American Standard necks and bodies versus Custom Shop

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by KoreGeneral, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. RMScustoms

    RMScustoms Strat-Talk Member

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    I currently own Squires, American Standards and a custom shop Strat. The custom shop strat has a one piece maple neck which is heavier, has a better shape and fits my hand and style of playing thus letting me be better. The American standard and the Squire seem to be the same as far as shape and play-ability. While both play fine, the Squire seems to out edge the American standard both in play-ability and cost. Spec wise, the Squire seems to be a better guitar. Both have a two-piece neck and while the American standard has an ash body and the Squire has a poplar one, there does not seem to be a significant difference in tone and sustain. That's my opinion for what it is worth.
     
  2. RMScustoms

    RMScustoms Strat-Talk Member

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    For my money I would rather have a Squire affinity then an American standard. In reality, the difference in material cost and quality is not enough to warrant the hyped up cost of an American Strat. It is not until you get into the custom shop Strats that you can actually see and feel a difference. I have heard the excuses that an American Strat is much more expensive because of the better quality materials. Can you honestly say that the difference in materials is enough to warrant a $2000 to $3000 price tag. I can say this because I have played all three and own all three. Why do I own both if one is clearly a better instrument? Well, come on!!! I am a collector. I own 17 guitars currently and two of those I am building. Yes being able to design and build guitars allows me the ability to get the most out of whatever I get, but I still like collecting. We all know that a name brand demands a higher price tag, but come on, not that much of a difference. Clear your mind and forget about name brands. If you do you will discover a lot more play-able and well built guitars. Epiphone, Tagima, Squire, Vox, ect..There is junk out there but hype is hype. Play what you want to play. I make the axe I buy play the way I want it to. Not let the axe limit me toi what I want.
     
  3. srmd22

    srmd22 Strat-Talker

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    If CS strats are no better then standards, why is it that I know so many pros/gigging musicians that opt for the CS versions? I also know a few pros that use older modded standards (who knows what they have in there collection at home). I know very few pros/gigging players playing unmodded standards, although I don't know why I don't see more American Originals and the like out there on stages. I do not own a CS strat myself - nothing to do with price, just have not found the right one. I do own two CS tele's, both of which I like far more than any non-CS tele (other then vintage, or one 70's tele I loved, but was way to heavy for me). I sold several other tele's after I acquired the first one. But if I had come across a non-CS tele that I liked more, I would go with that. I don't care one wit about the label. I play an AVHR 60's strat, which sounds as good as any CS strat I have yet played (better, actually, to me), but does not feel quite as good as several CS's to me - but that is because it has so little wear, I think, and I prefer a worn feel, whether it be from actual use and age, or from relicing. My next favorite (non-vintage strat) was a Nash S-57, which was stolen at the same time as my vintage '62.

    The bottom line, though, is that I see quite a few gigging musicians (in the Boston area, or bigger acts passing through) playing CS strats, among the myriad guitars you see out there. Of the local gigging guys I know of, I know more that play CS then non-CS, in terms of strats and teles. That may be a skewed, anecdotal sample, and it does not mean one is better than the other, but it is something anyway.
     
  4. ZZDoc

    ZZDoc Strat-Talk Member

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    I orderd a Custom Shop build about 18 years ago back around the time the SCN's were popular. In terms of the specs I requested, which were electronics, plastic color, and hardware, they based it on a '65. I wanted a Clapton neck. It took over a year. It had a '65 neck, It was sent back. 6 mos later, same neck. I gave up. I swapped it out for an '08 Gilmour...the month that guitar was issued. Gilmour has a '57V neck. V-is for vintage not neck carve. [You find the history of the evolution of that neck in the book 'The Black Strat' as Gilmour's guitar is a mongrel] The Clapton neck is my go to, fits my hand best, and is based upon the neck contours of his favorite Martin acoustic. Next is the Gilmour. All 2 other Strats have V neck profiles. One is the fat neck on 60th Anniv '54, the other the is the 'generic' soft V- on my Deluxe VG FSR. I also own an '89 Plus, and a GenI Clapton..'87 Custom Shop. That neck is just a tad softer than my '89 Pewter. I never cared for the Modern C from the day it was introduced. In terms of quality, I found that the CS guitars have an indefinable 'sweetness' to the way they look and feel [balance]as opposed to guitars coming off the line. In terms of my preferences for a Custom Shop build, the body would be routed for Clapton electronics, waist relief would be the deep '57, vintage [Fullerton] body contours, contoured neck pocket, blocked vintage trem bridge, maple neck,21 frets, 9.5 radius. Just say'in. '89%20Clapton.jpg Clapton Prototype - Copy (2).jpg Gilmour.jpg
     
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  5. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Strat-Talker

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    @RMScustoms. I'm glad it works for you.

    The Squire Affinity I have is made of three different species of wood and the Wood's grain structure is so poor that it easily tears out. You couldn't pay me to take an Affinity over my American Standard. One is a well made instrument with excellent quality in each part. The other is a bottom of the barrel instrument with the cheapest sourced parts that you can get from China.


    I might add just for perspective that I work with wood for a living. I carve custom stocks for Firearms. After handling, repairing, refinishing, designing, and building rifles I can tell you that there is easily a difference between two sticks of the same tree. Much less a quality piece of Alder vs a mystery wood with poor grain structure. One will have grain that changes direction 5 times in a 36" length, and the other might only change twice in that same distance.

    Quality of wood matters from a structural standpoint. The way it dries matters, and the way it is sealed matters. If all of the above are poor or mismatched then the only way to make it stable is by using several pieces, then adding front and backs. In the end the Affinity is 3 different species of wood that resembles Plywood. Nothing wrong with that, it just isn't a sold piece of Alder.

    I don't see how an Affinity can fit into this discussion. It is light years below the quality of a Standard or Custom Shop. It sounds dark compared to the others, and it doesn't play, feel the same.
     
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  6. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    can't argue with any of that, but... it really has nothing to do with the overall functionality off a guitar... It Would be important if you were gonna stand there and look at it.. but if making music is of prime importance, and the Squire is functioning correctly, well then the only things that matters would be if the frets, nut and bridge are in the correct relative positions, the ergo symbiosis in acceptable to the guitarist, and the signal generated is what the guitarist is happy with..

    r
     
  7. DeMelo

    DeMelo Senior Stratmaster

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    This is the first time I see someone say that they’d prefer a Squier Affinity over a US made strat.

    To each his own, though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
  8. DeMelo

    DeMelo Senior Stratmaster

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    Exactly.
     
  9. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Strat-Talker

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    Ah, but it does. People keep saying it doesn't but it does. If a guitar cannot hold itself together or last more than a year on the road then it is a paper weight or an added expense.

    On my own Affinity
    Day 1 the nut was not fit properly
    Day 1 over half of the screws in the body were stripped.
    Day 1 10 of the frets weren't flush with the face of the fretboard
    Day 1 the frets were undressed, untouched
    Day 3 the jack fell apart
    Day 4 I replaced the Pots, Jack, Switch, wiring, cap, and reassembled.

    It plays fine now, but when I got it, it buzzed and the electronics sounded like hot garbage. Today the controls are where it should be, and the taper on the pots is much better, but the original pickups are still dark sounding. The frets will likely never be flush and the tuners are are still garbage.

    Maybe it's because I started out on a cheapo Sears and Roebuck guitar, then a Montana, and then an mdf made Hondo for my first 5 years of playing.

    I saved my pennies for three years and at the age of 15 my parents took me to every guitar shop within a 100 mile radius of our one horse town. I went on this journey to get an Ibanez S, but after feeling and playing, and hearing the Standard Stratocasters vs all of its copies, and all of its competitors I was convinced. 20 years later it is better than it ever was, and there are no cracks, no more than 3 stripped screws(2 from strap locks) and all of the original wiring and electronics still work. I even completely broke the top off my lower tone pot, and it functioned just fine until I replaced it.

    In 10 years time with my first guitars the Montana body and neck separated, the neck turned into a question mark. The Hondo's body separated, and literally the only thing that held together was the tuning pegs. The fretboard crumbled from sweat, and years of playing. The Sears and Roebuck became unplayable shortly after it was purchased, but I was still able to play twilight zone and Wildwood Flower on it.

    A guitar is an instrument, and like any instrument there are cheap ones and expensive ones. Some are well made and work, and some don't. Unfortunately price doesn't dictate which is which, but in the world of guitars an Affinity isn't a Standard. If it was we would all be playing Affinites because they would sound better , play better, and last longer. It's pretty darn obvious that they don't.

    If you can't feel and hear the difference then I can't help you, and no amount of conversation will reveal anything new to you.
     
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  10. rocks2oldies

    rocks2oldies Strat-Talk Member

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    For us who don't have a clue, what is "pup route of HSH"? Thanks
     
  11. Morgenholz

    Morgenholz Strat-Talker

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    I really don't get all this "my Squier plays as good as any Custom Shop," or "if everything is set up correctly and it plays well, it doesn't matter" stuff. We're talking about musical instruments here. Yeah, if all you want to do is lay down some tracks or gig with something that can make it through sets and hucking in and out of your trunk and not hurt too much when it gets stolen, OK, fine, I've been there. Personally, if I have to handle the thing daily, and clean and maintain it, and want to pick it up because looking at it calls me to come hither, and maybe, if per the above, like the way it handles and sounds well enough to keep it long-term, then I want something that the builder at least cared about building. Cheap crap is cheap crap-- it is built in a poor spirit and sold cynically as disposable junk. It works for awhile, and can be made to work better and longer, but the intent was for it to be a built-down-to-a-price-point consumer item, not a musical instrument that will be saved for, selected from others in the racks because it is better than the others, purchased with sacrifice, and played and cleaned and maintained, and yes, looked at by its owners and its audience, and age gracefully through all of that... This takes decent lumber selection, quality hardware, careful assembly, skill and experience. A tool will do the job and can be bought as cheaply as one dares; a musical instrument is art in itself... Just the way I see the things.
     
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  12. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    Hi, @rocks2oldies


    HSH Pickup routing means underneath the pickguard-The bridge and neck pickup slots can fit full size humbucker pickups.
     
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  13. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    Its mainly like a religious experience...for you in order to find god you need a church ....for some of us we can find him anywhere....;)
     
  14. Morgenholz

    Morgenholz Strat-Talker

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    That is a great analogy, DD, for you. Personally, I find God everywhere, in all things, within and without, and shun orthodoxy-- However, I don't find a lot of spirituality in a dumpster world of disposable things that are made in a poor spirit-- this, and our acquiescence to it, is partly responsible for how we all have gotten where we are today.
     
  15. brazil66

    brazil66 Strat-Talker

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    Because I'm willing and desirous to spend my hard earned money on a Custom Shop Fender....after owning countless American / Corona units......makes me a dummy? I know you don't mean to......but hey.
     
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  16. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

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    the only person I trust to pay appropriate "attention to detail" when assembling a guitar is me, so I only play partsocasters that I've assembled myself.
     
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  17. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

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    at least playable guitars actually exist
     
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  18. Swampash

    Swampash Senior Stratmaster

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    one born every minute
     
  19. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Senior Stratmaster

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    Lol..spirituality?These are just companies that wanna make a profit(and good for them by the way).So they have a catalogue filled with gazillions of models of basically the SAME thing(ALL made from soulless cnc machines) with different degrees of polishing...some are very polished...some relatively so and some basically unpolished and undetailed. So in the end all i have to decide is how much i value the extra polishing done by the company that can be done by me anyways....
     
  20. knh555

    knh555 Most Honored Senior Member

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    You just explained why I don't care for purposeful relics. Or even purposefully wearing an instrument through use. Yes, stuff happens and these things get knocked about and natural patina does occur, but if a much more delicate violin can be maintained for 250+ years, I don't see why a Strat should ever wear out when simply maintained and respected as a musical instrument should be (IMHO).
     
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