Played the whole vintera road worn series

fjrabon

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Played the entire new/reintroduced road worn series today. Was kind of shocked that they just had them at guitar center on the hangers.

They had a surf green maple neck strat, an Olympic White 72 deluxe tele, a butterscotch traditional style maple neck Tele and a gold Pau Ferro strat. They also had one of their exclusive purple maple neck teles from the previous run that had been there for about a year (including a pretty big dent in the cutaway horn that gives some free of charge extra non-factory “road wear”)

The big takeaway for me was inconsistency, both good and bad.

The two strats has astonishingly different weights. The surf green was one of the lightest non-vintage, non custom shop strats I’ve ever played. A true featherweight. The gold Pau Ferro strat was an absolute boat anchor.

The nut on the 72 deluxe wasn’t finished. The edges were 100% square, so much so that I nearly cut myself on it playing first position stuff. Not being facetious. I didn’t specifically look at it until I rubbed up against it while playing and it was incredibly sharp.

The quality of the relic’ing was... interesting. It was generally well done, but something about the paint is just... different... from actual vintage stuff, or even custom shop stuff. But it was tasteful and felt quite good to play. The fretboard wear was kind of weirdly scratchy. Like, it looked like they took a satin neck and then just hit it with three strokes of some rough grit sandpaper at the end, rubbed a couple coffee grounds and called it a day. From a distance it looked fine, but up close it didn’t look remotely real. I think within a few weeks of heavy play it would be fine though.

The logos weren’t waterslide decals. And the headstocks were weirdly satin, where on genuine vintage wear, headstocks will usually still have a sort of cracked gloss to them, since you don’t play the headstock.

I’d say the older version purple tele was better done than the new ones.

Tone wise, the surf green strat sounded incredible. True 50s vintage tones. If you’d told me those were custom shop pure vintage 57 strat pickups I’d believe you. Pots and caps were iffy though. Any roll off on any of the controls caused much more tone loss than you’d normally hear on a guitar with good pots and caps.

The 72 deluxe sounded like garbage. Immediately clear that it didn’t get fender’s new real cunife WRHBs. They’re just very mediocre regular humbuckers in a wide range case. Muddy, with no punch or clarity. Any standard Gibson or Dimarzio humbucker would be a huge upgrade, let alone real cunife WRHBs.

Across the line, one thing they didn’t really do was roll the fretboard edges. Which made them all have a bit of a “new” feel to the neck despite the aesthetics. The backs of the necks were uniformly well worn in though. And if you hate the feel of a gloss maple fretboard, these are for you. No gloss maple drag at all on the fretboard top.

The 52 style tele was good... but the purple one (seemed the same other than colors) was just better. Just seems like all the details were a little more carefully done on the purple and the checking seemed more genuine-ish. The purple one was also lighter, with better resonance and clarity. Plugged in, the pickups seemed a bit brighter than you’d expect on a blackguard. The butterscotch tele was also an alder body, which just looks weird on a blackguard.

The surf green maple neck strat was really the star of the show though. So much so that I’m kind of thinking about what I could trade for it, since I so rarely dig maple neck fenders. The vintage V neck was right. The pickups were great and would be better with upgraded pots/caps and maybe a treble bleed. And it was so pleasant feeling to play. The rest were all various levels of “meh” to “yeah that’s good”.
 

webs

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1,054
That was my experience with the regular Vintera lineup, too. The first I played was a '50s Modified model and it was incredible. The rest have been mostly good, but some were clunkers. Should have picked up that first one.

Luckily they're priced fairly well and they'll make a lot of them so it shouldn't be too hard to sort through a few dozen to find a winner, once such things are safe to do again. The specs are good and they've got some excellent color choices.

It is interesting to me that Fender (and everyone else) are being so cautious with the lower priced relic models. I remember someone from the Custom Shop (can't remember who) mentioning that something like 8 or 9 out of every CS Fenders they sell is a relic. There must be a reason that such a strong preference in that market hasn't translated to more relic options at lower price points.
 

stratadp

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I remember someone from the Custom Shop (can't remember who) mentioning that something like 8 or 9 out of every CS Fenders they sell is a relic. There must be a reason that such a strong preference in that market hasn't translated to more relic options at lower price points.
I think the answer is right there.
 

fjrabon

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I’ll do a proper NGD later. But I went back and got the surf green maple neck strat. The more I thought about it, I couldn’t let it slip through my fingers. Especially with how inconsistent the lineup I played was. It was just one of those “it factor” guitars in the hand that I know I’d regret not picking up.
 

Raymond Lin

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Custom Shop guitars are custom ordered (by the store or person), and most of the ones I see in a store online are relic, very few VOS listed generally so I’m not surprised at the 90% figure as you can see from places like Wildwood, it’s mostly all relic.
 

Raymond Lin

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I’ll do a proper NGD later. But I went back and got the surf green maple neck strat. The more I thought about it, I couldn’t let it slip through my fingers. Especially with how inconsistent the lineup I played was. It was just one of those “it factor” guitars in the hand that I know I’d regret not picking up.
Could you also weight it and check what it weights?

I have a 2008 Roadworn in Olympic white that I want to get a blackguard tele to go with it this time.
 

fjrabon

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3,727
I think the answer is right there.
I think the answer is, to do relic at a non-CS level they have to do template relic. Doing individualized relic is more time consuming and requires more skill.

So they don’t want people to get burnt out on the template relics by having too many models with it that all have the same relic pattern.

I don’t really think they’re worried about custom shop sales getting cut into. Nobody who is going to buy a $4000 custom shop guitar is going to look at a $1000 MiM and think “oh, this is what I’m really after.” Regardless of how good it is.
 

stratadp

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274
I think the answer is, to do relic at a non-CS level they have to do template relic. Doing individualized relic is more time consuming and requires more skill.

So they don’t want people to get burnt out on the template relics by having too many models with it that all have the same relic pattern.

I don’t really think they’re worried about custom shop sales getting cut into. Nobody who is going to buy a $4000 custom shop guitar is going to look at a $1000 MiM and think “oh, this is what I’m really after.” Regardless of how good it is.
I don't think its the same customer no, but I do think it helps to keep the mystique in the CS versions, and does force a choice at some point. Maybe the MIM versions are more like the myth of the drug dealer giving you a taste to get you hooked :) I do think cannibalization its why we don't see an MIA version around $2ish k though.


FWIW, I do have one of the purple RW Teles. Its not bad, I swapped the pickups as I'm not a fan of the Tex-Mex ( I went with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound.
 

PatriotBadger

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There must be a reason that such a strong preference in that market hasn't translated to more relic options at lower price points.
Relic = time = money. The Ensenada plant was never intended to be a time and money plant, much less the Squier factories. I'm kinda surprised they even put in the investment in Ensenada, except they probably know some of these buyers are going to butter their CS bread somewhere down the road.
 

andy474x

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569
That Surf green looks great! Happy NGD!!!

I’d like to try these too. Didn’t see any in the shop last week. I like that you mentioned no gloss fretboard, IMO the big F is choking the heck out of the tone of their guitars dipping the necks in gloss.
 

fjrabon

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3,727
That Surf green looks great! Happy NGD!!!

I’d like to try these too. Didn’t see any in the shop last week. I like that you mentioned no gloss fretboard, IMO the big F is choking the heck out of the tone of their guitars dipping the necks in gloss.
Yeah, the paint on these is pretty uniformly thin all over, but especially so on the neck. The back fo the neck isn’t quite worn down to bare wood, but isn’t far off either. It’s so thin that it actually makes the frets seem bigger than they are. Normally I can’t do vintage frets on a maple neck guitar, but these play more like vintage tall because there’s no finish eating up height.

the body also seems like it won’t take too long before it gets natural player wear. Definitely feels thinner than the finish in my American original tele, which is also nitro.
 

Raymond Lin

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HNGD! It’s nice to be able to get a good guitar and these are great guitars (sometimes). Mine is 6lb 15oz, a featherweight. I got it used so I can’t comment if it has been to a luthier to dress the frets because I find it as good as my PRS. I know mine has been to a tech to have pickup swapped to custom shop 69 installed.

I can see they have eased up on the relic job and checking though, mine has TONS of checking all over.




 

fjrabon

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3,727
HNGD! It’s nice to be able to get a good guitar and these are great guitars (sometimes). Mine is 6lb 15oz, a featherweight. I got it used so I can’t comment if it has been to a luthier to dress the frets because I find it as good as my PRS. I know mine has been to a tech to have pickup swapped to custom shop 69 installed.



Is yours the pre-Pau Ferro rosewood road worn?
 

fjrabon

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3,727
At that price point, I was expecting much greater quality control from Fender.
Yeah. The core aspects of the guitars feel very good. The 72 was hobbled by the same mediocre humbuckers they’ve been sticking in “wide range” humbucker casings for years. The poorly finished nut was disconcerting but easily fixable with some fine grade sand paper.

the fretwork was uniformly very good. Across them all. Even the 7.25” radius vintage fret models played like a dream fretwork wise

the butterscotch blackguard was hobbled by the whole ash/alder thing. I think they simply shouldn’t have done a butterscotch without ash. Just pick another color.

the firemist gold was just not interesting to me at the weight plus Pau Ferro. Although the finish on it did look jaw droppingly good. Probably the best finish of the ones I saw.

setups were basically non-existent. Which isn’t a problem for me, I always do my own personalized setup in new guitars anyway. But many would find the high action and poor intonation an issue out of the box, or rather gig bag in this instance.

many will moan about the very pedestrian gig bag at $1100. I don’t care. I have more than enough fender hardshell cases. It’ll just get tossed in the closet, so it’s a plus for me that it takes up less space.
 
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Telechamp

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HNGD! It’s nice to be able to get a good guitar and these are great guitars (sometimes). Mine is 6lb 15oz, a featherweight. I got it used so I can’t comment if it has been to a luthier to dress the frets because I find it as good as my PRS. I know mine has been to a tech to have pickup swapped to custom shop 69 installed.

I can see they have eased up on the relic job and checking though, mine has TONS of checking all over.




Man, you got a light one!

My 2008 Roadworn 60's Strat is 7 lb 2 oz. Not bad at all, but yours is really light..

 




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