I was “just looking” at a local used guitar store the other day when I picked a guitar that I had never heard of before. It was indeed a Fender electric guitar, but I had never seen this exact body style before. It is named the “Lead ii” and what I found shocked me.
I tried out this strange guitar, and was very impressed. It felt like no other guitar had ever felt in my hands. My fingers fell exactly where they needed to be on the neck, and what a nice feel the neck has, too. The neck was thin and maple and what else could a person want? Eric Clapton to have own and love one of these guitars?
Well, I plugged it into an amp, and this baby poured out some vintage Fender twang, but also held signatures of that treble/mid/bass compressed tone that all Fender lovers require. Had I found some lost experimental guitar that has escaped from the Fender companies’ closet collection? Well, a few clicks of the mouse would bring me “into the know”.
It seems that this guitar has a cult following, perhaps like no other guitar has. The first site that I came across was the Fender “Lead 11” fan site. I found all of the information I needed about this awesome guitar in one stop. The site has a very active member’s forum too, and they really help each other out! The posts were something like “Lead ii now on EBay” and “What are these guitars going for”, and everything in between.
I learned that these incredible axes were made for only three years! They started making them in 1979 and stopped in 1982. They were all made in the U.S.A., and they are basically a hybrid of a Stratocaster/Telecaster with some extra cool features tossed in. These babies have phase switches; pick up selector switches, and a smaller string to string distance than any other Fender guitar ever made. It is a shame that they are not in production still, but did I mention a secret?
The secret is that these guitars, (the Fender “Lead 1”, “Lead 2”, and the “Lead 3”) have slipped under the collectors’ radar. These can still be found and purchased on the cheap. The common prices range from 300-900 dollars U.S.; and that includes the original case!
After all of the reading that I did on the Fender Lead ii site, and with all of the new knowledge that I then had, I returned to that used guitar shop days later and I traded my guitar in and left with that Fender Lead 2 guitar.
The smile on my face has not left yet.
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