Fender Jimmy Bryant Guitar

Fender Jimmy Bryant Guitar

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This Guitar Is Available As A Fabulous Fake

The Fender Custom Shop proudly announces a long-awaited tribute to one of the pioneers of electric guitar and more specifically the Telecaster guitar. The Jimmy Bryant Signature Telecaster guitar is a “Twang Machine” designed with the most discriminating Telecaster player and features a white blonde premium ash body, modern tone Circuit Wiring and a vintage maple neck with a 9.5” radius. Vintage tones come courtesy of two Fender Nocaster® single-coil pickups. It also features a hand-tooled leather pickguard overlay.

It’s not difficult to imagine the huge impact that Jimmy Bryant’s explosive guitar style had on his fellow guitarists of the 1950s. Listen to his music today and you’ll get that tingle down your spine that Danny Gatton, Albert Lee and all those hot Telecaster players experienced when they first heard Bryant blasting through classics like Red Headed Polka and Stratosphere Boogie. Bryant’s gift for melody, and his sense of humor that shines from every cut, is timeless. Always performing with a swagger that made even the most complicated techniques look ridiculously easy, Bryant was the fastest player that anyone had ever heard, raising the bar for guitarists forever. Also worth remembering is the fact that, in an era when amplifier distortion was still considered a ‘fault,’ he played every note clean, with absolute precision. He was also an accomplished songwriter, penning the Waylon Jennings classic, The Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line. Just how Jimmy Bryant came to be a guitar player in the first place is a classic tale of one man’s triumph over tragedy and great adversity.

Jimmy Bryant was born Ivy. J. Bryant Jr on March 5, 1925 in Moultrie, Georgia, into a poor farming family. Like many families caught in this relentlessly tough existence, the Bryant’s enjoyed the welcome relief that performing music could bring. Jimmy’s musician father instilled the joy of playing a musical instrument in his young son and pretty soon the boy was a fiddle-playing prodigy supplementing the family’s income by playing for tips on the Courthouse Square of Moultrie. As he grew Bryant honed his fiddle skills by playing with local bands and performing at the Saturday night barn dances that were popular at that time. Even though opportunities were few, Jimmy had no desire to follow in his parent’s footsteps, working the fields of Georgia. As it turned out he needn’t have worried. In addition to his incredible talent, this young man had fate on his side…

In 1943, the 18-year old Bryant was drafted into the US Army. While he was fighting in Germany he was critically injured by an exploding grenade, sustaining head injuries that would see him hospitalized for several months. While recuperating in hospital he taught himself to play guitar, applying his lightning fiddle skills to the six-string instrument, and that explosive guitar style was born.

When Jimmy Bryant passed away on September 22, 1980 he left behind an incredible body of recorded work. In addition to the countless sessions he’d played on, for various pop and country artists over the years, he released some of the most important instrumental guitar music ever committed to tape. From his first self-composed recording, Bryant’s Boogie, to his final solo sessions in the late 60s, Bryant never disappointed his fans, always breaking the rules with his usual style. Check out the ringing harmonics of Liberty Bell Polka, the complex picking of Yodeling Guitar, and the earliest use of that country music staple, chicken picking on the aptly named Pickin’ The Chicken. Some of his most awe-inspiring work can be found on his The Fastest Guitar in the Country album. Recorded in 1967 the album features Jimmy’s breakneck speed rendition of the classic Sugar Foot Rag. Incidentally, every guitarist should own a copy of Frettin’ Fingers; the Lightning Guitar of Jimmy Bryant, a 3-CD box-set packed full of Bryant’s finest moments. Speaking of which…

Probably Jimmy Bryant’s best-loved recordings are those that he made with steel guitarist Speedy West. The pair played together on sessions backing singers such as Tennessee Ernie Ford and Kay Starr but soon began working on their own material. It was a match made in heaven. Their melodic, fast guitar lines intertwined with each other creating an exciting brand of music that nobody had ever heard before. Between 1950 and 1956 Bryant and West recorded an incredible amount of material including the now legendary Stratosphere Boogie. Both men entered the studio in the mid 70s to record a reunion album. Unfortunately, the results of the sessions wouldn’t be released until 1990, ten years after Bryant’s death.

Although Bryant used many different guitars in the course of his career he will always be best remembered as a pioneer, the first endorsee, of Fender’s legendary Telecaster model. While some players of the day were reluctant to replace their ageing hollow-body guitars with this ‘new-fangled’ solid-body instrument, Bryant instantly warmed to the guitar’s unique playability and lively tone. The story goes that in 1950, Leo Fender, and his engineering consultant George Fullerton, visited Bryant at the Riverside Rancho, a Western music nightclub in Glendale, California. After handing Jimmy his new Broadcaster – later renamed the Telecaster – Leo and George watched as the guitarist caused such a sensation with the groundbreaking guitar that the crowd in the club gathered around him to watch him play. Apparently, even the band performing onstage at the time stopped playing to catch Bryant’s impromptu show! In 2003, Fender released its Jimmy Bryant Tribute Telecaster, produced with the input of Jimmy’s son, John. With its ash body, white blonde finish and hand-tooled leather pickguard, the guitar is a fitting tribute to a true pioneer of the Telecaster, and the electric guitar in general.

Of course, as well as his awesome guitar playing, it should be mentioned that Jimmy Bryant had that all-important ‘cool’ element that all guitar heroes should effortlessly possess. Always dressed to the teeth in a sharp suit or decorative country shirt, with hair slicked back, and that handsome face, it’s easy to see why the sight of Jimmy with his radical new Fender guitar was such an inspiration to guitarists, and music lovers, of the 1950s. It’s still a powerful image today.