I first sold this Strat around 11 years ago, so it shows how much time has flown by, when I read my original notes regarding this used Fender Custom Shop 1956 Relic Strat – 2008 according to the certificate – Hard to miss that cool and individual candy tangerine finish and I dare say it is what I refer to as a Marmite finish – All original with no issues whatsoever, so despite the factory aged finish, it is effectively still in ‘as new showroom condition’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – So please read below my original notes for this Strat, that I posted on the web site back in 2008
All of my Custom Shop Fender guitars are hand picked, to ensure I’m selecting only the finest example – Not to be all the same, but subtle variations show the finer nuances of 2/3 or 4 different 50’s flavoured Strats – In the case of this ’56’ Relic Strat, that candy tangerine finish, complete with all the vintage patina, certainly had a bearing on my choice – Yet good looks means diddly squat if the playing performance does not come up to scratch – So a few minutes, spent burning off a few favourite licks, soon established that this guitar could be added to my stock profile – Before I journey beyond the visual side of things, can I point out that candy tangerine was a custom ordered finish, with only a small handful currently available for Europe and I believe I’m right in saying that candy tangerine was never originally offered in the glory days of Fender – Nevertheless what a cool looking colour – The whole guitar has received the aged process including the nickel hardware, along with worn patches on the maple fingerboard, whilst the whole of the rear of the neck has been rubbed down, so that ‘played in’ from day one feel is present and correct – The fact that this instrument was custom ordered means you now get the 9.5″ fingerboard radius and 21 medium jumbo frets – That adds up to a more fluid playing action, easier string bending and no choking when you rip into those big blues bends – The neck has a very soft V profile, almost un-noticeable, with a touch of meat on the rear of the neck, but slimmer shoulders, which means that it fits very nicely into the palm of your hands and assures a very pleasant playing experience – Even strung up with a set of 10’s it has a slinky yet positive feel about it and the brave guitar player may well try a set of 11’s
Pick-up wise, you’ll find a Custom Shop ’69’ model in the neck position, a Mid Fat 50’s reverse wound/reverse polarity in the middle position, whilst a hotter Texas Special in the bridge position, provides a well balanced set-up as you move through the 5 options on the selector switch – The classic Strat tones are all apparent, with sweet warmth and shimmering clear highs on clean settings – Add some subtle overdrive and the tone that is suitable for crunch and blues is all there, with plenty of body, clarity and musically warm – Also on subtle overdrive settings, roll back the volume pot and you’ll soon realise that the amp will clean up nicely, without any tonal deterioration from the guitar, so as to provide you with all the emotion you require – Dial in more dirt on the amp or pedal to take you into classic rock territory or beyond and the versatility of a good Strat confirms why they are such an iconic product in the world of music
Full spec and info :-
- Select alder body – chosen for weight, tonal character and a vibrant acoustic voice
- Candy tangerine finish – aged accordingly
- One piece maple neck/fingerboard with rear skunk stripe – with dirty/worn played in feel/appearance – Medium honey tint lacquer
- Medium jumbo frets
- 9.5″ fingerboard radius
- 10/56V neck profile – measures .890″ around the top nut end and .990″ around the 12th fret
- All vintage hardware – aged accordingly
- Single ply trem back plate
- 8 hole, single ply parchment scratchplate – aged accordingly
- Coffee dipped control knobs, switch tips and pick-up covers
- Custom Shop pick-ups with aged magnets/pole pieces – ’69’ neck that measures 5.38″ – Fat 50’s middle that measures 6.09K plus RW/RP (reverse wound/reverse polarity) – Texas Special bridge that measures 6.33K
- 5 way switch
- Master volume + tone neck + tone middle
- Tweed vintage case + certificate/tags
- Set-up with 10’s
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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.