Gear of the Month 2012
February: 1976 Fender Starcaster
The guitar’s controls include a 3-way pickup selector, a tone and volume knob for each pickup, and a master volume. The Starcaster shown here has a natural finish—other choices available were black, blonde, tobacco sunburst, walnut, and white. This particular Fender model was the only non-Telecaster model to feature the Seth Lover-designed Wide Range humbuckers. These pickups—originally used from ’71–’79 in Telecaster Deluxes, Thinlines, and Customs—are described as having a fat, distinctive tone with a little more detail and clarity than the famous PAF pickups Lover designed for Gibson. While Fender didn’t lure away too many ES purists with the short-lived Starcaster—the guitar was only manufactured from 1976–1980—it did eventually find favor with indie guitarists like Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Phish’s Trey Anastasio (who plays a custom Langeudoc designed after the Starcaster), The Killers’ Dave Keuning (who uses one in the band’s videos for “For Reasons Unknown” and “Human”), and Arctic Monkeys’ Jamie Cook (who rocks one during the video for “Crying Lightning”).