World Music Supply | Fender Pawn Shop Guitars

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.

The Fender 51 Pawn Shop Stratocaster

The Fender 51 Pawn Shop Stratocaster

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.

The Fender 72 Pawn Shop Stratocaster

The Fender 72 Pawn Shop Stratocaster

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.

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World Music Supply | Pawnshop Amplifiers

Hi everyone, it’s Brian here with World Music Supply, and today I want to talk to you guys about some cool new amps that are part of Fenders Pawnshop line of equipment. The Pawnshop line up until now has been filled with quirky Fender guitars built to feel old, but made with a modern sensibility, and these amplifiers are no exception. Thus far, the Pawnshop line of amps has only two models, the Excelsior and the Greta. Let’s start first with the Greta.

The Fender Greta

The Fender Greta

The Greta is designed to function and feel like an old tube desk radio, which is what many guitarists of yesteryear had to deal with before they could buy a “real” amplifier, and as such, the tones generated from this small 2 Watt amplifier is similar to what you tend to hear on many old Classic rock hits from that same era. The Greta does look really cool though, with its speedometer style volume meter, its gold fabric covered speaker, and its bright red vintage table top radio style cabinet.

Sitting down with the Greta and putting it through its paces it’s quickly apparent that the controls to this amp are as simple as simple can get. You have a volume, a tone knob, and a speaker, past that you can plug the amplifier into the front end of another amplifier to use as a pre-amp, or run it into a cabinet to use the Greta as a head. While this makes the guitar a little more versatile, at the end of the day you get a few really amazing tones, and a cool little red amp. I tested the Greta through all of its respective speaker outputs, by itself, through a Randall RT412CX, and as a Preamp for a Fender Frontman.

By itself the Greta is a cool little table radio, and its speaking voice reflects this. Through its 4” speaker, at lower volumes, you get a clean-ish tone which has that classic sparkle that fender is known for, and as you ramp up the volume you get a very C.C.R style “swampy” overdrive. You really need some low output pickups to get a “true” clean tone from the Greta, but as long as the volume is low, you still get a nice, warm clean sound, with the slightest hint of growl behind it. However through its internal speaker, my favorite part was running my MP3 player through the Greta, as the tubes warmed everything up, and really made the music so much more, well…musical.

using the Greta as an amp head into a Randall RT412CX I was impressed by two things, that an amp like this can actually run a 4 x 12 cabinet, and second by the tonal difference between its internal speaker, and when running as a head. By itself, the Greta has a very “swampy” character, with a growl that I really can only link to the tones made famous by the likes of John Fogerty, but when you run it through a cabinet, it suddenly has a very AC/DC style sound, with far more punch and range than it does by itself. This is all to be expected, but the grand difference in good, usable tones was not, and I was frankly impressed. At low settings you get a nice big clean sound, with the slightest impression of the overdriven character of the amp in the background, and as you crank the amp the 5 o’ clock or so, you start to get some real Angus Young style bark. Taking it all the way to ten results in some big, heavily saturated distortion at a semi-low volume, which for those of us who record in our homes, rather than million dollar studios, good tones at low volumes is a definite plus.

The Greta can also be used as a Pre-amp, and for my test, I ran the Greta as a pre-amp into a Fender Frontman 2 x 12, which is a brighter sounding amplifier to begin with, I picked this amp as I have always loved its Fender tone, but I’ve never been a fan of the solid state tone. The Greta did a few things for the Frontman, first of which was warm everything up, this was nice as I could set the Greta on its lowest possible setting, just to add some tube warmth and let the Frontman handle all of the volume duty. This setup proved to be very useable, and did a good job of “faking” a big tube amp, which is something that I’ve always liked, having the tone and analog warmth of Tubes, and the reliability and road worthiness of a solid state amp. This combo really was a match made in heaven.

The Greta is a great addition to the Fender line of amplifiers, and a fantastic addition to the pawnshop line of equipment. For its ability to perfectly emulate the tones of yesteryear, the Greta gets a 9 out of 10, as even though its tones and looks are perfect, it certainly isn’t a high gain, heavy metal amplifier, and it therefore won’t suit the tastes of every guitarists, even though it will perfectly suit most of them.

The Fender Excelsior

The Fender Excelsior

Next up in this review is the Excelsior amplifier, a cool little 13 Watt Combo with a 15” special design speaker, and like the Greta it’s designed to be filled with all the same weird, quirky energy that has made Fenders Pawnshop line of equipment so exciting. Just like the Greta it bears no Fender name badge, just the name Excelsior, and a big E shaped cloth covering on the front to help echo the vintage vibe. the Excelsior only gets weirder and weirder when you come to find its three inputs, for Guitar, Mic, and Accordion…yes, that’s right, Accordion.

Each channel is designed specifically to complement that specific instrument, and by that I mean it is patterned after vintage amplifiers for that purpose. The guitar amplifier features wiring that is patterned after a vintage combo amp, and features everything from country clean tones with big snappy twang, to big roaring blues rock crunch. The Mic channel seems to be patterned after similar amplifiers, but with a bit cleaner mid range, as it seems to have been designed for use with harmonica mics more than vocal microphones. This means that the Mic channel features slightly scooped mids that help give the mic channel an extra little grind when it’s overdriven. I even went as far as to get an A/B box and toggle between these two channels to help figure out the difference, and it really is just a slightly scooped out midrange, which allows the amp to sound more “full range” than normal.

The accordion amp seemed to take a lot more to distort than the other channels, and had a much brighter sound to it than the other channels, which was nice when you consider that this amp is only 13 Watts and will spend most of its life at least slightly distorted. The last neat little feature about the Excelsior is the Tremolo feature, which is very, very musical. It adds a nice soft oscillation to your tone, and its speed knob never allows it to get too intense to where it’s a buzz saw, or a stutter, just a soft musical warble. Overall I loved the Excelsior, and if I had the extra cash lying around I would have snatched one up in a heart beat. For its ability to have so many sounds in one little box, and for its retro cold-war styling, the Excelsior lands a respectable 9 out of 10, and it doesn’t score that last point for the same reason as its sister, while it is a great classic sounding amp, there just isn’t enough gain on tap for many guitarists wanting a more modern sounding amplifier

So there you have it, some very respectable amps, with a pedigree from one of the most beloved Amp manufacturers on the planet, with a vibe and a tone that is half a century overdue. These amps are sure to be a hit with lovers of low watt amps everywhere, and you can get them and many more Fender amplifiers right now at Worldmusicsupply.com!

World Music Supply | Fender Pawn Shop

Hey Guys, it’s Brian here with World Music Supply and I’m here to talk to you about the new line of Fender Pawnshop Guitars. By now we’re all at least semi-familiar with this new line of Fender guitars, but if you aren’t, let me fill you in. The Pawnshop line is in Fender’s own words are “guitars that never were but should have been.” They’re patterned after some of the more eccentric models that were produced during the latter years of Pre-CBS Fender, when they were coming out with models like the electric XII, the Musiclander, the Marauder, the Bass VI and let’s not forget the Starcaster or the Coronado.
 

          In truth though, the first line of these guitars, the 51 and the 72 are based off of the unexpectedly successful Squier 51, a strange Tele, Strat hybrid that looked like an old 51 P bass scaled down to a normal guitar size. I personally loved the Squier version, with its weird switching system, and no tone control. The fender model though? 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, and don’t even get me started on the 72. I am in love with that guitar, and if they offered it in fiesta red, I would pick one up in a heartbeat….but I digress. Now, Fender has created a new set of wild, retro looking guitars. The Pawn Shop line now includes the Offset Special, the Jaguarillo, a reverse Jaguar bass, and the Mustang Special.

The Fender Offset Special

The Fender Offset Special

 

Let’s start first with the Offset Special, the strange, mutant love child of a Fender Jazzmaster, and what looks like a Stratocaster. You want a weird and quirky guitar? This guitar has it in spades. The Jazzmaster has always been one of my favorite guitars, made as an attempt by Mr. Leo Fender to try and diversify his company away from making “country” guitars, he made what he figured jazz guitarists would love, big, full sounding pickups, a floating tremolo, and a circuit just for the neck pickup, so you could get two different flavors of smooth tone. Problem was…jazz guitarists tend to be a pretty conservative bunch, and they didn’t want any part of it.

    The only people to give the model recognition were surf guitarists during the 60’s, but they soon migrated back to their Stratocasters with the success of bands like The Shadows and Dick Dale, and when Fender came out with the Jaguar, the Jazzmaster fell into disuse and mediocrity. It wasn’t until bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth got their hands on these old relics that Leo had designed for jazz guitarists, now found acceptances by post rockers and grunge players alike. So why did I go through this short history lesson on the Jazzmaster? Well I want to point out just how weird the Offset Special is. They took most of the hardware from the Jazzmaster, one of their least successful guitars of all time, and mated it with the Stratocaster, arguably one of their finest guitars of all time, and what do we end up with? Something amazing, a guitar with all the smooth tone and class of a Jazzmaster, and all the power and playability of a Strat. So in short, what do you get with the Offset Special? We get a hollow, offset, Strat style body, with big steel guitar style pickups, a floating tremolo, and a 21 fret Strat style neck, and the sounds of this thing is huge! It’s like a cross between a Gretch Country Gentleman, and a Jazzmaster. Thanks to the hollow body, and the shorter distance from the tremolo to the bridge, the Offset Special defiantly sounds bigger then a normal Jazzmaster, a bit fuller, a bit rounder, and the floating trem lends itself well to smooth jazzy bends. I love the period correct style of the guitar, what with it looking like a cross between a Jazzmaster, a Stratocaster, and a 72 Tele, the Offset Special has something for everybody. I give it an 8 out of 10 stars, because even though it does have a very distinct tone thanks to the Jazzmaster style pickups which are well suited to country, jazz and certain brands of alternative rock, that same distinctive tone that gives it that signature shimmer and spank, might not lend themselves to heavier styles of music as well. 

The Fender Jaguarillo

The Fender Jaguarillo

          Next up is the Jaguarillo, my personal favorite of the new line up, because its just one of those “really why didn’t they do that sooner?” kind of designs. I’ve seen people do this with Jaguars for years, take out bridge pickup and replace it with a humbucker. By itself that would be enough to make the Jaguarillo a great little guitar, but pair that with a much simpler switching system and a slanted HSS configuration, and you have one monster of a guitar. The Jazzmaster style trem is well suited to bigsby style flutter, or some light vibrato. The HSS configuration is slanted, meaning it makes the low strings sound a little fatter, and the high strings a tiny bit brighter, so it sounds like a Strat, just with a little wider range of tones.  Lastly, something about the offset pickups and the simplified control scheme, just makes this guitar look so, so good. Out of the new pawnshop line up, I like the Jaguarillo the best, especially in the faded sonic blue, easily  9 out of 10 stars, simply because some people might have reservations about buying a guitar with slanted pickups. Regardless, the Jaguarillo looks and sounds amazing!

The Fender Mustang Special

The Fender Mustang Special

Then, rounding out the Pawnshop Guitar line is the Mustang Special. Now this is something I’ve been hoping fender would do for a long time, introduce a nice small guitar again. Sure I loved the old Mustang, but that tremolo unit on it always frustrated me, sure it worked, but it was just so tedious to maintain, and though I love the sound of fender single-coils, on an instrument this small, they just sounded a tad too bright even for my tastes. So the addition of a good hardtail bridge and some nice fender full-range humbuckers is just what this guitar deserves. The Mustang style switching system is still there, but now with the more powerful pickups, its given a whole new twist of being able to do strange coil tapping, where you can either have the back, or front pickup of the humbucker. Overall I give it a 9 out of 10, because even though I love it, I’m sure a Fender purist is going to be mad that the mustang trem and phase switching isn’t there. This guitar sounds amazing though, purists aside, and I’m glad that Fender finally has a good sounding, and good looking little guitar again, and at an affordable price.

The Fender Reverse Jaguar Bass

The Fender Reverse Jaguar Bass

Now a strange turn for the line is the more modern flavor of the new Reverse Jaguar Bass. Featuring a Fender high mass modern bridge, a bigblock humbucker in the neck, a reverse jaguar special humbucker in the bridge, and a short-ish scale 32” neck with a reverse headstock and trust me, this thing sounds massive. I like the shorter scale length, but I also like that they didn’t go as low as 30” like fender used to with the mustang basses, which always sounded a little dark to me. This thing though? It’s the perfect place between too dark and too bright, with more then enough power on tap for even the most modern bass players. The reverse design is something I love too, it reminds me of old Mosrite guitars, and basses from the 70’s All in all, this bass is a nice addition to the new line up that is the Fender Jaguar bass range. Easily the best idea fender has had in a while. I easily give the Fender Reverse Jaguar 10 out of 10 stars, because even a Fender purist can’t get mad, because the jaguar line is such a new line of basses. Now if only they would make a guitar version of a reverse jaguar, maybe with some modern touches as well? Some high output humbuckers and a Floyd Rose anybody?

the four new additions to the Fender family

the four new additions to the Fender family

At the end of the day, I like the Pawnshop line up, probably because I love all those weird Fenders from back when Leo ran the show, and let’s be honest, these guitars are beautiful. So what if they don’t look like your standard Strat or Tele, if you get one of these, you will have a weird little gem of a guitar that is quirky and unique, with all the spank and sparkle that you have come to expect from Fender. So how about you go on over to Worldmusicsupply.com, find something unique, and start standing out from the crowd, go get yourself a Fender Pawnshop guitar today!