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Choosing EJ, Wildwood 10 or Thin Skin Vintage

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by ben2e, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. ben2e

    ben2e Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    Being Fender is having a special, prices seem relatively good. I'm after a medium jumbo frets, nitro preferably and these fit the bill.

    Thin Skin 54: Has everything I want but for what you get it's a bit expensive. Same price as the EJ, has the 50's CS pickups but no quartersawn neck, bone nut.

    Wildwood Guitars | Electrics | Fender | American Vintage "Thin Skin" '54 Stratocaster #SE04717 2-Color Sunburst

    Has pretty much everything I want but it spendy. Wildwood doesen't seem to want to deal on these. If anyone knows different or how/who to ask, please fill me in. Only downside besides price (which is substantial) is the 2-point bridge. Not necessarily worse but seems at least less in demand than the vintage one and being realistic, I may some day need to sell the Guitar and who knows what the resale on this thing would be.
    Wildwood 10 Custom

    Wildwood Guitars | Fender Custom | Wildwood 10 Custom #R49661 2-Tone Sunburst

    EJ - only disadvantage I can see with this one is you only have the choice of Maple neck but the quartersawn wood is really pretty. I do hear from other forum members it can be unpredictable in tone but it's a new guitar so I can return it. Only dowdnside with this one I can see is the 12" radius. My other strat is 7.25 so the 9.5 of the other two seems like a nice compromise. I'm sure I could live with it though...

    Wildwood Guitars | Fender | Artist Series Eric Johnson Stratocaster #EJ04877 Three Color Sunburst

    My other choices are used near-mint JV or CP 50's which are in the 4-600 range on eBay. These are Mexican and Poly but are cheaper enough I could buy both, buy cases after the fact etc. If anyone thinks they're 98% as good, please let me know and I'll save my cash. I may cave and go with this option anyway.

    Thanks in advance for any advice and sorry for the frivolous shopping questions. I've unfortunately got very few good shops locally and three young kids auditioning time.
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
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    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    NJ
    Its no secret around here that I love the Wildwood EJ. I have 3 other EJs and the Wildwood I thought was going to be a case queen, but has ended up as my GoTo. The 12" radius is nice when your looking for that extra in your bends :)

    They used to have a lot more on the 3 Tone Sunburst on the site - I'm guessing they are close to selling out the last of this Special Run done for Wildwood.

    Give Troy at Wildwood a call,he will cut you a great deal.
     
  3. thaus

    thaus Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Since you can try them before committing, I would second the EJ. If you're ok with 9.5", you'll be fine with 12. The neck is on the larger side (read chunky) but very comfortable. I think the EJ pups sound great (at least on mine). The 54 Thin Skin also looks tempting!!
     
  4. ben2e

    ben2e Strat-Talk Member

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    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    I'll try him Monday. He wasn't there today. They don't have many EJ's left but aren't out yet. I have to say it's tempting to try the 10 Custom but $600 extra it's probably a bit less of an opportunity than the EJ. Those dark rosewood necks look just awesome.
     
  5. T-Bodz Terry B.

    T-Bodz Terry B. Most Honored Senior Member

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    Location:
    Highland Village, TX
    You will not be dissappointed in the EJ! Great Strat!
     
  6. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    47
    Messages:
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    Aug 7, 2009
    Location:
    austin texas
    My best advice is to try each one out.I stopped ordering guitars blindly from a catalogue a long time ago because even within each series,guitars can vary wildly.No two pieces of wood will ever sound the same.It pays to be patient and try a bunch out in person and find the one that is instant magic.For the money you are looking to spend,you should be getting exactly what excites you...don't comprimise.
     
  7. Scott L

    Scott L Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    959
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    Location:
    NJ
    Great advise, the only problem I find is that most of the shops around me don't keep a good stock of the upper end of the gear. I have 2 GCs and a Sam Ash in town and none have an EJ in stock, and I've never seen any CS gear in new stock either.
     
  8. jmetzgar

    jmetzgar Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    It's a tough choice between all of them. They are all going to sound different. For instance, the '54 vintage has a maple neck/ash body so it's going to be twangy due to the ash. The Wildwood "10" will probably be more traditional strat sound due to the alder wood plus it has a 2-point tremolo system (good for tuning stability). The EJ will be pretty close to the Wildwood 10 except with a neck that has a little more of a Les Paul feel on the fingerboard due to the 12" radius.

    I'd try them all out personally. I think the Wildwood "10" is the best overall for a more modern feel, but it is significantly more than a American Standard which basically has the same features except it costs 1250 or something. Another recommendation is to have a custom built strat that has all the features you're looking for and it would cost about the same as the Wildwood "10".

    If it were me and I had the choice between all three, I'd get the '54 Vintage Thin Skin model. I love the feel of a 9.5" radius neck and it's going to have great bite to the sound. Plus, it happens to be the cheapest one and prettiest one on the block. Of course, I just ordered a surf green ash/maple strat from Ron Kirn so I'm obviously a little biased with my choice of features. Ultimately, I think that wood/pickups determine the sound quality and the tremolo system/fingerboard radius/frets determine the playability.

    I think you can't go wrong with a Fender as long as you really know what features you're into otherwise it just won't feel right. I had always wondered why I didn't like the way most strats sounded in general until I tried an American Deluxe Ash Strat. Then, it was something I really liked because it was just a great combination of everything. It's because they are made in so many different ways. Ash or Alder Body, Maple or Rosewood/Ebony Neck, 2 point or 6 point tremolo (or hardtail), SSS or HSS or HH pickups (which all sound different depending on what pickups you pick), etc.

    In contrast, I never really played on a Les Paul I didn't like, but those are pretty consistent as far as component choice. Nitro Finish, Maple top, mahagoney body, 12radius mahogany neck, and gibson humbucking pickups....not much that goes wrong there...only slight tonal variation from the wood. It almost becomes a love it/hate affair in general.

    Good luck!
     
  9. SeanGephardt

    SeanGephardt Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I'd go for the custom classic, and have had my eye on that one specific one for while. I already have a '54 ri, and the EJs leave me flat.
     
  10. livepulse

    livepulse Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2009
    Location:
    Sweet Lake City
    I just bought myself a Wildwood 10 and it's the best guitar i've ever played and owned. But i have no experience with the other models you mention.

    The 10 is light, resonant, neck is very good, not too chunky but nice and fat, the finish is absolutely amazing and the sound is strat all the way!

    Apart from that: it was the last guitar i tried from 5 other CS models, among which was an early-days CS-model, a '50th Anniversary 1957 George Fullerton and a SRV Charley CS model. I tried them all acoustically which in my view defines the sound a lot. After the acoustic test there was a VOX AC-15H1TVL Handwired ltd. which is a VERY good amp (and i am a Fender-guy so that means a lot!).

    So, all in all, good luck with your decision! :)
     
  11. ben2e

    ben2e Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    Went with the EJ for now

    I may never see the Wildwood 10 in person. I ended up taking my old RI strat in to Mike Lull guitars and getting a refret job with Medium Jumbo's. The Wildwood 10 has 6105's on it. Mike said those were super tall frets and recommended if I wasn't used to them, to perhaps go with 6150's which would make traveling up and down the neck perhaps a bit more comfortable. Anyway, that should get me very close to what the Thin Skin 54 is (except of course mine has a rosewood neck). He also Plek's the thing so hopefully it'll be better than ever. Tough part is a refret costs as much as buying a used CP 50/60 ! Hope I don't kill the value of the guitar doing it but here it goes. It's a 1986 so made with pre-cbs parts but I bought the thing to play it, not to display it. Anyway, I hope I don't do anything too stupid to it.

    Wildwood didn't budge on the posted prices from the 10's but did have some flexibility in the EJ's so made the 10 harder to move up to.
     
  12. ben2e

    ben2e Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
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    Nov 23, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    Just noticed there's a guitar called the Custom Shop Deluxe. It looks identical to the Wildwood 10 in spec.
     
  13. l84ttym

    l84ttym New Member!

    Age:
    59
    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Location:
    Somerset, PA
    Decisions, decisions.....

    I'm smitten with my EJ. Took me a week or two to get comfortable with the neck size but now I can't put it down. The '69 Tele has taken a back seat to the EJ. The EJ is a real tonemonster! I can't speak of the other models but Fender really nailed it with the EJ. I bought mine used and got a good deal, not great but good and it was basically a new guitar. The only thing I'd change is the color....red.
     
  14. Malikon

    Malikon Dark Cabaret

    Messages:
    13,149
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago
    WOW! Those Prices!!

    I'mma go hug my Squier now.

    for the record I really liked the first link, 2 tone SB with the vintage trem and maple neck.
     
  15. CJBadge

    CJBadge New Member!

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Reston, VA
    I know you're getting a lot of advice, so I figured I'd give you mine.

    I'd go with the Wildwood 10. For me the combination of the 10 inch radius and quartersawn neck, along with the custom wound 60's pickups is enough for me.

    I'm left-handed and asked them if they could have one built for me, but at the price I was quoted (which was significantly more than the price they offer for right-handed 10s) I decided to pass. I did order a body and neck from Musikraft that, hopefully, once it's complete will come really close to the Wildwood 10.

    The EJ is also a great guitar, but I do prefer the neck carve you can get from Wildwood, and although the difference between a 10 and 12 inch radius isn't great, I prefer the feel of a 10 inch radius fretboard
     
  16. CJBadge

    CJBadge New Member!

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
    Location:
    Reston, VA
    Let me append my prior post. The Wildwood 10 I was referring to is the "Dealer Select," not the Custom. Sorry for any confusion.

    If you do make the jump to the Wildwood 10 Custom I'd recommend 2 upgrades immediately; Callaham bent steel saddles and a Callaham replacement Steel trem block. These can be found at: Callaham Vintage Guitars and Parts (Home)
     
  17. tommytele

    tommytele Senior Stratmaster

    Messages:
    3,770
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Location:
    Mill Valley, CA
    JV Strat

    I got a Jimmie Vaughan last week through a Craigslist connect. i have already raved about this axe with a post. it is awesome, Best $450 I ever spent. Can't go wrong IMHO
     

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  18. Scott L

    Scott L Strat-O-Master

    Messages:
    959
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    NJ
    Got a quick email from Ben2e seems he is too busy playing his new WW-EJ to log on :)

    Smart man - took advantage of the extra Fender 10% sale.
     
  19. robinje

    robinje Strat-Talk Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Supposedly, the Wildwood 10 Custom already has a stainless steel trem block. What would be the advantages of your suggested upgrades? Thanks!
     
  20. Drennen

    Drennen Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    Messages:
    204
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Location:
    St. Louis
    Most of the best buy stores that carry guitars around st louis seemto alway have a EJ in stock. Give them a call to see what they have and try to get away to try one out. I just looked up Seattle Best Buy (with music instrument dept.)here is what I have

    Best Buy
    330 NE Northgate Way
    Seattle, WA 98125
    Phone: 206-306-7663
     
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