Monday, January 10, 2011

The new member of the menagerie

(... or the new quiver in the bow, the new brush in the paintbox...)

Saturday I picked up a Squier Esprit guitar. These guitars were part of the Squier Master Series, made in Korea for only a year or so around 2005. It has a double cutaway, chambered mahogany body, a carved mahogany top, a 22-fret mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard, 24.75-in scale (like a Gibson Les Paul or SG, and unlike most Fenders, which have a 25.5-in scale length), with 2 Duncan-designed humbucking pickups, a three-position switch, and a pair of volume and tone knobs, one per pickup. This model was based on the Fender Esprit/Elite models made by Fender in the 80's, and famously endorsed for a while by Robben Ford. The Squier sports a slightly different headstock, and the pickups are not wired so that you can split the humbucker's coils.

This guitar was previously owned by my pal Dave Workman, a terrific Bay Area blues guitarist, so it's got some built-in mojo.

Guitar Player magazine reviewed it back in the August 2005 issue, and gave it the Editor's Pick nod.

I played it a bit when I got it home. After a couple of weeks of only playing my Telecaster (with a 25.5-in scale length), it was quite different in feel, and it took me a while to get comfortable, but the sound was inspiring from the get-go. Played acoustically, it is rich and vibrant, which is always a good sign. Plugged in, it sounds marvelous. Played through a clean amp, it sounds like a good jazz guitar, with a complex character and great definition. Crank up the gain, and the humbuckers sing like a sweet Les Paul. I was impressed with the clarity and definition even when you roll the highs off.

Sunday night I brought it with me to one of the jams that I frequent (Stan Erhart's "Killa Jam" at the Old Princeton Landing out on the Pacific coast) and got to play it into a couple of very fine amplifiers (a blackface Fender Vibrolux and an Allen Brown Sugar) through a couple of different pedals. It sounded very inspiring, was comfortable, and a joy to play.

1 comment:

Jim Lange said...

The M-80 setnecks are exceptional, too. My better guitars spend a lot more time in their cases—there's just something enticing about playing either the Esprit or the M-80.


Jim Lange