Strat - can't make up my mind

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Fifthstone, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I'm in the market for a new Strat this year and I can't decide on which one to get. Opinions here would be appreciated.

    I generally only buy new guitars (not used).
    Mostly play blues and classic rock.
    Generally play with medium action and with regular super slinky's.
    I bend a lot but rarely more than a step and a half.
    I rarely do bar chords.
    I rarely go above the 15th fret.
    I have a 1994 American Standard Strat with probably a 10.5" radius.
    I'll probably be ordering this from one of the online superstores.

    Having said all this, I've narrowed down to two models.

    I like the American Vintage 70's Strat, thinking in white with maple board. That's about $1300 with hardshell case. It's a 7.25 radius board, which is my biggest concern. I wonder if I'll start bottoming out on bends, even with medium action.

    The other option I've been thinking of is building one from Warmoth parts. I had built a Tele from Warmoth parts and have been generally happy with the results, though my skills in such matters are modest. The benefit of the Warmoth is that I could get EXACTLY what I want (finish, neck radius and inlays), and it would be a bit cheaper, but I'd probably have to take the guitar to a shop / luthier to have the frets crowned, etc. And of course I might spaz and do something stupid in the build.

    What would YOU do given the above?
     
  2. amper

    amper Member

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    What is it about the Strat you have that's making you look for another one? Do you want something different, or something similar? Are you planning on keeping the '94?

    Obviously, the Am. Vintage 70's will encourage you to play differently than the Am. Std. you have, but if you're going Warmoth, you can practically build anything you want...so what is it you want out of a Strat?
     
  3. hendrix2430

    hendrix2430 Member

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    If I had to buy any bolt on, I would probably pick a Melancon, because of the fantastic craftmanship, great wood quality, and really hip neck joint design, which is my favorite personally. Plus, they won't set you back as much as other boutique instruments.
     
  4. Larry

    Larry Member

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    You might want to consider an Eric Johnson Strat. You can get one from EM Shorts for not too much more than the price you mentioned.
     
  5. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Amper,

    I have no issues with my current Strat. Just gassing for another. I've always liked the big CBS headstocks. I like the way mine plays and am a bit worried about switching over to the vintage radius of the reissue model.
     
  6. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    I love my Warmoth:

    [​IMG][/IMG]

    for all the reasons you point out. It will probably run about the same as a EJ strat off the wall but it will be yours. Of course, if you are a "buy 'em and sell 'em" type of guy than the EJ might be more down your alley as the resale will be much better than your probably better built Warmoth.

    One tip if you build: keep it conventional. You start getting crazy making your instrument "original" and all of a sudden it won't pull $300 on ebay. I had a blackguard tele that I built and sold on ebay for $1450--not bad for a parts guitar.
     
  7. emjee

    emjee Member

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    Wow! Thats a beauty of a Warmoth! The grain pattern, the subtle three color burst, very cool.:cool: :AOK
     
  8. Soundhound

    Soundhound Member

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    Really a gorgeous one, that warmoth, do you mind saying what the specs are, how much it set you back and who did the build for you? :BEER
     
  9. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    XXXlight swamp ash body, AAA birdseye maple fatback neck w/a brazilian board, Fralin Vintage Hots w/a 2% underwind, Callaham hardware, nitro finish (I believe it was RS who did the stain and nitro but my tech wasn't positive), Torres bluescaster harness (not a bad little add-on but I probably wouldn't do it again because I just an not a "guitar knob tweaker").

    I love the tone of a great strat in the #4 & #5 positions and this does not disapoint at all. I have been pondering routing out the bridge and putting in a humbucker & tap switch for versatility. I replaced the bridge with a little '59 Duncan and hated it--too muddy. Then I replaced that with a Kinman Woodstock noiseless but because of Kinman's refusal to try and work well with others now my #2 position is worthless. I'm torn because it is so damn purdy but I have come to the conclusion that strat bridge tones are not my thing and I might as well make it "my" guitar.

    Entire build cost me around $1750 including about $150 labor and six months or so. I paid a premium for the wood (thing doesn't weigh anything at all and the BI figure is incredible) and my tech buddy and I took our time assembling it. Yes, that is a '62 decal but I would never misrepresent the instrument as a Fender if it ever was for sale. It is there for my enjoyment only.
     
  10. CocoTone

    CocoTone Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    Twins,,,cept mine`s got more mojo!!!

    CT.:cool:
     
  11. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice, CT. Is that a relic job or sweat and tears?

    I've got to say, there is nothing quite as satisfying as building the guitar the way you want with the specs and parts you want. Sure, it isn't fun waiting around for months while your guitar body is drying between coats but in the end you have a unique CS level or better instrument for about 1/3 of the price you would pay and 1/2 the time you would wait if you commissioned it from Fender.
     
  12. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    jpage and cocotone...gorgeous. Thanks to everyone for their feedback here. I agree that $1300 ain't cheap. The less expensive reissues are from Mexico now and use Ping (made in China hardware). The Chinese hardware bit really freaks me out. I've had MIC hardware rust out for no reason. I'm less freaked out about the radius now. Still rocking back and forth between the two. Again, I never sell, so resale value is a non-issue for me. I think if I can find a good builder near me (I'm in the middle of nowhere) I might go the Warmoth route. Or not. Dunno. Geez.
     
  13. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Good info Fifthstone. Based on what you have said, I'll chime in on a couple of points:

    1) Going from a 10.5 to 7.5 fretboard radius is going to be a big deal. Not in performance, but just the way it feels. 9.5 seems like the 'perfect medium' for neck radii.

    2) Given what you want and your budget, the best spend of your cash might be waiting for the right boutique strat to come available here at the gear page.

    That said, I'd be on the lookout for your basic Grosh, Melancon, or otherwise. Most of the guitars people offer in this range are in near-new condition. They ALL contain upgrades in build quality, hardware and electonics that represents a huge upgrade compared to an off-the-shelf Fedner guitar.

    If you could play a Grosh RC for a month, you'd possibly never go back to a Fedner strat.

    dave
     
  14. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Thanks, dave s. I had never heard of Grosh or Melancon. Off to Google!
     
  15. Craig Walker

    Craig Walker WHO DAT!! Gold Supporting Member

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    Check out the EJ.......love mine.
     
  16. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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  17. CocoTone

    CocoTone Senior Member

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    Sweat n` tears buddy!!! I reliced that axe one note at a time. Thats seven years in my hands.

    CT.
     
  18. CocoTone

    CocoTone Senior Member

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    Sure, but you need a step ladder for the high action. I like to fight my guitar, but going to the 12`` from the 7.25, made it much faster to play. I`m now used to it, and will never go back.

    CT.
     

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