Why is the Fender SRV so great?!?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jzucker, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    A month ago I bought a used SRV strat. Prior to this, I had tried MANY other strats from boutique to parts to customized american standard. Than, I found a used SRV strat at guitar center that was incredible. Just the sweetest bluesy and fusiony tones I've ever gotten in any strat, regardless of price. It doesn't play as well as a Suhr, Grosh or Anderson but I just love the feel of the lacquer, the big frets, the 12" radius, yada-yada. And it's not just this one particular strat because they had a new one and it sounded virtually the same. Both were the best strats in the store, by far eclipsing the EJ and Mayer strats. I think part of it is the lacquer finish but I'm sure it's related to the big neck and alder body, etc.

    At any rate, I loved the sound of the pickups even though I've always hated texas specials. However, I put a set of dimarzio virtual vintage pickups in it and if anything it sounds even better so I'm really happy with a strat for the first time in many years.

    I also recently picked up an American Deluxe Strat with SCN pickups, maple neck, S-1 switching system, etc. It's also great.

    Those of you who say you have to buy boutique to get a great feeling guitar are wrong. Fender may have a lot of problems but their higher end guitars have never been better IMO.

    Jaz
     
  2. RichSZ

    RichSZ Member

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    I suppose because that SRV has things that YOU like. From the way it sounds it fits your playing style and feels comfortable to you.

    I feel the same way about my EJ Strat, which also has Nitro lacquer & a chunky neck. It is also light as a feather.

    When I bought the EJ, I actually bought an SRV strat at the same time and had them both at home for 10 days. After extensive playing on my own rig, the EJ, for me, was the clear winner. To this day it is one heck of a strat.

    Enjoy your strat and play the )$#%@^ out of it!

    -Rich
     
  3. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    When I played the 3 strats in the store (SRV, AM Deluxe, EJ), I liked all three of them. I would have liked the EJ more if the neck hadn't had the sticky feel and lacquer over the frets. It would have probably been worthwhile to work with it like some have done with naptha and sandpaper. In the long run, it would have possibly been a better choice than the am deluxe but the deluxe was $600 less and I actually like the scn noiseless pickups though they don't have the vintage vibe. I may eventually swap them for the dimarzios...
     
  4. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    +1 Other than that issue. Cool guitar.
     
  5. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    I thought the SRV used a polyurethane finish on the neck & body?

    Fender builds them great. Mostly. {I think most of their stock pickups are marginal at best, though}
     
  6. corgiears

    corgiears Member

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    It's funny - I usually can't stand Texas Specials either, but in my SRV they are really.... well, right. I've owned 3 SRVs over the years, and I have to say that the one I have now just stunned me with it's quality. It feels great and has a very high build quality. Very unique neck specs - just a really good strat overall. Though I considered selling it to help finance a 335, I just couldn't do it. Saved some money and bought a Heritage H535 to go with the SRV and now I have alot of bases covered. This guitar is not for everyone, but I really like it. Congrats on yours!:)
     
  7. 83stratman

    83stratman Member

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    Yep, SRVs are poly.
     
  8. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Thanks. I could have sworn it was nitro. Now I'm even more puzzled about why it sounds so much better than any other strat I've played. I previously owned 2 boutique strats and this is head and shoulders better. Actually my American Deluxe is as well.

    Re: Texas Specials, I had an 1989 American Standard and after playing the SRV at Guitar Center, I went home and replaced the pickups in the 1989 with Texas Specials. It just didn't have the same vibe. I guess the guitar is a big part of the tone (surprise)...
     
  9. Rockin J

    Rockin J Member

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    The texas specials that come stock in the Lonestar guitars are not the same as the replacements. My Lonestar texas specials have a lowered 3rd string magnet and the specials I ordered are vintage stagger. I think the polarity is also different. I dont know about the SRV's magnets for sure. Are they the vintage or lowered 3rd? I've never installed the vintage style yet as I have been using Fralins in the Lonestar. I will probably try them sooner or later. One of the best sounding strats I have played was a SRV but I did'nt care for the obese neck this one had. I think the neck sizes vary some as with most other guitars.
     
  10. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I think the bigger necks contribute greatly to the big sound. I've always felt that folks with comfortable guitars with lots of comfort-bevels and cuts and slim necks were going to end up with a guitar that sounds comfortable instead of FAT! :)
     
  11. rh

    rh Robo Sapien Noise Maker Gold Supporting Member

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    I think there's something to that. I just took delivery of an ash Tele from Rice Custom Guitars (TGPer Chris Rice) and it's got a biggish soft V neck and no comfort cuts anywhere. USACG body weighs about 6 ounces too -- I've never picked up a guitar this light.

    Freaking guitar is GREAT. Sounds GREAT plays GREAT.
     
  12. corgiears

    corgiears Member

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    Me too - I think this is a really overlooked and underrated aspect of an electric guitar's tone. I can't play HUGE necks comfortably, but some of the best sounding guitars I've played have had larger necks.
     
  13. jnavas

    jnavas Guest

    Every SRV I have tried out sounded great, but had several dead spots on the necks. Your finding a good one gives me hope that they are out there. Cool score.
     
  14. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I almost bought one at a local shop. It sounded really nice and a pretty good size neck on it. I wished it was a little thicker but the thing I really didn't like was some bad fret buzz even after a setup. Had a thick tone.

    I like the Texas Specials if they're set pretty low. They can quack and chime.

    My favorite Fender pickups are the Robert Cray Mexico strat! I heard they were from the Custom Shop. But they are the ultimate strat pickups.
     
  15. 83stratman

    83stratman Member

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    IIRC the stagger should be the only difference between the American Standard/Seris OEM Texas Specials and the aftermarket CS TS.

    As for American Standards/Series in general, they don't have the vibe or tone of a vintage constructed Strat. IMO the biggest culprits to the tone and vibe of these are the biflex truss rods and the graphit renforcement in the necks. I suppose the tuners and bridge don't help either, but I bet the neck is the big "dead spot" on those guitars. They do play super when you get a good one though.

    On second thought, maby the bi-flex isn't so much of a problem as the graphite. I have an '83 two knob, top loading hardtail which is a TONE MONSTER (not really vintage tone though) and it has a bi-flex, but no grapite, I don't think. Maybe it's just that CBS magic!
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Greg Koch certainly makes the american standard on his SRV video sound like a vintage strat.
     
  17. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I don't know if there's anything objective in it; it obviously works with whatever your personal quirks are. The Fender/SRV didn't do much for me, but I've really only played three Strat-type guitars I've liked - G&L, Grosh and Melancon.

    Any chance you're coming to NAMM? I'd love to meet/hang...
     
  18. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    I've owned 3 SRV Strats and, even though I don't care for the 12" radius fretboard, I eventually end up going back to that Strat for some reason ;). The Texas Specials aren't great pickups but, for some reason, they do seem to work in the SRV Strat....but I think there's still room for improvement with the pups. Like any Strat though, the SRV's I've played did sound and feel somewhat different....but I haven't run across what I fell is an extra special one yet. However, after playing my new Jimmy Vaughan Strat for a month now, I am still very impressed with it even though I'm not a fan of maple fingerboards....and it's less than half the price of an SRV or JM Strats. The JV Strat has a nice chunky neck, 9.5" radius, and medium jumbo frets all of which feels better to me than the SRV. But, like a moth to a flame, I have no doubt that I'll eventually end up with another SRV to go with my JV....if I ever run across an extra special one. The first run of SRV's supposedly had Brazilian rosewood fingerboards so I'd love to hear/play one of those (if I ever get the opportunity) to see how much different they sound.

    I love the fat neck of the SRV and JV Strats and I agree that fat necks generally have a fatter tone than pencil neck counterparts. However, another important often overlooked Strat "fat factor" is the vintage 6 point trem. To my ear, the modern 2 point trem generally seems to thin out the tone.

    Yup, I agree, the production SRV is a decent Strat :AOK.
     
  19. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    The early SRV Strat I have is my favourite Strat by Fender - I have some Custom Shop ones too.....

    I liked it better when I swapped out the Pick ups for Fralin Vintage Hot (I think they're Hot) and the pickguard for "Snot green", Knobs that kind of yellowy brown colour etc., etc.

    The SRV looks very nice with the aged bits on it...
    The only Strat I enjoy playing better than the SRV is my Chapin - but that is short scale.

    Best, Pete.
     
  20. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    That's what I thought until I watched the Greg Koch SRV video. I wonder if that guitar had stock pickups?
     

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