Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby James-T » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:55 pm

It is an interesting design. A big slab of wood with a neck bolted on. 3 pick-ups that can be mixed and matched and I understand the design hasn't changed since the 50's. I guess they either got the design just perfect or are the laziest guitar builders on the planet.

I don't know, these things look cheaply made - like in a factory or something. They are rumoured to go out of tune (or so its said on some forums) and like what kind of pro would actually actually play one of these?

But good news is - I think that Jerry Garcia cat tried one out in the late 60's, got hooked on it around the time of those Valentine's day Filmore shows in 1970 and recored an entire album playing one. That Europe 72 triple album with the China Rider, Truckin and Morning Dew. Hard to believe he got those tones out of something so low tech. Perhaps they overdubed the guitar lines in the studio with something else (did they have PRS's back then?).

So rather than harp on I did a demo of this thing I just traded my Twin reverb for. On the surface it seemed like a bad deal - you know - trading 60lbs of high end electronics for 4 lbs of alder wood and maple. Around this neck of the woods (Pacific Northwest meets Doug and Bob Mckenxie) Alder is totally like weed tree or something - eh. But its growing on me....and that's my stock PRS on the backing track. :smile:

Here goes: :cool:

Peace

James

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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby Jon S. » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:18 am

Alder is great for smoking fish, too, but myself, I'll always prefer a nice piece of ash. :P

Enjoy the Strat!
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby tcsned » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:02 am

Sounds great, James! Nice playing too!!
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby tatittle » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:18 am

nice sustain, up high too. Is that a hardtail? Adventures in space and time.
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby James-T » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:56 am

Hey T.

Hard tail? Funny you ask. It is so easy to get carried away with the Jerry tone thing and think you need to hard tail every instrument you own. This thing has 5 springs, I believe that's the Eric Johnson spec. Jav, the guy I traded with built this custom for me. He had some Tokai body's but I was luke-warm on those so he stepped up with and EJ body. They are 2 piece alder and the spec is vintage 57 I believe - I mean the body contours, but more importantly the spec calls for a really light body. The EJ models also have a super thin Nitro finish. The body is less than 10 years old but the finish has already worn off where my arm sits over the body - that's just playing wear, not some guy in the custom shop sanding away. I think the weigh of the guitar and the dryness of the wood is giving it that sustain. hands down its got the best sustain up high on the E string out of anything I've played.

In fact the trem is what gives this thing so much character. The first thing I did was remove the trem arm, but I'm not going to block this one. That looseness gives this guitar a really great "stratocaster" feel and tone. I'm really into vibrato so its not like I need to worry about throwing any notes off. You would never notice because I never play a note straight on without moving the string, and those old blues guys swear by not having a guitar perfectly in tune anyways.

The other thing about this guitar are the Tokai pick-ups. I told the builder I was thinking about D. Allens, and he encouraged me to give the JV pups a go - because the magnets have mellowed with age. He's think they are on par or perhaps a bit sweeter than the D Allens because of their age. I'm surprised by their clarity, harmonic overtones and bite. They are the U type and from my research just garden variety Tokai's and nothing special. But I'd like to think they are perfect in this instrument.

The neck is an 1986 AVRI - a year where very few guitars were made in the new plant and it had a recent re-fret job in the process Jav had the luthier take the radius down from 7.5" to 9.5". It is a 57 profile. They are already super thin so this is the thinnest neck I've ever played on a stratocaster and when you play the instrument you are not really aware there even is a neck if that makes any sense. I just focus on how my fingers hit the fret board.

It reminds me of my 1967 SG Junior which had a refinish job (natural) sometime in the late 60's/ early 70's. It has also got a super narrow neck and is feather light. It has killer sustain and harmonics - which again must be from the dry light body and neck. That guitar is just too much of a museum place to play. I only gig with it locally here on the Island, and not often at that.

Peace, :smile:

James
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby tatittle » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:06 am

Ive loved the EJ strats Ive played. I really want an EJ neck in particular...a guy refinished one nitro had a BIN of $175. or something I missed...of course it ended up selling for like $400. or something. lol

Doesn't sound like a bad deal to me at all. 1986 AVRI are collectable and very pricey. EJ bodies are top of the line I think. You can buy SF Twins all day in the USA for $6-800. Lotsa folks looking to unload those, usually need maintenance of course. BF and 67-68's are a lot more of course. Sounds like a good score to me. The '86 Std. necks are even skinnier I bet...Ive got one and its ridiculous, I cant hardly dig in. Its real nice a "sore hands" guitar for me though.
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby James-T » Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:05 pm

Good deal LOL.

I bought that thing last summer up in Powell River BC for $600. It had these massive MS-12 Black Shadows in it, like these were the heaviest speakers I've ever seen. We needed a forklift to get the amp into the back of my truck. I scored a pair of JBL's a few weeks later from Randy Bachman's guitar tech. Came out of his BF Twin he bought new in the 60's. He grew up in the Canadian prairies and his dad had the only Fender dealership for 1000 miles. But these days the amp with those speakers is just too heavy for him so he parted with his beloved D120F's.

Reading about RUkind folks' projects I got inspired to build a couple of HT style cabs, one for the MS-12's which were really nice speakers in their own right and one for the JBL's. A few weeks later a guy on CL wanted to trade a PRS Torero for a 2x12 cab and suddenly the twin seemed to be paying its own way. That SDS-1 you sent me is going in the Torero as we speak BTW.

So then I became disillusioned with the 100 watts thing and bought an Fractal Ultra and slowly got myself weaned off the twin. It was a terrific amp, but no competition for modern technology. The Ultra through the JBL cab was no match for it. Just gave me more of a BF sound and I didn't have to wear ear plugs and go to the chiropractor after every gig.

So I put the amp on CL for a trade. I had a fender special design speaker that came out of my Blues Deluxe (which also has a JBL in it now) and bought a second speaker, so I've got all of a few hundred dollars in the twin and along comes this trade within hours of posting it. Most SF twins on Vancouver's CL don't sell and if they do its for $600-$700.

The one thing about that stratocatser is I'd never find the thing used. It found me. To make the story come full circle, Jav, the guy who I did a trade with is an old time player and wanted the twin because he's taking an amp rebuilding course with Randy Bachman's tech and will rebuild the amp from the ground up under Wayne's supervision.

So not only did the amp give me two really great guitars it connected with me too some really knowledgable folks in Vancouver. :-)

And Wayne is a musical treasure. He's kept a scrap book for every project he's done for Randy Bauchman, and Randy's collection of historical vintage amps is unbelievable. :cool:

Peace, :smile:

James
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby James-T » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:58 pm

What goes around comes around.

I had an extra set of casters that I mailed off early last week to the guy I traded the amp with and he just sent me this email:

Hi James I’m back, hope you’re diggin the guitar.
I mailed you a pickup box and put one of my dead Fullerton
Strat pickups, it’s only the slugs and top fibre plate.
These sand cast Alnico 2 magnets have aged over time(1984)
and have a wonderful vintage Strat tone, it cuts but is warm. not shrill or harsh.
Reillander will wind it up with your choice of wire,
plain Enamel .42 guage is vintage and he knows how many
turns works best for you and he’ll discuss it with you.


Good karma breeds good karma. Looking forward to custom winding a really sweet vintage bridge pup to make this Strat just "right". I think I'll do an A/B with what's in there now.

Nothing left to do but :-) :-) :-)
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby rugger » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:09 am

great story.

john in san diego
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby waldo041 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:38 am

Fender has gone Burger King with the Strat, Tele, P and Jazz Basses.

http://www.fender.com/american-design/instruments/

~waldo
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby waldo041 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:45 am

Fender has kind of went Burger King with the Strat, Tele, P and Jazz Basses.

Looks like you can only order a Strat with a Trem bridge.

http://www.fender.com/american-design/instruments/

~waldo
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby tcsned » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:23 pm

waldo041 wrote:Fender has kind of went Burger King with the Strat, Tele, P and Jazz Basses.

Looks like you can only order a Strat with a Trem bridge.

http://www.fender.com/american-design/instruments/

~waldo

That's not getting it "My Way" :lol:
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby tcsned » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:38 pm

waldo041 wrote:Fender has kind of went Burger King with the Strat, Tele, P and Jazz Basses.

Looks like you can only order a Strat with a Trem bridge.

http://www.fender.com/american-design/instruments/

~waldo

That's not getting it "My Way" :lol:
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Re: Guitar Review - The Stratocaster

Postby TI4-1009 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:39 pm

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