Played lots of boutique! Gibson True Historic R9s, CS Strats, oh my!


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Well, tonight was a fun one. Visited a shop I've been meaning to see for some time a couple days ago. I don't really have the opportunity to play that many high-end guitars, so I was excited to just take my time and play. Nobody else in the shop other than the owner, and he kind of just left me alone to let me do my thing. Played a bunch of Fender Custom Shops, Gibson Historics, and a few other things. These things are all opinions, but I guess that day was all just information-gathering for me:

1) The new Gibson Historics are expensive. Damn. I thought Two Rocks were expensive, and then I got a better job and can now afford them with diligent savings. Now these are the next level of that, which is just too much. They upcharge several grand for a correct font on the switch jack, more correct hardware, and a little more TLC? Why don't they just make ALL their Historics like this if they realize they were doing their Historics inaccurately? Or at least just change the things which take NO extra time, like the changes in machining those parts. Makes me angry at marketing and inelasticity.

2) The best guitar I played in there was a '59 Gibson True Historic Les Paul, hahaha! Yup. Hate to say it, with that price. It rung out like a bell unplugged. It just felt great. I could tell that the guitar was a gem. Maybe I'll buy one used some time. Or just go for a Standard Historic. This one was a Lemonburst. There was also one in Vintage Cherry Sunburst VOS which was stunning. Dark, sultry, not too dark on the edges, not too clowny-red on the edges. Video of a guitar in the same finish is below.

3) The least impressive guitars I played in there were the Fender Custom Shop Strats and Teles. Albeit, these were ONLY heavy relic Fenders. Yes, I'm a big Fender fan (username...). Maybe I need to try some masterbuilts? Many of them felt a little tacky/dirty for some reason, which is a little weird. I remember building a Strat a few years back, using Tru-Oil to seal the neck, and spraying lacquer subtly faded onto the headstock and heel. IIRC, that was a much smoother and aesthetically pleasing alternative to the FCS heavy relic neck wear. I think FCS also needs to work on making their heavy relic neck wear more subtle. Aside from figuring out the feel, making the shift from lacquer to the stained, worn wood more subtle. Ah what do I know? My building experience is almost nil. This is from a non-builder's perspective.

4) I played a Guthrie Govan Charvel Sig which had that nice oil neck finish feel that I love! I wish Fender could figure out how to make their worn necks feel like this!

5) #4 made me realize be completely honest...many of the satin-finished Squier necks actually feel similar to that Charvel. So yes, I felt that both the Charvel and satin-necked Squiers I've played in the past actually feel better than the worn FCS necks to me. As much as I had brand-pride in my mind. The FCS guitars have a whole lot of other things over the Squiers, but it just made me realize how much Fender CS falls short for me for their heavy relic stuff in the neck feel department. It also made me think about how Jack Pearson talked about how he plays a Squier because it was the best guitar in the shop.

6) So yeah, I want a Gibson. I've always loved Fender, but I've never had an LP, and I would love to have one. Also, I want a Fender CS Strat, but I think it would have to be a Journeyman, Closet Classic (if they make those anymore?), or an NOS. Heavy relic was just too hit or miss. Or all miss, rather. Still, a really enjoyable night!


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