17 October 2008

Fender 1972 Reissue Stratocaster CIJ ST72-US

I picked up this pre owned piece from blackwood guitars at $800. I was captivated by the 70's era big headstock and vintage white finish (cream). Although i did not know what the actual specs were, I was told by the guys at the shop that this piece had Texas specials pups in it which led me to think that this piece had an alder body. Which is the vintage premium. Sometimes it's very hard to tell when it comes down to strats. You won't really know for sure untill you take the guitar apart for a closer look. Obviously, i don't think any guitar shop will allow you to do that before buying. I took a gamble and bought it anyway. It really looked awesome!

I brought this piece to my guitar tech to have it checked only to find out that i have lost the gamble. This piece is not the vintage premium that i thought it was. The body is made of basswood and had US vintage pups in them. Tsk Tsk Tsk ... Cheated? I would not like to think that i was as i kinda figured that this piece was being sold on consignment by the owner. Maybe even the guys at the shop didn't even know the true specs of this guitar. Or did they? Anyway. It don't matter. We all learn from our mistakes.

I got mixed emotions with this guitar. After having this guitar setup, The overall feel just didn't do it for me. Doing hard vibrato's on both E strings actually made the string slip off the fretboard from the 12th fret up. Maybe it's just me with my tendency to be a hard player but i was not comfortable with it. Tone wise, I didn't really get that snappy twang out of the basswood body and US vintage pups. It lacked the voice of a real strat that i have longed for.

All in all, This is not a bad piece to have. It's definitely eye candy when you walk into a room with it. Vintage white finish, Large 70's headstock, Bullet truss rod, 3 point 70's back plate makes it that much of a piece that's meant to be hanged on the wall rather than played. Maybe i was just unlucky to pick this particular one.

The guitar that don't feel right are the guitars that are just not meant to be...

  • Beautiful vintage white finish

  • 70's Large Haeadstock

  • Bullet truss rod

  • Backplate

  • Lightweight

  • Cosmetics are excellent!

  • Lack of twang and quack

  • String slippage from the 12th fret onwards.

  • Too much gloss on the back of the neck. Sticky feel
Ratings: 6/10

14 October 2008

Fender Deluxe Players Stratocaster

This piece has a real story to it. I learned some important lessons in trying to setup your own guitar the hard way. I'll leave those details out. I got this piece pre owned. This guitar was equipped with 3 Seymour Duncan high output pickups initially. I couldn't stand the high output that the Seymour Duncans produced on this strat. They were muddy, the cleans were horrible and they didn't look good on a potentially classic looking strat. The set of Seymour Duncans were the Hot rails, Cool Rails & Vintage Rails. I was looking for a classic tone but those rails just didn't do it for me. But if you're a rabid Iron Maiden fan, that configuration might just be your cup of tea.

I took the opportunity to have the pickups changed. I managed to get myself a set of Fender Custom Shop Jeff beck Noiseless Dual Ceramic pickups. These pickups can't be bought out of the retail market. You'll need to own the Jeff beck signature strat to get a hold of these pups. These pickups would pop up in ebay once in a while but will certainly not be a cheap item to acquire.

This guitar has got a killer look. I love the 4 ply shell pickguard with a beautiful 3 tone sunburst on a ash body. The grains from the ash wood is remarkable. To top it off, there's gold hardware to compliment the classic look. This guitar is finished with Nitro lacquer that helps the guitar to breathe and resonates better. The back of the neck has a satin finish for a smooth feel. There's a 12mm neck radius which i think is a little too much and needs some getting used to.

Tone wise, The new Jeff Beck noiseless pups were somewhat of a let down for me. The highs were just too much for my liking. Dual ceramics and an ash body just equals to increased levels of highs. There was just too much SNAP out of the dual ceramic and ash combo. I didn't fancy the tone too much for overdrive tones but the cleans were very nice. Of course the noiseless part of the pups were very good. No 60 cycle hum when pushed into high gain which is ideal for studio stuff. another unique feature of this guitar is the push port in between the tone knobs which provides an additional 2 tones on positions 5 & 6 to activate the Neck + Bridge & All 3 pickups when the button is depressed.

Overall, it's not a bad guitar. It could have been better if it came stock with the stock Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups. I had tested it in stock at the retail shops and it sounded great. For a Mexican strat, The listed retail price of $1800+ before discount is a bit pricey. For that kinda price tag, You'll be able to fetch an American standard strat.which will probably cost around the same price but with better re-sale value and quality.

  • Beautiful 3 tone sunburst with ash grains highly visible
  • Satin finished neck
  • Push button (S1) for 7 different tones on a 5 way switch
  • Nice cleans
  • No 60 cycle hum, Noiseless when pushed into high gain
  • Heavy in weight, it's probably the Ash wood.
  • High velocity snappy tone when pushed into high gain due to the ash + dual ceramic combo
  • High retail price
  • 12mm neck radius

Rating: 7.5/10

11 October 2008

Fender 60th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster

The Fender 60th Anniversary Stratocaster was released in 2006 for a limited run. Even though this guitar has a made in Mexico label, It is definitely a worthy guitar to mention. At an affordable price, this one has the makings and qualities of an excellent strat. It comes with an alder body, maple neck, maple fretboard and loaded with Tex Mex pickups. This diamond anniversary commemorative model spots a modern C shaped neck with a 9.5 radius.

I bought this guitar pre owned at $750. It's a tad pricey for a pre owned guitar as this piece retails brand new at $800. I grabbed it without thinking too much because the chance of picking a pre owned piece up in such pristine condition is hard to come by. The QC of the guitar is excellent unlike most Mexican models. It almost doesn't feel like a Mexican piece with the excellent build. The specs on this guitar closely resembles the Jimmy Vaughan Tex Mex Stratocaser. It also spots a beautiful 60th anniversary diamond laser engraved neck plate. With the Tex Mex pickups, this guitars rocks out to good old blues but I won't really recommend this for high gain stuff due to the 60 cycle hum but its still a very versatile guitar. Now here is a collectors piece that will probably see a rise in value over time. If you have one of these in your arsenal, hang on to it. You might see a value hike in time to come. It's a worthy piece for players and collectors to have.

  • Affordable
  • Value for money
  • Smooth neck
  • Excellent QC
  • Tex Mex pickups
  • 60th anniversary neck plate
  • 60th anniversary gig bag
  • Great playability
  • Limited Edition

  • Only available in blizzard pearl finish

Rating: 8.5/10