Hey guys, Brian from World Music Supply here again, to bring you another healthy dose of gear and guitar reviews. In today’s review I got the chance to check out some to look at some slightly older members of the Pawnshop Family of instruments from Fender. Way back when I covered the Fender Pawnshop series, I had to start with the models that had just come out on the market, the Jaguarillo, the reverse Jaguar, the Mustang special etc. The reason I’m bringing this up, is because I didn’t get the chance at the time to review the flagship models, the 51, and the 72, now that I finally had some spare time, I sat down and ran these two wonderful guitars through their paces.
First up is the 51, which was based off of the unexpectedly successful Squier 51, and is a strange Tele, Strat hybrid that looks like an old 51 P bass scaled down to a normal guitar size. I personally loved this guitar with its weird switching system, and no tone control. It took everything I loved about the Squier and supersized it. Fender gave it a hotter humbucker in the bridge, a bolder sounding neck pickup, and a much cleaner, and more intuitive switching system, with a more balanced and dynamic tone. The inclusion of the push pull knob, for splitting the humbucker into a cutting single coil instead was also a nice touch.
Running through a clean amp, this guitar certainly has a very Telecaster style sound to it, with more twang and bite on tap than any of the other members of the Pawn shop family. The neck was easy to play, and with the slightly thicker U shaped neck it certainly felt a lot more vintage than many Fenders rolling off the line nowadays. The comfort of bending on this neck, and the loose feel of it all really lent itself to playing fast, and cleanly, something that I always look for in new guitars.
Running through a dirty amp however, with the bridge pickup in humbucker mode, really took this guitar out of Tele territory, and turned it into a more modern sounding axe, able to throw down hard rock and even metal riffs with the best of them. The bridge in both positions had body, but still loads of cut to it, while the neck pickup was smooth and straty, with lots of roundness to the tone that never made the guitar sound wooly or overly bass heavy. This guitar can hang with anyone, rockers, country, blues guys, heck if you get it in black it can probably hold its own with a metal band, the 51 can really do it all and its because of this that I award it a solid 10 out of 10.
Next up is the 72, which is the natural evolution of the 51, taking the one third Tele, one third P bass, and one third Strat formula, and switching the telecaster part of the formula from a standard butterscotch Tele, and instead replacing it with the Thinline Tele, which leant its semi hollow F-hole equipped body, its 70’s esc colors, and its fullrange humbucker to the 51 formula, thus creating the beauty we call the 72. Most of the controls remain the same, with the single volume, no tone, and a blend knob to slide between pickup combinations.
The clean tone of the 72 was far, smoother than the 51. With a more mellow tone, without as much snap and twang on tap, this guitar has an almost jazz box like tone to it. With its crisp, round highs, and its tight, tubby low end this guitar has as tone to it that very few do. The bridge pickup was just as beefy but with a slightly more airy quality to it, thanks to the added resonance of the semi-hollow body. The neck pickup, when used alone, and when used with touches of the bridge pickup had a very big sound, with lots of beefy low end, but crystal clear highs, something that you really don’t find with any humbucker but the Fender wide range.
Running into a dirty amp this all still held true, with the bridge pickup sounding just as heavy and destructive as ever. While the neck pickup remained clear and pristine with all of the added harmonics of the distorted channel, but with all of the shimmer and shine that it had in the clean position. This guitar could easily get metal too, and the amount of feedback resistance in this guitar was amazing, as it took way more volume then I could even stand. Tuning it down, and turning the gain up, I was amazed at how metal this guitar really sounded with all of the searing, screaming power of the bridge pickup, and even the neck pickup remained pristine even at these high gain levels, truly amazing. The 72 in my book is one amazing machine, and it easily deserves a 10 out of 10 rating.