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A new year arrives, so time for Fender to release a selection of classic guitars,  as part of  their ‘annual collection’ – As such, 2019 sees the introduction of this new Fender Custom Shop Post Modern Journeyman Relic Strat, with a supa cool faded ice blue metallic finish, complimented by a ‘shell’ pick guard – Lightly aged to capture some of that ‘played in mojo’ – Highly spec’d from tip to toe and that includes a set of hand wound pick-ups

So what is a Postmodern Strat ? With over 40 years of experience behind me in the guitar business, it is so easy to get blasé about marketing claims, regarding new products, from any of the big name brands within our trade – After all, how many times can you reinvent the wheel – So when I first heard Fender claim that the  Postmodern Strat is ‘a thoroughly contemporary take on  a time honoured classic’ you can’t help but think, seen it, heard it, played it, but not for me, so let’s move – Maybe in various formats, Fender have tried to blend attributes of an old Strat with features found on a new Strat, yet consistently failed to sell them in any quantity – Granted some sold better than others, but they have always represented a small part of Fender’s sale revenue – I have to say that maybe this time they have cracked the code – If we all adopted a blind fold test when we test drive and evaluate any potential new purchase, then this Strat would be a very popular guitar – We can all get stuck in our ways regarding changes to a classic design – Yet remember the 2 following points  1) many of the modern tweaks on the Postmodern Strat can already be found on select Custom Shop models and even original 50’s and 60’s vintage models, that are owned and played by our hero’s  2) Let’s assume the Strat had never yet been invented and today saw the launch of a new guitar, that was going to take the guitar world by storm, then I can assure you that this new Strat would possess more of the spec and features of Postmodern Strat, than the 50’s and 60’s models that were released so many years ago  – I’m knocked out by it  – Don’t get me wrong as I’m not saying all vintage flavoured Strats are  inferior, but I am saying check out a Postmodern Strat when you try a vintage flavoured Strat, then judge for yourself which suits you best – Call me a cynical grumpy old git who is set in my ways, but I’m not easily hooked on new concoctions in the guitar world, yet the Postmodern Strat has a hell of a lot of things going for it, certainly with regards to the playing performance – As Fender state on their web site ‘This Strat is elegantly designed with a reappraisal of modern assumptions’

Full product details for Fender Custom Shop Post Modern Strat, with a journeyman relic finish :-

Lightly aged ‘Journeyman’ character :-   I fully appreciate that not all guitar players buy into the seriously aged vibe that you’ll find on many  Custom Shop Strats – With this in mind, a thin nitro Journeyman finish takes on more of a  lightly aged approach, that some might say is more authentic – This ‘faded ice blue metallic ‘ finish possesses played in character, with far less scars and wear than you’ll find on many other Relic models  – You’ll find no shortage of lacquer checking , yet overall it receives far less dings and dints, with very little in the way of a worn finish that reveals the alder body – Aged, but not abused, might be a fair remark, therefore the Journeyman finish is a far more subtle approach to finding a Strat with some played in character – Hence you can  buy it and play it, without having to give it the kids gloves treatment, then getting upset regarding any nicks and grazes that it will inevitably acquire

Playing performance :- The feel of the actual neck on this Post Modern Strat is 100% old school – It is the popular classic 60’s oval C neck profile that is found on many Strats from the early 60’s – The honey tint nitro finish has been cut back, so it feels silky smooth and played in from day one – It looks played in as well with the ‘dirty/worn’ character – The change on the Post Modern Strat is 22 medium Jumbo frets along with a 12″ fingerboard radius – A 12″ is favoured by the likes of Eric Johnson and Kenny Wayne Shepherd – It allows for a slick, well balanced and easy action, coupled with effortless string bending and no choking out when you dig into those big moody blues bends  – Far more slick than many vintage flavoured Strats, especially those with smaller frets – Set-up with a set of 10-46 gauge strings and an easy action that will respond to a light touch – The trem assembly has been factory set with the trem base plate sitting against the alder body – It adds to the guitars resonance – The trem will still allow for down pitch and only light pressure is required on the trem arm itself, in order to accomplish any down pitch – Of course I can adjust the set-up to suit your own taste  – The contoured body neck join is just a simple and neat mod, that allows for easy and comfortable access to the top end – It is almost as though all Strats should have such a feature

Tonal character :-  Played acoustically you can instantly hear this Strat possesses a big vibrant voice – You can actually feel it ring as well –  At  the heart of the tone department, you’ll find a set of well balanced hand wound Custom Shop pick-ups that all utilise alnico V magnets  – A lush sounding ’69’ pick-up in the neck position that measures 5K – A spanky crisp Fat 50’s sits in the middle position that measures 6K, whilst a hotter Texas Special sits in the bridge position and kicks out 6K  – All designed to offer a selection of well balanced voices across all 5 switch settings  – The combination of a vibrant alder body, a rosewood fingerboard, plus a calibrated set of hand wound pick-ups, ensures that authentic 60’s based Strat tone is delivered, with transparent mids, delicious deep and rounded lows that are crystal clear, plus warm sparkling highs that glisten – Overall this Strat has a spanky, lively and crisp voice, with plenty of body and energy – Stroke the strings for a more tender voice, or with more gust for that snap and attack that makes a Strat so infectious – This pick up combination covers the classic rock and blues tones of Hendrix, through to the driving Texas shuffles and lead work of SRV, or the hot blues work of Rory Gallagher- It can be succulent, warm and silky, or deliver more edge and bite, as required – The 69 pick-up in the neck position, complete with grey bobbins is straight from the Hendrix era – Probably the least powerful of all the Fender single coil pick-ups, but it is not about power – It’s about the tender silky smooth voice that it can deliver, with warm sparkling clarity – Just think Little Wing at its finest – The bridge pick-up is hotter and adds guts to power chords and riffs, or enough bite and girth to allow solos to sing and scream – Many players don’t favour the middle position on its own very often, put the tone of the middle pick-up is essential to aid those two ‘out of phase’ tones,  so you’ll hear plenty of quack that makes them sound so infectious – Warmer from the neck/middle combination and more crisp from the middle/bridge combination

This Strat is totally loaded with soul, emotion and expression – So to maximise the guitars expressive character, utilise the master volume and tone control, which function on all 3 pick-ups and all 5 switch settings – Set up the amp with some overdrive and initially the Strat on 10 – Now roll back the volume pot until you find that magical sweet spot, that is more chilled and laid back – You’ll still experience the Strats true colours and expressive qualities, but now you’ll have a cleaner voice – This can be your base camp which will now allow you to wind the Strat back towards 10, as and when you require more bite, edge and gain – Almost a built in turbo boost option to utilise as and when required – Subtle, yet effective tweaks, on the volume and indeed the tone pot, add so much expression to this Strat – A plus point is the bridge pick-up is now wired to the tone pot, hence with overdriven amp settings, if you find it a touch harsh or fizzy, then a subtle roll off on the volume and or tone pot will produce a warmer voice that is more tender – Hence either option is there as and when required – From subtle  blues overdriven amp settings, to full on overdriven amp settings, this Strat allows you to fine tune the voice to suit – Hence as I mentioned earlier, it is loaded with soul, emotion and expression and it is part of the reason that a £3239 price tag can be fully justified

 

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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.

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