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Custom Shop Stratocaster Help

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by MohnJayer1, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. MohnJayer1

    MohnJayer1 New Member!

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    Hello Everyone,

    Im brand new to these forums. I'd like to start off by saying hi!

    I've been a Les Paul Player for years now but have recently fallen in love with the feel and sound of Stratocasters.

    While I own custom shop Les Pauls, I've been exclusively playing my cheap Squier Stratocaster for the past four months! With this in mind, I am looking to sell one of my Les Pauls and upgrade to a custom shop Stratocaster.

    I am somewhat confused on the offerings between stratocaster reissue years and would like to fully understand the differences.

    As far as I understand, the 50's stratocasters used ash bodies (later transitioning to alder) and maple fretboards. The 60's models typically use alder bodies and rosewood fretboards (slab or laminated), which were introduced in 1959, if I understand that correctly as well!

    Further, Ive noticed the fretboard inlays may differ from year to year as well.

    I have a few questions:

    Are there any major differences for pre-cbs strat years that I have missed? Over which years do the fretboard inlays differ? Is the tonal difference between ash and alder differentiable? Is there a sound or feel difference between a laminated vs slab rosewood board? Lastly, is there anything else I should be aware of in terms of functional differences between stratocaster reissue years?

    Due to my location, I am forced to order online as my local shops have very few custom shop models. Thus, I would greatly appreciate your help to fully understand the differences in reissue models.

    Thank you for your help!
     
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  2. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Welcome to ST.

    Please post pics of your Les Pauls and your Squier. We love them both here.

    If you must order online, checkout Sweetwater and Wildwood. At least they list weights and Wildwood also lists neck measurements. Both are easy to work with if there’s an issue with the guitar. Sweetwater will measure specific necks on request.
     
  3. tery

    tery Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Welcome to Strat-Talk :)
     
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  4. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

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    The '50s maple necks were solid maple, there was no separate piece of wood for a fretboard.
    When the maple option returned in the late 1960s they did use a separate maple cap for the fretboard.
    example - Hendrix's two 1968 maple Strats

    Early '60s dot markers were plain white-ish "clay".
    Beginning in late Dec 1964 pearloid plastic dots replaced the clay and continued until the early 1980s for rosewood fretboard necks.
    Tonal differences are the subject of much debate, and generally considered small or inconsequential.
    I prefer the mid-'60s curved rosewood boards but not because of any audible tone differences.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
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  5. Bikerdude2

    Bikerdude2 Strat-Talker

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    Welcome! I’m a new strat guy myself. Great people here!
     
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  6. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Strat-Talker

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    I notice a slight difference in tone between alder and ash. Alder seems to have more of a spank on the attack and the overall tone focuses on the high mids. Ash has a more rounded attack and the overall tone focuses on the mids. It's a subtle difference but I have noticed it. Both will produce a great Strat tone.
     
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  7. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Strats Amore Strat-Talk Supporter

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    There are also differences between 50s and 60s era pickups... this search might help with such a deep (& sensitive!) topic. :)
     
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  8. garyhoos1

    garyhoos1 Huffing n Puffing. Strat-Talk Supporter

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    To me the major differences are pick ups, which as you probably know you can swap and change to your own preference, i have rosewood, maple, maple cap and ebony the only one that stands out slightly in that lot is the ebony unplugged a little brighter.

    I would hate to choose a Lester on line without trying so i understand your question but not the greatest answer good luck :thumb:

    Oh and Welcome.
     
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  9. jrbirdman

    jrbirdman Senior Stratmaster

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    Welcome to ST
    You may want to give some consideration to the Eric Johnson signature strat. They have a 12" radius neck and superb pick ups. I prefer my EJ strats over my custom shop strat in both feel, sound and playability.
    Good luck!
     
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  10. perttime

    perttime Strat-O-Master

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    To me, one of the major difference in strats is neck profiles: thicknesses, widths, shapes and fingerboard radius. They have been all over the place over the decades. I seem to adapt pretty well to different necks, they just steer me in different directions in playing.

    You might want to decide what kind of a neck you want.

    There's also been big variations in body contours from slim and flowing to somewhat chunky and angular.
     
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  11. MohnJayer1

    MohnJayer1 New Member!

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    I appreciate that. I really wish I had a shop locally where I could try the guitars out in person, but unfortunately I do not. Flying somewhere or driving out of province to try guitars would be impractical for me, thus I'm restricted to online purchases and relying on the sellers descriptions to provide me with a guitar that I'll love. I've heard fantastic things about Wildwood, ill check-out Sweetwater as well.

    I am pretty adaptable to neck sizes as well. I have tried a few 50's reissue stratocasters and the necks are a bit chunky for my liking. I'd most likely lean towards a 60's style neck (much like the current neck on my squier) as I find it quite comfortable to wrap my hand around the fretboard to use hendrix-style chords.

    I prefer both the feel and look of a rosewood board. I am also eyeing something with a slight-relic to it. Preferably, a journeyman relic. Thus, I am restricted to the roadworn series or the custom shop. While the roadworn series looks to be of great value, I'd rather take the leap and invest in a custom shop reissue model.

    Thanks for all of the help so far!
     
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  12. Dewey

    Dewey Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    If a CS guitar is in your price range I say do it. They are awesome guitars. I have two CS Strats. I've never regretted buying a CS Strat. I've always bought mine online.
     
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  13. Rufustelestrat

    Rufustelestrat Senior Stratmaster

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    Caveat 1: THey are nice but so are many of the standard production signature models like the EJ. If you buy un-played, then I suggest a company that has a generous return policy. Its a lot of money sight un played so to speak.
     
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  14. MohnJayer1

    MohnJayer1 New Member!

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    I appreciate the help! I am located in Canada. Purchasing a guitar from the states and seeking a return will be a bit of a hassle with CITES. Since the only previous stratocaster I've owned is a squier, I understand that this is also quite a jump in terms of production quality. I will definitely seek out a reputable dealer to assist me as best as possible in finding a suitable product sight un-seen.

    I've heard amazing things about Wildwood and will try to conduct my business with them!

    Thanks again folks!
     
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  15. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

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    Your well on your way to a sweet Strat. I too come from the Gibson group.
     
  16. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

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    Here is my 72

    20170801_204331.jpg
     
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  17. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

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    I found my "perfect Strat" in a 60th Anniversary Commemorative...

    Front1-2.JPG
     
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  18. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

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    There are a bunch of great Strats out there from all the years. The rest of the group's comments have me leaning to an Eric Johnson model. And I generally shy away from artists models.

    Let's see those Gibbys and Squire.

    And yes, a hearty Welcome!
     
  19. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster

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    I’m gonna play devils advocate here - I had a time machine series CS relic and their was nothing about it that justified the price premium over a decent AVRI...
     
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  20. Dewey

    Dewey Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I've had AVRI's that were every bit as good as a CS guitar. I have one CS that is my favourite. I have one AVRI now that is as nice as some CS guitars I have played.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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