FCS “Cunetto” Guitars: Worth It?

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by Stratburst70, Mar 18, 2019.

Cunetto Fenders: Worth it or not

  1. Totally worth it

    14 vote(s)
    48.3%
  2. Not worth it

    15 vote(s)
    51.7%
  1. svenhoek

    svenhoek Member

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    I've not tried that many, but the ones I have tried have been stellar in terms of playability. I wasn't thrilled with the relic work nor the pickups on the one I owned, but it was the best playing strat I've ever owned. Being that it was a Cunetto, it seemed senseless to alter it, so I sold it on. But the neck shape, the frets, everything about it just felt great.

    I almost acquired a Cunetto tele in the UK, and again, that guitar haunts me as the best tele I've played.

    Like all things, it comes down to cost. There's a good chance a Cunetto is going to be a great instrument, but the prices are getting ridiculous. Regardless of name/brand/builder, you don't need to go over $3k to find a stellar instrument. Certainly you can find one for half, or even a third as much...
     
  2. EricStratton

    EricStratton Member

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    They are totally worth it. Small batch production and great attention to detail. Vince's relic job is head and shoulders above the cookie cutter and sometimes complete tragedy relic jobs that Fender and the Fender clones do.
     
    67blackcherry likes this.
  3. sidekick

    sidekick Supporting Member

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    First played a blonde soft V necked relic Strat in a local, (London UK) shop who had one of the early Cunetto CS Stratocasters in. Very impressed with it's 'feel'/sound overall and should have bought it. But my mind was turned by a super flamey PRS McCarty that he had in at the same time.

    Surprisingly, the PRS developed a neck/fingerboard issue which meant it had to go to the PRS agent to sort out under warranty and thinking that I really should have gone with the relic, I returned only to find it had been purchased by a recording musician who had let his head rule over his heart ... :( ... Of course, the 'Cunetto era' as such had not then taken place. ... But I did subsequently source via a UK pal through his USA dealer contact to get another blonde Cunetto Strat, (had a fuller neck profile though than the other) sent over, which somehow didn't compare with the first one in either playability or its reliced appearance. He then got blackguard Nocaster sent over with what seemed a very low serial number and was a very lightweight guitar. After a couple of years that ended up in Germany, sold to a guy who flew over to collect it! My 'Cunetto' saga continued in that I obtained via again my pal a RW board Cunetto era Strat in Burgundy Mist and later, his own Sea Foam Green Nocaster that was heavier than my blackguard and had a fuller profile neck/ flamey neck. That Nocaster eventually winged its way back to USA soil about 7 years later... For me, the best Cunetto was the one I should have bought in the first place and also the early serial # blackguard next. So consider those first two, (likely early one's) were worth the recognition attributed to them now. Not so with the others, even though the Sea Foam Green one was quite striking visually, what with the flamey neck.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Dickey

    Dickey Member

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    Jul 8, 2015
    Location:
    Florida
    Well, I have a CS Tele from that period ('89 or so) with a 2 digit Serial. Judge from the tone; I think the best sounding Tele I have ever personally owned). It was mint when I bought it 25 years ago, all the "relicing" is honest & done by me over the years. Solo begins at 1:45.
     
  5. telesquire

    telesquire Member

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    UK
    Nice to know I wasn't the only Cunetto nut over here! My quest started with the review of the Nocaster in Guitarist magazine. Tried to chase that actual guitar down but Neville Marten the magazine editor bought it. Ended up with another from Peter Cooks which I kept for several years till I eventually found one of the first 20 made back in 1995. Over a period of several years I went through countless examples from the 1995 Mark Kaye Strat that was the first in the UK, a handful of sunburst Nocasters, three sunburst 50's Strats, a Fiesta red, some the the platinum dealer examples then those ordered by Arbiter for the |Classic Collection (with CCxxxx serials) and so on. What I found was like you no two were the same, so many different neck profiles. Some were great, some were very average.
    Looking back the best one I had was a 1996 blonde Strat that came from Vintage & Rare Guitars when they were in London, really lightweight with a pronounced V neck profile. It was one of those Strat's that sounded 'Stratty' even before it was plugged in.
    I have to say the Nocaster's pickups were not to my liking, and none could live with my old Hamel built Esquire when it came to wholesome TWANG.
    Some silly prices out there still, I guess as the cost of new Custom Shop guitars have more than doubled since these were made back in 1995. Just seen a 1996 for $2995 though, so not too bad if you hunt around.
     
    sidekick likes this.
  6. kingsleyd

    kingsleyd Frikkin genyus Gold Supporting Member

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    Mar 2, 2005
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    Exit row seat
    OGC was my second home for most of the four years I lived in Avon Lake OH. I even worked there some Saturdays to help them out. They were more of a boutique dealer (Tom Anderson was a big line for them) but yes, the arrival of The Evil Empire just down the street wasn’t good for their business. The owner bailed. One employee bought the business and moved it up to Lakewood but his capitalization wasn’t so good and I don’t think he lasted too long.

    The funny thing is, that particular branch of The Evil Empire happened to have a really good manager of the guitar dept (at least at first), and they had a great selection of... ...Cunetto-era relics. To say nothing of early Historic Collection Les Pauls. It was actually a great place to shop – and just hang out – at least for the time when it and I coincided in that region. I moved to NH maybe a year after they opened. No idea if it’s still any good. I can’t imagine it is.
     
  7. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

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    IIRC I first saw relics at NAMM in 93, so they passed the yardstick of 25 years for the modern definition of vintage.
     
  8. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Silver Supporting Member

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    A guitar built in the 90's is used...not vintage. Same for 80's era, and even 70's era is the borderline.
     
    bluegrif likes this.
  9. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

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    I fully agree, hence "modern definition".
     

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