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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All
Those who have not had the pleasure of playing a GVCG product, have wondered what the fuss was all about with Jonathan Wilson’s Greenwich Village Guitar Company. No one could deny the aesthetic but would they measure up to their good looks with sound to match.
I am writing here to spread the word.......the word is tone......cloned vintage perfection !!!!!!!
I got this marvelous guitar in a trade with Mr. Tom Jensen (thanks Tom). I traded him an equally cool and high quality guitar in the Collings CL Deluxe. So while I am saying goodbye to a excellent LP-like guitar (actually an improvement IMHO on the LP), I am saying hello to, what in all respects is a vintage Tele.
First just a bit on where I’m coming from in this taste test. I have had (to my best account), 7 original blonde finish mid fifties Teles.(not to mention the refins) One of them, a 56’ is one of my fav guitars of all time. I have had a smaller number of Butterscotch blackguard Teles (but they don’t pertain here anyways) in 3 of them. I have had lots (?) of the rosewood neck 59-64 pre-CBS teles and another bunch of 65-68 Teles. At least, 5 Fender custom shop relic Teles and I am the current owner of an original 51’ Fender electric Spanish guitar (a no-caster as they have come to be known) a 60’ and a 68’ Tele. To say I love Telecasters is an understatement. So the following review comes with a certain amount shall we say........love and understanding.
This guitar has a light weight ash body, painted with THE best blonde finish I have ever seen on a non-original finished vintage Tele. This seems to be a colour that gives Fender fits in their relic series (IMHO). I have not seen an accurate Fender blonde...yet. Jonathan has been able to zone right in and truly come up with a colour match that is perfect. It has just the right amount of translucency, I can see all the beautiful grain in the body, but it is correctly covered with just the right amount paint. The finish is thin and feels just like an old Fender in my hands. The relicing on the body is unsurpassed. I can’t even begin to explain what makes this guitar sooooo accurate. There is a very uneven fade and yellowing to the finish. It is still shiny in some areas and quite clouded in others. Checked and peeling in some places, smooth as a babies you know what in others. The wear is in the right places consistent to the wear on real old Fenders.
The pick guard is truly amazing. I don’t know how he would get that plastic to be so accurate looking. Uneven in it’s fading and yellowing, it have those inconsistent pick marks that come from a guitar being through a bunch of different players over the years.
The neck is one place where in my experience he is outside the tolerances of the vintage Fenders that I have owned. It is HUGE !!!!!!! I mean early Teles and Strats can have very large necks, but this is even larger than ones I’ve had. This is not a bad thing however. Somehow Jonathan has made a monster of a neck feel sweet and easy in your hands. He has it loaded up with 6100 frets. And again, taken them down to feel like the guitar has been dressed a number of times. The edges of the neck do not belie the guitar's true age. They are fat and rolled over just like an old one is. It is so comfortable to play that the transition between this guitar and my 51’ is seamless. Differing sizes, but identical feels. The aging on this neck is the one thing that separates Jonathan from the pretenders. The neck looks and feels like a 50 year old neck but has no wear on it at all. I don’t know how he does it, but he does it. It never looks like phony orange or Dremel tooled wear marks. But I think he has hit on the right type of colour to spray and then varies the aging through out. Not lacquer checked but feels like it was made decades ago. The neck has the thinnest amount of spray on it possible. I’m sure I will be wearing through it very soon.
The hardware is correct and aged very tastefully. This guitar has a Hamel pickup in the bridge and a Budz in the neck. Both sound VERY vintage like.
The Budz has that nice open sound that good Tele neck pickups can have and has a reasonable amount of output. But has that smooth round slightly cloudy top end to it that lets you know you are firmly rooted in 50’s sonic history. The Hamel has a medium amount of output, a thicker than average mid range, and a smooth, smooth top end. It sounds slightly compressed and is all Tele.
Can you tell I like this guitar? Check that, .....love this guitar. It makes no sense to me that Fender has not offered Jonathan Wilson a job as head of their custom shop relic division. But instead all they do is deliver him a cease and desist order to stop building Fender-like guitars. First order of business, keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer. I guess Fender wouldn’t care if he was making dogs. But since he is out Fendering Fender they go to the lawyers. So here is the other thing, you can’t get one of these from Jonathan any more. He has yet to surface with his own style yet (as Scott Lentz has). Any one have any news on this? I have no idea how many GVCG guitars are out there let alone how many mid-fifties blonde Teles he made. But all I can say is, I used to go to Jonathan’s site and drool and wonder how good they are. No there is no doubt they play and sound every bit as good as they look. BRAVO Mr. Wilson.

Cheers
Pete
P.S.



 

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Pete,... You bugger. You are responsible for inducing more severe, painful, insane G.A.S. than any other forumite by far.

I'm a masochist so keep it up :food-smiley-004:
 

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Pete, thanks for the review and pics, that is one beautiful guitar. I'm only an armature when it coming to playing a Tele but one thing is certain, there is a mystique about the Telecaster that has bitten me. :bow: I saved your pics. Thanks, bRian.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
bRian said:
Pete, thanks for the review and pics, that is one beautiful guitar. I saved your pics. Thanks, bRian.
Well here is few more for you.....







 

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I played a GVCG blackguard tele at a jam once that was spectacular. Easily one of the best guitars I've ever played. That was one of his early ones and I don't think he quite nailed the color (based on the few real ones I've played), but the neck was perfect (size, shape, and wear). Sounded great and was light as a feather (well, not quite, but close).

There is a GVCG '54 strat here in town, but I haven't examined it enough to form an opinion. It sure looks good in the pics though.
 

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Hey Pete;

Nice guitar. He certainly seems to have nailed the vintage vibe. You do have an uncanny knack for finding those special teles. I also echo Robert1950 sentiments.....

Cheers,
Mark
 

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faracaster said:
... It makes no sense to me that Fender has not offered Jonathan Wilson a job as head of their custom shop relic division. But instead all they do is deliver him a cease and desist order to stop building Fender-like guitars.
What I don't get is, how could he have thought Fender would NOT come after him? The laws are pretty clear about this stuff. Someone like Jonathan with the talent to build something like this has to be smart enough to know it's illegal.

I mean, this looks EXACTLY like a 1957 vintage Fender Telecaster, right down to the headstock shape and Fender logo, Fender Pat.. stamped on the bridge. As a guitar player I appreciate the asthetics, I'm sure I'd dig the feel and tone too. Anyone should be able to appreciate the talent involved in 'relicing' to this level of accuracy, it's amazing.

But it's still an illegal FAKE!

Don't get me wrong, I hate big corporations and their lawyers as much as the next guy. Wish that guitar was mine, especially since you can't get them anymore so the value must be through the roof! I have no doubt that it's better than anything today's Fender is capable of producing, and I agree they should just give him a job!
 
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