Are Fender Custom Shop models worth the extra $$?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by kingsxman, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,147
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I'm in the market for another strat. I currently have an EJ that I'm selling as I couldnt get used to the maple neck. The quality on that guitar is tremendous though. I also have a Vintage Player strat (MIM) that is really nice...but a bit on the heavy side. If I sell the the Vintage player in addition to the EJ...I may have about $1600 to invest in a strat.

    I'm wondering if a used Fender Custom Shop might be the way to go. Or a Nash or K-line. What makes the CS models worth the extra $$ over some of the higher priced reissues?
     
  2. alanbass1

    alanbass1 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    1,171
    Location:
    London - Good old Blighty
    Well, if you pick up a nice one second hand and keep it in good shape, you will not lose if you decide to let it go later on - might even make a little. That's one big advantage; other than that they are nice guitars and it really depends on what you are after and what feels/plays/sounds good to you.
     
  3. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Messages:
    867
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    You might reconsider the EJ. When I bought mine last year, I went to Guitar Center and did a "shoot out" with the EJ and several other Strats. The other ones were all from the Custom Shop.

    The EJ won hands down as far as weight, tone and playability, and was at least $1,000.00 less than any of the CS offerings.

    Is it the maple neck on the EJ, or the FINISH on the maple neck that you can't get used to?

    I recently decided that I liked everything about my EJ except for the thick, gummy orange finish on the neck. After a year, I could still dig my thumbnail into the finish. That shade of burnt orange doesn't look like any vintage Strat I have ever seen. In fact, most '57 Strats seem to have either a light maple color, or if they are heavily played, the lacquer is light yellow/amber- but never ORANGE. Even EJ's own vintage Strat doesn't have that color orange on it.

    Anyway, I just took the neck off, stripped it, sealed it, and went back with a few coats of clear coat nitro. It looks and plays like it should.

    I guess I have voided the warranty.....
     
  4. justonwo

    justonwo Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    3,104
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    The EJs I've seen are as nice as any Custom Shop Strat. I've looked at many of the Time Machine Series. I'm not into most of them, as I don't really like vintage specs that much. In my opinion, the Custom Classic is an excellent guitar and worth the extra money above the regular production Strats.
     
  5. AJ Love

    AJ Love Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Messages:
    4,395
    Location:
    Madison WI
    Some are, some aren't. I had a CS Strat that was better than all the Boutique gear I've tried. But then I found a Fender American Deluxe Tele that with some electronics upgrades and Lollar pickups is even better than that
     
  6. rickc007

    rickc007 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,424
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    it's tuff when you are comparing an EJ to a Custom Shop, and
    asking if the extra $$ is worth it

    mainly cuz I've had my mitts on a lot of EJs, and you could
    easily stamp them with the Custom Shop emblem. I really
    think the quality is that good...so a Custom Shop may not
    be that much better

    however I have no regrets on the prices I have paid for
    Custom Shops Fenders, and I own quite a few

    But I agree with you on the neck on the EJ, I sold mine also for the same
    reason, the relics are less sticky, a little smaller, and I prefer the 9 1/2
    over 12 inch radius

    check your PMs, I sent you a link to a guitar you won't regret :)
     
  7. buddastrat

    buddastrat Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12,160
    I like the CS strats. They're pricey but when you plug one in directly after a MIM or USA strat, there's usually quite a difference. I work at a store and do it all the time. Even novice can hear a difference.

    I say usually though, because there are some CS dogs and some regular production gems.

    I've read many times how the CS gets it's wood from a different supplier than the U.S. strats. So it is different. Also the bodies from CS are two piece vs. 3-4 or 5 on the others.

    That doesn't make or break a guitar, but it does mean things are different. Ultimately it comes down to the individual guitar. Like I said in another post, I'm still kickin' myself for not picking up a smokin' MIM Cray strat. That was a killer guitar.
     
  8. buddastrat

    buddastrat Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12,160
    Oh, and the CS doesn't dye the rosewood. You know what you're getting. Even the high $ US strats that have rosewood are dyed. I don't like that. Not a big deal if the guitar sounds good, but makes me wonder.
     
  9. disaster

    disaster Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Messages:
    760
    Location:
    Southern California
    seems like dyeing the rosewood is a small worry compared to some of Gibsons recent hidden practices on much more expensive guitars (ie "weight relief")
     
  10. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,147
    Location:
    Minnesota
    yep, I think the EJ's are CS quality. I wish they'd come out with the rosewood version...
    I pm'd you back. Need rosewood...
     
  11. The Everlove

    The Everlove Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,743
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    IME, yes
     
  12. buddastrat

    buddastrat Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    12,160

    Yeah but the difference is Gibson's come out and said they weight relieve them. Fender has never come out and said they dye their boards.

    But I have read Gibson, PRS and everyone dyes them. But the dye has only come off on my fingers from Fenders. Who knows?!
     
  13. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Messages:
    2,001
    I recently spent a day at the fender Custome shop and I can tell you that they do haev a room with select wood for the CS guys but more often then not the CS guys pull necks and bodies from the production floor - stuff that they feel is CS quality. One other thing; I did not see any dye for finger boards. I dis see all colors and qualities of fingerboards though from red and light to very dark. But no dye.
     
  14. EunosFD

    EunosFD Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2005
    Messages:
    2,194
    Location:
    MD
    I personally think current CS prices are outrageous. Sure they're typically great guitars with great build quality, but the prices reflect something that should be sublime overall and not just really good. Heck, I paid right around $1k (give or take) for my CS Strat BRAND NEW & I'm sure it would go for at least double that these days if not more. Granted that was back in '94, but guitar prices in general haven't increased nearly as much as CS prices have. Fender definitely has taken advantage the current state of the guitar market & made a mountain of bucks off of it that's for sure so good for them. If it affords them then chance to continue to offer guitars like the EJ as regular production guitars then that's great. They just need to offer more models than just the EJ though.

    But in terms of overall quality then yeah CS Fenders are very nice instruments and if it's worth it to you then the price/value ratio is right. Just my $.02
     
  15. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,616
    Sell bothguitars, add a couple hundred bucks, and do yourself a favor and buy a used Suhr.
     
  16. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    12,724
    In general, I couldn't say, as I haven't played that many. In particular, my Nocaster definitely was worth what it cost.

    Bryan
     
  17. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,147
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Sorry...dont like the pointy bodies. If I was going to go with something that didnt say Fender on it (or that I could PUT Fender on it) it'd be a G&L.
     
  18. go7

    go7 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,509
    Location:
    Vancouver Isl.
    At that price range have you considered something other than a Fender? You`re entering a price range where there are many options. IMHO limiting your search to one production builder is not a wise move. Respectfully, I would look at any guitar regardless of name. You are entering a price range of some awesome guits. Good luck!!
     
  19. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Messages:
    4,963
    Location:
    VA

    I just picked up a new Fender CS 66' Strat in firemist silver with the big headstock, and it is the best strat I've owned to date. The pickups are perfect and the weight is nice as well. It's a tad heavier than the EJ, but it's made from a different wood than the EJ. Still, after a month of ownership, the EJ just wasn't anywhere near the CS in sound quality. I got rid of the EJ last week. The strat I got was a 1 out of 200 limeted run or something. I will tell you that the factory setup was dismal at best:messedup. For what it cost, Fendre could have given it a better setup. It was sent straight to the tech at Kelly's for a fantastic setup.

    To me it was worth the extra for the excellent guitar I ended up with.:AOK
     
  20. AaeCee

    AaeCee Silver Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Messages:
    6,806
    Location:
    MD.
    I have/had lots of CS stuff as well as regular production, notably the higher end of USA regular production. I only have several CS pieces now. I find that CS are consistently good, and some are great. Understand that there are several levels even in CS guitars, but the consistency is there even on the lowest CS end. I've owned soom good std. USA pieces that I still consider fantastic values, but the best CS stuff has been on another level. All the CS pieces I own now do have a more modern 9 1/2" radius board and larger frets, and Fender has increasingly issued them this way by popular demand. IMO the best values of all are in used CS pieces, and they can easily be found here and at your favorite dealer.
     

Share This Page