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The annual NAMM Show in LA, allows guitar builders to launch a host of new models – Yet for the Fender Custom Shop team, it is more often a case of releasing a run of highly spec’d Limited Edition Guitars, that are influenced from models from their own pre ‘CBS golden era  – So let me introduce you to a new Fender Custom Shop  NAMM Limited Edition 1960 Roasted Strat, with a cool aged sherwood green metallic nitro finish – It captures the aged mojo of a well played Strat, with plenty of character, thanks to the relic finish so no need to give it the kids glove treatment – Some Custom Shop models are pure vintage replicas, yet as the  ‘Custom Shop’ name, implies it allows for tweaks and upgrades as required – With that in mind, this Strat is seriously loaded with options from the Custom Shop ala carte menu, including  a 1/4 sawn roasted maple neck, with a AAA grade rosewood fingerboard, then spec’d with a 12″ fingerboard to ensure a slick playing action is ever present – Add a set of hand wound Ancho Poblano pick-ups to enrich the guitars natural vibrant acoustic voice  – A limited edition engraved neck plate + a similar decal on the rear of the headstock indicate the special nature of this Strat

So what is 1/4 sawn roasted maple neck – Within the boutique market place, various luthiers and builders have utilised roasted woods on select models for a few years now – Does it offer any superior tonal quality, then I’m not so sure – Two pieces of quality wood, of the same species, never sound the same anyway, so the finer nuances of tone between the same wood is a matter of opinion and taste – However many will tell you about the superior stability of a roasted maple neck, so less movement as temperatures and environments change

Feel and playing performance :- A 12″ fingerboard is somewhat of a less used option on many Fender Guitars – Yet Eric Johnson and Kenny Wayne Shepherd both favour this option – Boutique builders along the lines of Suhr and  Anderson are often in favour of such flatter radius fingerboards, so nothing new on that score – Along with a set of Jescar 57110 medium jumbo size frets, it allows for a slick well balanced action and effortless string bending – So dig in if required and attack those blues bends, or show of a few of your favourite licks and tricks – The rear of the neck is pure classic vintage territory from the early 60’s era – 60’s Oval C profile, so familiar territory for many Strat fans – So it feels like a vintage Strat that has been enhanced with a slick action – The rear of the neck has more of a silky smooth satin finish to capture that ‘played in’ character – Add rolled edges to further enhance the played in character

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 latest exciting signing 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 – 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 – Neck measures 5.92K, middle 6.17K whilst the bridge is 5.99K – Both neck and middle pick-ups utilise alnico 111  magnets with staggered polepieces, plus formvar windings – Whilst the bridge pick-up is spec’d with alnico V magnets, that features flat pole pieces and wound with 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 nice hint of a big Tele vibe and twang about to it – Tight and controlled, with a touch more body, balls and attack that you’d often find on a Strat bridge pick-up – 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 – The neck pick up is sweet, soft and crisp, with excellent dynamics and overtones – Overall a big beefy voice with presence and clarity – Big piano like lows, just enough mids to add body, plus crisp shimmering highs – The two out of phase voices are infectious – Warm and crisp and again with depth, plus 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 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 + details :-

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 latest exciting signing 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 – 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 – Neck measures 5.92K, middle 6.17K whilst the bridge is 5.99K – Both neck and middle pick-ups utilise alnico 111  magnets with staggered polepieces, plus formvar windings – Whilst the bridge pick-up is spec’d with alnico V magnets, that features flat pole pieces and wound with enamel winding

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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.

For our returns and cancellation policy relating to mail order sales, on the above menu bar click on shop info then select mail order.