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Come 2018 and we’ve seen fairly heavy price increases on many USA Guitars, including Custom Shop models – Yet I still have a few models available at the old price, that I purchased in 2016 including this Fender Custom Shop 1956 Heavy Relic Strat with a thin nitro 2 tone sunburst finish, – So save around £800 based on the same guitar available today with a current serial number date along

A sunburst 50’s Strat is certainly one of the most iconic guitars – From Buddy Holly and the simple rock ‘n’ roll styles of the late 50’s, through to Eric Johnson and the cascading fluid licks of today’s virtuoso guitarist, the same Strat has been ever present – Only the artist has changed – So do you invest serious money in an original model from the 50’s, that might well have dubious origins and/or the probability of requiring a serious overall to enhance the playing performance – Or check out a Fender Custom Shop 1956 Heavy Relic Strat, with a  seriously aged 2 tone sunburst nitro finish – It pays homage to an original 50’s Strat, but modern customised tweaks totally enhance the playing performance – Many of our today’s guitar hero’s  have retired their vintage models and now gig/record with Custom Shop replicas – Instantly replaceable if damaged, lost or stolen – Far more affordable – Customise if required, without destroying any vintage value – And most important of all, is the playing performance and tonal character, that a Custom Shop Guitar is capable of delivering for  today’s discerning musician

Full spec and details :- 

Playing that chunky 10/56V neck profile :-  Is it big compared to other Strats ? – Yes – Is it to big to handle ? – No – Does it enrich the tone ?- Probably a Yes for this one – It will certainly help – Even with a  set of 10’s you can make that big lump of wood vibrate and that will be further increased with a set of 11’s – The more vibration you can get out of the maple neck and the select ash body, then the bigger the tone – I certainly think if you play a big neck with a set of vintage frets and fingerboard radius and a highish action, then yes you’ll find it harder to play and certainly far less forgiving  – Yet thanks to a set of medium jumbo frets, a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, plus set up with a well balanced fluid action, then it will respond to a light touch, hence it is far more easy to handle than some will fear – As such cascading licks and tricks can be played with ease – I find you quickly get used to it and before long you don’t notice the size of the neck, but you will appreciate that big tone – It instantly feels played in from day one, with the thin nitro finish having been fully cut back for that dirty worn vibe – In short it feels familiar and user friendly – It actually measures a tad slimmer than the chunky early 50’s Nocaster neck profile that is also found on early ’54’ Strats, yet measures a touch fatter than the classic 60’s neck profiles – .890″ around the top nut end and gently fattens out to .980″ around the 12th fret

Aged 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 seriously aged and ultra thin heavy relic finish, captures the vintage aged mojo of a Strat that has spent years playing every juke box joint north of Watford – The great benefit of an ultra thin nitro finish is tone and resonance – On such an aged finish, Fender utilise a far thinner base coat, 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 the aged vibe  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   – So in short it possesses that played in character of an old Strat, without the used and abused vibe

Tonal character :- Pure vintage – spanky – crisp – resonant – lively – highs that glisten – big  piano like lows that are clear and rounded – transparent mids – musical – angelic – These are just a few attributes that I can bestow upon such a Strat – As with any good Strat how you play it, plus how the amp is set up will determine exactly what you hear – Yet overall this Strat is full with a musical tonal character, plus shed loads of soul, expression and emotion – It has enough bite to be angry when required, especially when the volume pot is on 10, yet equally it sounds musical, with an angelic flute like character, when you roll off the volume pot just enough – All 5 switch setting possess a well balanced set of voices as you move from neck through to bridge – You’ll discover a chilled out laid back voice that is velvet smooth from the neck pick-up, to more bite and attack for hot country and rock n roll from the bridge pick-up – The Knopfler esq out of phase voices are so infectious – Rich, smooth and clear with plenty of body and quack – More full and rounded from the neck/middle combination and more crisp from the bridge/middle combination

On a clean amp setting it still possesses plenty of character and warmth to inspire – Yet equally only a touch of gain on the amp is required to make it sing and start to show its true colours – From subtle blues overdriven amp settings, to classic rock territory with an increased level of gain, this Strat is on home turf – Leave the Strat’s volume pot on 10 for more edge, bite and snap, yet always musical, but for your base tone I suggest you set up camp with the Strat rolled off to around 6 or 7 – It will still retain the guitars full tonal character, but now a touch softer, more chilled out as it cleans it self up – Then take it back towards 10 when you require that additional boost – Hence you and the guitar totally control the amp – As  a result all the emotion, soul, passion and expression you require is at your finger tips – Funky chord chops, power riffs, walking bass lines with shuffle chords, blues riffs, melodic moody single lines, to scorching solos and this Strat is both exciting and musical – Some Strats tend to lean towards a chilled out soft voice, others towards bright and crisp – This Strat possesses enough power to drive the amp but not at the expense of warmth and a vocal like tonal character, especially when you use the volume pot as a key part of your playing – Utilise this and your Strat is far from being one dimensional  – It has a big tone that truly inspires

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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 journey, now in excess of 40 years, 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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