Difference between standard stratocaster and custom shop strat

RL21980

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 10, 2014
1,589
Somewhere in the Ford Galaxy...
Not always true. I bought my Lowden F 35 70th birthday limited edition in April. Only 70 were made worldwide, 14 made it to North America, 12 to the US. All hand signed and inspected by George Lowden and using top grade woods like Brazilian and Ancient Bog Oak. The one I bought was one of three still listed for sale new. List price everywhere was $8,750. That is what mine was tagged at, the other two were listed at $9,500 and $11,700 and a used one was listed for $9,700.

There are Lowden fans who want to collect every single limited guitar they release and if they are missing one they’ll pay a lot to get it. I was offered $10,000 for mine in the Lowden FB group by a guy who really wants it to complete his collection.
Sure. There's always going to be an outlier but more often than not your not going to make anything. But yes, it can happen. Absolutely.
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
1,609
Maine
You're right. Not always true. But more often than not.
Well you must be one uh those freaks who buys actual brand new guitars?

Since I was a kid I always wondered: "Who ARE you people that buy brand new guitars, cars, stereo equipment etc?"

My cross to bear is all my damn gear keeps going up in value so I have to sell it when it becomes collectors items too valuable to bash around after decades of bashing around...
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,989
Edmonton, Alberta
Well you must be one uh those freaks who buys actual brand new guitars?

Since I was a kid I always wondered: "Who ARE you people that buy brand new guitars, cars, stereo equipment etc?"

My cross to bear is all my damn gear keeps going up in value so I have to sell it when it becomes collectors items too valuable to bash around after decades of bashing around...

Same here. $5k retail for a guitar, that’s crazy. I’ll slide in when it gets traded in a year later for slightly over half. Pretty much everything I own has gone up in value. Not enough that I can retire but still I rarely loose out when I sell something off. Still not great investments but you can make a little extra cash and use the item in the mean time.
 

Stratoskater

Fuzz Meister General
Feb 8, 2011
11,207
Naked in NC
Well you must be one uh those freaks who buys actual brand new guitars?

Since I was a kid I always wondered: "Who ARE you people that buy brand new guitars, cars, stereo equipment etc?"

My cross to bear is all my damn gear keeps going up in value so I have to sell it when it becomes collectors items too valuable to bash around after decades of bashing around...

That me, stopped buying used guitars and amps in 2017. Only used gear I’ll buy is pedals but I don’t really use those anymore. I haven’t bought a used car since 2001. I don’t like owning something someone owned before me.
 

Rufustelestrat

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 7, 2010
2,187
Banning, California
I am pretty sure that the original troll who wrote all the "What is ....." posts is long gone and moved on to the collectable car, collectable coin, or umbrella collectors forum.

There he is asking important questions like is bamboo much better than chrome molly for the shaft, or does restoration of the canopy with non vintage cloth ruin the value of my 1923 Harrods loner Umbrella.
 

thegrasshopper

Strat-Talker
Mar 15, 2021
285
Spain
Neverending topic...

- FCS woods are "selected", whatever it means...
- FCS strats bodies are usually 2 pieces
- I've always seen better neck-body joins on Custom Shops
- Stock set-up is usually better in the custom shops, what translates in a better feel from factory. But a MIA can be set-tup as good as a CS
- FCS usually load hand-wound pickups
- FCS come with nice hard shell cases and candies (leather straps, pickups...)
- FCS (no masterbuilt) are mass produced guitars, as well the other MIA
- Most FCS are finished in nitro lacquer
- FCS offer relic finishes

Those are more or less facts... is a FCS worth the price? This is very subjective... but before spendind the money you should bare in mind you're not going probably to notice a great tonal difference between a good standard MIA (loaded with good pcikups with a good setup) and a Custom Shop

I used to own 3 CS, an AVRI and a MIM and... IMHO, FCS follow the diminishing returns law: each extra $/€ gives you back less... I mean, they look nice, they feel nice and they sound nice, but well, they don't sound 7 times better than the MIM (if this coud be even measured). I have the feeling that the majority of the differences between CS and standard MIA do not translate to the sound

When trying to test the differences among different strats with some friends of mine, we had to almost create laboratory conditions... this is an indicator that the differences aren't that big

One thing I think is true is that the chances of getting a dog are greater among MIAs than FCS, I feel that it is very unlikely you ended up with a FCS dog
 
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Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,989
Edmonton, Alberta
Get a MIJ guitar… same quality as custom shop, even better (if that can be). Might need pups&pots replacement, though…

Huh? Same quality, even better but you’re replacing parts maybe. Are you quoting someone else but forgot to quote or is this something you’re posting as you’re own comment?
 

thegrasshopper

Strat-Talker
Mar 15, 2021
285
Spain
How was that statement disrespectful and narrow-minded? People buying new keeps jobs and the used market thriving. What’s wrong with that?

I was referring to this message:

Well you must be one uh those freaks who buys actual brand new guitars?

Since I was a kid I always wondered: "Who ARE you people that buy brand new guitars, cars, stereo equipment etc?"

My cross to bear is all my damn gear keeps going up in value so I have to sell it when it becomes collectors items too valuable to bash around after decades of bashing around...
it is obvious there is nothing wrong with people buying new stuff
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,989
Edmonton, Alberta
I was referring to this message:


it is obvious there is nothing wrong with people buying new stuff

Oh okay that makes a little more sense. This thread is filled with narrow-minded comments anyway. It’s the norm anytime there’s one of these trollish threads. It’s more amusing then any factual information.
 

Ongo Gablogian

Strat-Talker
Feb 18, 2019
233
Chicago, IL
What is the real difference? Visual stuff, or how it feels or how it sounds? I kind of wanna buy a custom strat, but maybe it is now worth it.....not buying master build though
First OP, I think you need to define your financial expectations. If you are truly considering a CS as some sort of "investment", it's extremely likely that is not going to happen. Some have theorized that there is the potential for some materials to become unavailable in the future and therefore, it's possible the right CS might significantly appreciate, but most likely your CS will never be worth MORE than you paid(at least if purchased new).

However, I think it's more likely by "worth it" you are using the idea that the guitar might appreciate in "value" as a point in "justifying" buying a new guitar. Under these circumstances, I would suggest reframing your thinking. Consider instead, "What is the VALUE of a guitar relative to its COST?" Strats and Fenders in general are the best "bang for your buck" guitars, IMO. For example, you could build a partscaster to an identical spec of a CS for about a third of the cost, but it will be worth only about half what you paid for it the second you bolt it together. However, the playable value of the guitars will be almost identical. My point is dont conflate "cost" and "value", they are not the same. Also, don't conflate "monetary value" with "functional value", as they too are not the same.

Another thing I would like to point out is the jump from American standard to CS is not a single step. You have excluded what in my opinion is the best tier of fenders. The AV/AVRI/AO line. These guitars land in between the American standard and the CS. Quite often they are of similar quality to the CS. The major value of the CS is in the "custom" part. If you don't need something custom, I would strongly suggest you look into something from that tier.
 

thegrasshopper

Strat-Talker
Mar 15, 2021
285
Spain
First OP, I think you need to define your financial expectations. If you are truly considering a CS as some sort of "investment", it's extremely likely that is not going to happen. Some have theorized that there is the potential for some materials to become unavailable in the future and therefore, it's possible the right CS might significantly appreciate, but most likely your CS will never be worth MORE than you paid(at least if purchased new).

However, I think it's more likely by "worth it" you are using the idea that the guitar might appreciate in "value" as a point in "justifying" buying a new guitar. Under these circumstances, I would suggest reframing your thinking. Consider instead, "What is the VALUE of a guitar relative to its COST?" Strats and Fenders in general are the best "bang for your buck" guitars, IMO. For example, you could build a partscaster to an identical spec of a CS for about a third of the cost, but it will be worth only about half what you paid for it the second you bolt it together. However, the playable value of the guitars will be almost identical. My point is dont conflate "cost" and "value", they are not the same. Also, don't conflate "monetary value" with "functional value", as they too are not the same.

Another thing I would like to point out is the jump from American standard to CS is not a single step. You have excluded what in my opinion is the best tier of fenders. The AV/AVRI/AO line. These guitars land in between the American standard and the CS. Quite often they are of similar quality to the CS. The major value of the CS is in the "custom" part. If you don't need something custom, I would strongly suggest you look into something from that tier.
Good points:

- FCS guitars have higher cost
- FCS guitars have higher re-sale ratio values (re-sale value / original value)
- FCS have the same functional value as much more cheap guitars

AVRI are quite nice, I own one, but to be honest, all the ones I've seen had the worse neck-body joins I've seen in a Fender (I don't care too much about it, unless I'm paying the price of a Custom Shop). is it only me? Anyway, as you said, AVRI/AO are a good trade-off, for €1500 you can cunrrently get a nice used one in Europe

I see Fender Custom Shop guitars rather as a collector's item than a functional thing: you like guitars, you can afford it, why not? You're getting the high-end guitar of one of the two most important/know electric guitars builders. Fender and Gibson are a big part of the popular music history. I also know that Fender and Gibson do not build currently the best electric guitars and there are non Custom Shop Fenders and Gibsons equally fine... but as I said, a Custom Shop is a Custom Shop, you should know what you are buying beforehand... Marketing plays a big role, but it is just another part of the of the whole thing...
 
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Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,989
Edmonton, Alberta
First OP, I think you need to define your financial expectations. If you are truly considering a CS as some sort of "investment", it's extremely likely that is not going to happen. Some have theorized that there is the potential for some materials to become unavailable in the future and therefore, it's possible the right CS might significantly appreciate, but most likely your CS will never be worth MORE than you paid(at least if purchased new).

However, I think it's more likely by "worth it" you are using the idea that the guitar might appreciate in "value" as a point in "justifying" buying a new guitar. Under these circumstances, I would suggest reframing your thinking. Consider instead, "What is the VALUE of a guitar relative to its COST?" Strats and Fenders in general are the best "bang for your buck" guitars, IMO. For example, you could build a partscaster to an identical spec of a CS for about a third of the cost, but it will be worth only about half what you paid for it the second you bolt it together. However, the playable value of the guitars will be almost identical. My point is dont conflate "cost" and "value", they are not the same. Also, don't conflate "monetary value" with "functional value", as they too are not the same.

Another thing I would like to point out is the jump from American standard to CS is not a single step. You have excluded what in my opinion is the best tier of fenders. The AV/AVRI/AO line. These guitars land in between the American standard and the CS. Quite often they are of similar quality to the CS. The major value of the CS is in the "custom" part. If you don't need something custom, I would strongly suggest you look into something from that tier.

Exactly, good points. Lots of people think because it costs a lot it’s got to be good. Also some people think these custom shops are made by gods.

A real cork sniffer comment right here. I’ve had tons of custom shop fenders over the years, like 15 or so. So I have a little insight. Not one of them was a dog, nothing was trash or needed “upgrading”. That said it doesn’t matter how expensive or how godly it was. If it didn’t do it for more over a period of time it moved on for something else.

The beauty of a custom shop is trade factor. Say you buy one used of course. A few months later you find it lacking. Put it up for trade say for another custom shop. You’ll always get a equal one in trade. This is what I’ve always done to acquire “the one”.

I have broadcaster now that I truly believe it was made by a god or at least the same materials as Thor’s hammer. It really is that good(to me). So 15 guitars later, I found the one. Get out and try as many as possible because they’re not all keepers. Some are definitely better than others.
 

PlayerOne

Strat-Talker
Jan 29, 2022
262
Charlotte, nc
Good points:

- FCS guitars have higher cost
- FCS guitars have higher re-sale ratio values (re-sale value / original value)
- FCS have the same functional value as much more cheap guitars

AVRI are quite nice, I own one, but to be honest, all the ones I've seen had the worse neck-body joins I've seen in a Fender (I don't care too much about it, unless I'm paying the price of a Custom Shop). is it only me? Anyway, as you said, AVRI/AO are a good trade-off, for €1500 you can cunrrently get a nice used one in Europe

I see Fender Custom Shop guitars rather as a collector's item than a functional thing: you like guitars, you can afford it, why not? You're getting the high-end guitar of one of the two most important/know electric guitars builders. Fender and Gibson are a big part of the popular music history. I also know that Fender and Gibson do not build currently the best electric guitars and there are non Custom Shop Fenders and Gibsons equally fine... but as I said, a Custom Shop is a Custom Shop, you should know what you are buying beforehand... Marketing plays a big role, but it is just another part of the of the whole thing...
Point #2 is questionable. Looking at current re-sale prices, some of the more recent Standards (2012 and newer) are going for more than they cost new, while I have never seen that happen with CS models. Just an observation, not that I'm happy about it.
 


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