Road Worn Strat - Build or Buy?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Phydeaux, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Member

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    Like so many others, I had dismissed Fender's MIM guitars as sub standard, but recently discovered that at least one current model has come a long way from their initial offerings. I picked up a 50's Road Worn Strat in a local store, and was amazed to find the feel, tone, and playability to be on a par with the best Strats I've owned. I can't believe I ignored these for so long.

    So now I'm debating on whether to pull the trigger on a Road Worn Player, (if only for the 9.5 radius), or pick up a loaded Road Worn body and a Warmoth neck and roll my own. Thoughts?
     
  2. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

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    Honestly, these guitars are really great. They are affordable, and they sound awesome. The only problem I ever had with them was that the wear on the body was modeled after a template. They all still look like the same strat due to being worn the same. Other than that, sound great, feel great, and play great. I'd say keeping the neck is a real plus. Just get a different body, wear it yourself, then get a new neck.
     
  3. ElDiabloBlanco

    ElDiabloBlanco Member

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    Have a Player, it's great. Replaced the electronics ( I have to have noiseless singles and a hum in the bridge for what I do) and it's now my #1.
     
  4. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

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    I don't care for the necks, but I've used the bodies to build a couple really cool partsocasters.

    The black strat is gone, but I think the white strat and the telegib will be with me forever.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. rockonomics

    rockonomics Member

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    I say build. Get an elcheapo body. Relic it yourself if that's what you like. The point was already made about every road worn having the same wear and dings as the next one. I've said this before but it's worth mentioning again: a true relic has a story behind every ding.


    "I was bangin' this groupie on stage after a gig and we got too close to the guitar..."
     
  6. ElDiabloBlanco

    ElDiabloBlanco Member

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    I think that fact that it's a nitro finish at a low price is what does it for me - very resonant. I wish it wasn't relic'd but I'm going for function over form.
     
  7. goldtone

    goldtone Member

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    TC - That Tele is beautiful. What pickups are in it? Is the white one a 60s or a Road Worn Players model?
     
  8. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

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    The Tele has a Dimarzio 36th bridge and Air Classic neck.

    The white one is the original road worn 60's, but the bare body is the only thing road worn about it, the rest are all aftermarket or replacement parts (callaham, SSL5/CS69/CS69, Musikraft neck, etc).
     
  9. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

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    A great sounding guitar is a rare thing. When you find one that smokes, BUY IT, then get the fretboard radiused more to your liking. Now you have a guitar that PLAYS great, but more importantly SOUNDS great.
    The problem with your second scenario is this: you're buying a Road Worn body and an after market neck with NO idea how they sound. Your assumption is that every Road Worn body sounds the same, and every Warmoth neck sounds the same.
    It is the single biggest misconception on TGP, this notion that- where something is made, or the logo on the headstock has one bit to do with how something SOUNDS.
    A guitar needs only TWO things to sound great. A resonant and musical sounding body, and a resonant and musical sounding neck. The hardware and electronics are the other factors, but both can be upgraded so they are not relevant to this point.

    A word to the wise: assembling a partscaster can be fun, but there is an enormous learning curve, plus trial and error before you can get predictable results. Building a great one can take a dozen tries or more. I've built over 25 by now and have learned to enjoy it. Best wishes to you, and PM me with any additional questions.
     
  10. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

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    You make some good points, but I think a bit overly dramatic.

    There are some variations in how partsocasters will sound, but the specs will get you in the right ballpark most the time.

    IMO the most noticeable deviation in tone from a neck made the same is the Warmoth modern necks vs. the vintage or even vintage modern because of the double truss rod design.

    Parts do matter; take a Callaham trem assembly for a strat as an example. You'll find a huge difference in any guitar that you put one in - its up to you if you actually like that difference, but its there.

    I don't think there's an enormous learning curve to assembling partsocasters and it doesn't take a dozen or more to get a good one. Building a guitar from scratch as a beginner luthier? Yes I'd agree. Assembling pre-made partsocasters? An 8th grader could do it.
     
  11. Phydeaux

    Phydeaux Member

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    I really don't care about the relicing one way or the other. What struck me was the amazing resonance. Even unplugged, it was that good.
     
  12. wemedge

    wemedge Member

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    I haven't played a Road Worn Player, but I have a couple of '50s Roadworn strats. I agree that some of them have great resonance. On one of mine I did what the OP is considering; I put changed the necks out, I have an EJ neck on mine, I like that a lot.

    I think it's worth trying if you really like the bodies.

    wemedge
     
  13. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    I can relate!!

    One day last year I had some time to kill and I ended up at my local Fender dealer. After kicking a few Strat tires, next in line was a new Fender MIM Road Worn 60's Strat and, from the first note, the hair on the back of my neck stood straight out and my forearms became full of goosebumps its tone was so good. So, I set it aside and I played the whole rack of Strats (including Fender Custom Shop, Suhr, & Anderson versions)...about 50 Strats total. And that one particular Road Worn Strat was head & shoulders above everything in that shop, that day...so she came home with me.

    But that's the way Strat's are...some just have that magic that most lack and price point or country of origin doesn't seem to matter much.

    I've been playing, modifying, and building Strats for around 40 years and, after numerous neck swapping experiments, I've come to the conclusion that the neck is much more tonally important than the body. What I perceived as the best tone always seemed to follow a particular neck.

    Point being...building a Strat is a lot of fun...but, the final outcome is tonally unpredictable. Strats are very sensitive to the sum of their parts. However, having said that, if I had what I knew was a "good" toneful neck, I wouldn't be as concerned about buying a body for it as I would buying an unknown neck. IMO, it's the neck sets the guitar's voice

    Bottom line...if I'm buying for tone & feel, I'd run the racks to know what I was getting....but there are more Strat dogs out there than gems so finding that extra special one may take a while. But, being a tinkerer by nature, I just can't resist trying to build a Strat that sounds & plays better that my recent "running the racks" find. So far, I haven't eclipsed the tone of the MIM Road Worn Strat that I found that day quite by accident. But I have one more set of Strat parts to put together...so we'll see what happens.

    Also, in the process of building Strats, I've learned how to refret my own necks so I can fine tune the feel to my taste. But I didn't feel the need to refret the Road Worn...just leveled & polished and she plays great.

    Hope this helps...and good luck!
     
  14. Davo17

    Davo17 Member

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    That tele haunts me in my dreams! Did you ever start a thread on it? Ive had the picture saved on my laptop for some time.
     
  15. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

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    I agree with this.
     
  16. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

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    Yea I've posted about it a few times. Here's the specs:

    • Stock road worn body routed for humbuckers and the LP toggle.
    • Ashtray bridge cut short and added brass compensated saddles.
    • Pickups are Dimarzio 36th bridge and Air Classic neck.
    • CTS 500k pots and RS paper in oil .047 cap
    • Neck is a Musikraft with a straight 12" radius, medium jumbo frets, and a Clapton V profile, vintage satin nitro finish with light gloss nitro over the peg face.
    Its a screamer and if I had to pick only one guitar to be stuck with, it would be this one. It can pull off Fender and Gibson like tones. Its incredible. Weighs just over 6 lbs.
     
  17. Davo17

    Davo17 Member

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    My heavens!
     

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