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It's Time For A New Strat, Must I Overpay for a Custom Shop Strat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by RYLee3, Oct 10, 2018 at 9:34 AM.

  1. RYLee3

    RYLee3 Member

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    Well, it's been awhile since I've found myself in this position. Before I get into the specifics, I'll start off by saying that I've been collecting guitars for well over 40 years, so, I know a little about guitars and such. That being said, I need to buy a Strat. I haven't bought a new guitar in ages, I'm a little embarrassed to say, I only play Fender and Gibson guitars, I know its old news, but that's the deal. I have a 66 Tele, so I'm good in the Tele department, I believe its pictured in my icon, I also have a Jeff Beck Artist Series Strat, which I was given for the tremolo set up, and it serves me well on that end, I have a 58 LP, a 1964 Reverse Firebird, a nice 335 which serves my purpose, a Taylor, a Breedlove, a fretless Bass, and a few others not worth mentioning.
    That being said, I need a new Strat, and I'm not familiar with the models, Elite, American Pro, and such. I've looked into the Fender Custom shop Strats, and played a few, but I think they are way over priced, at least in my opinion.
    Is anyone knowledgable with the new Strats? Like the Elite, or American Pro? Are they decent guitars? I have no clue, for the only Strat I've had is this JB Artist series which has one purpose.
    I guess what I'm asking is, do I need to buy a Fender Custom Shop Strat to get a good working guitar that can be used professionally, that wont go out of tune. I don't mind adding an LSR roller nut, or adding locking tuners. If anyone is knowledgable with the newer Strats, or can recommend a particular line of Strats that stand out, I would really appreciate your input, I refuse to walk into a Guitar Center or Sam Ash, and have to listen to a shredding contest, just the thought of it makes me ill.
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. zeffbeff

    zeffbeff Member

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  3. Thwap

    Thwap Silver Supporting Member

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    If you're not willing to go play a bunch, I think it's a crapshoot for you.
    I love strats, play all kinds every time I go into a music shop.
    There's two things I can tell you for sure....there's really good/great ones in each model line.
    There's pretty crappy ones in each model line.

    If you don't want to play, I'd suggest online, Wildwood guitars, talk to Bruce, tell him what you're looking for.
     
  4. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken Member

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    Strat are so plentiful in the used market that it would be a shame to not at least start there.
    I'd look for a 2012ish American Standard. Well under $1000 used and some of their best work in the last 10 years.
     
  5. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

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    The info is all on-line for you.

    www.google.com - Type in the model and year and read the specs, reviews and prices.
    www.reverb.com - Same as above.
    www.gbase.com - Same as above.

    There are awesome USA Strat Standard models that can be purchased used for under a $1000.
    Used AVRI models for under $1500. Or new Strats for more. You don't have to spend big money
    on a Custom Shop to find a good USA model.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018 at 10:04 AM
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  6. rickt

    rickt Gold Supporting Member

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  7. 98G2PRU

    98G2PRU Member

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    Check out Wildwood. They have a large selection of higher end Strats and they are great at helping you pick out something you want and delivering it to you set up and ready to play.

    I’m not affiliated with them in any way. Just a satisfied customer.


    +
     
    ford likes this.
  8. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    Strat is an immensely broad term. That's why to try to answer your question will require at least 4 pages of differing opinions.
     
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  9. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    First, let me welcome you to the show!

    Now, let's look at what you already have. There's no reason for the existing Strat you have, not to crush all requirements most guys would ever have in such a guitar.

    If you just want to have fun, make arrangements to get a high end Strat from the Fender Custom Shop. Or, look at getting an "S" style guitar from one of the custom builders on this forum (and there's a lot of them). This is just a question of how much excess money you have, and the pride of a sparkling, amazing new work of art/guitar.

    Is it Necessary to spend large amounts of money to get a sound, nicely working great sounding guitar? Not really. Some of the guitars you can buy for under $ 1,000, are way, way better than the guitars we could get for $ 200 in 1967. Astonishing improvements in build precision and playability, for about the same hours' wages.
     
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  10. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    A floating trem is more prone to tuning instability than a hardtail, whether it costs $300 or $3,000.

    Judging by your collection, you seem to have the means and the appreciation for a higher shelf model. So the question then becomes, which of the many CS Strats should you get?

    I hope you find what does it for you.
     
  11. Alister

    Alister Supporting Member

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    Highlighted for those who tend to stampede past an OP to a quick opinion.
    In any case, as a guy who [presumably] has been playing as long or longer than you, I would hazard one of your best best, and most affordable/'vintage'/bang for the buck/ specs Strat, would be a Wildwood thin skin.
     
    ford likes this.
  12. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Member

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    You have a Jeff Beck strat that you use for one thing, yet we don't know what you want this new guitar for, or what the one thing the Beck does. I know we kind of live in a fantasy world at TGP sometimes, but no one NEEDS to buy a custom shop if that is not what they are looking for.
     
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  13. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    You didn't specify whether you want at SSS Strat or at HSS Strat.

    If you want HSS, I highly recommend the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSS QMT. They can be found used in mint condition from around $1200-$1500. I love mine and it's become my number one Strat. Ebony board, LSR roller nut locking tuners, medium jumbo frets, "maple top, and the S-1 pickup selection system which provides 10 different pickup combinations.

    [​IMG]

    Regarding SSS Stratocasters, I'm expecting delivery on an American Elite Telecaster tomorrow so I can't give a hands-on review yet but from everything I've read they are fantastic. Locking tuners, ebony board, compound radius neck, build quality to die for.

    If you don't like the latest generation noiseless pickups you can always throw in a set of Kinmans or whichever pickups you prefer. The workmanship on these is supposed to be unbelievable. They are excellent choice, particularly if you want an ebony board.

    I always look to buy used in mint condition, but that may not always be an option. I had to buy the elite telecaster new.

    Custom shop guitars can be fantastic but again, I would look for a used one in mint condition rather than drop a bunch of money buying one new. If you have to buy online without trying it make sure the seller has a user-friendly return policy. Good luck no matter what you decide.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018 at 5:58 PM
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  14. MrGuitarhack

    MrGuitarhack Member

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    If it were me, I'd go out and try as many different Strats to see what I like and don't like about the guitars. It looks like you live in NYC and there are a bunch of guitar shops out there that have a ton of guitars. The FCS makes some great guitars but you might be able to find something else you like. If there are certain specs you want that only a custom build will provide then they can do that. With that said there are other builders that can do the same thing as well.
     
    stratzrus likes this.
  15. Cheddar Kung Pao

    Cheddar Kung Pao Gold Supporting Member

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    You don't have to get a Custom Shop Strat to get a good one. Hell the Squier Classic Vibes are good ones. But it really depends on your taste and what you want. Nobody here can answer what you personally will be happy with.

    I had an American Special that I wasn't happy with. There was nothing wrong with it, just didn't click for me. Other people would play it and say "That's a great Strat." I am happy with my Fender CS but it was pretty damn expensive. I liked some Roadworn Strats I've played that were a fraction of the cost.

    Your best bet is gonna be get out there and play some stuff and see what you like. Your only other option will be ordering things and trying them and returning or reselling them if you don't like them. Good luck.
     
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  16. MaxTwang

    MaxTwang Member

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    I've had quite a few CS Fenders (Strat, Tele, P-Bass, J-Bass) and recently picked up a 2018 American Pro P-Bass which I'm very impressed with, impressed enough that I've considered an American Standard for my next Strat. I've also acquired a Parallel Universe Tele that's equally impressive. Fender USA's putting out some nice stuff.

    Eric Johnson Strats are another outstanding guitar without going Custom Shop. Used prices can be very reasonable. Only possible issue with the EJ Strat is the extremely thin finish means it'll get dinged pretty easy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018 at 9:26 PM
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  17. Ejay

    Ejay Supporting Member

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    You most defenilty do not need that to get a good working guitar...hell...you can get a good working strat to do worldtours with for 400,- bucks these days....but id assume you want something that tickels you dopamine production also a bit ;)

    Strats I see hanging in stores these days: its a crapshoot, some very expensive models really dont seem good guitars to me, and some cheaper ones are pretty good. For sure its not “its better cause its a pricyer strat”.

    Considering your thingy with GC, buy something you can return....
    Or buy 2 used (with priceawerness), keep the best, sell the other, buy another....repeat untill your happy;)..thats what I did....ended up with a 90s blade.

    On the used market I can recommend 90s build levinson blades, and mij fenders. I own those, so Obvioulsy I like them...but whenever i see another...those appear very consistent in quality.
    If i would have stumbled on a much pricyer guitar which was better...i would have owned it...but after playing probably well over 500....I aborted mission to look for one ;)

    Alternative: do you have shops that sell highend used guitars exclusivly in your neibourhood?
    Those seem to pop up more and more in my country, cause its 1k and up used guitars...keeps away the shredders...and are far better Candy stores then the usuall suspects filled with walls of new...but soso guitars.
     
  18. slide13

    slide13 Supporting Member

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    Absolutely not! The CS stuff is great if you want a relic'd guitar, a nitro finish, fancy wood, etc. If you just want a good working Strat you can get by with a MIM model in my oppinion. I have a '96 Strat Plus (American) that I love and it's been a great guitar for me for 22 years. I recently wanted to try a Tele out and picked up a MIM Baja Tele and I'm quite impressed with the quality. Great guitar, tight neck pocket (much tighter than my '96 American Strat!), stays in tune well, and sounds great. I'm quite impressed with what you can get for say $600 these days.

    That being said, when it comes to the American standard (or whatever they're called these days) models I don't always see/feel the upgrade over some of the nicer MIM instruments. If I were buying a new strat I think I'd be shopping in that $600-1000 range for a MIM model or I'd probably step all the way up to Custom Shop to get the nitro finish and stuff. But that's just me, I like a good bargain when it's quality but if I'm going to spend a good chunk of money I'll often spend a little more to get something really nice.
     
    hobbyplayer likes this.
  19. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken Member

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    If you have been collecting guitars for over 40 years and aren't currently in possession of a Strat you love, I think it is safe to say you are not a Strat lover. You would have devoted more time/effort/money to sorting this out a long time ago if a Strat was your calling.
    I always wanted/needed access to some classic Strat tones as part of my toolbox, but my heroes weren't Strat players and my grail Tones were not Strat tones. I went thru a bunch over the years trying to find one that did what I needed/wanted a Strat to do without breaking the bank.
    Before you drop CS money (even if you can), try to figure out where this next guitar fits into your bigger picture.
     
    Average Joe likes this.
  20. Bogner

    Bogner Member

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    I would branch out and get a Suhr.
     
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