When a NGD exceeds your expectations!


It was *almost* an impulse buy.

I am already covered in terms of "keeper" Strats, I have both a Fender CS Strat, my gorgeous 1997 Fiesta Red Cunetto relic, and a superStrat style, my NOS 1999 Ibanez AT-100 Andy Timmons, so I don't need another Strat.

Then I saw this one and thought it looked very cool, with the bridge HB, heavy relic finish and what really sealed the deal was the reverse heastock:

I figured, it is not a Masterbuilt, the relic job perhaps doesn't look too authentic but whatever, I think it looks great, and I have always been more than happy with the overall Fender CS quality.
I was able to buy it brand new for a decent price, with a generous return policy and, since it is a one off, I thought I could either return it or sell it later if I don't like it.

Well, it turned out I was completely wrong and now feel almost ashamed for thinking I could ever consider getting rid of this guitar!

This is the BEST Strat guitar I have ever played! The bonding was immediate, I haven't been able to put it down since I got it, and I remember, for the first time ever in my 30 years of collecting, the day after I got it I took a day off work just to stay at home and play it all day!

I must say I have never been this impressed with a guitar purchase. This 2013 Fender Custom Shop relic is really THAT good, it ticks all my marks for THE perfect Strat:

- perfect weight, alder body, the whole guitar weighs 7.2lbs

- very tightly quartersawn neck with a substantial, '56 V profile

- impeccable fretwork, medium jumbo with rounded fretboard edges

- super tight neck pocket with no shims or gaps

- it sets up just the way I like, with low action but absolutely no buzzing

- a great pickup combo, 2 Fat 50s single coils and a SD 59 bridge that roars on its own, with screaming harmonics and a perfect quack when splitted to a single coil in position 4.

- The open low E on the neck pickup is a Steinway grand piano.

- A relatively rare occurrence on Strats, absolutely no "structural" dead spots, not even on the dreaded Bermuda Triangle around the 10th to 14th frets. This guitar has exceptional sustain, and this was a big surprise for me.

So, has it ever happened to you, that you buy a new guitar sight unseen, expecting a *good* guitar, and it just blows your mind?


Gold Supporting Member
That's a real knockout Strat. It took awhile for me to notice the humbucking because it kinda hid itself in there. The reverse headstock stops you in your tracks and looks like thats the way it should be forever. I can just feel that thing already full of mojo. That's the kind of guitar that will make you into a new guitarist.


That's the kind of guitar that will make you into a new guitarist.

It's just difficult to explain, but you've captured exactly how I feel about this guitar.

I currently own 8 electrics and they are all great guitars, the result of 30 years of "survival of the fittest" in terms of guitarology, whereby I'd say well over 50 guitars have come and gone, and now I simply cannot play any other guitar than this Strat!

I feel that because of its features and, shallowly, looks, I am stretching my limits as Strat player, in that I try and play more "non Strat" stuff on it.

I mean, yes it sounds fantastic for all the standard Strat cliches and tonal paradigms, SRV, Hendrix, Kopfler etc, but it sounds even better in a much wider context. I am finally using the bridge pickup extensively, and "discover" tweaks I did not expect, like playing natural harmonics on the 14th and 15th fret that sound as loud as the usual nodal points (12th, 9th, even 17th...). I am even using a lot the middle pickup on it's own, as it is bright and loud enough to do a passable standard bridge SC impersonation....

I felt I was getting a bit jaded about these guitars, especially considering that on paper this particular Strat did not stand out as unique: yes, it has a reverse headstock, and a hb at the bridge, but it's nothing that hasn't been imagined before.
Yet, the tonal epiphany that hit me just floored me!

So the question to my fellow TGPers is, have you ever experienced something like this? Buying a guitar you expected to be just good, and which ends up rocking your tonal world???


I bought this as a present to me on sale at Amazon for Christmas. It is insanely good for the price. Dirty fingers pups just rock.

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Not sight unseen, but it did just happen to me. Looked for an Epiphone Riviera for a long time, inspired by playing a vintage one many years ago. Thought I'd find a MIK example, but an Elitist model popped up first, relatively local.

Took a ride down last week and tried it out. Not 10 seconds in my hands and the deal was done. Something about how it feels ... got this instant impression of high quality, serious guitar. Even with old strings, too high on the bass side. Strings felt like .10s. I asked the guy. He said they're .11s. That right there is a very good sign.

I expected to find a good instrument, was still surprised. It's much better than I hoped for.


The center one, a 74. Everyone told me to avoid that era, that the guitar looked odd with the difference in wood colors.. etc. I bought it anyway and its magical.


Gold Supporting Member
Way cool! Never seen a 50's style with a reverse headstock. I probably would have bought it too :)

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