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NGD: Red Tort Strat Sister #3


About a month ago I posted about The Red Tort Strat Sisters, my spur-of-the-moment name for my two Strats, which just happened to both have red tort pickguards.

Hardly a week later, I took a glance at the used guitar wall of my local GC and immediately realized that I was seeing the third Red Tort Sister. Here she is, in the middle:

I took her down from the wall and tried her out. She played very well, and the neck felt really good. I'd been wanting a Strat with a maple fretboard, too, and the price was reasonable. So I bought her.

One oddity about Sister White is that I'm not quite sure what model she is. It's possible she's been modified before. She originally came with the ceramic bar-magnet pickups you get in MIM Standard Strats (which I have since replaced with Fender CS '69s). Her body and neck both look like legit MIM Mexican parts: the neck has an MX10 serial number (2010-2011) and a stamp reading 12 OCT 2010 that is visible when you take it off the body, and the body has the mysterious "F.P.S." marking that many recent MIMs have, and a date stamp of 04 MAY 2011. Both neck and body also have production tracking stickers with barcodes and MOxxxxxxx numbers. The round locator holes used by the CNC machines also seem to be in the right places (one in the neck pocket and three in a row on the front below the neck and middle pickup routes).

So far you'd think Sister White is an ordinary 2010 MIM Standard Strat. But, look at the Fender decal on her headstock:

I've never seen that vintage-style logo on an MIM Standard. Some other MIM models (Deluxe Player, Classic '50s and '60s) have the vintage logo, but the words underneath, "WITH SYNCHRONIZED TREMOLO", are usually reserved for '50s reissue models, which would have the truss rod adjustment at the butt end. But on this neck, the truss rod is accessed at the headstock end. Kind of weird.

I suppose someone could have replaced the decal and refinished the headstock, but if so, they did a really good job of it. Ultimately, I don't really care. Sister White is a good guitar (especially with her new pickups) and a worthy companion to her two sisters. But that decal is a curious little mystery.

I'm now trying to decide whether I prefer the CS '69 pickups or the CS Fat '50s that Sister Black has. I think I prefer either of those to the Texas Specials in Sister Blue, though the TS bridge pickup has a power to it that the other two can't match.
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