Fender debuted a totally new model for the 1976 production year: the Starcaster. Fender's brand was built upon the solid body electric guitar market but the Starcaster totally defied its previous market niche.

The Starcaster featured a semi-hollow, double cutaway body with offset waist and their popular Seth Lover designed Wide Range humbuckers. The bridge was a fixed/raised Stratocaster inspired bridge with individually adjustable saddles. The headstock shape too was a modified Stratocaster shape with unique relief cut they used for an accent color. Standard colors included Sunburst, Natural and Walnut. Custom color Starcasters have been found in Olympic White, Black, and ???

I've been lucky to have a few vintage Fender Starcaster guitars come through the shop. Check them out here:

1976 Fender Starcaster Sunburst

1976 Fender Starcaster Natural

1975 Fender Starcaster Sunburst

1976 Fender Starcaster vintage electric guitar

Fender's new Starcaster model was met with little commercial success. Perhaps the folks at Fender stepped too far from their niche or perhaps they should have known that the offset waist design had already drifted from popularity since the Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars were but footnotes in the mid to late 1970s. As a result, production numbers for the Starcaster were low and the model was discontinued in 1981. From the 1976 Fender Starcaster advertisement: "First heard emerging from the spectral depths of creation in 1976, Starcaster abandons the great, grey-green, greasy Limpopo and and relentlessly climbs the charts. It’s attack is heightened by a unique semi-hollow body and jaw-popping vocal range which is make it a prized trophy among animusicologists. When domesticated, Starcaster exhibits the most deceptive, chameleon-like vocal qualities. It not only bellows forth it’s own unique call but may emit musical tones associated with members of the species Guitar Electrical as well. A prolific mate, Starcaster couples boisterously in proximity to the Super Reverb and others of the family Amplifier Fender. Its excited cries when so engaged have been recorded voluminously."       Lucky for modern players, Fender has recently reissued the Starcaster at an attractive price point! The new Starcaster has a few alterations from the original including a Gibson style stop tail piece bridge and no master volume knob. We may owe this new found popularity of the Starcaster to players like Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead seen here playing a 1976 Fender Starcaster in Sunburst. 

John Shults
Tagged: Blog Fender

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