2008 American Strat and 1960 CS Strat - A/B'd

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by re-animator, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    as a tele player i was looking for a quality 2nd axe for some range and for backup.... did some serious comparing and tearing at GC today.


    Guitars played:

    2008 Strat (rw)
    1960 CS strat (rw)
    LP Vintage Mahog. (this was a pleasant surprise)
    LP Studio Plus
    Gretsch Tenessean
    SG Standard '61
    SG Classic w/ p90s


    amp used: Vox Ac30cc2x w/ blues. I use an ac30 at home and when I gig, so i was most comfortable dialing it in. The good master vol. allowed me to test clean, mild, and dirty tones.

    Well anyway, you're curious about the strats....

    My opinion:

    The 2008 strat is a damn good guitar.


    Played back to back, playability and resonance were both on par with eachother. I noticed straight off the bat that the CS had nicer pickups and electronics of course... .but that's expected when comparing any $1000 guitar to a $2000 guitar.

    The CS pickups were a little bit warmer, and a lot fuller. The neck pickup really stood out as exactly how I supposed great strat neck pickups to sound. Middle was very useable... and the bridge was surprisingly thin, but nice nonetheless.

    Of course the USA standard's pickups were a little thinner and a lot more generic, but I definitely got the feeling that a set of fralins would give this guitar some serious heat. The pickups did sound generic, but they weren't too hot or muddy (LP studio, pay attention)

    As far as playability goes, the USA compared VERY favorably to the CS. That's not THAT big of a surprise to me... most decent strats are gonna play pretty well, its the nature of good strats. I'm tempted to say that if you played them blindfolded and unplugged, you may not be able to pick them out (the CS was a little more resonant, though only marginally so), unless of course you're a gear nerd and you could think "OMG, this is a 9.5" radius soft C shape". Personally, my gold standard of strat playability is the EJ strat though. I like soft V's with wide and flat fretboards a la classical guitar. I could see myself getting used to either one of these though.


    So with the TONE. Unplugged, they sounded pretty similar. Both were a pretty light weight. The USA was more solid feeling and has a glossier finish. The CS, i think finished in nitro, did feel a little bit more open and reminded me more of a violin. If the USA standard was finished in thin-skin nitro I think they would have felt even closer. Both trem systems were decent and smooth. I didn't go too hardcore, but they held tune pretty well. Hardware on the USA was a lot nicer than i expected.

    Plugged in, the CS obviously had a big advantage with the better pickups and electronics, so i don't think its quite a fair comparison. Like I said, the CS definitely felt a bit warmer and woodier than the USA, but I would tentatively assume that easy upgrades would make them very close. I definitely felt like the USA might end up being a better lead guitar than the CS. The CS was a bit more harmonically complex for chordal work. It really liked my cheesy rendition of little wing.


    Bottom line for me is that the new USA standards are really surprising and pleasing to play. I would almost surely pick one up except that I prefer a different neck (12", RW, 21 big frets). I'll probably end up looking for a parted out one on ebay and sticking a warmoth neck on it.



    oh and just for some background... I like Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Gilmour, Rory Gallgher, and Mark Knopfler strat tones. I played mostly Hendrixy rhythm stuff on the cleans (Axis, Little wing, and some generic chordal stuff), and harder edged bluesy stuff to test out the distortion, but i did my best to mix in other stuff too.




    now the only thing is that I couldn't find a les paul I can agree with. The vintage mahog, though nice playing, is butt ugly and the pickups were way too hot. The weight relieved studios were also too hot and had a way harsh sounding top end. Well I guess its on to edwards.


    The bad news is that i now feel like I must have both a strat and a les paul immediately :worried
     
  2. Dylan61

    Dylan61 Member

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    What about the Cs'60 neck compared to the USA Strat in feel.
     
  3. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    This one delivered to me yesterday and it feels sweet already....once I break it in it will be even better.....


    [​IMG]
     
  4. gregory49

    gregory49 Member

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    cool.... I tried some new strats, the way i found it is that you'll have lower end custom shop ones and you'll have higher end american or even mexican ones they all sometimes meet on the same level.... but when John Cruz builds you a guitar, your bloody getting a guitar, if you get what i mean.
     
  5. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    Very similar actually. They may have been the same profile.... though the '60 felt a little flatter... coulda been in my head.I think the USA might have felt thicker due to the finish.
     
  6. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I've ab'd six of these with 2 CS relic strats. I've been wantin' a 22 fret strat. Anyhow, the CS were thicker, fuller and more woody sounding. The CS strats had a richer sound acoustically, and even with their lower output pickups, the sound was more powerful and sweet plugged in..
    Funny, I like using Little Wing type riffs as a tone test too, much more quack, wood n' wire with the relics. That tune is just the ultimate strat test to me.

    The American std. is a good value, they have a sort've plain jane sound that they've always had. Kinda blah. Nice playing though.
     
  7. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Hope it's not too far off topic but my '62 Hot Rod Strat still sounds better to me than most of the dozens of Fender Custom Shop Strats I've owned/played. However, while it sounded pretty good from the get-go, to my ears my HR '62 did need pickup replacement to bring out its best wood tone.
     
  8. strat6866

    strat6866 Member

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    Here is something I am interested in.....not to hijack the thread, but i am considering either a CS Strat or a Hot Rod and would like to hear from some who have owned or played both together and can give a good evaluation.

     
  9. kayaker

    kayaker Member

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    Any comments on the finish/feel of the fretboard? My understanding is that they're dying the rosewood for a deeper color, then poly-finishing 'em. If so, I would think they'd feel different (?). I did play one for about a MINUTE but didn't really think much about the fretboard until I read a post about 'em later. I'm a noob, so it probably wouldn't affect me anyways, but for some reason a poly finished rosewood board seems just plain wrong.
     
  10. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Well the frets are big so you won't feel the board a lot, unless you squeeze/fret too hard. Supposedly, as the dye dries it doesn't come off so much as some are saying.

    I had an '62 Hot Rod vintage and my finger were black from that powdery stuff. But it didn't have the shine that the new American Std. seem to have, at least on the ones I looked at. I've read some threads where some sanded the fingerboard down and their rosewood had a nice light brown, grain to it. The jet black, dyed boards just look cheap to me.
     
  11. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    my strat is the one in the pic above... Ive only had it since Tuesday, but my fingers are black everytime I'm done playing it... I'm sure over time this will go away. All in all, the board feels great... It will be better in a few months though...
     
  12. kayaker

    kayaker Member

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    If the dye comes off on your fingers, that means it's not sealed under polyurethane... which I think is a good thing. I have a PRS SE that give me "blackfinger", as well. I used Gibson Fredboard Conditioner on it a few times (I think this stuff is just mineral oil) and it got some of it off. I've had it a month or so and it's less than before.
     
  13. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    I think only the maple boards are sealed on the new strat standards... i tried one at Sam Ash and hated it....... I have an EBMM Axis Supersport (birds eye maple neck and board) and a Peavey Wolfgang Archtop (birds eye maple neck and rosewood option on it) and they both have fully unsealed necks and fingerboards... that is just the best feeling in my opinion.
     
  14. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Well many of the rosewood US strats/teles have been dyed for years I believe. But the latest Lonestar (MIM) and a few of the American Std.s I've seen have had a gloss coat, or a shiny dye applied. It looks like a clear coat. I'm not saying it is a clear coat for sure. But some of them have a very shiny reflection which I've never seen on rosewood.

    But I purposely rubbed my finger on the glossy rosewood board for a good long time and no black on my finger. I think Fender is recently starting to seal them so the dye stays and the guitar looks nicer. If it's what it is, that's the last thing I want is a clear coat on a rosewood.
     
  15. Standard 64

    Standard 64 Member

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    I bought an american standard strat a couple of weeks ago,ash body,sienna,hss,with rosewood fingerboard.I dont see any polyurethane on the fingerboard,or gloss.I also dont get ANY black on my fingers.The serial number puts it late 2007 around the 167,000.When I was buying this guitar I did see a black american standard with maple fretboard with gobs of shiny polyurethane on the fretboard.
     
  16. stratman89

    stratman89 Supporting Member

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    That definately describes my CS '60 NOS for sure. I own a couple of Suhr's, a Pro S1 and a Classic T and the CS easily compares for fit, finish and acoustic resonance.
     
  17. Dylan61

    Dylan61 Member

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    Somehow the Custom Strats are alwaysbetter in resonance than the USA Standards, never understand how this can be.

    However, it could be the better fitting of the neck pocket, shim (USA) or not (Custom)..

    ,,,
     
  18. joel

    joel Member

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    I agree with the comments here. I've got a '60 relic, which I'm just in love with. Tons of tone and personality. And the Am. Std's are great too, but not as great. For an extra $1K, I got a bit nicer guitar, but it makes me happy. Enjoy!
     
  19. schmit

    schmit Member

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    Here's what it says on the Fender site:
    Maple neck; Satin finish on back....Gloss finish on front
    Maple/Rosewood; Satin finish on back...Gloss finish on headstock front with buffed fingerboard

    So they are not putting poly on the rosewood boards...they're buffing them....which shines them up a bit.....

    Ive got an Olympic White/rosewood one coming from Garrett Park Guitars....7lbs 10ozs..which is just about right for an alder body Strat AFAIC...(7lbs 7oz to 7lbs 11oz) I'll get back with my opinions when I get it...I'll probably throw a set of Wagner SR's in it that I have if the stocks disappoint...(which im expecting)..I was looking for a OW 62RI Hot Rod and could not find one under 8lbs.....I found my weight and Im saving $700 with this new Standard....we shall see
     
  20. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    that's where i would put my money.
     

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