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Store Of Memories

This issue’s celebration of the Telecaster (see p56) took me back to the first few times I ever ventured into a guitar shop, many years ago, as a complete beginner. I grew up in Lowestoft, in East Anglia, and our town’s music shop was Morlings. Sadly, it closed in 2012, after a 120 years of serving the town’s musicians – a casualty of changing times on the high street. Back when I was a teen, though, the place was always full of customers on a Saturday morning. Foremost in my mind is the glorious smell

of guitars that filled the shop’s upper floor. There was a stand of Fender combos with red knobs, then the hot new look. And on the walls, guitars that I coveted without really even knowing why. There was a pewter-coloured Eric Clapton Strat with Lace Sensor pickups that was king of the hill in terms of price. And beside it was a Tele, which I would now recognise as a Blackguard reissue, with a curious sort of custard-yellow finish and that silver-finish neck pickup.

I didn’t know enough to understand why the Tele had a unique pickup, but it set it apart somehow and caught my imagination. From such details, obsessions grow. The sales assistant, whose name was Phil, always seemed to have a Tele in his lap, too: except for some reason he plumped for the then-new HMT Thinline Telecaster with a Floyd Rose – and proceeded to play jazz on it! It seemed like it spent more time in his hands than on sale, but the sound of that music drifting down the stairs always drew me up to the top floor to ogle the guitars. So I guess that Tele paid its keep, too. These days, it’s much easier to buy guitars over the internet – but no web store will stick in your mind as the setting for the earliest days of a love affair with the guitar like that shop did. I guess it’s a timely reminder to support your local bricks-and-mortar guitar shop whenever you can, so today’s newcomers have a chance to start their journey into guitar with memories that will linger with them the rest of their lives. Enjoy the issue and see you next month.

Editor’s Highlights

John Renbourn Fingerstyle virtuoso Clive Carroll remembers his friend and mentor, the late, great John Renbourn, and reflects on his musical legacy p48

Jamie Dickson Editor

Marshall Magic If you love the sound of a Plexi but the full-size original is too much of a monster, you should check out Marshall’s new smallbut-potent Studio amps p20

Custom Colours Ever wondered what causes lacquer checking or what the rarest Fender Custom finishes are? Join Rod Brakes for a colourful history lesson... p78

may 2019  Guitarist