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Signature models

Jeff Beck's Stratocasters

Posted on 14/02/2015 by ozzy in Signature models

When it comes to spec of Jeff Beck's main guitar, it's quite surprising to find that it doesn't have anything in common with the signature model that Fender produces (2014). The story of Beck's White Stratocaster begins in 1987, when he had asked Fender to make him a `62 Vintage model painted in the same yellow colour as his 1932 Ford Hot Rod. Fender took this as the opportunity to talk him into having a namesake Stratocaster model, and has put together the prototype with Jeff in mind. (Hence its yellow finish christened Graffiti Yellow.) But Beck temporarily turned down Fender's proposal and the Stratocaster came eventualy out as the Strat Plus.

Jeff Beck's Graffiti Yellow Strat

In 1990, he finaly acceppted Fender's offer and they released the Jeff Beck Signature Strat, Version 1, based on the Strat Plus. It did not come in Graffiti Yellow, but in Midnight Purple, Surf Green and Vintage White.

A years after, in 2001, the signature Stratocaster was upgraded to the Jeff Beck Signature Strat, Version 2, and the Custom Shop version had been introduced in 2004. The most significant difference between those two versions was the replacement of the active Lace Sensor pickups with the Hot Noiseless Dual-Coil Ceramic pickups. The Version 2 also features a slim C-shaped neck instead of the chunky U-shaped neck found on the previous signature model, LSR roller nut instead of the Wilkinson, and a straightforward five-way pickup selector and standard tone controls instead of the prior guitar's TBX tone circuit and coil-splitting functions.

Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster (Version 1)
Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster (Version 1)
1990 - 2001
Midnight Purple, Surf Green and Vintage White colour - Alder body - Rosewood fingerboard - C-shape neck - Wilkinson roller nut - 2-point tremolo - Lace Sensor Gold single-coil pickups and HB Lace Sensor Dually at bridge - TBX tone circuit affecting the middle and bridge pickups and a mini coil-split push-push button for the bridge-position humbucking pickup
Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster (Version 2)
Jeff Beck Signature Stratocaster (Version 2)
2001 (2004, Custom Shop) - present
Olympic White and Surf Green colour - Alder body - Rosewood fingerboard - C-shape neck - LSR roller nut - 2-point tremolo - Fender Hot Noiseless Dual-Coil Ceramic pickups - Contoured heel for easier access to upper frets - Deluxe Staggered Cast/Sealed Locking tuners or Sperzel Trim-Lok Staggered (Custom Shop)

About Jeff Beck's main Stratocaster his guitar tech Stevie Prior reveals: “The main, white one is a ’95 basswood-body made by J.W. Black, with a J.W. Black neck from ’93, and John Suhr pickups, which there are really only two sets of in existence – that main guitar and then the Surf Green spare. Obviously, Fender would like to get those back so they could try to replicate those pickups, but that’ll never happen, because you’d never get the guitar out of Jeff’s hands long enough. But I’m now using Fender Custom Shop Alnico N3 pickups made by Michael Frank-Braun in all the other [backup] Strats. They’re much more true to the Strat-like tone, in that they’re Alnico II, III, and V – that’s neck, middle, bridge – although they’re Noiseless, which we obviously rely very heavily upon. He hates that 50- to 60-hertz buzz with single-coils. They’re probably a bit brighter, because the Surf gets a quite dark midrange sound. He quite likes that brilliance and shimmer he gets from the N3s.”

John Suhr (who is currently running Suhr Guitars, was the original pickup designer for the Fender Custom Shop. He made the Beck pickups when he worked there as a master builder, so here is what he had to say: "It was a dare from JBlack who was re-working Becks 3 main guitars and was having some feedback issues with them. So J asks if I could make something and I said I would give it a go!

They are stacks and are very tall (under the pickguard), definitely flat pole pieces flush with the cover or close to that. 100 % handmade pickups, bobbins and all and the used stock covers. They are dark sounding and warm which really worked for the gain and brilliance of the amps he was using making a brittle overdrive sound fat and smooth. Bill Turner then came on board and Bill Lawrence shortly after was doing some more work for Fender. Then I left. After the Fender Noiseless series was created Beck wanted something more like the prototype sets I built for him and Bill Turner used the existing new noiseless bobbins to come come up with something hotter as a Jeff model pickup, at that point I had one foot out the door. I had assumed Beck had switched to those but later found out that Beck was still using 2 of the original sets for special occasions loaded into a pickguards he used for special shows and recording.

I might make some pickups like the original Beck sets but the guitar would need deeper cavities if I were to do it exactly the same, so it wouldn't be easy to market.

These pickups have a unique character and even though stratty they are pretty far away from an authentic single coil tone."

Jeff Beck's White Stratocaster (main guitar)
Jeff Beck's White Stratocaster (main guitar)
1987 - present
White colour - Basswood body - Rosewood fingerboard - Wilkinson roller nut - 2-point tremolo - Custom-wound pickups by John Suhr - Wiring that allows to adjust tone for all pickups
The Reverse Headstock Stratocaster
The Reverse Headstock Stratocaster
2014 (present)
The Fender Custom Shop White Stratocaster with reverse headstock á la Hendrix debuted on the Beck / ZZ Top tour in 2014. The reverse headstock affects how the tension increases as player bend the string. The more non-vibrating length a string has, the less effect on pitch a given deflection along a fret gives. So a reverse neck will give considerable bends on the high E and B strings, compared to a typical Stratocaster.
Source: Xhefri's Guitars, Vintage Guitar mag, A. R. Duchossoir - The Fender Stratocaster

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Chris Rea signature Pinky Stratocaster (Chris Rea-ish)

Posted on 16/09/2013 by ozzy in Chris Rea-ish, Signature models

In 1999, Fender produced the Chris Rea signature Pinky Stratocaster as a part of its Mexico made "Classic Series '60s". This signature is a copy of Chris' famous red '62 Stratocaster, which he calls Pinky. He actually played this Mexican copy on the Road to Hell: Part 2 album along with the original. No more than 500 of them were made for European market only, making this a very rare collectors item. All artist royalties from it went directly to charity.

CHris Rea Signature Strat

In the interview for Guitarist magazine (Nov 1999) Chris Rea explains: "Fender approached me to do the guitar and any proceeds are going to the NSPCC. But also it's nice to be able to tell people there's such thing as a slide guitar, as it often gets lost in the commerciality of the business. If we have a hit record, it'd be great to think that some kids might be inspired to start playing that kind of music." As well as the instrument itself, there's also a slide tuition video that comes with the guitar. "That was something I insisted upon, because you have to block the trem off and raise the action to do the tunings and I explain all this in the video. It's about 25 minutes long and it's just me playing slide. It'd give me a lovely smile if we saw someone on television in five years' time who said he'd listened to what I was doing and taken it somewhere elese. What you're really getting is an alternative instrument; it's not a guitar as guitars go, and that'll do me."

Chris Rea | Pinky Signature Stratocaster

The basic specs of Chris Rea signature Pinky Stratocaster are as follows: Poplar body, faded fiesta red colour called salmon pink; white pickguard (mint green) and aged plastic parts; D-shape maple neck with rosewood fretboard, 21 frets, 7,25 radius; vintage Kluson tuners and vintage tremolo. Each guitar came with tutorial video (see below, it's really amazing), bottle-neck, little block of wood to block the tremolo off, gigbag and two decals to decorate your instrument the Chris Rea way.

Source: Guitarist (Nov 1999)

Posted in Chris Rea-ish, Signature models  |  Please leave your comment

Fender Roger Waters Precision Bass

Posted on 14/09/2011 by ozzy in Signature models

In 2010 Fender introduced the Roger Waters Precision Bass. The instrument is Made in Mexico, with features including black-on-black color scheme (black body and single-ply pickguard), Seymour Duncan Basslines SPB-3 Quarter-Pound split-coil Precision Bass pickup, knurled black control knobs (master volume, master tone), brass nut, black bridge and strap buttons, vintage ’70s-style "Fender"-stamped open-gear chrome tuners and gasketed "F"-stamped neck plate. Other features are a maple neck with vintage-style truss rod and slotted truss rod nut, 9.5"-radius maple fingerboard with 20 medium jumbo frets, gloss urethane finish (body and neck) and deluxe gig bag.

Roger Waters Signature Fender Precision Bass

According to Roger's guitar technician Colin Lyon, G. E. Smith played Hey you on the fretless version of Roger Waters signature bass during The Wall tour, while another one with the rosewood neck was used for the front of the stage, where the instruments were supposed to be dark.

Fender Roger Waters signature Precision Bass with fretless neck (The Wall tour, 2012) Fender Roger Waters signature Precision Bass with rosewood neck (The Wall tour, 2012)
Source:, Premier Guitar

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Washburn RW300

Posted on 14/09/2011 by ozzy in Guitars, Signature models

Roger Waters | Washburn RW300 signature model Roger had been playing the sunburst Washburn RR300 during the first two year (1999-2000) of his In the Flesh tour. Washburn approached him about a Signature Limited Edition and this led to a black RW300 used during 2002 part of the same tour.

The RW300 brings together a Seymour Duncan P90 style pickup and a Fishman preamp with a piezo bridge. These pickups, in combination with the chambered mahogany body and solid spruce top, reduce the chance of feedback and give the guitar a vibrant acoustic tone.

Source: Washburn Guitars

Roger Waters | Washburn RW300 signature model  

Posted in Guitars, Signature models  |  Please leave your comment