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Fender USA quality lately

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Old School, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Old School

    Old School Strat-Talker

    151
    Oct 23, 2012
    Australia
    Bought a replacement neck plate for USA Deluxe Strat 2012, when it came in mail all in USA made pack thought cool until I realized it was really light. I thought I got had by a Chinese copy and wanted to abuse the seller. I took off my 2012 plate and it is twice the weight, but then I took off the neck plate off my 2014 USA and it was also light. Are Fender skimming on quality or is it light weight for a reason. I know its nit picking but is this the only thing they have changed?
     

  2. stratocarlster

    stratocarlster Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 6, 2012
    Telephone Road
    The neck plate is basically a large washer so I guess its weight is immaterial as long as it does the job.
     

  3. Textele

    Textele Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 10, 2009
    USA
    Do not think Fender is skimming on any quality issues as of late.

    Just bought a 2014 American Standard Stratocaster and it is probably the best overall build quality and one of the finest, if not the best Strat I have had. That is counting probably about 10 or 12 Strats since 1979.

    How much should a neck plate weigh? :confused:
     

  4. nadzab

    nadzab Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    I've bought asian-made plates that are thicker than Fender plates. But as stratocarlster said, it's just a washer...with properly-torqued (i.e., not overtightened) neck screws, I've never had an issue with any plate.
     

  5. Old School

    Old School Strat-Talker

    151
    Oct 23, 2012
    Australia
    I am a bit heavy handed, cheap washers do bend. I once bought a USA replacement neck plate for a MIM and tightened it hard (not knowing at the time) due to holes not being properly drilled the screws were screwing into the body itself and then the neck and the plate started caving in (bit extreme but happened). At the time I also thought it was a Chinese copy plate or something. Have few 2012s USAs (the year I went nuts on Fenders) and they all had the heavy plates. Just asking, maybe to make them lighter? Maybe? Dont know, but I am not a fan of light stuff, played Les Pauls since 1988 and never liked anything else until recently.
     

  6. PowerTube

    PowerTube Strat-O-Master

    You have to watch those lightweight neck plates, because they just don't give you THE TONE, man!!!!!!!!!

    But seriously, the neck plate is just a handy spot to imprint the serial number.
     
    ProSonicLive likes this.

  7. Old School

    Old School Strat-Talker

    151
    Oct 23, 2012
    Australia




    Haha I am pretty sure they wouldnt effect tone :) No seriel on the new ones though :)
     

  8. PowerTube

    PowerTube Strat-O-Master

    The old Charvel Model series from the 80's had really cool looking plates. They were very thick and had the company info stamped on them pretty deeply.
     

  9. fumbler

    fumbler PhD-Stratology

    Age:
    52
    Oct 22, 2009
    New Joisey!
    A cheap plate is more likely to bend and cut into your body. I think it's at least as much about the material as the thickness. A good chromed nickel steel should do the job fine even if it's a bit thinner. A cheaper low quality steel will bend even if it's thicker.

    This is a second-hand no-name parts guitar that I picked up. The plate is the same thickness as my other guitars. But it's not the same quality. You can almost flex it by hand.
     

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  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    71
    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    Original Fender plates from the golden years were 1/16 inch thick.. or thereabouts... modern issue are a bit thicker....

    the OEM Fender plates are hardened steel, all the aftermarket I have encountered are made of mild steel, and not hardened.. That doesn't mean anything of significance, one doesn't sound "better" than the other... and you can;t necessarily tighten a Hardened OEM tighter than a mild steel plate simply because the distance between screw holes allows either hardened, or non hardened to distort, compressing the wood..

    OEM Fender plates purchased as replacement parts have been all over the place over the past decade... some thin, some thick, none the same size, but all hardened.

    plates only bend, when overtightened... How to tell if you are over tigntening... you will notice the plate bending... funny how that works out..

    Ron Kirn
     
    ocean and Groovey like this.

  11. Old School

    Old School Strat-Talker

    151
    Oct 23, 2012
    Australia
    Out of interest of science and knowledge :) The neck plates from USA Deluxes (about 2012 and up) are 3 times lighter than plate from my pre mid 2012 USA Dleuxe. Just out of interest, Strats have been known to be tough as nails and they way SRV and J Hendrix abused them, I wouldnt want to to do the say to a new model haha.
     

  12. stratocarlster

    stratocarlster Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 6, 2012
    Telephone Road
    hehe reminds me of the sign above the kitchen bin (trash can?) at a place I used to work at: "When lid will not shut, bin needs emptying".
     
    Groovey likes this.

  13. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member

    May 10, 2012
    stamford, CT
    how does the guitar play though?
     

  14. bjosve

    bjosve Strat-Talk Member

    81
    Dec 14, 2012
    Sweden
    Aluminium is about a 1/3 the density of steel, would not suprise me if they turn out to be chromed aluminium plates, assuming the thickness is the same. I read somewhere that that was the way the wilkinson bridge plates are made.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015

  15. antisinglecoil

    antisinglecoil Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 12, 2015
    Boston
    Fender outsources so much at this point, I had to get a replacement bridge for my HWY1 and Fender told me it's now made by a company out of China called "Ping."
     

  16. Yogi

    Yogi Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    30
    Jan 21, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    The highway one bridge has always been made by ping, tuners too. The tuners on the American Standard used to be made by Schaller (Germany) but are also made by ping too. Vintage Reissues have always used Gotoh (japan) tuners, which are some of the best repro klusons on the market.
     

  17. Jonny Hotnuts

    Jonny Hotnuts Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 7, 2013
    Portland
    Recently I have removed the necks from a few new strats (*being the first to remove the neck since it left the factory).

    I think people would be surprised how little torque fender is using on the neck bolts. I have a good hand 'feel' for torque numbers as I build my own race engines and have the best test equipment around and have gotten used to what 'X' torque feels like.

    (*note, I will put my torque screwdriver on a new one to see what they are running. While it wont be 100% accurate due to a number of factors it will give an idea what the real number is. If I had to guess it was ~5fp and that was it)




    Lets just say I had always been applying WAY too much torque to the neck bolts if Fenders is correct and had zero possibility to deform any plate.

    ~JH
     

  18. antisinglecoil

    antisinglecoil Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 12, 2015
    Boston
    Gotcha bro, good to know!

    Honestly though, I have seen both exemplary examples of precision instruments and total crap in all eras. Older doesn't always mean better, and newer doesn't always mean worse. I have a 2011 Deluxe Strat that has absolutely no visible grain on the maple board and neck with perfect resonance. I've also played a '65 Strat with horrible wood grain, terrible sounds, and virtually no sustain. It comes down to what particular trees made love that day.
     

  19. DHart

    DHart Banned

    I, too, noticed how light weight the neck plates have been on recent Fenders. Are they (some of them, anyway) aluminum now? They obviously get the job done, so I'm just curious as to why they feel so light.
     

  20. fumbler

    fumbler PhD-Stratology

    Age:
    52
    Oct 22, 2009
    New Joisey!
    If you're asking about my partscaster with the bent plate, it's a great guitar. The bent plate doesn't affect a thing. And it's a super-heavy relic so the bend is part of the charm. :)

    I gotta say, I don't love the whole relic idea and I try to keep all my other guitars in nice shape but there's just a sense of freedom I get when I pick up that beat-up mongrel . . .