Mark Knopfler Signature Strats vs. 1964 Stratocaster

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear, MK guitar style and licks, Vintage guitars

In the videos below we were comparing two Mark Knopfler Signature Strats to a 1964 Fender Stratocaster, also in red (fiesta). Talking about red, note that one of the signature Strats is in the ‘wrong’ colour the very first ones came with, while the other one is the normal hot rod red. It is always interesting to hear how different three Strats will sound, even Strats of exactly the same model with the same specs. We feel the hot rod red Strat sounds warmer and fatter while the darker one has a nice transparent sound, a bit crisper but also warm. The ’64 Strat does not have an ash body like the signatures, but one of alder (like Mark Knopfler’s 1961 Strat), and the fingerboard is not the slab board (that was produced between 1959 and 1962) but the thinner veneer board. This particular guitar has a bell-like transparent sound with a typical slygthly nasal midrange. All in all, three great guitars which all sound different but all great.
All guitars had 10er strings and were played over a Music Man amp, no effects.

Here is a poll in which you can let others know which one you personally like best.

Which one of the three Strats sounds best to you?

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Nice: Fender online guitar tuner

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Easy stuff for beginners, Guitar in general, Misc, Recording

Today I was on the Fender website and accidentally found a nice little tool there: the online guitar tuner.

When you click on one of the six tuners of the peghead, the software will play a sample of the corresponding note, played with a clean Fender sound.

There are some very useful options: loop on or off (the note will be played again and again in loop mode), and you can select the tuning – standard or all different kinds of open or special tunings. You can even create your own tuning.

The only thing that is missing is the option to fine tune to another root pitch than 440Hz – but to be honest, not something many of us really need.

I like the idea to tune the guitar using your ears instead of a tuner device – helps to keep your ears fit 🙂

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How to identify an original pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster body

Posted on 20 CommentsPosted in Vintage guitars

I often read threads in forums about how to check if a certain part on a Fender vintage guitar is original or not. Of course there are countless books and websites which show many details that help to do so. However, there is one particular detail which is only rarely mentioned: the ‘dowel holes‘ on those old Fender bodies (I am not talking about ‘nail holes’ here!)

Dowel holes

If I understand it right, Fender used some clamps to hold the wood plank when sawing out the body. These clamps left two holes in the body which were filled with wooden dowels. These dowel holes are at exactly the same location on all old Stratocaster bodies – in fact all other models seem to have them as well, however, at completely different places than the Strat.

Dowel holes (in red circles) on a '63 Stratocaster

So if you happen to see an old stripped Fender body, you can easily spot these. New Fender and all the reissue bodies don’t have them. Thus this seems to be a reliable detail to tell an old body from a fake.

..and here on a '58 Strat at exactly the same two places

And on a '66 Stratocaster

Unfortunately, you normally can’t see them on a painted body, at least not easily. However, if you know exactly where they are and observe carefully the way the body reflects light at these places, you might see them through the finish. This is because old nitro finish is often really thin and the dowel holes leave a tiny inaccuracy in the body surface. And of course there are all those Stevie Ray Vaughn or Rory Gallagher-like looking battered Strats which are partly bare of any finish and allow to see those dowel holes directly.

If you know where to search you can often even see them through the finish, like here on a '64 Strat

I am not sure in which year these disappappeared, I guess somewhere in the 70ies, when Fender switched to a different method of cutting out the bodies.

Theoretically  it is possible to fake these holes, too, but I think this is rarely done – yet …

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