1977 Fender Starcaster
In 1966 Fender introduced the Coronado series of guitars in an attempt to create a thin-line, semi-acoustic guitar that could compete with the offerings from Gretsch, Gibson and Rickenbacker. They didn’t sell very well and by 1970 the Coronados were all dropped from the catalog. In the mid-1970s fender decided to try again. This time they decided to make their semi-acoustic more Fender-ish. The new model, which was dubbed the Starcaster, had an offset body that recalled the shape of the Jazzmaster; a bolt-on neck in the 1970s-era three-bolt style; and strings that went through the body like the solidbodies they already built. For pickups, they decided to use the new Fender Wide Range, a humbucker designed by Seth Lover, the man who created the original humbucker for Gibson back in the 1950s. Fender also used a new headstock design that had showed up few years earlier on a one-off, custom Lucite guitar. But like the Coronado, the Starcaster was a flop and was dropped from the line in 1980.
Which is too bad because the Starcaster was actually a pretty good guitar. The Wide Range pickups sound really good, with a nice fat tone with lots of sustain. The knob setup, with tone and volume for each pickup with a master volume, is very logical. They are quite playable and I’ve found that they are generally free from the quality control issues that plagued Fender in the 1970s. They have always been hard to come by, even when they were new, and in the last few years players like Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead and Dave Keuning of the Killers have raised the model’s profile making them even scarcer. This particular example sports the natural finish, there was also a sunburst variation, and it looks to be in very clean condition. If you’d like to pick up this beauty, it will set you back $4800 and you can find it at Southside Guitars.
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