2013 Fender Ron Emory Loyalty Parlour Guitar

 

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Unlikely as it sounds, this gentle and beautifully crafted guitar's a signature model for Ron Emory, guitarist with California punks TSOL (True Sounds Of Liberty).  A butterscotch acoustic inspired by Ron's prized '52 Telecaster.  

When you say Fender, you think solid-body electric guitar, a Strat, a Tele.  Maybe some semi-acoustics, a Thinline or Starcaster.  But never really plain old acoustics.  Unlike Gibson, Fender didn't start with acoustics and go to electrics.  It was the other way round.  And, to be fair, Leo Fender wrote the book when it came to full-production electric guitars back in the early 1950s, so he didn't need to break the winning formula in those early years. 

But after a decade of phenomenal success with electrics, Leo turned his attention to the acoustic market in the early-1960s, taking on master luthier Roger Rossmeisl, who'd already built his skills at both Gibson and Rickenbacker.  The very earliest acoustics relied heavily on the component-based design of the electrics - bolt-on necks, screwed-on pickguards, Strat-style headstocks.  They may have looked cool but they can't have been that easy to play and maintain.  But they weren't built, marketed or priced as top-end guitars - more for "sun-and-fun", campfires and coffee-houses, the free-spirited youth than the concert-hall.  Fun while it lasted, but by the end of the 60s, Fender shelved most of their acoustic production and it wasn't until the 80s and 90s that Fender came back to the acoustic party - and in the 00s started to introduce the artist-model guitars.  Of which this is one.

My bad, but I'd never heard of Ron Emory or TSOL (True Sounds Of Liberty) until I found this guitar.  To be honest, I haven't kept up with the Southern Californian punk scene over the years . . . And looking at this beauty, you wouldn't think it was created with the design input of a punk rock god.  But check out the interview with Ron Emory below and all becomes clear - alongside the inspiration for the butterscotch finish from Ron's prized 52 Tele.  Something that Fender had never considered for their acoustics beforehand.  Which is a surprise - and a blessing.  This is a stunner.  Beautifully built, binding and inlays to-die-for, and a tone and projection that goes well beyond its smaller body.  The perfect picker for the parlour. 

See & Hear It In Action
  • See Ron Emory Talking About The Original Concept and Spec of the Loyalty Parlour: It's the sunburst option in his hands, but it's the same style (and you can.see the butterscotch one just behind him).  Designed to have "an incredible finish, incredible sound, incredible feel, and be affordable".  Perfect package . . . though no idea why he doesn't play it in the video.  But at least you can click on the next video to hear it . . .
  • John Coupland Puts The Loyalty Through Its Paces: And gives it a 9 out of 10.  Lovely sustain, lovely tone - and some lovely playing by John (check out the final minute with the capo at the second fret).
  • A Parlor Guitar And A Starman:  OK, it's not Ron Emory's signature model, but, if you ever wanted to know why, after nearly 50 years of obscurity, parlor guitars started to gain popular appeal, the answers in the stars . . . or at least a starman.  Astronaut Chris Hadfield, a parlor guitar and Space Oddity, on board the International Space Station  . . . 48 million views and counting.
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Specification

Make

Fender

Model

Ron Emory Loyalty Parlour

Colour

Butterscotch

Year

2013

Serial  Number

CSG13005167

Number of Frets

19

Fretboard

Rosewood, bound

Neck

Maple

Body

Ash

Tuners

3-in-a-row, open-gear

Bridge

Viking-style Rosewoo

Scale Length

23.75"

Full Length

37.75"

Further Information:

  • OK, I give in, it's "parlor", not "parlour".  Given the early popularity of this smaller-bodied guitar was with the blues musicians of the early 20th century, the US spelling takes precedence.

  • Next, is it a parlor guitar or a travel guitar?  Well, I suppose it's a parlor guitar because that's what Fender called it.  The differences with a travel guitar are slight indeed.  I compared with our Little Martin LX1, and it really is down to small differences.  The parlor guitar has a tighter radius (12" v 16"), which better suits picking styles, 19 frets versus 20, and a slightly longer body.  But honestly, the differences are negligible.  So, if Fender call it a parlor guitar, I'm happy with that.

 

  • Built in Fender's Shanghai factory, this one's from 2013, the first year of production of the Ron Emory Loyalty series.  The craftsmanship and design is a delight.  Sometimes, it's the look of a guitar that gets you, before you've even have a chance to play it.  That glorious herringbone binding on the headstock, neck and body top, the unique diamond inlays and the Loyalty logo, and that butterscotch finish.  A proper stunner.

  • And the good news is that it sounds as good as it looks.  Yes, it's a smaller guitar, so it's not going to get above normal conversation in your own parlor, but it has a lovely balanced tone and sustain.  Each string stands out equally - perfect for that finger-picked blues, folk or lonesome shoegaze that keeps you coming back for more. 

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