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Aug 10

LeoFender

Today, August 10th, 2015, we celebrate the 106th birthday of Leo Fender, a legend, inventor, and revolutionary. Founding not only the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, but the Music Man, and G&L Musical Instruments brands, Fender’s contribution to the world of music is unprecedented, especially for someone who never learned to play the guitar. That’s right, the founder of an instrument toted by the worlds most famous and noteworthy musicians of all-time never knew how to play. Nonetheless, it lends itself to the compelling story of Leo Fender and his legacy. Read the information below compiled from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to learn more about Leo Fender!

from rockhall.com-

It’s safe to say there would be no such thing as rock and roll without its distinctive instrumentation. To put it another way, rock and roll as we know it could not exist without Leo Fender, inventor of the first solid-body electric guitar to be mass-produced: the Fender Broadcaster. Fender’s instruments – which also include the Stratocaster, the Precision bass (the first electric bass) and some of the music world’s most coveted amplifiers – revolutionized popular music in general and rock and roll in particular.

Leo Fender was born on August 10, 1909, near Anaheim, California, not far from the future site of his guitar factory. He was an electronics enthusiast and radio repairman who got involved with guitar design after guitar-playing customers kept bringing him their external pickups for repair. Before Fender came along, guitarists met their amplification needs by attaching pickups to the surface of their hollow-bodied instruments. While the question of who designed the first successful solid-body guitar is still being debated, Fender was the first to successfully design and market such an instrument with the introduction of the Broadcaster in 1948. Renamed the Telecaster two years later, Fender’s creation remains a mainstay of country and rock musicians who like its clean, biting sound. The guitar became an immediate success, particularly with country pickers. And now, more than 60 years after its introduction, the Telecaster still looks more or less the same.

“Fender could look at something and immediately discern the simplest method of doing whatever had to be done,” said Les Paul. “He was a good, honest guy who made a straightforward guitar.”

Fender’s Precision bass, introduced in 1950, brought a new sound and flexibility to the rhythm section of bands, liberating the bassist from cumbersome standup instruments. The bass-driven soul music of Motown and Stax would have been inconceivable without Fender’s handiwork. In 1954, Fender introduced the Stratocaster, a flashier instrument featuring a contoured, double-cutaway body, three (as opposed to two) single-coil pickups and a revolutionary string-bending (tremolo) unit. Fender’s Strat has been the favored model of such virtuosic rock guitarists as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

In 1965, Fender sold his company to CBS for $13 million. Then, in 1971, he formed the Tri-Sonic Company. In 1974, he changed the company’s name to Music Man. One of that firm’s most notable instruments was the Stingray bass. Then, in 1979, he founded yet another company, G&L Musical Products.

Leo Fender died on March 21, 1991, after suffering from Parkinson’s disease for many years.

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Jul 22

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 The 2015 Builder Select series celebrates those behind the Dream Factory’s magic—the master builders who craft the Fender Custom Shop’s legendary instruments and push the boundaries of possibility. Inspired by the coveted Fender instruments of yore, every Builder Select guitar is infused with a master builder’s passion, attention to detail and boundless imagination.

These authentic, hallmark Fender instruments reflect the best elements of the past, bearing modern enhancements personally selected and designed by each builder. High-end custom electronics, select pickup configurations and exclusive finish touches coalesce to create guitars that exhibit the ultimate in expressive tone, premium feel and classic Fender style.

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Yuriy Shishkov 2015 Builder Select 1963 Stratocaster

 

This inspired example of Shishkov’s luthiery reflects an instrument that has been played with loving respect versus careless abandon. The Aged Arctic White Journeyman Relic® finish shows the marks of countless gigs over the years. The quartersawn ’60s “C”-shaped maple neck reflects a master’s touch—a smooth, silky finish on the front and lack of finish on the back, where the player’s hands would caress the neck. “The neck is the part handled the most,“ Shishkov said, “so it had to be comfortable and reflect a well-loved instrument.” Using authentic ’60s-era construction techniques, Shishkov created an eminently playable 9.5”-radius round-lam rosewood fingerboard with 21 jumbo frets to top off this exceptional neck.

The Custom Shop Hand-Wound ’60s Strat® Single-Coil pickups include a reverse-wound, reverse polarity middle pickup for hum-free playing while accurately recreating classic Fender tone and dynamic response. In a personal touch, Shishkov included a modern five-way pickup switch along with Vintage Modified Stratocaster wiring. The traditional master volume and neck pickup tone controls are left unmodified, while the second tone control affects the middle and bridge pickups. Period-accurate touches include a responsive six-saddle American Vintage synchronized tremolo, nickel/chrome hardware and nitrocellulose lacquer finish—allowing the guitar’s body to breathe with extra resonance and a more natural sound.

Riffing on a classic—while staying true to Fender’s roots—the Yuriy Shishkov Builder Select 1963 Stratocaster springs from the master’s mind to your waiting hands.

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Greg Fessler 2015 Builder Select 1969 Stratocaster

 

This sterling instrument bears a few Fessler-designed custom modifications, otherwise remaining as period-accurate as possible—from the F-style tuning machines and 6-point tremolo to the mid-60s Oval “C”-shaped maple neck and narrow jumbo frets. The Custom Shop pickup complement is the well-known “Fessler Set” originally developed in 2006—three hand-wound single-coil pickups carefully selected by Fessler for their classic, highly dynamic and reactive tone when used together: a singing Custom ‘69 neck pickup, thick Fat ‘50s middle pickup and hot, high output Texas Special bridge pickup. The wiring is the special sauce that completes this tonal recipe— a treble bleed circuit maintains clarity while adjusting the guitar’s volume knob, retaining crisp clear high end and creating consistent tone while “cleaning up” nicely. The traditional control scheme is also slightly altered—one tone control affects the neck and middle pickups while the second tone control adjusts the bridge pickup for even more tonal variety.

Attention to minute details and master-level craftsmanship are the hallmarks of Greg Fessler’s carefully researched and constructed instruments—the limited edition Greg Fessler Builder Select ’69 Stratocaster is a premier example of his skill and dedication to the art of luthiery.

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Jul 15

Music still mourns at the untimely passing of Amy Winehouse…It’s safe to say anyone with ears could hear that Amy Winehouse was an exceptionally talented musician. From her captivating vocal performances, to her unique song-writing skills, Ms. Winehouse brought something so refreshing to the world of music. Well, Amy’s talents extended even further when she decided to pick up the guitar, remaining faithful to the Fender Stratocaster! Have a look at this video from 2004 featuring Amy discussing her love for the good ol’ Strat, as well as giving us a mini-performance for us to enjoy!

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May 05

from Fender Custom Shop-

Not bound to any particular year or design era, reverently irreverent Custom Shop Postmodern guitars represent six decades of “Fender firsts” based simply on our own subjective view of what works best in a single instrument. Player friendly with enhanced sonic and ergonomic features, the Postmoderns open the door to an even wider range of individual musical expression and creativity, with elegantly crafted Stratocaster® and Telecaster® models, and a special combination Precision/Jazz Bass® model.

The 2015 Postmodern Stratocaster® is elegantly designed with a reappraisal of modern assumptions. A thoroughly contemporary take on a time-honored classic, it has a lightweight ash body with a comfortably contoured heel, a quartersawn maple neck with a finely sculpted ’60s “C” profile, a fast compound-radius (9.5″-12″) “round-laminated” maple or rosewood fingerboard with 21 narrow jumbo frets, and three sparkling Fat ’60s single-coil pickups (reverse-wound/reverse-polarity middle pickup) with modern five-way switching and a special “Tone-Saver” treble-bleed network that keeps tone consistent at any volume (no loss of highs when decreasing volume).

Other premium features include a three-ply parchment pickguard, American Vintage synchronized tremolo bridge, staggered tuning machines (no string tree), Schaller® strap locks and Fender “F” logo engraved neck plate. Available in Black, Olympic White, Dakota Red and Three-Color-Sunburst new “Journeyman” Relic® lacquer finishes, which imparts the appearance of years of aging and light use without heavy wear and tear. Includes black textured vinyl hard-shell case.

The 2015 Postmodern Telecaster® features many of the same accouterments as the Strat, but with dual Twisted Tele® pickups with three-way switching and a Greasebucket™ tone circuit, which rolls off highs without reducing gain. Watch the video above to get a closer look!

If you are interested in either of these guitars, you can email our sales staff through the link below. Feel free to call us as well, at 516-626-9292!

Click here to order button

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Apr 23

Fender article

from Fender.com-

The first weekend of Coachella was jam-packed with a wide-range of artists covering several different genres of music, from rock to punk to country and nearly everything in between.

And more often than not, bands were playing their Fender gear, bringing a lot of interesting instruments to the stage.

Although there were some arguments over which to pick, we’ve compiled a list of five Fender guitars that stood out from the pack, rare and eye-catching pieces that require a closer look.

Allah

Spencer Dunham of the surf-influenced Los Angeles psych-rock band Allah-Lahs held down the low-end with a vintage-looking Mustang Bass.

The creaky old instrument had a dark green finish with a matching headstock and blue racing stripes. And you can almost see what’s underneath that, as various chips and wear spots have exposed parts of the wood underneath.


 

gearSaber

It was an early set for Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger on Friday – the first of the day at Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre – and guitarist Robbie Mangano rocked out on his red flame top Stratocaster with a rosewood fingerboard. It was such a beautiful instrument that it shined brightly amid the afternoon sun.


 

wardrugs

The War on Drugs frontman Adam Granduciel pulled out an amazing Japanese 12-string Stratocaster midway through his band’s soaring Friday set.

Granduciel actually came across the instrument in Asheville, N.C. and knew he had to take it home.

“It’s so sick, and it plays so sweet,” he told Guitar World about the 12-stringer. “I went into this guitar store in town to pick up some strings for a friend and I saw this white 12-string. I was like, ‘You gotta be shitting me!” I had to get it.’”


 

gearSturgill

Outlaw country crooner Sturgill Simpson typically plays an acoustic guitar in a live setting, but his sideman Laur Joamet is an avowed Telecaster man.

And when the band performed on Sunday at the Gobi Tent, Joamet wielded his 1974 Tele that he bought about 10 years ago in Estonia. As the story goes, it was in rough shape when he got it, but after a little TLC, it’s been his main axe for a long time. Note how the control panel is flipped, a modification that allows him to play pedal steel swells more easily.


 

Touche Amore Fender

Touché Amoré guitarist Nick Steinhardt drew oohs and aahs for his American Vintage Jazzmaster. The shimmering gem is stock except for its unique Royal Blue Sparkle finish, a great look for the post-hardcore band.

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Apr 21

from Fendercustomshop.com-

For the discerning player with an eye for beauty, Artisan series instruments are works of art crafted with purity of design in mind. Each instrument blends high-end appointments with original-era features for a one-of-a-kind Custom Shop experience. From exotic tone woods to handwound pickups, no design touch is too ornate, yet each instrument is distinctly Fender.

The Artisan Okoume Stratocaster is a perfect combination of striking form and legendary Fender functionality. Mesmerizing in looks and sound, its ’56 Strat® body is crafted from premium okoume and finished in classic chocolate sunburst. Featuring a comfortable 10/56 “V” profile, the bird’s-eye maple neck is “roasted” to a dark caramel color to match the body’s edges and finished with nitrocellulose lacquer for ultimate breathability and feel. Complete with gold hardware, a trio of handwound single-coil ’69 Strat pickups and a wealth of cosmetic upgrades, each unique model is a feast for eyes and ears alike.

Other features include a 9.5″-radius maple fingerboard with 21 vintage tall frets and bone nut, headstock with gold foil Fender logo, gold American Vintage Strat bridge, ’50s-style truss rod adjustment, vintage-correct knobs and parchment pickguard, five-way switching and more.

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The Artisan Series Okoume Telecaster is a perfect combination of striking form and legendary Fender functionality. Mesmerizing in looks and sound, its ’52 Tele® body is crafted from premium okoume and finished in classic chocolate sunburst. Featuring a comfortable 10/56 “V” profile, the bird’s-eye maple neck is “roasted” to a dark caramel color to match the body’s edges and finished with nitrocellulose lacquer for ultimate breathability and feel. Complete with gold hardware, a pair of handwound single-coil ’58 Tele pickups and a wealth of cosmetic upgrades, each unique model is a feast for eyes and ears alike.

Other features include a 9.5″-radius maple fingerboard with 21 vintage tall frets and bone nut, headstock with gold foil Fender logo, specially designed RSD Tele® bridge, ’50s-style truss rod adjustment, vintage-correct knobs and parchment pickguard, three-way switching and more.

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Feel free to contact us at sales@themusiczoo.com or call 516-626-9292 to order any one of these guitars! Head on over to our Fender Custom Shop section to have a look at the Fenders we have in stock!

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Apr 11

Michael Lee Firkins Main

Written by Walter Bryant

Michael Lee Firkins is one of those guitarists that happens to slip under the radar when talking about game-changing players. With his versatility, and out-of-the-way licks, Michael Lee Firkins is one of the most intriguing players we’ve seen…

Like most of the progressive-thinking guitar players we’ve showcased, Firkins was born into music. With a mother who was a pianist and a lap-steel guitar playing father, Firkins was destined to stumble upon something musical. Lucky for us, that something was the guitar.

Firkins began playing the acoustic at the age of eight, latching on to the works of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC after taking lessons at a local music store. It wasn’t until 1979 that Firkins began his quest with the electric guitar; a Gibson SG paired with a Princeton Reverb to be exact. Inevitably, as his stylistic interest started to expand, so did his influences; jamming along to the musical works of Chet Atkins, Albert Lee, and Danny Gatton. It wasn’t long before Firkins began borrowing a few techniques from Jeff Beck and others to create a slide-effect using the tremolo bar. This identifiable sound and perpetual desire to play the guitar led him to put together a 5-song demo of completely instrumental tracks. The demo would make it into the hands of Guitar Player Magazine talent scout, Mike Varney. Needless to say, Varney would go on to signing Firkins immediately.

Michael_Lee_Firkins_-_1990_-_Michael_Lee_FirkinsCome 1990, Firkins would release a debut self-titled album on Shrapnel Records. The album showcased Firkins’s signature slide-esque sound with some shred flavoring. The album was truly the best of both worlds, and was widely received. It would go on to sell more than 100,000 copies, landing him with a number of accolades for the work. Firkins’s most prestigious award would be won in Europe where he would accept an Edison award (Holland’s version of a Grammy).

Firkins’s combination of hybrid picking and tremolo bar techniques creates a truly captivating sound that we have yet to hear from anyone else. The genesis of Michael Lee Firkins as a Shrapnel artist can be vividly represented by the Hot Licks videos MichaelLeeFirkins_photo05still lurking around YouTube. With the groove and punchiness of a Greg Howe, charisma of a Scott Henderson, and a sound and style all his own, Michael Lee Firkins was and still is the total package. Ironically, in addition to his fantastic slide-emulation technique, Firkins uses a slide in exceptional fashion as well, and can be heard in his later works. The albums that would follow his self-titled debut would also lend themselves to his astounding versatility, showcasing his effortless ability to delve into other musical genres; most notably Rock fusion and Jazz. The greatest part about his playing is his seamless ability to allude to other styles. Every once in a while he’ll surprise you with a jazzy phrase here and there to remind you.

In early years, Firkins could be found toting a Yamaha MichaelLeeFirkins_600Pacifica with a maple fretboard, but can now be seen using a variety of Fenders including a custom-built resonator Telecaster, a 1957 reissue Stratocaster, and a 2003 reissue Fender Nocaster.

With 7 solo-albums to date, and a number of collaborations and features on the works of countless artists, Michael Lee Firkins shows no signs of putting down the instrument any time soon. Furthermore, we urge you all to give a listen to his self-titled album, “Chapter-Eleven”, and “Yep”. But if you have the free time, you’d might as well listen to them all (you’ll thank us). Below is a clip from his Hot Licks instructional video from 1990. Also have a look at a more recent video from his performance at Fender’s Kickoff Event in Anaheim, California. Watch them and tell us what you think of this monster player! Remember to keep an eye on our page for more “Guitarists To Know”!

Sources: http://www.michaelleefirkins.com/

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Feb 19

Fender vw gti

Considerably the ideal automobile for the modern gigging musician, the new Volkswagen GTI has most of everything a guitar player needs and wants in a car; space, comfort, sportiness, and a kickin’ sound system! Motor Trend Magazine recently released an article showcasing the new model as well as glorifying the “Convergence of Cars & Guitars” over the years. But what makes this VW GTI so special is it’s Fender Premium Audio package, which provides the incredibly clear and powerful sound experience you need to get in the zone while on your way to your next show. You can get this system on a number of vehicles in Volkswagen’s lineup.

Rory Jornecka, writer at Motor Trend, also goes on to explain his dual hobbies of car and guitar obsession in the article, which is humorous considering many of us at The Zoo share the same habits. Between Music Zoo owner Tommy Colletti’s SRT-8 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Walt’s (photographer/blogger) stanced VW Golf MKV, it’s not hard to see that The Music Zoo is full of gear-heads. Furthermore, this article features some great photos and information on the new GTI as well as past Fender advertisements showcasing Car/Guitar collaborations. You can read the full Motor Trend article by clicking here! Also, be sure to check out  our inventory of Fender guitars on our site to quench your guitar thirst!

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Photos from Motor Trend Magazine

 

 

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Feb 16

Guitar World Behind the Scenes (3 of 4)

We’ve been working with Guitar Aficionado Magazine on a lot of various projects lately and well, the fun just continues in their February issue, featuring a few of our guitars in front of some awesome automobiles! When we heard about it being a “Motoring” issue, we knew exactly who to team up with for the feature. Our good friend Howard Kroplick, whose cars we use for a number of our “Cars & Guitars” blogs, owns a bunch of cool rides that are on display in the same building as The Music Zoo. The outcome was an impeccable tandem of rare guitars and even more rare cars! Among the cars that make an appearance are Howard’s Shelby Gt-350H’s and 1960 Cheverolet Kingswood Station Wagon. As for the guitars, we supplied a Kramer Van Halen guitar (yes, Eddie’s actual guitar), a Music Zoo exclusive single-pickup Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul, our exclusive Jackson Custom Shop RR1.5 and a ’63 Fender Custom Shop Relic Telecaster.

Have a look at the page spreads from the magazine below! …as well as a few behind-the-scenes shots we took at the shoot!

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Check out some behind-the-scenes shot we took during the shoot.

Guitar World Behind the Scenes (1 of 2)

Guitar World Behind the Scenes (3 of 4)

Guitar World Behind the Scenes (1 of 4)

Guitar World Behind the Scenes (1 of 1)

Guitar World Behind the Scenes (4 of 4)

Guitar World Behind the Scenes (2 of 2)

Behind-the-scenes photography by Walter Bryant

 

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Feb 10

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If you weren’t watching The Walking Dead this past Sunday, there’s a good chance you were probably tuned in to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. But aside from the actual awards, we couldn’t help but notice the variety of guitars that graced the stage this year; from Ed Sheeran’s signature Taylor, to John Mayer’s Jackson Soloist. If the performances didn’t entertain us, we sure got a kick out of seeing the guitars that popped up. Have a look at the images below to see the guitars that made an appearance!

 

Eric Church’s Gibson Hummingbird

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Brandy Clark’s Martin

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Dwight Yoakam’s Gibson L-200

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Ed Sheeran’s Fender Strat

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Ed Sheeran’s Martin Signature & Jeff Lynne’s Gibson Les Paul

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Angus Young’s Gibson SG

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Beck’s Martin Acoustic

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Hozier’s Gretsch

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Juanes and his Sadowsky Guitar

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John Mayer’s Pink Jackson Soloist

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Paul McCartney’s Taylor

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Images courtesy of Getty Images

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