2013 Fender Ron Emory Loyalty Parlour
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
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).
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.
Ron Emory Loyalty
3-in-a-row open gear
Sources & Links
The Butterscotch & Sunburst Ron Emory Loyalty Parlor Guitars: From the very lovely site Parlor.Guitars, modestly "aspiring to be the leading source of information on anything and everything related to parlor guitars". Lovingly curated, an absolute goldmine!
If you need any more information about this one, I've a lot more specification and set-up data to hand. Just drop me a line here.
Happy to help!