What makes a custom shop strat, a custom shop strat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by padavis, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. padavis

    padavis Supporting Member

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    Literally. What are some of the differences? Is it just taking the pieces and a very experienced fella works his magic with them? Is it an experienced fella just builds a Strat or a Tele from the ground up working their magic every step of the way? Whats the difference between a standard USA model and a Custom Shop model?
    Thanks in advance,
    Patrick
     
  2. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    While the specs would be different (frets, radius, neck contour, finish, etc.) from model to model, I've found that Strats in general are inherently tonally inconsistent...so there are dogs & gems at all price points no matter who made them. Some of the better Strats I've played/owned were under $500...so each individual one should be judged on its own merits.
     
  3. gregory49

    gregory49 Member

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    well i'm not sure but i'm assuming that porduction fenders are made mostly on an assembly line of some sort. and the CS ones are hand made. although i could be way off. feel free to correct me.
     
  4. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    Premium parts, premium materials and woods used throughout, individual hand labor, attention to the smallest detail, frets dressed perfectly, nut cut right,tone, tone, tone. All these little things add up to a consistently great guitar.
    Some people may think there is not much difference, and others state the differences are huge. This depends on if they are the type of person who sees the forest, or the person who sees the tree.;)
     
  5. japhy

    japhy Member

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    In other words , what a production guitar should be , if Fender could get the customer to pay for it .
     
  6. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    It's made in the custom shop and has a custom shop stamp on it. :banana
     
  7. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    As said good and bad and in between at all prices.
    That said I have and have played some CS guitars that are phenominal with lflawless fret work and great nuts.
     
  8. shuie

    shuie Member

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    Sometimes they are just focking cool. They can be hit and miss, but every once in a while, they just nail it.


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  9. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    CS is consistently better sounding, playing, and feeling guitars period. Sure people will have their preferences but if the ones "you" don't like get bought by someone.

    For me, there is a huge difference in the woods, materials, weights, ect, that effects resonance and overall tone. I love the way relic's and the aging techniques feel for unplayable. For me, CS Fender is the way to go, I can't go back to Std American series stuff.
     
  10. Big White Tele

    Big White Tele Member

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    They have a really cool decal on them.. Im one of those that thinks the Custom Shop guitars are worth it, at least most of them.
     
  11. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    It's really good marketing - and that fiesta red strat is gorgeous.
     
  12. GibsonSGgirl

    GibsonSGgirl Silver Supporting Member

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    Are the AV 57 and 62 RI Strats made in the Custom Shop? Just curious, but then I'm very picky about my guitars; I briefly owned an American Std. Strat for a few months before getting my SG, and I never really bonded with it...
     
  13. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    the pickups on the custom shop guitars just have a bit more mojo.......
     
  14. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Well they're made in different facilities for one. The CS is it's own entity and it gets the woods and nitro pickguards from a separate source, as was told to me by a CS manager a few years ago. If you look at the woods and cuts, it's often much nicer than regular assembly. Two piece bodies, quarter or rift sawn necks. The mint green guards are nicer too.

    Sitting down and going side by side, blindfolded, they usually are much nicer sounding than the production stuff.
     
  15. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    It seems pretty easy to answer on highly subjective criteria. Especially when it comes to "better sound". I am not hearing anyone really answer the question. A different facility is an answer, different wood sources is a partial answer, two piece/quarter sawn body/neck is an answer (although I have an AV Tele with a quarter sawn neck and a two piece body).

    But I'd like a deep dive answer to the original post. What are the real differences? Areas like wood sourcing and selection, build techniques, electrical and mechanical hardware sourcing and selection, sanding and finishing process, QC, tolerances, skill criteria for craft, number of craft involved in the build, amount and type of hand work and machine work, sonic build criteria, neck/body combination selection process, set-up. I think knowing the differences in these areas would go a long way toward really understanding custom shop valuation.

    I think the question also applies to the masterbuilt models. What makes it a masterbuilt? What is the actual masterbuilt process in the context of the above criteria?

    It is great to say a custom shop guitar is just better or custom shop guitars just sound better overall. If you have one, you can be satisfied that you have a good guitar. That really doesn't explain what the difference is. Much too subjective. What are the differences?

    OTOH, it may not really matter. If one sees/hears custom shop guitars are better then they are better.

    hunter
     
  16. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    Upgrade to what? No.
     
  17. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    Just go play one or a few, then you'll know.

    That's all the really matters in the end.
     
  18. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    I've played Fender Stratocasters for most of my 40+ years at this silly guitar game and one thing I've learned is that Strats are inherently inconsistent, Custom Shop or not. While the Fender Custom Shop strives to make a "better" guitar with "better" wood, "better" pickups, "better" plastic, "better" craftsmanship, "better" etc., the proof is in the pudding when the guitar is in your hands and the tone is in your ears. "Better" parts does not always equal a "better" guitar because the sum of the parts is what makes the difference, not the individual pieces. Some Strats just have "it" while others don't, Custom Shop or not. But, then again, tone is VERY subjective. Personally, I've played and or owned a few dozen Fender Custom Shop Strats and, to my ears, maybe two had that "something special". Same with regular production Strats...95% of the one's I've tried don't have "it" but, occasionally, one will have that tone from heaven...as does my Vintage Hot Rod '62...which is head & shoulders above ALL of the Fender Custom Shop Starts I've come in contact with.

    Also, one of the best Strats I ever played had a neck pocket gap that a nickel would fit sideways into on all 3 sides. Not the best of craftsmanship I've seen from Fender, but it had tone from heaven and I couldn't pry it out of the owners hands for no amount of money because he knew what he had.

    The bottom line is believe what your hands and ears tell you about an individual guitar and not in the building in which it was built.
     
  19. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    Subjective indeed. That is why I thought it would be reasonable to frame the question in more measurable terms. I'm not sure, when held up to the light of day, exactly how much of the measurable stuff we'd view as "better".

    And some of those same guitars that you thought didn't have it wind up as someones "keep it til they die" guitar. Glad you found one you like.

    I have exactly one custom shop guitar (a strat). A low end one I guess. Got it by trading a guitar I didn't use for one I would use and it is a decent guitar. That said, my American Series gets used as much as the custom shop. It is a good guitar too.

    hunter
     
  20. kingsxman

    kingsxman Silver Supporting Member

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    Its a great question. I've also had many strats, a few G&L's etc. I would buy used most of the time. I finally reached a point where I said I wanted 1 really good strat and I went to Daves in Lacrosse with the expectation of coming home with a Hot rod 62 Strat. I had one on hold there. I sat down with Laun and wasnt impressed with the guitar actually. I then proceeded to try about 15 of the custom shop strats in the place. I ended up spending almost 1k more than I'd anticpated but came home with the CS strat below. It sounded better than anything else I'd played. The pickups were fat sounding for a strat. It was light. It looked way cool. It felt like butter. The neck was different than any other strat I'd played. It just felt right. Not too fat...not too thin. Its a relic (light) and that fact alone definitly adds some mojo but amazingly it also makes it so I dont worry about dinging it as much...and just enjoy it.

    I cant help you with the deep dive. CS pickups are different...but I dont know exaclty why. Necks are different...but once again...dont know why. Bodies are better wood as they're consistantly lighter.

    I think with a CS strat you have 7 of 10 that are good. Normal american series probably 4 of 10. G&L's probably are more consistant than either of them...but they still say G&L on the headstock and thats why they dont have the mojo unfortunatly that the Fenders do. In most peoples minds..

    [​IMG]
     

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