Fender Starcaster


Fender Starcaster

Infobox Guitar model
title=Fender Starcaster


manufacturer=Fender
period=appr. 19761982
bodytype=Semi-hollow
necktype=Bolt-on neck
scale=25.5"
woodbody=Maple
woodneck=Maple
woodfingerboard=Maple
bridge=Fixed
pickups=H-H: Fender Wide Range
colors=White, Natural (Blonde), Sunburst, Tobacco, Mocha Brown

The Fender Starcaster was a hollowbody electric guitar made by the Fender company. The Starcaster was part of Fender's attempt to enter the semi-hollowbody market, which was dominated by Gibson's ES-335 and similar designs.

Design and production

The Starcaster was designed by Gene Fields to be a high quality instrument, although it was manufactured at a time when Fender's standards had lowered considerably. Unlike most semi-hollow guitars which had their necks set in the bodies in the traditional style, the Starcaster retained Fender's bolt-on neck design, which at the time, used a three-bolt joint.

The Starcaster was in production from 1976 or 1977 to 1980 or 1982, depending on sources. [http://www.geocities.com/estherrain/starcaster_1977_advertisement An advertisement from 1977] states that the Starcaster's first creation was in 1975.

Re-use of Starcaster name

While Fender has found a significant market for period-correct (and sometimes artificially "aged") reissues of some of its classic instruments (from the mainstay Telecaster, Stratocaster, and basses through lesser-known models such as the Mustang and 12-string Stratocaster), the company has never created a Starcaster reissue, nor an updated version of the model. There was evidence that at one point Fender were toying with the idea of Starcaster basses, though they possibly were not going to be marketed as Starcasters. The Starcaster name was, however, recently revived for a range of "value-priced" "Starcaster by Fender" guitars and drums unrelated to the Starcaster of the 70's.

Popularity

The Starcaster was commercially unsuccessful, perhaps because of a public notion that Fender was a "solidbody, single coil brand" and Gibson was the "semi-hollow, humbucker brand". As a result, Starcasters are very rare, but are worth less in today's vintage market than many other semi-hollow guitars from the same period to collectors because of their unpopularity and lack of name endorsers at their time of manufacture. Despite (or possibly because of) their modest vintage investment value, several modern high profile guitarists use the Starcaster as a preferred instrument. Jonny Greenwood guitarist of Radiohead can frequently be seen playing a Starcaster on stage. Sammy James Jr. guitarist and front man of the Mooney Suzuki uses a natural finished one and appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien with it June 21st 2007. The guitar can also be seen in the music video to Morrissey's single "You Have Killed Me". Dave Keuning of the Killers also started using one shortly before the release of the album Sam's Town. He could be seen playing his Starcaster during the Killers headline slot at Glastonbury Festival 2007, on 'Later with Jools Holland' for Read My Mind and in the video for For Reasons Unknown.

Construction

The Starcaster had a unique headstock design, with a painted bottom curve matching the color of the guitar body, that no other Fender guitar has had before or since. It was also unusual for a semi-hollow guitar in having an asymmetrical ("offset") body, a maple fretboard, a bolt-on neck, and Fender's traditional six-on-a-side tuning pegs.

Wide Range pickups

The "Fender Wide Range" humbucking pickups were designed by Seth Lover and appeared first on various Telecaster Custom and Telecaster Thinline models in the early '70s. They are still available as reissues, although the construction of the reissued Pickups has significantly changed. Regardless, they are still labeled "Wide Range".

Notable Starcaster users

*Rubén Albarrán of Café Tacvba [ [http://www.flickr.com/photos/kx0101/2536858037/ Flickr] ]
*Wes Borland of Black Light BurnsFact|date=June 2007
*Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead (first used on the album "Ok Computer", it can be also heard extensively on "Kid A" and "Amnesiac") [ [http://www.sigur-ros.it/franz/RHG/Jonny/jonnyguitars.html Just...Radiohead Gear: Jonny Greenwood Guitars] ]
*Steve Mazur of Our Lady PeaceFact|date=June 2007
*Jesse Tobias of MorrisseyFact|date=June 2007
*Dave Keuning of The Killers
*Chris Walla of Death Cab for CutieFact|date=June 2007
*Bob Weir of The Grateful DeadFact|date=June 2007
*Tony Fredianelli of Third Eye BlindFact|date=March 2008

Notes


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