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Rhysyrhys
The Kraken


Joined: 02 Nov 2009
Posts: 2920
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:08 am    Post subject: Ultimate Stratocaster search Reply with quote

RE: my thread in the Pub, I have no guitars for the first time ever and I want to buy the one Strat to rule them all.

I dived back into the market to look at what is the best Strat out there at the moment. I haven't looked for years and years and tbh I was rather overwhelmed, so I need a little help from some tr00 playaz.

My constraints to this search are a price point of $2500, the guitar has to be a workhorse, I want to be able to use it in both high and low gain settings and no hardtails. Also no Floyd Roses (just too fiddly). I know that 2500 is a bit into Blues Lawyer territory but I don't want to buy a guitar to look at, I want something that I can play and will grow with me as my other ones have done. Basically I set 2500 as a max that I don't mind hitting for the right guitar but not some crazy collectors edition "MUST NOT REMOVE FROM BOX!111!" shtick, y'know?

I'm not completely clueless though I did spy:

1) The Fender Stratocaster Elite with Shawbucker which gets reviewed well. HSS is my jam too.

2) I have heard that G&L custom shop is highly praised for putting out guitars with spectacular build quality and great options, loads of neck profiles, colors etc. at my price point.

3) I could probably get an off the rack low end Fender Custom Shop for around my max budget.

4) Nash guitars. People are skydiving onto the nuts of this company. I, however, am dubious; they look like something that would turn me into someone who reggs on strat-talk.

5) Old Fenders. This guitar doesn't have to be new or NOS or something, I don't mind an amazing second-hand.

So these are just some of the options that I've scouted out over the last week or two weeks. So I need a little advice on how to spend my money well and any places that would be good to research into that I've missed. Maybe some anecdotes about the most tremendous Strat you've ever had the chance to play or owned?
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Darth Stang
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Joined: 17 Jan 2016
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a pretty obtuse question. 2500 will get a good anything. In terms of recommendations I would either

Look at ishibashi ubox for the most appealing MIJ strat that they have

Or I would limit the US search to an Avri maybe a 65 or 66 used

The thing that will kill you is choice, there's like eleventy billion strats out there, most of them are good.
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MatthewK
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Joined: 11 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

70s Greco or Tokai Strats are typically far, far better than their price. I have a '77 which is just superb, cost me $280. It is a touch heavy, I will admit, but no bother. The higher price points are truly remarkable, such that Fender USA abandoned the thought of lawsuits and said "hell, just make them under our name."
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George
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

most of us on shortscale won't have the experience of many different $2.5k strats, to be perfectly honest

at that price you can probably get whatever features you want so i'd get a list of desired features and work from there. that would include materials, bridge type, colour, pickups, radius, profile, nut width, and fret wire.

or the best way might just best to spend a few hours in different guitar shops, of which there will be MANY in california. it may jump out at you, as the cliche goes(!), but may take a while for that to happen. i like the sound of this method best. in the meantime you could get any old beater strat to keep you going.
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vojtasTS29
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Joined: 03 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would get an old fender or the G and L honestly. Old Fenders are cool and you can not beat anything made by George and Leo in playability.
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Doog
can i get uhhh


Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

old lameos play strats, do an jagstang
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robroe
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

or get a jagstang neck and put it on something that isn't a jagstang
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Rhysyrhys
The Kraken


Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know the 2.5k price point is a lot, I kinda set it there to remove price as a constraint within reason, for the sake of this thread - I probably won't spend that much. Also I think anyone here that can remember, I think I've only ever had one guitar that was over the 700 quid mark so I'm not someone who is super frivolous with guitardoe.

George: That's not trueee. I swear I remember some of the old guard being a little silly for strats. Nick, Tim, Fran etc. so I know peeps have more experience with this than I do.

I will check out Tokai - I used to have a Springy Sound that Fran and Benecol had for a good while and it was lovely before I screwed around with it.

Also yes, I know Strats are boring but I feel that a good guitar collection has one nice strat and one nice tele and then a bunch of Dean Baby ML's or whatever other stuff floats one's boat. As I'm starting again I thought that a good "does everything" guitar would do me some good.

It seems though, that the more I look around the more I am starting to get headstock snobbery and am starting to want a Fender...

I might just get an American Standard and some after markets and a really good setup (Guitarworks SF is very highly rated it seems). I mean, that's going to get me most of the way to "Custom Shop" quality right? In so much as to say that really what you pay for in Fender high end models is rarely crazy tone wood or mods, but better p-ups and it being setup right a particular way and probably lastly a neck profile that you couldn't get normally (like a 12 U or whatever).
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timhulio
Redheaded Stepchild


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 4614
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should probably decide whether you're after a vintage or modern spec Strat first. That'll narrow your options down. Do you want medium frets, modern saddles, compound radius neck, locking tuners, comfy heel etc. In which case the Elite Series is probably what you're after. The Standard Series seems a little old-hat these days, or maybe it's just because they're being discontinued. They cost well over a grand new but you can pick them up for about 500 any day of the week. Anyway, the Elite series has Autumn Blaze Metallic.

If you're after vintage-correct appointments, then AVRI or Custom Shop are the way to go. Are you based in the UK still? Cos the dollar price threw me. If you're here, then visit Coda as they've got a bunch of stuff like this. You might decide to sack the Strat off and buy a Kauer instead.

I've had a CS strat in Inca Silver and a Squier CV, amongst others which were worse. The CS strat didn't play or sound better than the CV, but it certainly looked nicer!
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benecol
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rhys is in the States, with a $2.5K budget. Tokais and Grecos are good (Rhys's old Tokai was the second best Strat I've ever played), but we don't need to recommend them. And G&Ls are great, but: fugly headstock. My advice is PLAY AS MANY STRATS AS YOU CAN RHYS. GO TO SHOPS (STORES).

FWIW, my best Strat is the bitsa I made; MJT body, Musikraft neck. Gold Tokai second.
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Fran
The Curmudgeon


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 21148
Location: Nottingham, Englandshire.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with play as many as you can. It's the only way with Fender Starts.

One of the nicest players I owned was a Highway One model (yeah, I said it). Meaty frets, hot sound, 70's headstock and traditional look. The finish is flimsy on them though, but part of the design apparently, so they 'age' quickly.
The MIJ Contemporary Series were nice, had a couple of those. Tokai, and thinking outside the box, Vester made some copies that are revered as as good as the originals.
There's also our old pal, Squier. Avoid the two point fulcrum trem though. It's shite.
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Nick
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try as many US and JAPANESE Strats as you can. With that budget I wouldn't be looking at MIM unless the price was really good and it checks all the boxes and just feels right.

There's just so many damn Strats. I'd have a hard time spending over $1500 on one because once you reach that price point you can pretty much already get whatever you want features wise, at least on the used market. Just pay for a good setup if you're like me and can't be arsed with all those points of adjustment.
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Rhysyrhys
The Kraken


Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool - loving the advice so far. Obviously, correlating to me not having a job right now and things like Christmas coming up I'm not going to splurge on this just yet, so this will give me some time to work out what is right and what isn't regarding Strats. I am figuring to make a purchase around about January/February time.

What I will try to do is keep a log of all the good ones that I play in the guitar shops around here (some really cool ones here, I think you guys will be quite interested - I creamed over this weird second hand place I saw in North Beach, place was exceedingly dope on all fronts).

I think the thing that I'm really interested in is getting to understand necks a little better - what I like about certain profiles and stuff. Apart from my Les Paul and my Bronco, I'm fairly certain that my guitars all bog standard 9.5 fast U types, I remember playing a Mary Kaye custom shop, the dude that bought my old Marshall brought one to my house to test the amp out and that thing had a fucking kerrazzy deep V neck on it. Despite being slightly alien it felt rather nice.

@Benecol - I mostly agree about the G&L headstock malarky, they are minging but if I get a custom shop I can get a matching reverse headstock and that would be so cooooooooolllll. They do them 'orrid floaty bridges too, which look like a small sea vessel's anchor despite being quite well received. G&L is a fraught and complex choice...
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Rhysyrhys
The Kraken


Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

timhulio wrote:
I've had a CS strat in Inca Silver and a Squier CV, amongst others which were worse. The CS strat didn't play or sound better than the CV, but it certainly looked nicer!


ORly? Is the more polite way of saying "save your moolah, you silly"? I'm looking for something that sounds and plays amazing first and foremost tbh - if it's burgundy mist with matching reverse 70's headstock and 3 ply white scratchplate then that is a nice bonus Smile
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timhulio
Redheaded Stepchild


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is that, but it's also what Tim said- try lots of them! But if spending an extra grand on a guitar makes you want to play it more, hang onto it forever, and give you a nice warm feeling whenever you play it then I reckon it's probably worth it.
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timhulio
Redheaded Stepchild


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fwiw, I'd love to have one exceptional guitar. I've got tons of the things and whenever I sell one I feel my soul lightening!
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gusman2x
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

timhulio wrote:
fwiw, I'd love to have one exceptional guitar. I've got tons of the things and whenever I sell one I feel my soul lightening!

Although, I've prob got the one exceptional one.
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NickS
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
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Location: Nr. Basinggrad, UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gusman2x wrote:
timhulio wrote:
fwiw, I'd love to have one exceptional guitar. I've got tons of the things and whenever I sell one I feel my soul lightening!

Although, I've prob got the one exceptional one.
lol
When I bought my latest (second) Strat I had looked around the Denmark St. area and the one guitar that I really felt at one with was a USA Custom Telecaster. But I was looking for a Strat, so I went into Guitar Village and tried some out. Maybe I should have gone for the USA Custom with noiseless pickups and S1 switching (whatever that is) , but the USA standard played better.
You're in the right place to have many more guitars available to you to try out to find the one that suits you.
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gusman2x
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, my post was half missing? I meant that I also feel the need to unburden my soul by reducing guitar inventory. But not necessarily to put towards more gear. Prob just to do normal shit. Like pay bills.
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speedfish
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 2012 Fender Deluxe Ash Stratocaster that precedes the Elite series and it's the best strat that I've had the pleasure to own. The compound radius fingerboard is amazing! That said I also recently procured a 2016 Fender Elite Telecaster with the compound radius fingerboard and the contoured neck heel that make this neck even better. I would take a serious look at the Elite Stratocaster.
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