I have a Fender Custom Shop Custom Classic, 3TSB with gorgeous flamed maple neck that plays really well, feels great and sounds incredible. I also have a Fender American Standard, 3TSB with nice maple/rosewood neck that is playing really well (after major setup by myself), feels really good and sounds very nice. The CS strat is finished... MINT, immaculate, amazing finish (still might be poly though?) and needs NOTHING. The MIA finish is heavier poly (on the neck and body) and fairly dull (in comparison) with some light dings. The unplugged tones, volume and "resonance" are surprisingly similar. When they are plugged in the CS is the bomb; the notes jump out, great note seperation, sound PERFECT clean and with overdrive it can really, really sound full, thick and rich (even with the bridge pup) even using Mesa or SLO tones (from AxeFX). It holds up MUCH better with overdrive than any other strat I've played or owned. When the MIA is plugged in the cleans are nice, definitley not as deep, full or satisfying and a slightly brittle top end. Same goes for the overdrive, it can get nice and raunchy but not smooth and saucy, thinner mids, the brittle top end is more evident. So here is the deal; same hardware, same type of feel, and I really think I could "fix" the MIA. I think investing in some great pups (looking at loaded guards by Klein, Acme, etc... because the pots are 500K which I believe is a mistake for a strat and possibly a thick bridge/trem/block/saddle from someone like Callaham along with old school vintage tuners would really make the MIA shine. I also REALLY dig the lightly relic'd stuff I'm seeing, especially the back of the neck where it's lightly sanded (with 0000?) and it starts to get a little grime worked in - I love the look and supposedly the feel when you do that is sweet. The neck carve itself is okay, almost as nice as the CS strat and I could always part it out if I wanted with a new, custom neck. The CS strat is so clean and nice, I'm kind of afraid to keep it out and NEVER would think of any mods and surely no self-relicing. I also really, really, really want a kick ass Tele; also lightly relic'd made with killer parts (I already have specs in mind). The CS on the open market should bring in ~$1500. I got the MIA for a STEAL and even with the upgrades I would like to do it would still be under the $1K mark (plus it would be fun!). So, what would you do? One definitely has to go, no need for two almost identical strats especially when the Tele buzz is calling me... I guess my only concern is what if the 'mojo' or tone is really in the wood of the CS? They are so close unplugged (the Rosewod actually seems snappier, pops, maybe a little too much?) but I think really good pickups MIGHT be the only difference between the two guitars (overall). Problem is, I don't have the cash to upgrade the MIA unless I sell the CS GAS comes in to play because I would have to fully commit to the CS Strat as my only guitar for quite a while (year or more). But on the other hand, I know how hard it is to find "the one". I think I may have lucked out with this MIA though, they stand neck to each other in stands and they are both equally fun and satisfying to play. The CS strat says... WOW, don't put me down. The MIA says... WOW, what a steal -- but you know what? I can be even better with some work.