guitars...there are stories of a couple of them here on the site. But the FG-300 is arguably the holy grail of those guitars and I absolutely LOVE the western-style pickguard. Very reminiscent of an old Gibson Hummingbird, but better. I'm a sucker for cool pickguards like the Epiphone Frontier and and the Gibson Dove, and the Yamaha FG-300 is right up there with them all.

I flipped out because I really had absolutely no need for another acoustic. I have plenty. And I just sold the only electric guitar I currently owned. But this was a chance I couldn't pass up. The guy listed it for only $450 and said he was open to partial trades. I had an excellent condition Yamaha FG-160 from 1974 that was a beautiful sounding guitar, but I was willing to put it into a trade (partially because I own a second FG-160) and the guy accepted my offer. Sweet! But I still have no electric guitar. The FG-300 sounds fantastic, though if you know much about these guitars, the bridge is a bit weird...an adjustable bridge that should just not be made that way. Some people replace them with a standard bridge, but I think I'll keep mine stock. The guitar itself was worn and used and feels like an old friend. Getting a brand new guitar is exciting and cool, but finding one that has been broken in just right for 40 years can have its own advantages. And for whatever reason, these old Yamahas just always seem to have songs in them if you're a songwriter. This one is no different...owned it less than a week and already written one good song.

Now for the other half of this story: the Telecaster that I sold. When I met the prospective buyer at lunchtime by my office, we started talking guitars and music and it was obvious we were both on the same page. He is a musician that is moving to Ireland and needed a good, solid Telecaster to take with him. The more we talked, the more we had in common musically, and so I invited him to come sit in with my trio on our Sunday night gig. He brought the guitar I had just sold him and I provided him with a little Fender amp to play through for the night. It quickly became clear that he was very talented and fit right in with what we were doing. Not stepping on toes, but finding his own space and shining on solos when he got the chance. Exactly the style of guitar player I've been interested in forming a band with for years, but never had exactly found. And he's moving to Ireland in a few weeks. Just my luck. He's actually going to come sit in with us once more before he goes, and I wish him all the luck in the world. But if he ever comes back to the states, I hope he gives me a call and still has that Telecaster!
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