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  1. This topic is being created to be the ultimate collection of information and discussion for my fellow "Hentor Sportscaster" enthusiasts out there. There have been various discussions over the years, for those looking to build their own replicas of Alex's customized Strats, and not only do I want to put all the info in one place, but there are some newly discovered details on those guitars, that haven't been discussed in the forums before! :) There have also been some misconceptions passed along over the years, so this will be sort of a definitive, accurate collection of information for those interested. :) For those who don't know, Alex was mainly playing Fender Stratocasters on the road from the early to mid eighties. Three of these guitars were heavily modified over the years, and have developed a cult following of their own. By Power Windows, he was also playing a few stock Strats, Elite Strats, Strats with Kahler tremolos, etc, before switching completely to Signature Guitar Co. In this topic, we're focusing on the three modified Strats. A white one, a black one, and a candy apple red one. The white one: This is the "Hentor Sportscaster." There was a misconception for a while, that all three of these guitars were called "Hentor Sportscasters," but only the white one is called that. For a long time, it was believed that all three of these were 1977 Strats originally, but the white one was a 73 (Or at least it was acquired in 73 by Alex, he scratched that year into the plastic tremolo cover). All three of these Strats began as stock Fenders with the big fat CBS headstock. The white one was first modified by putting a Gibson humbucker in the bridge position, and replacing the usual Fender blade switch with a Gibson style toggle switch on the lower horn. The guitar was used in this configuration to record "The Spirit of Radio," and is seen in "Exit... Stage Left," still with stock Fender tremolo. It is also seen this way in the video for "Countdown." By Grace Under Pressure, he had replaced the stock tremolo with an early non-fine-tuner Floyd Rose, with no locking nut. He had also replaced the necks on all three of these guitars with an aftermarket neck made by a company in Ottawa called Shark. This neck was quartersawn maple, ebony fretboard, 21 frets, mother of pearl dot inlays, strangely positioned black side dots, bullet-style truss rod nut, and the headstock was thinner than a "CBS" headstock, but still wider than a traditional Strat headstock. Though these strats were originally 3-bolt style with micro-tilt, the aftermarket necks were mounted with 4 bolts. Because the new neck had no Fender logo, as a joke, he dubbed it the "Hentor Sportscaster" as a sort of knock-off sounding name, and applied a new logo with Letraset. "Hentor" was a reference to Hentor, the Barbarian, their nickname for Peter Henderson, the producer for Grace Under Pressure. He had also added a Bill Lawrence L500L pickup by this point, and DiMarzio single coils. It is unknown what model the single coils were back then, but this guitar CURRENTLY has DiMarzio FS-1 single coils. He had swapped pickup colors back and forth over the years. He had cream/white pickups in the live Grace Under Pressure video, but the guitar now has all black pickups. On the Power Windows tour, this guitar was tuned up to play The Big Money, and was used to record many of the solos on Hold Your Fire. It was also used in the recording of Show Don't Tell. At some point in the late eighties, the non-fine-tuning Floyd Rose was replaced with a Floyd Rose with fine tuners and a locking nut, but it is unclear exactly when this happened. The Bill Lawrence was also replaced with a black DiMarzio Super Distortion at some point, but after being restored by luthier Freddy Gabrsek, it sports a Bill Lawrence L500L once again. It also now has a 42mm L-shaped brass block, and stainless steel frets. The black one: This guitar is called the "Porkflapsocaster," and currently resides at the Canadian Museum of History. This guitar with its original maple neck/fretboard, was outfitted with a Non-fine-tuning Floyd Rose WITH the locking nut, and a Gibson Humbucker, like the white one, and used this way in the Limelight video. Like the white guitar, the neck was replaced by the time of Grace Under Pressure, and he did not keep the locking nut. While the aftermarket neck for the white guitar has an ebony fretboard, this one was rosewood. He also replaced the Gibson humbucker with a Bill Lawrence L500L, but unlike the white guitar, he mounted the Bill Lawrence with a mounting ring over top of the pickguard, in stead of getting a new pickguard made. The guitar appears this way in the video for Afterimage, and in the Grace Under Pressure live video. At the time, Alex cited this as his main live guitar. Again, having no Fender logo on the new neck, Lerxst got creative and added "PORKFLAPSOCASTER Protected by tents in England" to the headstock, with Letraset. Here's where it gets interesting! Based on what we know about the white "Hentor Sportscaster, and how the mods on these guitars were done the same and at the same time, it was long assumed that the non-fine-tuning Floyd Rose was replaced by a "Floyd Rose Original." In fact, this guitar is equipped with a Schaller Floyd Rose II, non-recessed. While the tremolo is chrome, the locking nut is black with mismatching black and chrome pads, and a black string retainer. The Bill Lawrence mounting ring is still present over top of the pickguard. The red one: The one that doesn't have a name, often referred to as the "D.E.W." guitar for its appearance in the Distant Early Warning video. This guitar is seen in an early 80s magazine cover, candy apple red with matching, fat CBS headstock with bullet truss rod nut, mirror pickguard, stock tremolo, Gibson SG knobs, Gibson humbucker, and otherwise modded the same as the others. You can see photos from the Signals tour with this guitar outfitted with a Bill Lawrence pickup and non-fine-tuning Floyd Rose. Interestingly, in the video for Distant Early Warning, you can see that he has gone with a full fine-tuning Floyd Rose, but still NO locking nut. This guitar was never given it's own knock-off name, because the stock Fender neck was never replaced. It is unknown whether or not he ever added a locking nut. Other details and clarification: The Shark necks had no finish on them, bullet style truss rod nuts, and the headstock shape is close in shape to the CBS era, but slimmer. The white "Hentor Sportscaster" has an ebony fretboard, and the black "Porkflapsocaster" has rosewood. The neck on the black guitar is held on by a gold colored 4-bolt neck plate. A small detail that most of you reading this are probably already aware of, is that the jack plates were inverted on all three of these guitars. It was also assumed for years that these guitars had alder bodies. I can't speak for the black or red one, but the Hentor Sportscaster has an ash body. As far as the neck specs, Alex replaced the stock necks to make them feel more "Gibson-like." The scale length on these guitars is still 25.5, so by "Gibson-like," he must be referring to either the radius, or the back profile. I would assume it's the radius, 10" like a Gibson, or maybe 12". A Floyd Rose Original today ships stock with a shim under the 4 inner saddles to give it a 10" radius, and without the shim, it's 12". For my replicas, I chose to use 12" radius necks, to match a Floyd Rose perfectly without a shim. Did I miss anything? :) Let me know if you have any questions! I hope this topic comes off the right way. I'm deeply grateful for this forum and the friends I've made here, and I've learned a lot about the band's gear over the years. I was one of many aspiring to replicate some of my favorite Alex Lifeson guitars based on false specs and guesswork details, and I wanted to share what I've learned over the years. I gathered most of my information from combinations of interviews from magazine articles in the Rush Library over on Cygnus, pictures and info from historymuseum.ca, and from obsessively following Freddy Gabrsek's updates on his restoration and replication of Alex's ACTUAL Hentor Sportscaster. :) Maybe the next chapter will be Signature Guitar Co... ;) Now THERE'S a lot of misinformation!
  2. Here's a Custom version of the 5.1 Version of Signals on YouTube. This is the way Signals was meant to be enjoyed in my opinion. This guy has also done mixes of other Rush albums, and they're very good. Please give his channel some love and attention.
  3. Any amount of songs from each album is good. Here's mine: Subdivisions The Analog Kid Turn the Page Middletown Dreams New World Man The Big Money Lock and Key Marathon Chemistry Prime Mover
  4. This is a thread in defense of Chemistry. I love this tune!!! I love putting Signals on because I can just let the record go without skipping - the first 3 tracks especially are great! Plus, you get to hear Geddy say "ELECTRICITY!" Classic. That's just me. I've noticed a lot of people ranking Chemistry as one of their least favorite songs from this era of Rush. I'd love to know you opinion on the matter!!
  5. I just listened to this song a few minutes ago and never really realized how truly cinematic that song is. In fact, I think it's right up there with Red Barchetta, especially in terms of narrative quality. I also realized that I've never seen nor heard them perform it live. It could be a real eye-popper in a live setting. Why do you think they've never bothered to pull that one out of the vault? Too many keyboard parts, perhaps? What say you?
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