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Most of you will be fully aware how successful Fender have been, for many years now, with a host of vintage replicas from the Custom Shop team – Many have been built with ‘modern upgrades’ such as a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, coupled with a set of chunky frets – Additionally and certainly somewhat of a contentious  ‘Marmite’ issue, is the option of buying a new guitar with an aged finish, be it subtle or looking like someone has beat the crap out off it – Yet the bulk of sales for the Custom Shop team is thanks to aged replicas, with 9.5″ radius, plus a set of chunky frets – So this used Fender Custom Shop NOS Strat, from 2000, with a white blonde finish on an ash body, is somewhat of a rarity, thanks to a pure vintage 7.25″ fingerboard radius, along with a set of vintage frets – So very much old school and pure vintage – Additionally this was built with a new shiny NOS gloss finish, so at the time it looked new – More on this later, but after been played for over 20 years it has now acquired some natural ‘lightly aged character’

Previously owned/played by a professional musician/teacher – It has lost its original certificate but I have obtained a replacement COA, but all such replacement COA’s are dated with a current date – Going back to 2000 and no Shop Floor Traveller Sheet was included back then – Additionally back around 2000, most guitars were commissioned either by Fender USA, or by various Fender distribution channels throughout the world – ie Fender EU/UK, Fender Japan etc etc – So compared with today, where most models are custom spec’d and ordered either by the dealer or by you, the end user – Yet after submitting the serial number of this 56 NOS Strat, to the UK Fender office,  I managed to obtain a more basic ‘spec sheet’ which indicates this was originally commissioned as part of a run for Yamano, who are a major dealer/distributor in Japan – You often find various Gibson vintage replicas that have been commissioned by Yamano – So how it ended up in the UK then I can’t pass any comment, other than it won’t be the first Yamano spec’d Fender or Gibson that I’ve seen for sale in the UK, or indeed the USA – A one piece ash body, coupled with a birds eye maple neck/fingerboard, as per this 56 Strat, are ‘upgraded aesthetic features’ that Yamano would often request

Originality/changes :- As I mentioned above, this 56 NOS Strat had been played on a regular basis by a professional musician/teacher – For whatever reason, the scratchplate, pick-ups and wiring loom had been changed, but certainly not unusual for such changes by a pro guitarist – Yet I could not account for the type/make of pick-ups, scratchplate or wiring loom that were fitted to it when I acquired it – As I hate offering any such guitar for sale when I can’t comment on such key features, then in my view it is better to edit changes as required – As such it is now spec’d with a new set of Fender Custom Shop Fat 50’s pick-ups – A new Fender Custom Shop, single ply, 8 hole parchment, that I had lying around in my spares box – Additionally I’ve fitted a ‘screening plate’ under the scratchplate and around the wiring loom – An upgrade over the traditional ‘foil’ – Then I purchased a whole new wiring loom from Six String Supplies, so a superior upgrade with regards to the quality and taper of the pots – CRL switch, Switchcraft socket, 250K Premium CTS pots with custom audio taper  – So granted the electric department is not original, but many would accept such changes are an improvement to what would have been the original spec

In no particular order I’ve listed a host of product details below :- 

Condition wise :- After been played on a fairly regular basis for a number of years it is no longer in that ‘as new mint condition’ – Yet equally it does not look like it has been abused, played in a punk band, or spent to many nights in the Red Lion, every weekend in a blues band – Over the last 20 years, or so, it has acquired some natural lacquer checking and a touch of ‘sinkage’ which is par for the course of an original 50’s Strat, thanks to a thin nitro finish – Any additional grazes, nicks or scuff marks are fairly subtle, yet nothing nasty at all and nothing that has ‘punctured’ the gloss finish – So played yet well cared for – Clean frets – So some natural wear, so you can buy it and play it, without having to give it the ‘kids glove’ treatment

Tonal character :- For now let’s ignore the Custom Shop Fat 50’s pick-ups – Just plug this Strat into your favourite amp and play around with the pots, to see what soul, emotion and expression is hidden with in this Strat – The quality and taper of the pots allows the volume control to fully function as an expression control, especially on subtle, crunch, hi-gain overdriven amp settings, so dial in clean to dirt, or chilled to hot, as required – Sure you can leave the pots on 10 at all times – But such an approach does not show the guitars full potential – The Custom Shop Fat 50’s pick-ups are very much from the traditional vintage camp – They are not quite as hot as those that deliver the Texas SRV voice, but they are 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 now 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

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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.