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View Full Version : Fender Esprit Robben Ford models


texasflood_dk
11-26-2006, 11:16 AM
I am the lucky owner of a nice Fender Esprit '84.
But I might take the leap and go for a Esprit Robben Ford model.
According to Peter Bertges nice overview at
http://www.peter-bertges.com/fender/specs/master%20series.htm
there are 4 models of this guitar.

The first one was made at Fender Custom shop in Japan and the 3 others was made at Fender Custom shop USA.

Mainly I would like to know what difference in sound the sprucetop models have opposed to the mapletop, that my standard Esprit got.

Also, I know that Fender made a brochure of the 3 USA Costum shop Esprits.Does someone know where to find a scan this.?

Hope someone can clarify some of my questions...

Radax
11-26-2006, 11:49 AM
I had an original Esprit. Tremendously well built, balanced neck, and excellent player. RF chose this for his Signature Model and of course had different options. Big regret selling the '84.
Mike

Berlin Chris
11-26-2006, 12:08 PM
(edited. sorry, I didnīt properly read the link you provided)


I have seen some different versions (both technically and cosmetically) of the US made fender RF model, there are quite a lot with mapletop around.

Here is another link for the 84-86 Japanese run: http://www.masterseriesguitars.com/

Hope that helps

BigBone
11-26-2006, 01:43 PM
I could be wrong on this but I believe the Espirit was designed by Carruthers
who is a luthier from california . I think he worked for Fender custom shop at one time. His version of the espirit has been on my gas list for awhile.
http://www.carruthersguitars.com/

teestone
11-26-2006, 08:41 PM
I could be wrong on this but I believe the Espirit was designed by Carruthers
who is a luthier from california . I think he worked for Fender custom shop at one time. His version of the espirit has been on my gas list for awhile.
http://www.carruthersguitars.com/

Thanks alot BigBone!!! I already have a Fender Elite Flame from the 80's and LOVE it! But now that I've seen the Carruthers CSA, I might just have to place an order!! Thanks for getting my GAS started up again!!:Devil

Berlin Chris
11-27-2006, 02:36 AM
I could be wrong on this but I believe the Espirit was designed by Carruthers
who is a luthier from california . I think he worked for Fender custom shop at one time. His version of the espirit has been on my gas list for awhile.
http://www.carruthersguitars.com/

Cool looking guitars. :AOK

According to another source, Dan Smith designed the Esprit and Flame for Fender. http://www.vintageguitar.com/brands/details.asp?ID=18

texasflood_dk
11-27-2006, 12:53 PM
I actually stumbled across a great resource when it comes to Fender Esprit Robben Ford models - that is if you can read japanese...!!

http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~a-akagi/robben.htm (http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/%7Ea-akagi/robben.htm)

Anyone that can read japanese and do a quick translation...... :0)

Looks like they describe some sort of rebuild on the japanese Robben Ford signature model.

Berlin Chris
11-27-2006, 01:34 PM
Looks like they describe some sort of rebuild on the japanese Robben Ford signature model.

By talking about a rebuild, you don't mean the Baker guitar, or do you?

texasflood_dk
11-27-2006, 02:43 PM
No - at the bottom of the page the headline above the picture is saying
"Fender Japan Robben Model (Ultra SP) Modify".
As I see it they take the PAF's from an older Les Paul and put them in the Esprit. Then they install a 4 x SPST switch as coiltap.

Could be damned interesting to have someone to do a translation....

Berlin Chris
11-27-2006, 03:05 PM
God aften Texasflood,

do you still have the original Schaller pickups in your Esprit? I have put a set of Fralin Humbuckers and a real tune-o-matic and stoptail in mine and I am more than happy now. This mod will improve your guitar another 100%.... promised!

texasflood_dk
11-28-2006, 03:10 PM
Guten Abend, Berlin Chris

I changed the original Schaller pickups with Seymour Duncans :
A JB model in the bridge and a '59 model at neck position, to bring the guitar closer to the Robben Ford signature specs.
Allthough I can never get the spruce top like the RF models got.
This is why I am interested in hearing from other people how the spruce top change the sound of the guitar.

I have been thinking of adding TBX controls and coil tap....
Here is a nice picture just after I finished the pick-up change :

http://www.sitecenter.dk/nimmernutten/nss-folder/mappe/1133_3323.JPG

Bluewail
11-28-2006, 05:20 PM
i have a black Japanese '93 Robben Ford model, the last incarnation before the Fender Custom Shop versions. It does have the spruce top, alder body combo. The first things I did after getting it were to change out the schaller tuneable taipiece and bridge for a tune-o-matic and a lightweight stop tail. It added a noticeable amount of detail and "air" to the guitar. Besides I kept hitting the fine-tuing knobs and messing up the tuning. Next to go were the TBX tone controls which I found to be totally useless as they are never really out of the signal path. I replaced the harness with a RS Guitarworks premium kit. Better pot tapers and a truly useable set of tone controls. Last to go were the JB and '59 pickups. IMHO they are to dark for that guitar and the coil split was good on the JB, but on the '59 it was not really useable - too weak. In went a set of Fralin Unbuckers and I could'nt be happier. The coil splits on both pups are really functional now.
I've played the Fender CS maple cap version, the Ultra FM, and it adds some weight and some zing in the high end that I did not prefer. I've also had a chance to spend some time on a Baker RF with the spruce/mahogany combo which I liked a lot as well, but still prefer what I've got.
Overall a superb "keeper" guitar.

texasflood_dk
11-30-2006, 03:42 PM
After the change I made to my Esprit, I really think the JB in the bridge is nice - allthough a little to trebly at some times.
The '59 at the neck position is very hot.
I might go for a Premium kit from Guitarworks just as you did on your black RF Esprit.
I have heard from quite a few that the TBX controls on the Esprits is useless.

How do you think the spruce top "sound" opposed to the standard Esprit ?

bhap2
01-31-2008, 08:47 PM
I own a 93 japan spruce top RF and an 84 Esprit with a maple top. They are very different guitars. The spruce top is much more resonant and a little closer to a 335 to my ear. The maple top seems a little closer to a les paul. I changed the bridge and tailpiece on both guitars and the pups on the 84 to a jb & jazz. When they reissued the esprit as the RF model They changed the pups to stock humbuckers by shaller. The older molded shallers were dead sounding to my ear.