That Was The Year... 1991
Astronauts, Airstrikes and Accidents
CHARVEL RELEASES THE ST CUSTOM, another Strat clone with a modern touch with super slim neck, cherry sunburst body, black hardware and a white pearloid scratchplate making this instantly eye-catching. Although equipped with just volume and tone controls it offers multiple sound options from the three pickups by way of the regular five-way pickup selector plus a three-way mini-toggle so all pickups can operate together as well as out of phase.
BRITAIN IS HIT BY GALE FORCE WINDS and 27 people die as a result; the M40 motorway is finally completed providing a direct link through Oxfordshire to London; the government introduces Tax-Exempt Special Savings Accounts to promote personal savings; and Helen Sharman becomes the first British astronaut in space as part of the crew of the Soyuz TM-12 mission.
ALLIED AIRCRAFT BEGIN BOMBING RAIDS on Iraq as the Gulf War begins. The strikes continue until a ceasefire is agreed thus halting the advance on Baghdad. Following the inquest into the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 a verdict of accidental death on the 95 people who died is reached, much to the dismay of the victims’ families. Miss Saigon opens on Broadway.
RELINQUISHING THE MORTAL COIL are Freddie Mercury, Steve Marriott, Steve Clark (Def Leppard), Miles Davis, Serge Gainsbourg, composer Doc Pomus and legendary guitar builder Leo Fender. Meanwhile Leo’s former company launches the Yngwie Malmsteen Standard Stratocaster, the Jeff Beck Strat and the set-neck Telecaster. Rickenbacker celebrates the 60th anniversary of its electric guitar production with the 650A Atlantis guitar and the Chris Squire Signature 4001 bass.
AFTER THE BUY BACK OF GRETSCH from Baldwin, production has finally got into full swing with guitars arriving in the UK at last. So what better way to start than with the 6128 Duo Jet and the 6131 Firebird. Identical in spec the red body surface of the Firebird has gold hardware and scratchplate while the Duo Jet sports chrome plating. They both look splendid and, although now manufactured in Japan, they still retain the magnificence and feel of the originals if not totally accurate reissues. It’s good to know that the company is firmly back in the family.
oNe oF The moST UNUSUal gUiTar deSigNS ever comes from Steve Klein with a radical body shape and a headless neck. Finished in Black or White the basswood body is conceived with comfort in mind for both standing and sitting; the neck has a smooth phenolic fingerboard and 24 frets. The three pickups are by EMG, two SA Hot Strat single coils and an 85 humbucker with coil-splitting abilities. The hardware is all Steinberger
and it’s available with standard
trem or Trans-Trem, which allows you to set the tuning – so if you play a chord and depress the arm the notes shift together in parallel.