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A visit from the UK’s Custom Shop product specialist allowed me to hand pick a few more Strats for stock at the old price – ‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring’ is a phrase I often quote, so any Strat I choose for stock has to possess a big vibrant acoustic voice – Of course it has to possess a certain aesthetic appeal, as well delivery something special regarding the playing performance and tonal character – All in all this Strat passed all the relevant criteria, especially that ultra cool, shell pink, aged nitro finish that sits on an ash body – So let me introduce you to a new Fender Custom Shop 55  Relic Strat, that reveals an aged character, to reflect a few tough years spent working in a various blues bars – Highly spec’d throughout to deliver the vintage tonal character that we aspire to, courtesy of a set of hand wound pick-ups – Whilst a few custom tweaks are chosen to enhance the playing performance, including a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, plus a set of medium jumbo frets

Like Marmite, the thoughts and opinions with regards to a distressed finish, is very much a love or hate affair – So let’s take that out of the equation for now, and look at various key performance issues that will deliver a highly desirable playing experience – Have you noticed how many of today’s influential Strat players now use Custom Shop models on a regular basis, as against original pre’ CBS models – This is partly down to the performance of such guitars – The combination of the medium jumbo frets, with a 9.5″ fingerboard radius allows for a more fluid playing action – A set of 10’s still feel slinky, coupled with effortless string bending, so no choking out when you rip into those big blues bends – The thin nitro finish on the neck has more of a satin feel about it, that feels ultra smooth and silky – As a reflection of the 50’s period, this Strat neck has some meat on it – It’s a 10/56V profile that measures .890″ at the top nut end and fattens out to .990″ around the 12th fret – Not as chunky as models from the early 50’s with a 54 U profile, but certainly more meat on it than models from the 60’s era – Yet thanks to a slick playing action, it does not feel a handful to play and will respond to a light touch – Therefore show of a few party tricks, or dig in for those moody blues bends, as required

Thanks to a calibrated set of hand wound pick-ups, tone is classic vintage territory, through and through, with clear rounded lows, sparkling shimmering highs, plus transparent mids, with all the spanky vibe that makes them so infectious  – Plenty of snap with a good attack, plus very responsive to how you play it, hence stroke the strings and it purrs, or dig in a bit for more bite – Many players tend to leave the pots on ’10’ on their existing guitars, as that is the only useful setting – Not so on this guitar – Set up your amp with a nice sensible level of overdrive, then roll down the guitars volume pot,  until you reach that magical sweet spot, were by the tone cleans up for those chilled out jazz/blues passages, yet the guitars still retains its full tonal and expressive character – Same applies to the tone pot, just roll it off a touch to obtain a ‘softer’ voice – This Strat can deliver some of that Jekyll and Hyde character from soft, smooth and seductive voices from the neck pick-up,  to more bite and attitude (in a very musical way) from the bridge pick-up – Don’t forget the 2 infectious ‘out of phase’ tones as they are so rich, smooth, warm, musical, full and crisp  – it is remarkable that 40% (ie 2 out of 5) of a great Strat sound was absent for many years when Fender only fitted a 3 way switch – With such a good Strat, you control all the emotion and expression as required, so stroke the strings for a softer voice or dig in a bit and attack the strings for more bite, edge and attitude – A modern tweak and a plus point is with regards to the tone pots – First pot operates the neck + middle pick-ups, whilst the bottom tone pot allows you to roll off any highs on the bridge pick-up, as required – This guitar is all about tone, soul and emotion along with incredible dynamics  – Acoustically it is vibrant and full, so you can both hear and feel it vibrate – That big acoustic tone equals a great plugged in tone and as we often say ‘it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring’

Full spec and info for Fender Custom Shop 55 Relic Strat :-

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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 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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