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Many great attributes are loaded into this New Fender Custom Shop 59 Journeyman Relic Strat – As a Custom Shop dealer I have purchased many guitars following a showroom visit by the UK product specialists – Such visits allowed me the opportunity to hand pick a few nice examples – I also order a few guitars following the release of Limited Edition models at the winter NAMM Show in LA – Equally I custom order many guitars via the Custom Shop ‘ala carte menu’ – Custom orders are often based on a specific model I had in stock a while ago, that I felt captured some magical mojo – I’ll take such a ‘chassis’ and then tweak a few features accordingly – The latter is how this Fender Custom Shop 59 Journeyman Relic Strat, with a super cool ‘aged sea foam green’ finish, recently arrived into stock – Its aesthetic qualities are more than matched by how it feels, plays and sounds

Full spec sheet details etc for 59 Journeyman Relic Strat :-

Journeyman Nitro Relic finish :- Maybe I can sum this up nice and easily  – Plenty of played in character, plenty of lacquer checking, plenty of fade, but far less wear and tear, dings or dints, than  you’ll find on a relic finish – Hence more of a used, but not abused, character – Many will say the Journeyman aged character looks far more authentic

Transition period :- From it’s introduction in 1954 through until the CBS takeover in 1965, Leo Fender was regularly carrying out tweaks to the spec of the Strat, but maybe the biggest change was with regard to the fingerboard – Changes started to be implemented in 1959 when the rosewood fingerboard first appeared – The 11 hole, 3 ply scratchplate, appeared a touch later, but for 1959 we saw the change from an 8 hole singly scratchplate, to a 3 ply 8 hole scratchplate – The neck profile was also reduced in girth, from the early 54 chunky profile, to a more ‘user friendly’ profile – Read more below

Playing performance :-   The feel of the 1/4 sawn maple neck is pure vintage with a very comfortable C profile, that is far more easy to handle than the larger necks found on most 50’s Strats  – Spec’d with a  ’59 Esquire’ C neck profile that possesses half an ounce of extra meat on it – A regular 60’s C profile measures .790″ to .930″, whereas the 59 Esquire C comes in at .830″ around the top nut end, then gently tapers to .985″ around the 12th fret – You can feel the extra touch of meat, but in no way does it feel fat or chunky, yet somehow the additional depth adds something extra to the guitars tonal character – The thin nitro finish on the rear of the neck has been cut back just enough, for more of a satin ‘played in’ character, that is further enhanced with ‘rolled’ fingerboard edges – The back of the neck feels silky smooth – The fingerboard itself is brought into the 21st century, to enhance the playing performance – Hence it is spec’d with a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, plus a set of Dunlop 6100 jumbo frets – This allows you to dig in and attack those big blues bends, yet even with a slinky playing action you’ll find it both easy to bend and no choking out either – Set up with a set of 10’s and a playing action that easily responds to a light touch – As such cascading licks and tricks are easy to handle – Despite killer looks and tonal character, the guitars greatest asset is the playing performance

Tonal Character :-  Pure vintage Strat at its finest – That tight percussive snap and attack is all present and correct, with big clear lows and sparkling highs, that shimmer and glisten – Just enough mids to fatten up the tonal character without been overpowering or muddy – Play it un-plugged and as I always quote ‘it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got the ring’ and this Strat possesses a vibrant acoustic voice, with plenty of body  – Plug it in and listen to a set of hand wound ’59’ pick-ups, that feature alnico V magnets plus formvar windings – Pure vintage sounding with all 3 pick-ups measuring around 5.72K – Not quite as hot as a Texas SRV voice, but always rounded, rich, warm and smooth, with plenty of zip and zing, that at all times sounds musical – On clean amp settings, all 5 switch settings sound funky, for those Chic style rhythm chops – So much so that it is hard to decide which settings sounds the best, as all are more than useful – Play around with clean or overdriven amp settings, then roll off the Strat’s volume pot to around 6 or 7, which you’ll find is an ideal place to set up your base camp – Then morph between 6-10 as required – As such you’ll find this Strat is loaded with soul, emotion and expression

On hi-gain amp settings the Strat’s volume pot effectively acts as the gain pot, so on 10 you are on the limit, whilst around 6,7 or 8 it sounds more smooth and in control – On classic rock/blues overdriven amp settings, the Strat’s volume pot will now clean up the gain, for that chilled out ‘cleaner’ blues voice that is enhanced with just enough gain – Sultry Dave Gilmour to hot blues and it is all there waiting for you to explore – The bridge pick-up can bite and kick shins, but does not enter the harsh world of ice pick attack – It sounds full and tight so great for power chords and riffs – The neck pick-up is succulent and lush, with no shortage of snap, with clear highs and rounded lows that stay crisp and clear – Don’t forget to check out those infectious ‘out of phase’ quack tones that are so musical sounding – More crisp and snap on the middle/bridge combination – More depth on the middle/neck combination – Try this Strat for the power chord classic pop/rock styles of say Bryan Adams, the blues of SRV, Mayer or Hendrix, the cleaner voice of Knopfler, Gilmour or even Hank – Either way you’ll quickly find this Strat is loaded with expression and responds to how you play it

Blend control pot :- Wired with a master volume and master tone pot, that operates all 3 pick-ups on all 5 switch positions – However a neat mod that is becoming increasingly popular is the blend control pot, that you’ll find in place of the traditional bottom ‘tone pot’ – Select the bridge pick-up and with the blend pot on 10 you’ll still have access to the bridge pick-up on its own – Now roll the blend pot  back to 1, to experience the neck and bridge pick-up working together – As such it effectively provides some of the character of a Tele when both pick-ups are selected – You’ll hear that It adds a touch more depth to the bridge pick-up – Try different levels between 1 and 10 on the blend pot, for subtle yet effective variations, as required

Grease bucket mod on the master tone pot :- Again a simple and very effective tweak, with a capacitor across two of the contacts on the tone pot – It allows you to roll of the highs via the tone pot, yet it still retains the same level of gain on the amp – So if you find the highs a touch to harsh and piercing at times, roll off the tone pot as required, to soften those highs, yet it will make no impact on the gain level that you require , so it will still sing but in a more melodic manner

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Call: 01335 345777 or email: mark@guitars4you.co.uk. Please note that showrooms visits are strictly by appointment only.

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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.