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So what do I tell you about first, with regards to this Fender Custom Shop Postmodern NOS Strat ? – Do I start of with info regarding the thin nitro  finish ? – I fully appreciate that not all guitar players buy into the aged approach, so this Strat with a perfect shiny gloss nitro finish might well be up your street, especially as it is spec’d with a classic 2 tone sunburst finish on a select ash body – All hardware, scratchplate and knobs are in keeping with the NOS finish, as such the whole guitar is new and shiny – Good news is that I managed to acquire it at a special price, as it was duplicated in error by the Custom Shop team – It was originally custom spec’d and ordered by another dealer and in error Fender built two – I like both the guitar and the spec, so no problem for me to offer you the chance to acquire such a fine and highly spec’d instrument at the old price

So what is a Postmodern Strat ? With nearly 40 years of experience behind me in the guitar business, it is so easy to get blasé about marketing claims regarding new products from any of the big name brands in our trade – After all, how many times can you reinvent the wheel – So when I first heard Fender claim that the  Postmodern Strat is ‘a thoroughly contemporary take on  a time honoured classic’ you can’t help but think, seen it, heard it, played it, but it’s not for me, so let’s move – Maybe in various formats, Fender have tried to blend attributes of an old Strat with features found on a new Strat, yet consistently failed to sell them in any quantity – Granted some faired better than others, but they have always represented a small part of Fender’s sale revenue – I have to say that maybe this time they have cracked the code – I’ve sold hundreds of Strats over the years and whilst I’ve sold plenty that can’t match the performance qualities of this Strat, they are not to many that can compete with it, let alone beat it – If we all adopted a blind fold test, this would be a very popular guitar – We can all be stuck in our ways regarding changes to a classic design – Yet remember the 2 following points  1) many of the modern tweaks on the Postmodern Strat can already be found on the Custom Shop, Master built and even original pre’ CBS vintage models, that are owned and played by our hero’s  2) Let’s assume the Strat had never yet been invented and today saw the launch of a new guitar that was going to take the guitar world by storm, then I can assure you that this new released Strat would be more akin to the Postmodern Strat, than the 50’s and 60’s models that were released so many years ago  – I’m knocked out by it  – Don’t get me wrong as I’m not saying all vintage flavoured Strats are  inferior, but I am saying check out a Postmodern Strat when you try a vintage flavoured Strat, then judge for yourself which suits you best

Call me a cynical grumpy old git who is set in my ways, but I’m not easily hooked on new concoctions in the guitar world, yet the Postmodern Strat has a hell of a lot of things going for it, certainly with regards to the playing performance –  This Strat is elegantly designed with a reappraisal of modern assumptions – It features a select and light weight ash body with a comfortable contoured heel, a AA grade birds eye maple neck with a finely sculpted 60’s C profile, a fast compound radius fingerboard that gently tapers from 9.5″ to 12″  22 narrow/jumbo 6105 frets,  with a  5 way switch to select a set of hand wound Ancho Poblano pick-ups – Hardware is vintage spec’d throughout other than a set of Kluson style locking tuners

More on the Ancho Poblano pick-ups :- No Ancho Poblano is not some new up and coming Mexican guitar player you have never heard of – Neither 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 – So a set of 10 gauge strings have a bigger tone like playing 12’s or 13’s – 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 – Both neck and middle pick-ups utilise alnico 111 staggered pole pieces and magnets, with formvar windings and measure 5.58K neck + 5.86K middle – Whilst the bridge pick-up measures around 5.80K and is spec’d with alnico V magnets and flat pole pieces and features enamel winding

Tonal quality :- Is it 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 has a hint of a Tele twang about 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  more of a controlled and softer voice, as required – The neck pick up is sweet, soft and crisp with excellent dynamics and overtones and overall a big beefy voice with presence, plus big piano like lows, shimmering highs and just enough mids to add body but not over power so as to go muddy – 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, 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, yet effective, 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

Full spec and details for this Custom Shop Postmodern NOS Strat –

Feel/playing performance :-  Whatever magic is in this Strat can’t be seen – You feel it – The classic early 60’s Oval C profile instantly feels comfortable, familiar and very much old school from the vintage era – It is that rounded profile that is neither to fat or slim , yet somehow feels like it has been made to measure – Certainly nothing new or modern on this score as it possesses that classic and renowned feel that is pure vintage flavoured  – Maybe next you’ll notice a more comfortable contoured heel by the neck/body join – Hence it feels more comfortable when you are playing above the 12th fret – For more of a slick playing performance you’ll find a set of 22 narrow/jumbo 6105 frets, along with a 9.5″ to 12″ compound radius – I don’t think you can really see this gradual taper from 9.5″ to 12″ and I’m not sure you can feel any difference that is ‘off putting’ but when you bend the strings above the 5th and 12th fret it feels slinky and effortless, with no choking out – The 9.5″ radius always feels comfortable for chord work around the top nut end, but many players like Eric Johnson have used a flatter radius as you move up the fingerboard – You can still dig in for big blues bends but for more intricate licks this Strat is as slick as they come – Overall the tweaks are subtle yet very effective – It is  a great approach from Fender, whereby if they presented you with this Strat without all the marketing hype, you would think it is just a great vintage flavoured Strat, as most of the modern tweaks are subtle or invisible – Yet they are essential as to why this Strat plays so well – Vintage and slick in one package is possible and Fender have delivered – Great praise from me on this one

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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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