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The bulk of Fender Custom Shop sales revolve around replica models, from the pre-CBS golden era – But not all players favour the ‘old’ approach – Back in the late 70’s, Schecter Guitars helped to influence the ‘hot rod modern’ approach, with the likes of Mark Knopfler playing such a custom built guitar – Later, boutique companies like Anderson, Suhr and Tyler, continued with the modern approach, with the introduction of various ‘hot rod’ models, all built on a Strat chassis – In the early 80’s Fender introduced the ‘modern’ format to their catalogue, with the introduction of the Strat Elite – But for one reason or another it never really took off  – By the late 80’s Fender found success with the USA Strat Plus, with the likes of Jeff Beck favouring such a guitar – As the years have moved on, Fender have continued with the ‘modern’ format, be it the AM Strat Deluxe, Professional, Ultra etc – All with ‘modern’ tweaks, such as a flatter fingerboard radius, 22 chunky frets, 2 point modern fulcrum trem, noiseless pick-ups, locking tuners, plus truss rod adjustment by the top nut end etc etc   – Often with a host of fresh and exciting colour options – For many years now, the Custom Shop team have released various runs of  ‘modern’ models, often known as a Custom Deluxe Strat, or Custom Classic Strat  – I’ve personally owned an original USA Strat Plus for a few years now, so yes I have a soft spot for them – As a result, going back to around 2010, I asked the Custom Shop team to build a small run of Custom Classic models for me, that captured some of the magic of the original USA Strat Plus – One such guitar I had commissioned was this Fender Custom Shop Custom Classic Relic Strat, with a supa cool taos turquoise aged finish – The certificate indicates a 2011 date of birth, hence a used model that is now around 12 years old – I know the full history of this Strat, having ordered it, sold it and now have it back in the shop, ready for sale – One careful owner within that time – So read below by evaluation report with a host of details :-

Aged finish :- Taos turquoise is a rare custom colour finish from the 50’s era – I thought it looked so cool, plus fits in with other ‘pastel’ shades that Fender choose for the original Strat Plus models in the late 80’s – In short, in my opinion, it looks as though Fender could, or should have chosen it back in the late 80’s to be part of the Strat Plus range – No shortage of wear, tear, dings and lacquer checking, so no need to worry about playing it and giving it the kids glove treatment – The fingerboard and neck both adopt that ‘worn played in’ approach

Playability :-  Like the original Strat Plus and indeed many ‘modern Strats’ this Custom Classic Strat is spec’d with a slightly wider fingerboard – Measures 43mm, which equates to 1 11/16″ at the top nut end – Small differential of 1/16″ that makes it a similar width to many Gibson Guitars – The modern approach continues with 22 medium jumbo frets, along with a 12″ fingerboard radius – As such it allows for a slinky set-up, that responds to a light touch – It allows for easy/effortless and controlled string bending without any choking out – The neck profile is termed as a ‘modern C’ profile – A touch slimmer than many vintage spec’d models – Not as skinny as you’ll find on many Ibanez Guitars (or similar) with a Wizard profile – Overall a slim to medium profile – The combination of locking tuners, LSR Roller Nut and a modern 2 point fulcrum trem provides you with a package that feels smooth and positive – Very responsive and trouble free tuning for most players – The trem package that Jeff Beck favoured, so no finer recomendation than that

Tonal character :- Two big plus factors that come with a set of Gold Lace Sensor pick-ups  are a) no noise and b) no string pull, which is common on low E strings and can give you a ‘bum’ note that just sounds awful – The combination of an ash body, coupled with a maple neck/fingerboard will give such a guitar a lively crisp character, with no shortage of snap – Easy to say Lace Sensor pick-ups retain the single coil nature of a Strat – Yet in reality, Strats from different eras possess slightly different tonal characteristics, for one reason or another – So all Strat flavoured, but with variations within that band width, some of which are more subtle than others – As an overview I’d say the Lace Sensor pick-ups are a touch smoother with less sparkly highs – Not moody or muddy – But more lush and slightly less bright – Maybe more Dave Gilmour and less Robert Cray if that makes sense – Many Strats are itching to get onto overdriven amp settings but the Lace Sensor pick-ups love clean based amp tones – Hi-gain amp settings are more warm and melodic and less on the edge, whilst more subtle overdriven amp settings allow this Strat to show its true character – On such overdriven amp settings the volume pot will allow you to dial in/out subtle but effective changes of gain, that adds more soul and emotion to your – Overall, no shortage of tonal variation to dive into, 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.