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Fender American strat vs Custom Shop/Relics Dynamics Plugins
Old 26th August 2007
  #1
Gear Addict
 

Fender American strat vs Custom Shop/Relics

Has anyone compared the current American series strats to some custom shop ones like this?:

http://cgi.ebay.com/07-FENDER-69-HEA...QQcmdZViewItem

Is there a huge difference in build quality and tone, or is it the equivalent to paying an extra $2k for a pair of pre-torn jeans?
Old 26th August 2007
  #2
Gear Addict
 

There is something to the Custom Shop guitars. They choose the best woods for the Custom Shop guitars, the best pickups and hardware, the really talented top notch builders put them together. The necks have that played in feel to them. Hardware slightly tarnished and cool looking. I could do without the nicks and dents and stuff - want to put my own scuff marks in my guitar, thank you very much. But they are several steps up from the regular American series models. Just try both out - A/B them and you'll see, feel and hear where the money is going. I just bought a Closet Classic '67 Tele Limited Edition. $2700. Ouch! But you know what? - I sold my real 1972 Tele Custom and my Tom Anderson Tele after I got it - that's how awesome this guitar is. It has '63 pups in it and I've never heard a better Tele - country and blues monster guitar as well as rock and whatever else you throw at it. Neck is great! A true WOW guitar!
Old 26th August 2007
  #3
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
With guitars, try before you buy. They're like snowflakes, and even the builders in Fender's custom shop will tell you that.

Certain guitar builders have a "touch," and they produce truly fine instruments. All the Fender custom shop builders are good, no doubt, but some are better than others.

I've attached a pic of an "antiqued" Strat, and if I could post publicly who the builder is, you could easily predict that this baby is going to sound and play better than any off-the-rack Strat you could possibly find hanging in a Guitar Center.
Attached Thumbnails
Fender American strat vs Custom Shop/Relics-antiqued_strat1.jpg  
Old 26th August 2007
  #4
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I think the whole idea of a "heavy relic'd" guitar is really laughable... great for "blooze lawyers" & other types who want the vibe & 'mojo' of an instrument they've played for a long time...but without all the work involved.

Not just that, but not many serious players are gonna want an instrument with dents & rusted out hardware... that schlit just makes it hard to adjust & who wants to fight an instrument? Why "ruin" hardware just for the sake of apperance?

Not even to think about what it may look like or how it's (NOT) going to function with another 10-20 years of playing...

Anyway, Fender Custom Shop is cranking out some solid instruments these days... but there's a lotta guys doing the same thing without the price tag, like Bill Nash ~ NashGuitars

Or Callaham, lots love 'em but I think they're a wee bit expensive for what they are... Callaham Vintage Guitars and Amps

You could also go the parts route & get exactly what you want, bolt it all together for WELL under $1000, maybe even painted.

Welcome to Musikraft -

USA Custom Guitars - The finest custom replacement guitar parts available.
Old 26th August 2007
  #5
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs View Post
Not just that, but not many serious players are gonna want an instrument with dents & rusted out hardware.
Jay, I like you, you're a good guy. So I'm not going to embarrass you by naming some of the "serious players" who I know for fact who have bought and played these things in front of stadiums full of adoring fans.

There is a very serious market for these instruments.
Old 26th August 2007
  #6
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Unclenny's Avatar
Great links, Jay....thanks.

I agree about the relic'd stuff. I have a hand crafted 'Strat' made by Dr. Bob in Princeton, NJ. He didn't make many, but this one is a real player.

Old 26th August 2007
  #7
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Great links, Jay....thanks.

I agree about the relic'd stuff. I have a hand crafted 'Strat' made by Dr. Bob in Princeton, NJ. He didn't make many, but this one is a real player.

That SG - very nice.
Old 26th August 2007
  #8
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Unclenny's Avatar
'71 Deluxe.

It was 'discovered' in an old house....very little play. Sat there for all those years in the closet with a '69 EB-3 short scale. The band must have broken up early.

Sometimes the river just flows your way, right?
Old 27th August 2007
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Master Tang's Avatar
 

All I can say about the trend of "relic'd" guitars is, look at blue jeans.

Why you gonna pay 100 bucks for a pair of Lucky Brand Jeans that look like a carpenter wore them to every house he built for 4 years?

Musicians follow trends. They wear ripped jeans, and play old worn looking beat up "Rory Gallagher" style guitars nowadays.

With that being said, I do like the Custom Shop Fenders MUCH more than the American series.

The Custom Shops are higher grade across the board in terms of wood choices, and craftsmanship, hardware, pickups, you name it.

I however, prefer them shiny and new. I like to know where every ding came from.
Old 27th August 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I have pre CBS Fenders and have owned about 4 or 5 CS Fenders. I think the CS Fenders are excellent and have great QC. Don't forget that the old Fenders that are still around are the "good ones" from that era - the crap ones mostly dissapeared.

Anyhow, I always buy the relics. The bottom line is that you never worry about scratching or dinging the guitar, you just play the damn thing. And who knows, an extra ding might make it work $50 bux extraheh

Oh and BTW, just to raise a **** storm...

One of the CS luthiers thinks the relics sound better - I swear
Old 27th August 2007
  #11
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kats View Post
Oh and BTW, just to raise a **** storm...

One of the CS luthiers thinks the relics sound better - I swear
I don't doubt that.
Old 27th August 2007
  #12
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Tang View Post

With that being said, I do like the Custom Shop Fenders MUCH more than the American series.

The Custom Shops are higher grade across the board in terms of wood choices, and craftsmanship, hardware, pickups, you name it.
Yah. Not just that stuff but the finishes are MUCH better too. The regular American series get coated with a super thick poly that will NEVER age or wear thin like the 'old' guitars. It's worse then a piece of furniture! I used to own a black '95 Strat with over 1/8" of that "plastic" on there.

Gotta have the nitro, or at least a thin poly, lets the wood breathe & vibrate more... I like the regular American reissue line a whole lot too...

Still, I couldn't bring myself to spend $2500-3000+ on a Strat knowing what the cost of "raw" parts are. I could barely justify my '05 Eric Johnson at $1500, mostly because I sold two other Strats & that basically covered it... and it's one of the most 'kick-ass' Strats I've played! I'm really NOT a "Strat" player but 'ya gotta have at least one around... so it's that & a '71 hardtail mongral.

Gimme a Tele or a good 'ol Les Paul anyday!
Old 27th August 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
i bought a gallagher because of the vintage pups and unfinished or 'worn through' neck, whatever you want to call it. story short i'm selling my other strats. the only thing i don't like about it is it's a signature guitar. sounds and plays great, and after a pro setup, stays in perfect tune with the stock machines and bridge. i wish they made a guitar like this without the relic crap.
Old 27th August 2007
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kahrs View Post
Yah. Not just that stuff but the finishes are MUCH better too. The regular American series get coated with a super thick poly that will NEVER age or wear thin like the 'old' guitars. It's worse then a piece of furniture! I used to own a black '95 Strat with over 1/8" of that "plastic" on there.

Gotta have the nitro, or at least a thin poly, lets the wood breathe & vibrate more... I like the regular American reissue line a whole lot too...

Still, I couldn't bring myself to spend $2500-3000+ on a Strat knowing what the cost of "raw" parts are. I could barely justify my '05 Eric Johnson at $1500, mostly because I sold two other Strats & that basically covered it... and it's one of the most 'kick-ass' Strats I've played! I'm really NOT a "Strat" player but 'ya gotta have at least one around... so it's that & a '71 hardtail mongral.

Gimme a Tele or a good 'ol Les Paul anyday!
Believe it or not, the 2007 Highway Ones aren't bad at all...
Old 27th August 2007
  #15
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bexarametric's Avatar
 

I used to joke that if you chained a relic to the back of a truck and drag it across the parking lot, it will go up in value.

I want a John English masterbuild build but with NO dings. That would be a nice guitar.
Old 27th August 2007
  #16
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bexarametric View Post
I used to joke that if you chained a relic to the back of a truck and drag it across the parking lot, it will go up in value.
You mean like this one?!?

Fender Relic Stratocaster Strat body - (eBay item 170142275813 end time Aug-29-07 12:07:31 PDT)

Old 27th August 2007
  #17
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GYang's Avatar
Custom Shop is worth more cash definitely.
Actually only CS forced me to buy again Fenders, after having many Suhrs, Anderson and similars.
New CS Strat Pro at 2 k is incredibly great Strat.
Old 27th August 2007
  #18
Gear Maniac
FWIW, there are two different considerations in the OP's question: build quality and tone... In terms of the instrument's tone (unplugged) I think you can find a workable US Strat if you're patient enough and know what you're looking for. It may very well take playing *every* Strat on the wall at a GC or two, but ash is ash and alder is alder, and you can find a piece that sounds right in time.

But the once that tonal foundation's established, there's still the matter of hardware and electronics: a modern two point trem isn't going to behave like a vintage six screw, and the current Fender pickups aren't going to respond like the various CS vintage iterations. It comes down to which combination gets you closest to the thing in your gut (and no one else's) that says 'Strat'. Just look at the list of sig models and you'll recognize that there's not a single stamp that covers it all.

There's a definite advantage in the basic build quality and feel of a CS instrument, but at that price, there are also a number of options running the gamut from traditional to modern with other names on the headstock.

So, if you enjoy the hunt and are looking for a working instrument, be patient and see what develops, but it's like anything in life: the more you pay the more likely (although it is *very* much a matter of probability rather than certainty) you are to get more.

Happy hunting -

Michael
Old 27th August 2007
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Thanks guys-- some good responses here. So the CSs are good guitars-- much better than the american line. But are they worth THAT MUCH more ($)? Are they a good value- or just overpriced, albeit excellent guitars? How about resale value?
Old 27th August 2007
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryangeller View Post
Thanks guys-- some good responses here. So the CSs are good guitars-- much better than the american line. But are they worth THAT MUCH more ($)? Are they a good value- or just overpriced, albeit excellent guitars? How about resale value?
Depends... IMO, no "Fender-ish" guitar is worth $3000+ but that's just my thought.

You could seriously call Warmoth or Musikraft & get all the parts for an identical Strat or Tele... 1 or 2 piece body selected to a specfic weight, neck shapes, fret sizes, hardware...lots of things that the Fender CS won't let 'ya pick from (Wilkenson bridge or Lindy Fralin pickups) & put the whole thing together for 1/2 the cost or less. Not to mention that the wait time would be just a few weeks vs. several months to a year plus...

Downside is resale... "Parts" guitars don't have anywhere near the resale of a Fender, let alone a Custom Shop piece... but are you after an instrument to play, an 'investment' or both?

The best deals on a new Fender IMO are the American vintage reissues & hot rods...

But mischultz is right... play enough 'strats' even the Mexican ones, and you'll find something you like. Drop some kick-ass pickups in there and call it a day.
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