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It shows how time has flown by when I start to look at previous sales, only to see such guitars come back into stock at a later date  – Take this used Fender Custom Shop 1960 Relic Strat with an aged vintage white finish – The certificate indicates it is a 2013 model – Yet I recall it only seems like yesterday when I sold it to the previous owner – I can vouch for the fact that it has only been played at home, has being well cared for and not used to often – No fret wear whatsoever – Complete with the brown tolex vintage style case as well as the appropriate certificate – Re-strung, checked and set-up with a new set of 10’s and a fluid easy action that responds to a light touch – See below my original notes for this Strat from when I first posted it on my web site back in 2013 – All details are still valid

Can I tell you one of the worse things about this, or indeed many other fine Fender Custom Shop Strats ? – And that is you can’t tell how good they are just by looking at a few pictures – Sure I’ve listed all the spec and details below, yet even Wordsworth, Shelley, Dickens and Shakespeare, working in collaboration, would not be able to find enough suitable adjectives, or indeed the right poetic phrases, that can adequately capture and deliver all the magical mojo that is held within this Strat – On paper and even when lined up on a showroom wall, initially it is hard to distinguish one Strat from another, as feel, tone and playability are three key components that place one Strat above another, so taking that point on board, your eyes serve very little purpose

I can tell you that I hand picked this 1960 Fender Custom Shop Strat for stock, following a showroom visit from the UK’s Fender Custom Shop product specialist – Upon first evaluating such Strats for stock, I pay no attention to the spec and features, as at this stage I almost see them as irrelevant – I play them for a few minutes, or sometimes even just for a few seconds, to see if they possess the relevant key ingredients, coupled with some magical mojo, that sets them apart from ‘less desirable’ examples – I’ve stated before that the unplugged tone is a great place to start as ‘it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring’ and even at this stage weight alone is not a key ingredient, as 4-8 oz either way will not ensure it is a good, or indeed a bad Strat – Yet just a few seconds of that ‘hands on’ evaluation is all that is required for me to a) select a guitar for stock or b) to put it back in the box and let another dealer buy it – To me this Strat captures the appropriate magical qualities that leaves you wanting to play it more and more

However I would now like to add the following comment that I feel might be essential to help you with your buying decision, so here are the full spec and details:- 

Aged vibe :-  This 1960 spec’d Strat captures the vibe of a guitar that is nearly 60 years old, but not to the point that it looks worn out – Plenty of character, with that desirable vintage mojo – Less in the way of serious nicks, dings, dints and wear, yet plenty of lacquer checking, whilst the nitro finish possesses an off white ‘creamy’ vibe – You can buy it and play it without trying to keep it in pristine condition, hence you don’t need to worry about giving it the kids glove treatment – Additionally the relic finish allows Fender to utilise a thin nitro finish, which in turn allows the alder body to resonant, without been strangled by a thick base coat and filler – Play this Strat acoustically and you can instantly hear a vibrant unplugged voice

Feel/Playability – The neck is spec’d  with the popular 60’s Oval C profile, hence that pure vintage feel, with an extra ounce of meat on it – Modern upgrades include a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, along with a set of medium jumbo frets – As such a set of 10’s now feel slinky and allows the guitar to be set-up with a slick and fluid playing action – Furthermore string bending is effortless and controllable, with no choking out as you rip into big blues bends – Hence the perfect combination of the vintage feel, coupled with a modern slick playing performance – The neck starts of with that ‘melt in your hand’ C profile that is .833″ deep at the top nut end, then fills out to  .947″ depth at the 12th fret – The thin nitro finish on the rear of the maple neck has been lightly cut back for more of a satin vibe, which helps to deliver some of that ‘played in’ character, without the sticky feel of a new nitro gloss finish – This is further enriched with rolled fingerboard edges

Tonal character :- It is so easy to say this sounds like a Strat – They all do somehow, yet equally they all have a slightly different character – Yet as an overview a good Strat should supply you with attack, crisp highs, rounded lows and warm mids, along with plenty of soul and passion – This Strat possesses shed loads of such attributes – The ’69’ neck and middle pick-ups, with grey bobbins, are both from the Hendrix era – Probably Fender’s least powerful pick-up, but this is about tonal character, not power – The 69 pick-ups deliver a voice that is luxurious, soft and melodic, with less mids, hence more transparent, that helps to emphasis the highs and lows – Today the likes of John Mayer favour them big time – They are melodic for lead licks and those tasteful riffs, yet percussive, with great attack, for Texas style bass lines and chord patterns – Overall think Wind Cries Mary and Little Wing at its best  – Now on to the bridge pick-up – The 69’s are great at the neck end, but can be a touch to weak in the bridge position, hence the choice of Texas Special  for this Strat – You can drive the amp towards the ‘red line’ and let it cook up some overdrive for hot blues and rock – Play it with the guitars volume pot on 10 and it possesses bite and edge with plenty of depth and body so it never sounds weak or under cooked – So for more of a controlled approach, roll the volume pot down a touch and you’ll experience a softer chilled out voice – Furthermore the bottom tone pot now works for both middle and bridge positions, so if you find the bridge pick-up a touch fierce and spikey at times, then just roll it off a touch until you find that sweet spot

This Strat sounds so warm and rich on clean amp settings and certainly can handle hi-gain amp settings, but like many vintage flavoured Strats, it shows its full character when you choose more of a subtle rock/blues overdriven amp setting – This way, you and the guitar can control the amp and tonal character via the volume pot – As such all the expression and soul that goes with it is at your finger tips – It has no problem with chilled out soulful passages, with the volume pot rolled off towards 6 or 7 – This is now a great place for your base tone as it still retains the guitars tonal quality, albeit more chilled out – Then as and when you require that full blown turbo option, just open the pot back towards 10 – Hence so much soul, emotion and expression is instantly available to you, so use it accordingly

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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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