Pick of the Month - September 2000
1982 Schecter Tele-style

When this guitar first appeared in Jeff Kempster's shop window in the fall of '82, it was only a question of time before it would fall into my eager grasp, for it was love at first sight! I used to walk past the shop every day on my way home from Mummer rehearsals, eventually giving in to temptation and going inside and trying it out, to see if it played and sounded as good as it looked. And indeed it did; problem was, where was I going to find the 500 quid asking price? As if by magic, a year's back-log of PRS royalties drifted through my letterbox, so I took the stock Fender Telecaster I'd been using on the road with XTC the previous year and did a deal with Mick Wareham, the shop manager at the time.

In the early '80's, Chandler's Guitars in London had a franchise arrangement with Schecter in the U.S.A., who would ship bodies, necks and pick-ups to their store for spraying and assembling on a custom-order basis.

The guitar features 2-piece ash body and maple neck (complete with walnut skunk-stripe), lacquered brass hardware, and a bound top edge like Fender's original Custom Telecaster. Chandler's chose a lovely 3-colour tobacco sunburst for the body, but the lacquer is disappointingly thin, which led to scratching and chipping of the back and sides from quite an early age.

The pick-ups are Schecter's own "tapped" single-coils, wired to Omni-pots; volume "up" taps the neck pick-up, tone "up" the bridge. In "tapped" mode, they're similar in sound to a regular Telecaster, whereas "full-on" brings them closer to mini-humbuckers, with tone and clout to spare.

Overall, the guitar's tone is warmer than a Fender, with more sustain, and there are no frustrating acoustic flat-spots anywhere along the neck. An irritating feature of the neck pick-up was the shape of the plastic former, which had a flange beneath the top edge under which the high E string would hook itself if played enthusiastically! Wrapping it tightly in insulating tape cured the problem.

This is a favourite work-horse guitar which gets used frequently.

Recording debut: XTC - Gold  (March 1983)
Features on: Deliver Us From The Elements, Shake You Donkey Up, Scarecrow People, Across This Antheap (all XTC); Bike Ride To The Moon (Dukes of Stratosphear); Mission Of Love (Jason Donovan); Mixed Up (Brian Stevens); Call Me Michael Moonlight, World Of Dandy Leigh, Ursula In A Waiting Room (Martin Newell); Are You With Me? (Mark Owen); Godbox (Becki DiGregorio), etc.