Noventa Telecaster

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HarlowTheFish
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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by HarlowTheFish » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:22 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:45 pm
Because this is Fender's half-ass version of a Les Paul Junior, that's why. Since Gibson hasn't made a guitar that only has a neck pickup that sells enough for Fender to make a Fender version of it, they don't make one.

I don't know why I dislike almost everything Fender tries to do, but man, that company just doesn't have any ideas about anything. Why don't they hire someone?
Larry, it almost sounds like you expect innovation out of an 80-odd-year-old bloated pile of rotting corporate guts that chugs along on 4-year line update plans and doesn't even hire focus groups anymore because they can buy/aggregate all the engagement/interest info they need from social media :D

I'm only half being facetious, but I don't wanna sound like I'm knocking you, I get it. If you wanna see cool new shit, look at Jackson/Charvel (more the latter IMO), Ibanez, or LTD -- probably not the stuff anybody on here gravitates to, but they know their audience, they have their finger on the pulse, and the customer base wants cool new shit that they're more than happy to provide. Fender/Gibson are stuck because everybody complains they don't do anything new, then when they try to everybody complains that it's not what they wanted and they make a loss, so they don't do anything new for a bit, repeat ad nauseam. I don't remember the thread on here, but somebody said to just start all the weird stuff as a Squier model to see if it sticks, and I think that's a great idea: imagine a 3-5 model line, in 3-odd colors, around $500, refreshing once a year, of cool new things to see what people think. If it does well, it graduates to a Player Fender or something like that and keeps moving upmarket, if it only does OK it gets a permanent spot as a Squier for a bit to see if it's a late bloomer, and if it sucks then who cares, it's a cheap Squier.

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by fuzzjunkie » Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:03 am

If you wanna see cool new shit, look at Jackson/Charvel (more the latter IMO), Ibanez, or LTD -- probably not the stuff anybody on here gravitates to, but they know their audience, they have their finger on the pulse, and the customer base wants cool new shit that they're more than happy to provide.
Okay, I took the bait.

I haven’t seen a Charvel or Jackson guitar since the last time I bought a Guitar Player magazine (2002), or maybe the last time I was in a Guitar Center (2016) but I was only in there to buy some cables so I skipped the wall of guitars that day, so maybe not. In other words, I am not their audience.

I looked at Charvel guitars on Sweetwater and I didn’t see anything new or innovative. Or even interesting ( that’s me being not their target audience). All I saw were Stratocaster body shape copies with high gain humbuckers and Telecaster body shape copies with high gain humbuckers.

What’s new and innovative about that? They’ve been making super Strats since at least 1990. Are super Teles new and innovative? Fender has a couple of Telecasters with dual humbuckers and dozens with neck humbuckers and a Tele bridge. Fender wasn’t that innovative when they did that (copied Gibson and Gretsch) but Charvel copies a copy and they are?

I don’t get it.

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by tribi9 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:18 am

fuzzjunkie wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:03 am
If you wanna see cool new shit, look at Jackson/Charvel (more the latter IMO), Ibanez, or LTD -- probably not the stuff anybody on here gravitates to, but they know their audience, they have their finger on the pulse, and the customer base wants cool new shit that they're more than happy to provide.
Okay, I took the bait.

I haven’t seen a Charvel or Jackson guitar since the last time I bought a Guitar Player magazine (2002), or maybe the last time I was in a Guitar Center (2016) but I was only in there to buy some cables so I skipped the wall of guitars that day, so maybe not. In other words, I am not their audience.

I looked at Charvel guitars on Sweetwater and I didn’t see anything new or innovative. Or even interesting ( that’s me being not their target audience). All I saw were Stratocaster body shape copies with high gain humbuckers and Telecaster body shape copies with high gain humbuckers.

What’s new and innovative about that? They’ve been making super Strats since at least 1990. Are super Teles new and innovative? Fender has a couple of Telecasters with dual humbuckers and dozens with neck humbuckers and a Tele bridge. Fender wasn’t that innovative when they did that (copied Gibson and Gretsch) but Charvel copies a copy and they are?

I don’t get it.
If you can't see how innovative them new Floyd Rose sumbitches are, then you're just hopeless. 😣

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:04 am

HarlowTheFish wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:22 pm


Larry, it almost sounds like you expect innovation out of an 80-odd-year-old bloated pile of rotting corporate guts that chugs along on 4-year line update plans and doesn't even hire focus groups anymore because they can buy/aggregate all the engagement/interest info they need from social media :D
I hear you, it's just that there just doesn't seem to be anyone there who can actually design anything. It's all just things slapped together on other things and then they just hope for the best out of it until they slap some more shit to other shit and run with that for a while. I never see anything new or innovative in any way.

I mean, for a company of this size, it's stunning that they can't do anything new. And no, I don't count forcing the Telecaster into a Les Paul Junior's body as anything "new", nor do I consider any awful Strat and Jaguar Frankenstein's monster to be anything new, either.

On the bass side, they did the Dimension bass, and while you can clearly see what they were trying to compete with they did it in an original way and it's a great looking bass. Someone on here pointed out recently that bass players actually embrace new and innovative stuff, though, while guitar players talk about how great the Beano album is in 2020.

And it's fine, I really don't expect much out of Fender or anything. I'm not, like, sitting on a bunch of money in case they really come up with something. I just think it's sad and hilarious that a company with this depth of resources can't hire some outside people to do anything new since it's clear that the folks working there either can't or don't have any strength of innovation.

I know I'm going to sound like exactly the Beano album person I just mocked, but when Leo Fender ran the company there were distinct guitars all of which had new technology and were specific and original designs. The Telecaster and the Stratocaster are very different. The Jazzmaster is even more different still, and the Mustang had it's own sound, vibrato, design and purpose despite being an entry level instrument.

There were all complete instrument designs from the ground up. They weren't just mishmashes of whatever Fender had laying around. He talked to people, musicians, and he went home and started thinking about how to incorporate all he had learned into a whole new product.

And now we get a Telecaster but with a P90s... fucking please. A 70 year old guitar with an 80 year old pickup bolted to it in a failed attempt to lure people away from its equally old, but much better, competitor.

I fail to think that Fender is having a dialogue with musicians and they are telling them, shit, what we really need out here is a Telecaster but it's actually a Les Paul Junior.
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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by HarlowTheFish » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:14 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:04 am
*snip*

On the bass side, they did the Dimension bass, and while you can clearly see what they were trying to compete with they did it in an original way and it's a great looking bass. Someone on here pointed out recently that bass players actually embrace new and innovative stuff, though, while guitar players talk about how great the Beano album is in 2020.
I hear you 100% on this -- I actually really loved the Dimension bass, and I'm cooking up a project that might involve a Dimension 5 body (if I can fit a Warmoth neck on it). You see bass players with stuff like optical pickups, proper active electronics that don't clip themselves to shit like the EMG 81/85, proper ergonomic and functional designs prioritized over "it looks vintage dood", and really push the gear forward technologically. There's a camp, especially in the studio and covers scene (ala half of Talkbass), who are as stuck as guitarists, but generally it's "I don't like this" instead of "this is bad and you should feel bad for liking it" like a lot of guitar players do (see the other thread down a bit from this one about MyLesPaul).
*snip*

I know I'm going to sound like exactly the Beano album person I just mocked, but when Leo Fender ran the company there were distinct guitars all of which had new technology and were specific and original designs. The Telecaster and the Stratocaster are very different. The Jazzmaster is even more different still, and the Mustang had it's own sound, vibrato, design and purpose despite being an entry level instrument.

There were all complete instrument designs from the ground up. They weren't just mishmashes of whatever Fender had laying around. He talked to people, musicians, and he went home and started thinking about how to incorporate all he had learned into a whole new product.
Completely agree with this -- the Mustang is actually what got me into Fender offsets, because when I heard McLaughlin playing one on Bitches Brew,it kinda blew my mind that a weirdo tiny guitar from the 60s on a then-68-year-old album was getting pretty much the tone and response I wanted out of my fancy headless modern ergo whatever guitars. I don't think the big four Fenders are perfect -- it could be argued that they have one good bridge pickup between them -- and I'm very much up to stuff whatever guts in them I need because I find that they're cohesive enough designs that a Strat or JM or 'Stang with P90s and original hardware still sounds, plays, and responds like a Strat, JM, or 'Stang, just with a different tonal profile. The mishmashiness of making a ToM carved-top JM with humbuckers means it doesn't feel like a JM, doesn't sound like one, and barely plays like one -- same with the Troublemaker Tele, or the Jim Root sigs.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I also don't disagree with you. Some of my favorite Fenders are mishmashes: the Sixty-Six is the best Strat they've done, the Offset Telecaster is the best Tele, the Player series are crazy good mod platforms (all IMO of course), you get the idea. Sticking an assortment of random decent/good parts together will generally still get you a pretty good result as long as you don't go overboard, and while they're not necessarily gonna be as great as something purposefully designed for a specific thing ala the original S/T/JM/Jag/'Stang, sometimes all you need is "good enough" to get some sales across the board and some goodwill and free marketing from people who think it's the coolest thing since sliced bread.
And now we get a Telecaster but with a P90s... fucking please. A 70 year old guitar with an 80 year old pickup bolted to it in a failed attempt to lure people away from its equally old, but much better, competitor.

I fail to think that Fender is having a dialogue with musicians and they are telling them, shit, what we really need out here is a Telecaster but it's actually a Les Paul Junior.
I mean IDK part of it (like the Troublemaker Tele, the Toro reissue, the new humbucker Jags, and others) is they're clearly trying to steal some of the Gibson market, and while they're not really for me, I don't begrudge Fender the right and opportunity to do that because the big G hasn't done great at earning goodwill in the community and market in the last little while (not a knock on the guitars necessarily -- some are exceptional, most are okay if not spectacular, some are total dogs, like everybody else's). I don't think they're "having a dialogue" so much as they're hitting up Reverb statistics and social media to see what's getting talked about, and implementing it into platforms they know are solid and liked and will end up as "good enough" guitars -- if you go back a couple of years on guitar Youtube, forums, and SM, P90s have been coming back in full force among the heavy guys (who want more clarity than a humbucker), the vintage guys (because "muh touch sensitivitay"), and the practical guys (it's generally a pretty balanced pickup that works pretty well in whatever you put it in for whatever kind of tones). This series just offers a pretty easy way for Fender folks and the Fender-curious to have a cool addition to the toolbox in a proven package, by a proven brand -- and if they're the same P90s they've been using for a while, they're actually some damn good pickups too.

I don't wanna sound like I'm knocking you on your opinion here -- shit, I agree that most of the crap they're putting out looks fugly and kinda random, but I also think it's functional, quirky, and fun (which is what we're all here for, right? :P ). I think the cool actually-new designs like the Dimension, Powercaster, and Meteora end up being hamstrung by Fender's perception of the buying public ("they hate anything remotely innovative we put out") because the non-buying public is always bitching about stuff, and the community's perception of Fender ("they put out all this crap I don't specifically want so I'm gonna not buy it and chew them out on socials"). Fender doesn't wanna make actually new stuff because they think nobody's gonna buy it, and when they start something kinda new that might evolve later into more of its own thing, they get a ton of negative responses from the people who already weren't gonna buy it anyway, and, since they can't correlate "talking shit" with "buying/not buying", they end up undercooking stuff to appeal to the mass market, when they'd probably have more success by just making something niche. Half-assing something mass-market is always gonna have less staying power than whole-assing something niche -- heck, we're on OffsetGuitars.com right now; this shit is super niche, but since it's whole-assed and stands as its own thing, it gets a lot of love.

/rant, I guess -- thought I was gonna drop in to leave a :P but ended up writing my undergrad Anthro thesis on "is Fender bad? yes, but no, but maybe, but no, but yes, but it's complicated" :fp:

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by mbene085 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:53 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:04 am
And now we get a Telecaster but with a P90s... fucking please. A 70 year old guitar with an 80 year old pickup bolted to it in a failed attempt to lure people away from its equally old, but much better, competitor.

I fail to think that Fender is having a dialogue with musicians and they are telling them, shit, what we really need out here is a Telecaster but it's actually a Les Paul Junior.
Obviously I agree with you, but I proposed a hypothesis in the Noventa Jazzmaster thread that these guitars aren't an attempt to please Fender fans or move forward in any meaningful way. I think they're just driving nails into Gibson's coffin from a business perspective, and it's working.

Fender's PAF/Tune-o-matic/P90 offerings have exploded in number in the last 10 years. In that same time frame, Gibson has been raided by the feds, declared bankruptcy, changed management, redesigned their lineup several times, and hopped from PR disaster (e.g. the Firebird X and Robot Tuner releases) to disaster (e.g. the Firebird X bulldozer video) to disaster (e.g. the Mark Agnesi "we're coming for you" video).

Gibson fans seem, like Fender fans, to mostly want things designed between 1946 and 1965, which are of course the years of the baby boom. A (1950) Fender Esquire with a (1946) P-90 pickup reminiscent of the (1954) Les Paul Jr. ticks a lot of those boxes for prospective buyers.

It's boring, it's repetitive, it's unoriginal, but hey, it sells. And more importantly, it kicks Gibson while they're down. They're at a real low point in terms of public perception and business health and Fender is at an all-time sales high with a ton of PR goodwill. From a business perspective, it makes a lot of sense to encroach on Gibson territory as much as possible, especially right now.

I still don't want to play or own the thing, but I get why they're doing it.

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:12 pm

Gibson is hardly free of criticism, just look up the Gibson "Jimi Hendrix" Stratocaster thing. And they've done plenty of things that were directly meant to compete with Fender, however, historically those things have been different models, like the Marauder was designed to compete with the Telecasters in the 70s, the S-1 was supposed to compete with the Strat, later the Victory and such did that. Still, usually they make some effort to be distinct.

And the Firebird X failure taught me a couple of things, firstly, it's always bad to make hideous guitars, but also that there's just no market for new technology to be added to the guitar. Granted, that was bad technology, but it was weird that it couldn't even exist side by side with the older stuff.

I mean, I watched Gibson try and push what the electric guitar is over and over and while they certainly made missteps, what the guitar market has learned is that there's just no future with it. Just make the same guitars over and over and shut up.

Frankly, guitar makers are actually regressing technologically, for instance electrical shielding used to be important and I guess that guitar makers have decided that since guitar players reject pickups that aren't noisy that they must like noise or something so they just quit giving a shit.

But my point with all this is that the guitar market being forced to make guitars the way they made them seventy years ago simply is what it is, and I guess that Gibson will now be compelled to make the most vintage accurate Les Pauls for the rest of my life.

If that's what the situation is, though, then let's just do that... no one needs some half-assed Telecaster that's a Les Paul Junior for a year. That's kind of just insult to injury in my opinion.
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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by mbene085 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:24 pm

Sure, from a design perspective, it's adding insult to injury. But it's low-hanging fruit on the money tree, and as a business they've learned the lessons that Gibson hasn't. Like you pointed out, trying to push the envelope has been punished by the free market. It's sad but it's the reality. So Fender is milking the vintage cash cow every way they can, including these Gibsonized Fenders. I'm not a fan of it, but it's hardly the most disappointing thing a modern company has done in the name of profit.

I'm just glad that Fender hasn't been caught smuggling endangered wood species, undermining worker safety, etc. There are a few lines in the sand that would make me divest from them as a company, and while they're hardly benevolent, they're as non-evil as just about any company their size in 2021. It's a low bar, but we live in the era of suicide nets outside factory windows in China and American corporations accepting lawsuits for civilian deaths as being cheaper than fixing holes in explosive gas pipelines running through residential neighbourhoods, so even a low bar is still a bar.

I agree though, that the Firebird X was the worst possible execution of a fundamentally fine idea. It was just hideously ugly, the price was absurd and the technology was lackluster and doomed for obsolescence.

The one area where modern Fender isn't staying true to vintage design is the shielding. The Jaguar was designed with shielded pickups, conductive control plates and brass rout plates to form a Faraday cage, and a shielding plate beneath the pickguard that covered nearly everywhere else...58 freaking years ago.

I've opened up three modern Fenders that technically had a thin coat of shielding paint but didn't even bother connecting it to ground so, if anything, all they did was add an extra RF antenna into the freaking guitar :fp:

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:52 pm

Yep... I have a Fender Player series fretless Jazz bass, and it's a great guitar in pretty much every way. I got it used for like $325, but even at a new price it would have been a good value for money.

And at first I was happy to see shielding paint, but then I came to realize that they had kind of done a pretty lackluster job with it, it was a super thin coating, not really connected, it wasn't clear to me that it was doing anything. I copper taped it up and put in noise free pickups, and an aluminum pick guard, now it's dead silent.

Really, with Fender, you pay for the necks. At all levels, Fender makes wonderful playing necks. They have that shit down.

And I agree, this Noventa or whatever the hell, it really doesn't matter. It probably plays great and sounds noisy as hell itself, but a good sound buried in all the noise. It'll make some people happy.

I just, kind of... want to swoon a little bit. And all their guitars just seem so stupid compared to their flagship products.
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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by del » Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:11 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:52 pm
I just, kind of... want to swoon a little bit. And all their guitars just seem so stupid compared to their flagship products.
It's no Firebird I - and no Esquire not that I've been guitar ogling for a few days - but I still like its lo-tek style.
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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:19 pm

Sure. It's probably a good guitar, and if you like the idea of a Junior but prefer the way Fender plays to Gibson (I used to), this would be a fine guitar.

I guess my point is that if you were a kid who walked into a guitar store and saw the Stratocaster hanging there when it was brand new in 1954, it would have blown your mind. There was nothing like it ever before.

Granted, how are you going to capture lightning in a bottle, but this just makes me shrug. Another guitar with stuff I've seen before. Whatever.
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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by Jaguar018 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:44 pm

Gibson and Fender are like Star Trek and Star Wars. Their breathtaking innovations and originality happened decades ago. While they are fundamentally okay, it’s all getting a bit tired and rehashed. There are multiple generations of fans that they have to appease.

For everyone that has Larry’s agenda there are twenty other people with different ones, and companies like Fender and Gibson are stuck trying to appeal to all of them. That was NOT the case when they first started.

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by HarlowTheFish » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:49 pm

Moral of the story: Fender should just give Ron Thorn 3 or so Squier, MIM, and MIA models to do whatever the fuck he wants with for the people that want something new, and everybody would be happy.

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by Jaguar018 » Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:24 am

HarlowTheFish wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:49 pm
Moral of the story: Fender should just give Ron Thorn 3 or so Squier, MIM, and MIA models to do whatever the fuck he wants with for the people that want something new, and everybody would be happy.
No. Larry will still need his LarryMal2021 full-spectrum pickups invented as well or he'll still get on his soap box. :freako: :P

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Re: Noventa Telecaster

Post by HarlowTheFish » Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:41 am

Jaguar018 wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 8:24 am
No. Larry will still need his LarryMal2021 full-spectrum pickups invented as well or he'll still get on his soap box. :freako: :P
Honestly I wouldn't put that past him -- you hear him talk about how he had a neck-and-middle only "superstrat" and I get the feeling he'd do some downright odd stuff.

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