Why did I buy it?

Sadly I never took any pictures of what was my teenage “dream guitar” (this is the closest I can find online). When I was 18 I went to the States for the first half of my (inappropriately named) gap-year and worked in a drive through to afford this guitar. I had borrowed a squire strat for years whilst at school and my dream was to get a “proper US strat”. I settled on a US standard, candy apple red, rosewood fretboard and pearl pickguard. I remember the day I paid for it in autumn 1996 – bringing $800 in $100 bills into the music shop – and remember the smell as I opened the case once getting back home! I then brought it back to the UK with the case wrapped in more bubble-wrap than was strictly necessary!

How does it sound?

The problem with teenage dreams is that they are quite often unrealistic. I had bought my dream guitar but forgotten about what to plug it into! For the first year or so of owning this I cobbled together a make-shift amp with old bits of radio plus the smallest practice amp you’ve ever seen (I think it was a “Kustom”) before finally borrowing someones better Trace Elliot amplifier for a few months. However I do remember spending a day in a friends studio and plugging this into a Marshall half-stack and wow – I was in heaven. I love the variety of sounds you can get from the five-way pickup switch, the feel of the neck and the contour and lightness of the body. In fact I go teary-eyed even thinking about it!

Keep or sell?

And then we get to the sad bit. I played bass full time for a year in a band with an excellent electric guitarist whose ability was way beyond anything I could hope to achieve. However, for occasional songs we did use two guitars but with me playing a bit of acoustic. This meant for a whole year of touring I was exposed to blistering talent on an electric whilst carving a niche for myself on bass & acoustic. So when I finally went to university (and having little money) I traded this strat in for my Fender Acoustic guitar (reviewed below). In one way I do not regret this as I still have and love my acoustic which has served me well in literally hundreds of gigs, however I do regret not being able to hold on to what I consider my “first” guitar. Sometimes I think that when I am old with lots of money and children off looking after themselves I might indulge myself with an identical guitar, just for “old times” sake.