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Thread: Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

  1. #61
    SDUGF Riffologist Supremö B2D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Hey Mike!! Great to have you here with us... got a bit of a muso question for you.

    Who was the first guitarist who really got your attention when you were young and made you say "WOW!! I want to do THAT" ?

    And also, is there a contemporary/current artist that still makes you say that or makes you wish you could handle an instrument the way they do?

  2. #62
    Dir. Mktg. Fender Custom Shop
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by XSSIVE View Post
    Mike, thanks very much for taking the time for us to assault you with random questions hahaha.

    i own a 2007 custom shop Charvel i ordered as a 1 off to my specs which for the longest time was my holy grail guitar, a strat headstock charvel with a "Vintage Eldred Flames" graphic. i was real happy to be able to order a modern version of it with the strat headstock when fender bought jackson/charvel and allowed the use of the headstock. anyway, since the graphic has your name on it do you have any history from your Charvel days about that finish? it's easy for me (a car guy) to assume the flames and the separate panel (for lack of a better term) look of the back of the graphic came from the hot rods and lowriders driving around California at the time you were working with Charvel but was there a specific car perhaps that sparked the idea? or perhaps some hotwheels cars? or am i way of with my guess?

    for those who have no idea what i'm talking about here's my charvel...


    and i'd kick myself later if i didn't sneak in another Charvel question...do you still own any Charvels from back in the day when you worked there?

    thanks again!

    -Mike
    Hmmmmmm....well, first off I asked them not to call it that once we bought the company. It's not right because I didn't really have anything to do with that paint job other than I played one for a while. They did as a nod to me I think, and that was very nice, just made me feel uncomfortable.

    That guitar was the first thing we built for Jeff Beck. Grover knew Jeff liked cars, so he built it as a gift for him. The guitar was hanging in the paint department, and I walked by and saw it had cracks in the body under the finish. I told Grover, we built a new one, and I asked Grover if I could have the other one. He gave it to me, and that's something I played for a while. The guy who painted that was named Ernie Pedregon and he was the best painter I think we had. He's the guy who brought in all that van painting technique.

    the only guitar I have from back then is a neck I made for my Tele. I had to shape 6 necks off of David Gilmour's 55 Esquire and I kept one and put it on my 68 Tele.

    ME

  3. #63
    Dir. Mktg. Fender Custom Shop
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by BTMN View Post
    Now that Hamer is under the FMIC corporate umbrella, have you ever played a Hamer Daytona? If you ever get to go check out the Hamer shop in West Hartford I highly suggest the visit. Some great cats working there.

    My Daytonas...



    Black one is gone but that Natural is gonna be here a long time.
    Hamers are the COOLEST!!!

    ME

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by gripweed View Post
    I hope I'm not too late...

    Was there anything unusual about the Hendrix Strats you inspected?

    What is the most unusual request you've gotten for a guitar?

    I have a great idea for a guitar I've always wanted built by the Custom Shop, I hope I can afford it one of these days!
    I was a little late myself...Evan called me to see what was up!

    Hendrix: That guitar was bone stock. BUT...there was something about it obviously, because it was the one he played the most. Also, rear pickup was the weakest of the three.

    Most unusual? The Guitar World "Design Your Own Strat" winner. What a nightmere. Aluminum body with chambers holding different colored liquid. We had to bring in The Uber Builder...Scott Buehl. I have a movie with it somewhere. Gonna put it up on the new site soon!

    ME

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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by fakiekid View Post
    Hi Mike, its wonderful to see people such as yourself taking the time out to talk to fans/customers. Props to you and everyone at Fender.

    Will we be seeing any cool Seymour/Fender collabs in the future? Like the old Pearly Gates Plus? Would love to see a Twisted Tele style pickup from Seymour .
    I dunno! Probably! Always fun doing stuff with SD!

    ME

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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by J Moose View Post
    Aww man! I already know what I think, I was wondering what YOU think!

    Specifically, I was wondering if you had noticed any trends to either type of system... figure you've probably built & handled more guitars on a technical basis then I've played... which is also not a small number!

    Anyway, next question!

    Are there or have there ever been plans for a 'modern vintage' line of guitars? Take the traditional appointments and refine certain things for the way playing styles have evolved over the years? Thinking of things like a heel cut, flatter radius (12" ?) and pickups with flat or at least modern staggered magnets...



    I had a very low serial number EJ strat which was amazingly great... one of my clients has a real '55 or '56 and it was like the junior version of that guitar... really resonant & so alive and responsive, but after a while all the usual stuff that bugs me about strats started to get to me... like the size of the heel & string balance.

    I realize the Am. Deluxe hits some of those points... but I like the bigger neck with the flat radius, 6-point trem & that sort of thing. I can't be alone there...
    Well, I love the trem we use on the Strat Pro. Two point. It's on my Strat at home.

    Yeah, we are working with Lincoln Brewster on a guitar that looks vintage but has all this cool stuff on it.

    ME

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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Eldred View Post
    I was hired by Grover (his first hire after buying the company) in 1979. I was 18 at the time. Eddie Van Halen had given me the phone number for Charvel's Mfg. because he had bought some parts from them, and I wanted to get a custom guitar made too. I kept driving up there to pay money down on this guitar, and finally asked for a job.

    Randy was a gem. So was his girlfriend. He would come in and I would set up his Les Paul, and I assembled the white and black guitars. It was so tragic when he died. Grover and I were in Lake Tahoe and had just got off the plane when we were told that he had died.

    Jeff Beck had a couple things that we made him. There was a flame painted Strat first, and then he bought a pink Soloist, and then we made him a yellow one. I had to up to the Sunset Marquee to talk to him about neck shapes, Grover just said, "go up there and sort it out", and I went by myself! It was very intimidating.

    The pink bullseyes I think were made for Manny's or Sam Ash, and I think Ojeda bought that there. I can't remember exactly.

    We always installed the Floyds at the shop. Don't remember the first, but I remember the WORSE. Vic Verget sent over a 1956 white blond Strat with gold parts...and a Floyd Rose box. I told Grover no way, but we had to. It was a crime. I should have went to jail for that.

    ME
    Thanks Mike! Interesting stuff! I was told that you actually had that Jeff Beck HRF for a while...
    Just a few more things regarding the EVH CHarvels:
    About same time the Randy Rhoads was being made there was supposedly an exact copy of the black and yellow VHII made. It was fitted with a handmade Floyd rose unit and the same electronics that EVH had on his first one (not just a volume pot only).
    Do you remember assembling such a guitar and if EVH got that one or any other black and yellow Charvels?
    Last edited by jjimi1647; 03-16-2010 at 12:57 PM.

  8. #68
    ObsoleteChickenPickingologist Butch Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Eldred View Post
    We do it now on certain models. Hot Nocaster is what we call it.

    ME
    Nice, I will definitely look for it. Thanks Mike....
    -Butch

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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by speed2dirt View Post
    Hey Mike, thanks for doing this. You mentioned several posts ago a "historical responsibility" to Fender & their legacy. Do you feel this hinders growth and innovation for Fender products? People may not be as accepting of a redesigned strat from Fender as opposed to another company doing the same thing.

    Also, there was a recent thread voting on Fender vs G&L. The results were pretty even with no clear-cut winner. What are your opinions of G&L compared to Fender products, throwing all biases aside? A quote from the thread stated "One is Leo's original and the other, people say, is Leo's perfection." Do you feel this is accurate?
    Not at all. We are constantly growing and being innovative. It's what we have to do. Look around.

    When I say historical responsibility, I mean that people are writing about Fender all the time. They did in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's etc., and they are writing about us now. It doesn't hinder growth and innovation, it forces it!
    We HAVE to push the envelope. Not only on the guitars and basses, but amps too.

    As far as people "accepting" a redesigned Strat from Fender, that is their choice. Like I said before, there are LOTS of builders out there making a very nice guitar, and in some cases it costs less than a Fender. If you like it, you should buy it. All good. Very few people buy one guitar.

    Fender vs G&L: That isn't something we are concerned with at Fender, and (personally) doesn't make sense to me as a player. It seems...I dunno...bizarre to compare two companies just because they were founded by the same guy.

    ME

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    Our Neighbor Totoro FuseG4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    What kind of stuff do you look at to give you fresh ideas?

    Do you ever have ideas that you want to do, but think no one but you will like?

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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Mike,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to so do this, and thanks to evan for having you!

    I'll be as quick as possible...

    Of all the celebrity owned guitars you've had in your hands, which was your fav...which stood out the most for whatever reason.

    Also, of all the pro's you deal with and have delt with who is the hardest on their instruments?

    Last...any chance Fender would ever release a coffee table book or something like it loaded with pics and fact of all the celeb instruments you guys have built and/or rebuilt?? I woudl pay good money for that!
    If you just read a post by The Guy Who Invented Fire please understand that opinions change, mind sets change and as players our ears mature...not to mention our needs grow and change. With that in mind, today I may or may not agree with the post you just read!

  12. #72
    Dir. Mktg. Fender Custom Shop
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by Proverb-Man View Post
    Mike,

    Do you feel like the instruments that are most often requested through the custom shop drive the direction of what production line instruments fender is offering? Also, are the instruments most often build by the CS unique in some way to the instruments offered by Fender; or is it that most people/artists are just looking for a higher quality instrument with more attention to detail?

    Thanks for joining us today, it's great to have a someone from a shop as well known and respected as the Fender CS join us for a Q&A. Have already thoroughly enjoyed reading all the answers.

    -Jordan
    Yes, what we do in the CS usually ens up on the regular production. That's kinda why we were created.

    The way we build is different from the regular production. The machines and techniques are more of the original methods, and therefore take more time. Construction is different as well. There isn't a "higher quality" per se, just more personal attention to detail. Components, detail, and time. That stuff adds up.

    ME

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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by J Moose View Post
    One more question, cause I gotta get back behind the console & likely won't be able to check in again...

    Given that you've been on the other side of and played & toured as a musician at a fairly high level, could you share any stories from that experience? I personally love the hairy ones where it all seems to be going wrong & then ends up being so right! But whatever... anything truly memorable or mesmerizing tales from those days that you can actually write about?

    Thanks again!
    The Worse:
    On tour and we had a day off in Rhode Island. we were scheduled to play a 1,000 seat hall the next night. The night of the day off, Slash's Snake Pit was playing the same place. Went to the show. It was PACKED. Girls everywhere!!! I looked around, and noticed...no posters for the following night. I grabbed a local music paper...no ad for the show...I asked the guy in the front, "Who's playing tomorrow?"..."Mmmmm...Lee Rocker?" she says.

    The next night...I counted them before we played...six people.
    The promoter had already given us a deposit, so she said..."play an hour".

    The Best:
    Playing the Fillmore west opening for Johnny Winter and his band asking me to do their soundcheck with them...or, John Fogerty sitting in with us and turning around and asking if we knew Ooby-Dooby. Sick.

    ME

  14. #74
    Mojo's Minions jmh151's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    First, it's an honor to speak with you, since I bought a new Pro Mod Charvel- and after years of trying to build guitars out of kits, Charvel/Fender finally made a production guitar that fits me perfectly.

    Second- you mentioned the Hendrix strat- is this something new? Will Fender be making a replica of one of Hendrix's strats?

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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by B2D View Post
    Hey Mike!! Great to have you here with us... got a bit of a muso question for you.

    Who was the first guitarist who really got your attention when you were young and made you say "WOW!! I want to do THAT" ?

    And also, is there a contemporary/current artist that still makes you say that or makes you wish you could handle an instrument the way they do?
    Scotty Moore. Later, Ritchie Blackmore.

    Today...Jeff Beck. He's on another planet.

    ME

  16. #76
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by jjimi1647 View Post
    Thanks Mike! Interesting stuff! I was told that you actually had that Jeff Beck HRF for a while...
    Just a few more things regarding the EVH CHarvels:
    About same time the Randy Rhoads was being made there was supposedly an exact copy of the black and yellow VHII made. It was fitted with a handmade Floyd rose unit and the same electronics that EVH had on his first one (not just a volume pot only).
    Do you remember assembling such a guitar and if EVH got that one or any other black and yellow Charvels?
    Look at the VH II cover. That original guitar did not have a Floyd. Stock non-locking brass trem made by Kahler. we made some of those back then. no Floyds though. Eddie didn't use the Floyd till later on. First record = no Floyd.

    ME

  17. #77
    SDUGF Founder Evan Skopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    This isn't a question, but two memories I wanted to share.

    Seymour and I spent two days with you at the Custom Shop while we were working out the details for the Fender Custom Shop Seymour W. Duncan Signature Esquire. I remember you and Seymour totally geeking out over all the old tooling and fixtures that were around from the pre-CBS days. Anyway, at the end of the first day, your builders put together a working prototype of the Esquire and even though the paint wasn't completely dry, you invited Seymour to sit in with you on your gig at the House of Blues where you were tearing it up with Kid Ramos and Dave Gonzales from the Paladins. (Don Mare, one of our forum members, was there that night). I think that was the first time I heard you play live and I was blown away.

    Another memory was hanging out with you at the NAMM show. That same day I was driving back to Santa Barbara and listening to the Rockabilly Hour on the local college radio station and I heard this amazing guitar player. Then the DJ says, "That was Mike Eldred of the Mike Eldred Trio." And I was so proud of that fact that I was hanging out with you just a few hours earlier.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you again for spending time with us today. Given your background as a player and luthier with the various companies with which you've worked, I think it would be fair to call you an Industry Icon. As you can tell by the comments and questions, your presence here is very welcome.

    I know you're a super busy guy, but if you have any spare time, please feel free to check back in with us, even if you don't have time to post. Again Mike, thanks for doing this.
    Evan Skopp, Inside Track International
    Sales and marketing reps for D'Addario, Musopia, Reunion Blues, Q-Parts, and Nukleus Pickups.

  18. #78
    Dir. Mktg. Fender Custom Shop
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by FuseG4 View Post
    What kind of stuff do you look at to give you fresh ideas?

    Do you ever have ideas that you want to do, but think no one but you will like?
    GREAT question!
    The SEMA Show in Las Vegas. It's primarily cars, but the paint work and design is over the top. I wish I could take all the Master Builders there every year.

    Yeah, sometimes that happens, but mostly it works out because you have to approach it like "why not" you know? Yesterday we were kicking around this idea of finding one part... maybe a pickup, maybe a knob,...and building a guitar around it! Let that part be the fuse. MY LIKE!!!!!

    ME

  19. #79
    Toneologist Desert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Hi Mike!

    I'm very happy to be able to ask you some questions, so thank you.

    OK...

    1. What are your experiences with the tone qualities of a Fender-style neck---one piece (skunk stripe) , vs. two piece (no skunk stripe) with all other variables the same...type of wood, etc.

    2. What are your experiences, tonally, of a maple fingerboard, vs a Indian rosewood board, vs. a Brazilian board?

    3. What is your experience, tonally, of a slab-style ('62) Fender neck, vs a Veneer-style ('63) Fender neck?

    Thank you very much, it's truly appreciated...

    D

  20. #80
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    Default Re: Live Chat Now - Guest Luthier Series - Mike Eldred

    Quote Originally Posted by the guy who invented fire View Post
    Mike,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to so do this, and thanks to evan for having you!

    I'll be as quick as possible...

    Of all the celebrity owned guitars you've had in your hands, which was your fav...which stood out the most for whatever reason.

    Also, of all the pro's you deal with and have delt with who is the hardest on their instruments?

    Last...any chance Fender would ever release a coffee table book or something like it loaded with pics and fact of all the celeb instruments you guys have built and/or rebuilt?? I woudl pay good money for that!
    The Woodstock Strat. That guitar still haunts me. I sat up all night looking at the video. When we took the neck off, there was dried sweat under the neck plate. Unreal.

    Hardest on the instrument? SRV or Rory. Those guitars were absolutely mangled.

    Hal Leonard is coming out with a nice book on the CS. Written by Tom Wheeler. Very cool.

    ME

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