Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: October 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

New Guitar!! Bought a Custom Shop '60 Relic Strat

Well, I walked into the local Memphis Guitar Center just innocently shopping for inexpensive stuff when I mistakenly picked up this Strat. I instantly fell in love with it and had to have it. I demo'ed it on a Savage amp in the "Vault" at Guitar Center and I was able to really tell a difference in the tone of this guitar versus my other Strats. It was both chimey and ballsy at the same time, and the neck and middle pickups were just insane with tone. Once I got it home and played it on my amp I was not disappointed.

This CS Strat is the 1960 Relic Stratocaster. Fender Relic guitars (also known as the "Time Machine" series) are "aged" by the Custom Shop to show years of wear and abuse. They really do a good job of this, and all the nicks, scratches and dings look believable and are placed logically over the areas of the body where you'd expect wear to appear on a guitar as old as one from the 60's. Another cool thing they did is coat it with a "thinskin" nitrocellulose lacquer (just like the originals back in the 50's and 60's), which is a natural type of lacquer that wears over time giving the guitar that cool look everybody loves. So this guitar will continue to "relic" the more I play it, which is neat. ;)

They send out these guitars from the factory strung with 10's. I normally play with a hybrid set on most of my other guitars that is a combo of 10's on the wound strings and 9's on the unwounds. I plan to continue stringing this guitar with a regular 10 set. I like the tone I get with 10's on it, and since it has the tight 7.25" radius, it further benefits from the slightly thicker strings which help reduce buzzing. The action is a tad higher on this one than I am normally used to, but I do plan to mostly play blues with it and the cleaner tones I'll be dialing in need to be as buzz free as possible. It's taking some time, but I am adjusting to the stiffer action and strings nicely. ;)

The pickups on these Strats are the 60's series which, quite frankly, sound amazing! I can really get a nice bell-like tone or a super growling, fat SRV tone depending on the pickup selected and my amp settings. Very versatile tonally. I can imagine playing everything from Surf and early rock to Funk and Blues with ease. A Strat like this is capable of it all. Check out a quick clip I did on the neck pickup. Not the most shining example of my playing, but you can at least get an idea of how it sounds. :) Amp used: '64 Fender Deluxe Reverb.

The frets are the thin and short vintage wire, which is admittedly not my favorite, but the extra roundness of the fretboard helps make chording easier... however, the roundness and low wire do add more friction when bending strings. I am considering changing this wire when it's time to do a re-fret. That will be a while from now, but nevertheless I'm thinking about changing it to something more like Dunlop 6105 (which is skinner than jumbo, but just as tall).

Fender also gives you a certificate with your Strat to prove authenticity. There are other goodies in the case (and it is a nice case, I might add!). They give you a guitar polishing cloth, a Fender cable, ashtray cover for the bridge, a 5-way selector switch in case you don't like the stock 3-way and some extra springs for those people who like to put telephone cables on their guitars. :)

I am very pleased with this Strat! More to come as I set it up and continue to break her in...

What do you think about CS Strats? Click Here to leave a comment.