Question about higher end Stratocasters value for the buck from a non Strat guy

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Lkdog, Mar 15, 2020.

  1. Lkdog

    Lkdog Silver Supporting Member

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    Have tried Strats off and on for years- a couple MIA Standards, a couple Jeff Becks, a couple AM Deluxes.
    Never bonded with them. I am primarily a humbucker Les Paul and 335 guy.
    LOVE the sound of Strats but never had much luck.

    I stumbled upon an older used Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster (MIM) for good price with interesting specs (12" radius, 6100 jumbo frets, vintage trem). Giving it a try. For whatever reason this one sounds pretty damn good and I am having fun with it. Kind of a vintage muscular SRV tone.
    Now I kind of have the Strat bug and a lot of questions.......:rockin:roll

    Now I am wondering about higher end Strats (AVRI hotrods, American Originals, or even Custom Shop models).
    Need at least a 9.5" radius and like a beefier neck.

    Are they worth it? This MIM Kenny Wayne model is pretty nice. I do have Les Paul Historic R8 and there is a difference in my opinion at least for these versus Les Paul Standards.

    Do the higher end Strats really play and sound a lot better?

    What is the best bang for the buck in the higher end models (AVRI hotrod, Limited Edition models, Am Originals etc. Are those almost as good as Custom Shops?).
    Would want to stay between $1000-2000.

    Any insight is welcome. Thanks.
     
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  2. modavis99

    modavis99 Silver Supporting Member

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  3. PatrickE_FenderADV

    PatrickE_FenderADV Supporting Member

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    Here come the boutique S-type TGP snobs to tell you to buy something other than Fender... you just have to play them until one feels right in your hands. AVRIs are nice, so are CS versions as well as some sig models. I am a huge fan of 90s strats and really love how my ‘97 Big Apple plays. My Lonestar is also a great strat... it doesn’t have to be “high end” to sound good/play well. :dunno
     
  4. sunking101

    sunking101 Member

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    A great guitarist can gig and achieve worldwide fame with a MIM Strat, probably even a low end Harley Benton.
     
  5. gulliver

    gulliver Supporting Member

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    If you have an R8, you know the quality differences. If you go custom shop, it will be like buying a Strat version fo an R8 ... but it is a Strat, so less money. The used market is much kinder in the Fender world, $2k - $2500 for a minty used CS Strat, and yes, they will appreciate a little bit yearly, like the R8.

    Will a CS sound better than your MIM? In the same way your R8 sounds better than a good LP ... it's a custom shop, but not a reinvention of the wheel.
     
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  6. budglo58

    budglo58 Member

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    You might want to check the thin skin strats out at wildwood as well. Very close to CS quality and the 57s they have right now a pretty big neck. That being said Custom Shops are great and you can get pickier with the specs. Love mine.
     
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  7. daacrusher2001

    daacrusher2001 Silver Supporting Member

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    I always thought the 62RI's played and sounded great. Not the Hot Rod AVRIs, but the prior model.

    The other one that clicked for me was the American Deluxe with the soft V neck.
     
  8. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I sold my high end Strat's. When I try a lot of them, I find the sweet spot in high end Mexican and lower end American guitars. But, my favorite Strat's are partscasters. Building them, as opposed to buying, is a big part of the fun.
     
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  9. MkIII Renegade

    MkIII Renegade Member

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    A Strat, like a Tele, is a simple device. It's not a Stradivarius or a 1930s jazz archtop.

    The point of rapidly diminishing returns arrives somewhere after $2000ish. Soon after this, you enter the Realm of Cork Sniffery.

    Also, ProTip: When many of the great Masters of the past made their most legendary recordings and concert appearances, their Strats were not bootique prestige pieces. Rather, they were common instruments and often less than 10 years old and even Frankensteins. The magic was in the PLAYER. ;)
     
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  10. BEACHBUM

    BEACHBUM Member

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    As a fan of partscasters for me the short answer is no because they are all just screw together guitars that equal nothing more or less than the sum of their parts and other than cosmetics there is a very reasonable price vs. quality point at which all of these parts pretty much top out. Once you go past that point you're basically spending your money on myth, legend and marketing hype.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
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  11. Lkdog

    Lkdog Silver Supporting Member

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    LOL. Lots of great replies here. :aok:beer

    I have to say I am kind of surprised how much I like this Kenny Wayne Shepherd MIM Strat. I grabbed it for $500. Helluva guitar for $500. Actually pretty nice - period.
    Neck feels good. Pickups sound good in all positions. Has a steel tremblock I found out. Nice. Love the big frets. I had never had a vintage 6 point Trem model. Always had the two point modern ones before.
    It setup fine and stays in tune.

    I have had a lot of guitars like most guys here.
    I am not a cork sniffer by any means and do not have unlimited amount of gear money. I settled on a slightly beat up 2001 R8 because I loved the neck and the guitar was really broken in and felt right. Have had R9s and other much costlier ones, but this one is great for me. I can only afford one Historic Les Paul to have around.
    My favorite 335 is the one I have which is a garden variety used 2018 Traditional. I have had Custom Shop Nashville ES 335s and they were nice, but nothing special. I compared this Traditional directly to a friends mid 60s real vintage ES345.
    It held its own just fine. 335s are weird animals- lots of variation.

    I am just curious if a Fender AVRI or limited editon or CS Strat is a lot better. Of course I would buy used.
    Hard for me to sort out the various models pecking order out there.

    I see a Fender Custom shop Custom Classic for sale for $1950.
    I see a Fender Custom shop Closet Classic for 2000.
    I see a 2018 Fender Limited Edition 1962 for $1750. ( I think they were 2199 new)
    I see AVRIs for around 1200.
    I see American Originals for $1400.
    I see a lot of CS models for 2200 on up.
    And I see a lot of deals on a variety of partscasters.Some look really interesting.(there is a guy selling an EJ body and Mayer neck partscaster for $900 near me).

    I don't know where these Limited Editions or Thin Skins or WW Special runs, etc ones fall in the pecking order that are not CS. Are they kind of like AVRI level?
    I should also add I am a sucker for vintage looking and relic ones.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
  12. bertramladner

    bertramladner Supporting Member

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    62' Reissue early 2000's or a Deluxe but buy one that has had the pups changed from the noiseless
     
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  13. Lkdog

    Lkdog Silver Supporting Member

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    Good point about the noiseless pickups. Great idea, but they are missing something.
     
  14. Lkdog

    Lkdog Silver Supporting Member

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    This makes sense. I get it. Its a law of diminishing returns. I would likely not ever spend more than low 2000s.
     
  15. bertramladner

    bertramladner Supporting Member

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    I started with American Strats, the G&L then Deluxe then Nash, then AVRI, then Grosh, then LSL.

    I'm at LSL and Grosh
     
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  16. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I bought a used AVRI 56, for a good price. I then bought a MIM Classic 50. I found that I was playing the Classic 50 more than the AVRI. Was it a better guitar? No, but it was really similar. Rather than modifying the AVRI, I ended up selling it for what I paid for it. The body of the surf green Classic 50 is now on my favorite guitar, a partscaster. The loaded pickguard, with 57/62 pickups, are now on an American Special. I didn't bond with the vintage neck, so I put it on a guitar that I traded on a PRS. These are things that I wouldn't do, with an expensive Strat.
     
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  17. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Member

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    Value and best bang for the buck? I don't know but definitely the best sounding, playing, feeling, etc. Strat I have ever played are the Custom Shop models I have owned over the years. I currently only have one. It's a Wildwood 10 Custom Shop '55.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. budglo58

    budglo58 Member

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    I think with Fender’s you’ll see a little more consistency than you have seen with 335s. I have a 59 thinskin that was part of the avri line at the time. It is a cut above the regular line and speced different. I happened to like it because I prefer that era of strat. A lot of good choices .
     
  19. Lkdog

    Lkdog Silver Supporting Member

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    That is beautiful.
     
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  20. morlll

    morlll Member

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    I have a S.B. 59RI thin-skin from Wildwood. It' really nice 9.5 radius an 6105 frets. It's a really comfortable guitar. That would be in your price range.
     

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