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The whole topic of buying a new guitar, with an aged vibe, has been a strong topic of discussion for over 30 years – Despite such a topic, the sale of Custom Shop replicas, with an aged finish, is seriously in excess of similar models that utilise a new shiny gloss finish – Yet equally Fender look to offer a limited supply of models from the golden era, that look new, or nearly new, whilst still trying to capture some of that ‘magical vintage mojo’ – The inspiration behind the Fender Custom Shop Vintage Custom 59 Strat, is that of a rare vintage find – Imagine finding a one owner, exceptionally clean, 1959 Strat, that has been well cared for and probably barely played – So no need to offer a replica with the usual seriously aged appointments – So how about a 59 Strat, with a thin nitro 3 tone chocolate sunburst finish, with very lightly ‘oxidized’ hardware to show the merest hint of any use – Fender call it the ‘time capsule package’, so just a hint of vintage mojo/character, in order to remove that ‘sterile’ pure new vibe  – As part of a limited run for the 2018 collection, this 59 Strat has been highly spec’d from top to bottom, with correct vintage appointments, coupled with select modern features to further enhance the guitars overall performance

1959 was also the transition year for the Fender Strat – Some tweaks are more subtle, whilst some are far more radical – ’59’ saw the introduction of a slab rosewood fingerboard, along with a slightly slimmer neck profile, certainly compared to other models from the mid 50’s era – Maybe an in between size, so slimmer than the chunky 50’s models, yet still more meat on the rear when compared to the classic early 60’s oval C models  – The other change was with regards to the scratchplate – Players had found the 8 hole single ply models tended to warp after a short while – So whilst Fender eventually moved to a 3 ply 11 hole format, in 1959 it was a hybrid version that utilised a 3 ply nitro version, yet retained the 8 hole format – Also note the introduction of the full metal shielding plate that covered the whole underside surface of the scratchplate

Full spec and details for this Fender Custom Shop Vintage Custom 1959 Strat :-

Feel/playability :-  There is certainly something special regarding this neck profile – Medium depth that somehow just feels so natural and perfect in the palm of your hand – Still slightly more meaty than the classic 60’s oval C profile, but certainly more ‘user friendly’ and easier to handle, than the chunky necks from the early/mid 50’s era  – The Custom Shop team have a poetic licence to retain the vintage flavour of a good old ‘un, yet equally will tweak the odd spec’d to enhance the playing performance – With this in mind you’ll find a compound fingerboard radius on this Strat  – Starts of at 7.25″ as per all vintage Fender models, yet gently morphs to a 9.5″ radius as you move up the fingerboard – With a set of frets that are slightly larger than vintage, yet less meat than modern jumbo, this Strat is  set up with a slick action, that responds to a light touch – It allows for effortless string bending, so you can dig in and attack those pentatonic blues bends, yet still show of a few cascading party licks n tricks as required

Tonal character :-  Overall you’ll find this Strat is more lush, melodic, smooth and angelic as against Texas Hot,  hanks to a set of hand wound pick-ups, that utilise alnico V magnets, with formvar windings and deliver a vintage output that is under 6K for all pick-ups  – It can still drive the amp, as and when required, but more of a melodic Gilmour voice, than say SRV – I always feel any test drive should start of with the Strat unplugged – It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring, is a phrase I quote on many occasions – A couple of big open chords will quickly reveal this Strat has a lively, full bodied and vibrant acoustic voice – So no shortage of character when you hook it up to your favourite amp – On clean amp settings it possesses enough character to keep you hooked, as required, but the merest hint of any gain will always add additional  ‘colour’ which you can easily control with a slight tweak/roll off on the volume pot – On all 5 switch settings you’ll find plenty of clarity, with crisp highs, transparent mids and big clear ‘piano like’ lows – You’ll find subtle tweaks on the volume and tone pot will produce effective variations for you to use as required, yet the ‘rolled off’ voice still retains the guitars full expressive character – So much so, that I think the volume pot should be set on/around the 7 mark and utilise this setting as your base camp – Then wind it back towards 10 when you need a touch of additional boost

Add more gain as required – You can add shed loads of gain if required, but I’m not sure the full on approach brings out the best in this Strat – maybe this option with the volume and/or tone pot rolled off a touch produces a more ‘controlled’ option with less fizzy highs – A rock blues level of gain allows this Strat to breath and show its true colours – Especially when again you set the volume pot on/around the 6/7 mark, which allows you to dial in gain as required – Hence so much soul, expression and emotion is available to you at your fingertips – The neck pick-up is always lush and melodic, that can be chilled out for jazz flavoured chords, yet spanky with attack for SRV style walking bass lines and rhythm style chops – For melodic Gilmour style licks it is so soothing – The bridge pick-up has enough bite to attack as required but you would not say it is a party animal – Maybe more Mayer, Clapton and Gilmour and less SRV or Rory G – Don’t forget the 2 out of phase settings as they are so infectious – So much so that you can easily get hooked on either settings and stay there for many a while for many styles – Rich, crisp and smooth – As I mentioned earlier this is more of a gentle tame lion as against a ferocious attack , but it can bite and sit on the edge of raw when required – Plenty of expression in there for you to enjoy as required

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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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