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Killer clearance deal on this new Fender Custom Shop ’63’ Journeyman Strat – Was £2599 – Now only £1999 – New, but old stock with a 2015 serial number, but still includes full warranty plus deluxe black Custom Shop case + certificate – Sorry but I can’t really consider any part exchanges at this new low price, but check with me first – Custom ordered and spec’d with with Ancho Poblano Tone Zone pick-ups plus a lightly aged candy apple red finish

Only a select handful of Custom Shop stores in the UK receive the status of a ‘Show Case Dealer’  and I’m very honoured that Guitars4You is part of that program – In essence it allows me to custom order a selection of Custom Shop models with a few chosen tweaks and ‘Tone Zone’ upgrades that will further enhance the tonal character, the playing experience and all the vintage aged mojo that goes with it  – In this instance I have taken the chassis of the ’63’ Strat that was listed previously in the 2015 Custom Shop price list, then added set of hand wired Ancho Poblano pick-ups, a set of 21 medium jumbo frets, plus a bone top nut – I’ve also spec’d it in candy apple red so the select light weight and resonant alder body now receives the ultra thin lightly aged journeyman nitro finish, which allows the guitar to breath and maximise the guitars natural acoustic resonance – I’ve also spec’d it with a ’65’ C neck profile that is just a touch fuller than a regular 60’s C profile, so very much akin to the SRV #1 profile – These ‘Tone Zone’ upgrades ensures this ’63’ Strat is highly spec’d with many features from the Custom Shop ‘ala carte’ menu, that brings it as close to a Master Built model as possible and ensures a more unique package

The golden period for vintage Strats barely lasted 11 years, from 1954 through to the CBS buy out in 1965 – So somewhat ironic that the Fender Custom Shop period for crafting fine detailed vintage replicas has now been going on for far longer and if anything, over the last 10 years or so, the quality has moved up another level – With modern features like medium jumbo frets, along with a 9.5″ fingerboard radius  to enhance the playing performance, it is easy to see why so many professional musicians now tour and record with Custom Shop models – As Fender quote on their web site ” we’ve taken the concept of reissue instruments even further by crafting meticulous replicas using the same techniques and tooling as the originals ” – The key word is meticulous – I never get bored of buying, selling or playing them and as such I’m always on the look out for the finest examples, so with that in mind check out this Fender Custom Shop 1963 Tone Zone Strat with a cool, candy apple red, lightly aged journeyman finish

Is there any difference between a 1960 Strat and a 1963 Strat :- other than the addition of a few pat numbers under the Fender spaghetti headstock logo, plus a slab rosewood fingerboard v a lam rosewood fingerboard, essentially it is the same guitar and does a similar job – There is a case to be said that the lam board produces a tone that possesses more clarity, snap and attack – But essentially any difference regarding feel and tone between a 1960 and 1963 Strat is similar to any difference between  two different 1960 Strats, or indeed two different 1963 Strats – Chances are that if a number of players tried out two, three or four early 60’s Custom Shop Strats in a blind fold test, they would not pick one clear winner – Essentially they do a similar job, but each guitar will have  a touch of its own individual character

Like Marmite, the aged vibe is very much a love or hate affair, so can I assume that many ‘hate fans’ have probably  already signed off – From a visual point of view, the lightly aged jouneyman finish captures that vintage aged mojo, yet far less severe then you’ll find on a relic finish, so more cherished and less abused – It retains the faded and oxidized character of a 50 year old nitro finish,  with no shortage of lacquer checking, yet with far less dings and nicks, or indeed those worn patches that reveal the alder body – However the greater benefit of an ultra thin nitro finish is tone and resonance – On such an aged finish, Fender utilise a far thinner base coat and primer, which in turn allows the guitar to ‘breathe’ – Even played unplugged they are noticeable more ‘lively’ – I fully appreciate that certain customers do not like such treatment and I fully respect that view, yet as far as Fender Custom Shop Guitar sales go, aged finishes are in the majority, by some considerable distance – So for all the great attributes that goes with the vintage mojo regarding looks, feel, tone and resonance then read on and remember you can buy it, and play it without having to give it the ‘kids gloves’ treatment

Playing performance :- Whilst it retains the vintage honey tint,  the thin nitro finish on the 1/4 sawn maple neck has been cut back a touch, so more satin and less shiny new gloss, for somewhat of that ‘played in’ character – So no need to wait for that sticky new finish to be broken in, as this Strat is just waiting to be played from day one – The ’65’ C neck is straight from the vintage camp and very much akin to the profile found on SRV’s #1 Strat, so it feels like  good old ‘un, with an extra ounce of meat on it – Very comfortable and user friendly with just enough substance to it – Now add a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, along with a set of medium jumbo frets and these modern tweaks ensure a user friendly playing performance, hence a slick fluid action awaits – Dig in for slow moody licks, or try a few flash licks and tricks and this Strat will fully support you

Full spec and details:- 

No Ancho Poblano is not some new up and coming Mexican guitar player you have never heard of – Nor is he the new signing in La Liga for Barcelona – Yet Ancho Poblano is a Mexican phrase, that indicates some slightly spiced up peppers and maybe that is relevant, as a set of hand wound Ancho Poblano pick-ups sit at the heart of this Strat – They are slightly overwound to deliver the classic vintage voice with a touch of extra spice in them – You can click here and listen to a Fender Custom Shop video clip of these pick-ups in action – It is certainly not a case of Fender trying to re-invent the wheel, or indeed trying to state that this is the finest Strat ever, yet equally it is the first time Fender have taken the vintage flavour and produced a balanced set of pick-ups that are custom wound and voiced to add a touch of extra spice as you move from the neck position through to the bridge position – All three pick-ups are hand wound by Josefina, but here we have a neck that measures just under 6K, a slightly hotter middle pick-up that kicks out just over 6K – Both utilise alnico 111 staggered pole pieces and magnets, with formvar windings – Whilst the bridge pick-up measures around 6K and is spec’d with alnico V magnets and flat pole pieces and features enamel winding

Tonal quality :- Do the Ancho Poblano pick-ups ensure that this is the best Strat you’ll ever hear ? – Maybe, maybe not, but it is very special – I suppose you can’t help comparing it to the big Texas SRV tone, but that does not mean it is just a hot blues box – The bridge pick-up almost has a Tele vibe to it – Tight and controlled with body, balls and attack – On overdriven amp settings, with the Strat’s volume pot on 10, then it just starts to offer the merest hint of that ice pick attack, in a musical way, with some edge and attitude, so just roll off the volume pot a touch for a more controlled and softer voice – Neck pick up is sweet, soft and crisp with excellent dynamics and overtones and overall a big beefy voice with a touch of spice – Tight full lows, very open with just enough mids to add body – The two out of phase voices are infectious – Warm and crisp and again with depth and oh so much quack and they sound so musical on both clean and overdriven amp settings

After you’ve played this Strat for a while on overdriven amp settings, then try it out on a clean amp setting you’ll find it is so succulent, very warm and musical, with an angelic quality about it – On overdriven amp settings make sure you control the amp from the guitar and use the Strat’s volume pot – This will ensure you explore the guitars full vocabulary and in doing so find it is loaded with soul, emotion and expression – Subtle changes on the volume pot deliver a more chilled out voice that retains all the guitars expressive qualities – Playing all 5 switch settings, tweak the volume pot, playing different styles, both on chord work, riffs, licks and solos, through clean or overdriven amp settings and you only start to see, or hear, what is so special about this Strat – Even played unplugged you’ll discover a lively acoustic tone with plenty of depth and resonance to it – I always say it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring and this Strat rings like a bell that has been struck by a big clanger – Fender don’t tell you all the secrets that are behind the Ancho Poblano pick ups, but you can hear it is something special – Like ‘Mama’s favourite recipe’ the magic ingredients are in there, be if I told you what they were then I’d have to shoot you – Forgot to mention the wiring regarding the tone pots – Tone 1 is middle and neck, so tone 2 is bridge only, so now if you wish to roll off any spikey highs that you hear from the bridge pick-up, whilst choosing a hi-gain amp setting, you can do so

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Guitars4You Offers Reliability, Integrity and Expertise

Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A 35 year journey has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.

I have no desire to run an Amazon style 'click to buy' guitar shop, that lacks any soul or passion, or indeed to fill a showroom with a selection of dirty, shop soiled or dusty guitars that are in need of a set-up.

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