10 Days with a Road Worn Strat

JRSIV

Stuck in the Middle Position
Silver Member
Sep 22, 2009
284
Las Vegas, NV
20210910_164740.jpg


I previously posted a NGD thread about this guitar about 10 day's ago here:

https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/ngd-2016-fender-road-worn-50s-stratocaster.571372/#post-4472808

Before this year I hadn't bought a new guitar since 2009. I've owned 50+ at times in the past but had downsized to the essential few and was very happy with them. The world went ass over tea kettle last year and between long days at home in lockdown and some savings burning a hole in my jockeys, I kinda went on a tear...buying several since March.

I had always wanted a Road Worn Strat but circumstances never gelled. Going through Reverb for hours, as is my wont, I found this 2016 Road Worn. The seller was cool and after a bit of haggling I bought it.

This past week and change has been pretty mind blowing. I dig this guitar so much and felt compelled to write this novella to see if any of my Strat Talk bretheren have had any similar experiences.

First off, I've played dozens of vintage Strat's. Never owned one, but I worked in a Mom & Pop music store that carried a lot of vintage gear. That said, I'm no expert by any means but I do know why those guitars are so revered (past the fact that their valuable).

This RW has some unbelievable volume and resonance played unplugged. I've never had an electric guitar that felt so 'alive' vibrating against my body. To me basic physics dictates that a piece of wood cacooned in a hard plastic shell is going to react differently than a lacquer finished one. This is the first nitro guitar I've owned and it's a palpable phenomenon.

Another thing that made this deal so sweet was that the previous owner had installed Custom Shop Custom '54 pickups in the guitar (the original Tex-Mex pups were included as well). These pickups are completely their own thing, nothing I have sounds like these.

Usually a set of pickups will have very different timbres and sound profiles based on the pickup engaged. For instance the Custom Shop Fat 50's in my American Standard have a pronounced difference between the positions. The bridge pup sounds like a bridge pup, if you get what I mean.

These 54's have a character that is present in all positions. Yes the bridge gets a bit spiky, but the while the neck warms up it doesn't totally sound different from the bridge if that makes sense. I mean it's hard to explain...there's a uniformity and cohesion with these pickups that is incredible to hear.

So I get this very clean, woody sparkle throughout the 5 positions. It's just insane. This RW has been my go to everytime I go into the studio, I just sit in front of the pedalboard and run through combinations. Just running through a Boss Blues Driver into a Keeley Abbey Chamber pedal for a hint of air sounds divine. The sustain is freaky; I'll yaggerjang an A chord Townshend style and the chord just floats for so long.

Enough self-fellation for now, I'm just curious if other Road Worn owners have experienced some of this stuff. I know they're very popular and well regarded but this is another level entirely. If I bought a Custom Shop Strat that felt and sounded like this I'd be completely satisfied.
 

ToneRanger

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 8, 2009
8,437
Area 51
When I got to visit Sweetwater back in June, the guitar that I would have walked out with if I could was a rosewood/3TSB Road Worn in their used guitar section.
Sounded fantastic and felt like a well-worn baseball glove or pair of blue jeans.
 

fos1

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 7, 2018
2,292
Texas
You are making me want another guitar!!!!

I have one on order now. I'm trying to figure out how to get that one blended into my music room without my wife noticing....
 

Textele

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Oct 10, 2009
4,905
Texas
Every time I ever picked up a Road Word Strat or Tele in a shop, they all sounded great, felt great, were very loud unplugged (all of them were loud, not sure that makes a difference) and sounded great.

Every.
Single.
One.

and you have, what I consider an upgrade on the pickups.

May it bring you a lifetime of that mojo you're experiencing! :thumb:
 

Cymro

Strat-Talker
Dec 23, 2019
216
Dino’s bar and grill
When I got to visit Sweetwater back in June, the guitar that I would have walked out with if I could was a rosewood/3TSB Road Worn in their used guitar section.
Sounded fantastic and felt like a well-worn baseball glove or pair of blue jeans.

Ive been trying to put words to how mine is and that sums it up perfectly
 

davidrf

Strat-O-Master
Dec 27, 2010
748
Italy
I have a friend who worked for more than 10 years in a guitar store and is now one of the biggest collectors in Italy. He owns many vintage Fenders and Gibsons. This is just to say he know what he's talking about and he always says Road Worns are, on average, easily the best sounding production Fenders. Since many years now he always says if he had to buy a Fender below Custom Shop level (which he doesn't, LOL), that would be a Road Worn. I guess the nitro finish + relic do the magic.

What did I tell you in the NGD thread? :p
 

JRSIV

Stuck in the Middle Position
Silver Member
Sep 22, 2009
284
Las Vegas, NV
What did I tell you in the NGD thread? :p

Lol, you right. It's like the distillation of the classic Stratocaster ingredients into a guitar that you don't need to take another mortgage out to buy. Good wood, lacquer finish and soft V neck.

BTW, the fact the neck isn't nitro makes zero difference to me. The texture and feel of the neck is perfect.
 

davidrf

Strat-O-Master
Dec 27, 2010
748
Italy
Lol, you right. It's like the distillation of the classic Stratocaster ingredients into a guitar that you don't need to take another mortgage out to buy. Good wood, lacquer finish and soft V neck.

BTW, the fact the neck isn't nitro makes zero difference to me. The texture and feel of the neck is perfect.

I too am actually on the market for a Road Worn, but I'd go for a Road Worn Player this time. Also because maybe I found one new in a store at a price that I am ashamed to tell. Crossing my fingers.
 

Electgumbo

Not Of This Earth
Dec 26, 2010
12,916
Scott, La.
One of my favorite Strats is my ‘09 Black 50’s Road Worn. These were not all that popular but I love it just the way it is… I modded it out to complete Clapton TBX, Mid Boost and Noiseless pickups… I bought a real Clapton Strat but sold it cause my Road Worn just did everything better. It’s the guitar I joined the forum to talk about back in 2010 . I learned almost nobody here like them…. But I’m still here and so is the 50’s Road Worn…

Hope the OP enjoys his as much as I’ve enjoyed mine…

3AD2F726-31F0-4253-8132-D15043C0480D.jpeg
 

Mind Flayer

Strat-O-Master
Feb 29, 2012
650
Chicagoland
20210910_164740.jpg


I previously posted a NGD thread about this guitar about 10 day's ago here:

https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/ngd-2016-fender-road-worn-50s-stratocaster.571372/#post-4472808

Before this year I hadn't bought a new guitar since 2009. I've owned 50+ at times in the past but had downsized to the essential few and was very happy with them. The world went ass over tea kettle last year and between long days at home in lockdown and some savings burning a hole in my jockeys, I kinda went on a tear...buying several since March.

I had always wanted a Road Worn Strat but circumstances never gelled. Going through Reverb for hours, as is my wont, I found this 2016 Road Worn. The seller was cool and after a bit of haggling I bought it.

This past week and change has been pretty mind blowing. I dig this guitar so much and felt compelled to write this novella to see if any of my Strat Talk bretheren have had any similar experiences.

First off, I've played dozens of vintage Strat's. Never owned one, but I worked in a Mom & Pop music store that carried a lot of vintage gear. That said, I'm no expert by any means but I do know why those guitars are so revered (past the fact that their valuable).

This RW has some unbelievable volume and resonance played unplugged. I've never had an electric guitar that felt so 'alive' vibrating against my body. To me basic physics dictates that a piece of wood cacooned in a hard plastic shell is going to react differently than a lacquer finished one. This is the first nitro guitar I've owned and it's a palpable phenomenon.

Another thing that made this deal so sweet was that the previous owner had installed Custom Shop Custom '54 pickups in the guitar (the original Tex-Mex pups were included as well). These pickups are completely their own thing, nothing I have sounds like these.

Usually a set of pickups will have very different timbres and sound profiles based on the pickup engaged. For instance the Custom Shop Fat 50's in my American Standard have a pronounced difference between the positions. The bridge pup sounds like a bridge pup, if you get what I mean.

These 54's have a character that is present in all positions. Yes the bridge gets a bit spiky, but the while the neck warms up it doesn't totally sound different from the bridge if that makes sense. I mean it's hard to explain...there's a uniformity and cohesion with these pickups that is incredible to hear.

So I get this very clean, woody sparkle throughout the 5 positions. It's just insane. This RW has been my go to everytime I go into the studio, I just sit in front of the pedalboard and run through combinations. Just running through a Boss Blues Driver into a Keeley Abbey Chamber pedal for a hint of air sounds divine. The sustain is freaky; I'll yaggerjang an A chord Townshend style and the chord just floats for so long.

Enough self-fellation for now, I'm just curious if other Road Worn owners have experienced some of this stuff. I know they're very popular and well regarded but this is another level entirely. If I bought a Custom Shop Strat that felt and sounded like this I'd be completely satisfied.

I have a road worn telecaster, not a strat, but I love it. I took it my tech to get the frets leveled. He works in a store that moves a lot of custom shop guitars, and he said that once the frets were leveled, it was as good as any custom shop he has played.
 

Electgumbo

Not Of This Earth
Dec 26, 2010
12,916
Scott, La.
@Mind Flayer
Owww! I had a 50’s Tele Road Worn that was extremely awesome. A guy sold it to me and then begged me to sell it back to him. I kept it a few years but finally sold it back to him. It is really an amazing guitar. It was like a CS guitar… At one time it belonged to a member of the Ventures…

96B99812-4B60-4D3A-BB23-EEFEC0773764.jpeg 347FB72A-EC0C-4A06-BC21-3283F07FA651.jpeg 152B1CA2-C473-4990-95AB-EEA762A85145.jpeg
 

JRSIV

Stuck in the Middle Position
Silver Member
Sep 22, 2009
284
Las Vegas, NV
One of my favorite Strats is my ‘09 Black 50’s Road Worn. These were not all that popular but I love it just the way it is… I modded it out to complete Clapton TBX, Mid Boost and Noiseless pickups… I bought a real Clapton Strat but sold it cause my Road Worn just did everything better. It’s the guitar I joined the forum to talk about back in 2010 . I learned almost nobody here like them…. But I’m still here and so is the 50’s Road Worn…

Hope the OP enjoys his as much as I’ve enjoyed mine…

View attachment 508627

Thanks brother, that is a sweet Strat man. I wanted a RW for years and always wanted a black one but the deal I got and the fact I have 3 black Strat's made the switch to 2TSB easier.

Now what's REALLY badass is that Tele! My God that looks cool. I assume that checking was added after it left Ensenada but either way it looks vicious.

I prefer doing deals with strangers or acquaintances; friends can guilt you into selling their sh*t back to them, lol ...
 

Electgumbo

Not Of This Earth
Dec 26, 2010
12,916
Scott, La.
@JRSIV
The Tele belonged to Gerry McGee…session ace, Kris Kristofferson band member and member of The Ventures. I know the Tele came from Norman’s Rare Guitars and was believed to be a Road Worn Prototype. It had no serial number on it anywhere. I was in possession of the guitar when Mr. Gerry died suddenly while in Japan.
 

JRSIV

Stuck in the Middle Position
Silver Member
Sep 22, 2009
284
Las Vegas, NV
@JRSIV
The Tele belonged to Gerry McGee…session ace, Kris Kristofferson band member and member of The Ventures. I know the Tele came from Norman’s Rare Guitars and was believed to be a Road Worn Prototype. It had no serial number on it anywhere. I was in possession of the guitar when Mr. Gerry died suddenly while in Japan.

Wow, well that explains why that Tele looked different than 'normal' RW's. Awesome guitar.
 

RW50s

Strat-Talk Member
Feb 14, 2021
26
San Diego, CA
Electgumbo- I followed your old post with the mods you did to your black 50's RW closely- very detailed and informative! I have mine that I go used in a trade- the previous owner tried super-relicing it... not very well! but it plays nicely and feels good to me. It has a nitro classic series neck on it, so, while not stock it is all lacquer:
 

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