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Who has gone Custom Shop and what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by cmm71, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. ntsheppard89

    ntsheppard89 Strat-Talk Member

    Jan 3, 2020
    Alberta, Canada
    I've got lots of lust for the idea of a custom shop guitar, but in my acquisitions over the last couple years which have been more expensive (i.e. not starter guitars) I've been more careful before spending the money. What I've found is I get these ideas in my head of what I'm going to like, do a bunch of research on guitar models that might meet my needs, go to the store and then don't like any of the ones I came there to play. Then I pick up something that wasn't even on my radar and I end up loving it from the first strum. So I'd be paralyzed with fear that I'm going to design my "perfect" guitar only to receive it and not like something about it. So I think I've resigned myself to playing every guitar on the wall until I find one I can't put down, and then I buy it.
    CAR63, Blue Beagle and StummerJoe like this.
  2. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Not Of This Earth

    Dec 26, 2010
    Scott La.
    I don’t know! I’ve had a Shell Pink before and I always thought it looked good on stage ... at least from what I can tell from pictures. The Burgundy Mist seems to look good and is a favorite also.

    it is a bit challenging when you basically can get what ever the hell you want but have to decide on something... maybe the next one .... Lake Placid Blue is pretty sharp too...
    nickmsmith likes this.
  3. stratobiker

    stratobiker Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2011
    I bought a CS relic and had it refinished. Now I have a guitar that sounds great AND looks good. :thumb:
  4. budglo

    budglo Strat-Talker

    Nov 21, 2009
    I have 1 CS strat and think it stands above my other 2 including an AVRI thinskin. If it is worth the extra money is totally the buyers call .YMMV. It was for me.
    Paperback Rocker likes this.
  5. Murphcaster

    Murphcaster Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 17, 2013
    Yeah, because that's EXACTLY how they do it :rolleyes:o_O

    It's posts like this that really brings to light just how uninformed folks are. That, or they're just trying to be cute. If so, good job...that's cute.
    Paperback Rocker and CGHguitars like this.
  6. artgtr

    artgtr Artgtr Silver Member

    Aug 18, 2013
    Wurtsboro, NY
    I have a few CS & MB Strats all great guitars, I also have other non CS Strats that are also fantastic guitars. For a while I had a thing for 88’ to 91’ Strat Ultra’s & plus deluxe. Than 82’ AVRI & 84 AVRI, than older CS guitars. Still have them all, getting a little crowded in guitar room.
    My #1 is a E Clapton Journeyman 30th Blackie CS & just p/u a EC Todd Krause MB Journeyman - wow it really plays extremely well. I’ve been playing my CS Strats for years now, pretty steady.
  7. dbolt

    dbolt Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2014
    I have a 97 CS 60’s Relic that I would never part with.
  8. Silverman

    Silverman Strat-Talker

    Feb 28, 2016
    If you have very specific tastes, than it may be worth the money. I think there is a lot of wisdom it combing the retail racks however. Whenever I buy a new guitar, I make judicious use of Guitar Center's generous return policy. Buying and returning multiple guitars multiple times will often net a guitar that plays absurdly well and sounds amazing just by nature of odds if not craftsmanship. In order to this, you have to be patient and let go of the concept of price always dictating quality.
  9. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Do it or screw it.

    Sep 18, 2014
    Hurst, TX
    I have had six CS Strats, all bought used for under $2200. They were all worth the money, to me.

    I have the EJ Thinline. It approaches CS quality.
  10. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

    May 10, 2020

    By playing every guitar on the wall you'll have a better idea of what you would like in a custom order.
  11. dbluesmi

    dbluesmi Strat-Talk Member

    Dec 13, 2015
    Have owned probably 40 strats from vintage to modern - yes CS are probably the best but not every one is great - depends upon the guitar, depends on what you like. But overall, you get a better crafted, better equipped guitar with CS. That being said, my #1 strat is a Mayer Signature Fender strat. My CS strats feel a bit better but certain guitars have that total magic that defies price.
  12. Hydr0

    Hydr0 Strat-O-Master

    Aug 3, 2015
    New York
    A used AVRI will still be less than 1/2 the cost of a custom shop. Yes, they have held their value, but that could be a good thing. I don't believe custom shops do, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, if you don't like the AVRI, you could probably sell it pretty easily without losing much, maybe just shipping and transaction fees, assuming you buy it at the right price. The real issue is how comfortable are you with dealing in the used market. If you're ok with it, it might be a decent option to try.

    I have an AVRI '59 and love it. I was going to go custom shop myself, but the guitar I wanted was going to buy was $3,750 and still wasn't exactly what i wanted. If i spec'd it out myself to exactly what i wanted, it would have been over $4,500.

    I bought my AVRI for $1,500 plus shipping and tax.so total cost was around $1,750. I still want to spec my own strat at the custom shop...one day....but now that guitar is behind a new amp and a les paul, so it's many years away. This way, i have the guitar i want now and i should be able to get that amp in a year or so. If i bought the custom shop, i wouldn't have a new amp for multiple years..and getting a Les Paul would have been pushed back even further.

    Good luck with whichever way you decide to go :thumb:
  13. mexipan

    mexipan Strat-Talker

    Jul 17, 2020
    Right here
    Nope, but I you want to buy me one, it'll be '62s replica, Fiesta red, darkest rosewood you can, and 9.5 radius.
    Or @Murphcaster profile pic, I don't mind.
    Murphcaster likes this.
  14. roneysam

    roneysam Strat-Talk Member

    May 14, 2015
    AMEN! The ones who do that are mostly jealous jerks who can't afford a real FCS relic, so trolling any thead on the subject becomes a hobby. Not that there's anything wrong with preferring a non-relic, just that to your point, the emotionally well adjusted adults who happen to prefer non-relic are content with eveyone having their own way and have to need to start some crap in a forum over it. Its the jealous haters who like to stir the pot, and a lot of these op's on this forum are intentional troll bait.
    bobseven and Kdawg1966 like this.
  15. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

    May 21, 2010
    7 1/4" radius? Used AVRI.
    RadioFM74 and Paperback Rocker like this.
  16. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas New Member!

    Jan 1, 2020
    The Void
    5/8ths nut width is 0.625. to the best of my knowledge, team built custom shop won't do anything skinner than 0.650 "

    masterbuilt would probably do a 0.625 nut width for you but you would be looking at 8 grand USD to start.

    is your heart truly set on just that width and nothing else? in my humble estimation, there is not a really huge difference. playing one for half a day will get you acclimated to it after having been on a different width for a while.

    warmoth will do 0.625 and it will be cheaper than CS, naturally. so there is one other option to consider.

  17. jumpbluesdude

    jumpbluesdude New Member!

    Jul 15, 2012
    eau claire, wi
  18. Kenny80121

    Kenny80121 Strat-Talk Member

    Jul 16, 2018
    Denver, CO
    I'm a Custom Shop snob - I love them for lots of really unimportant reasons - largely aesthetic.

    For specs guys like you seem - I'd love to hear your take on the Fender Mod Shop - https://shop.fender.com/en-US/mod-shop.html

    It seems so cool!
    Paperback Rocker likes this.
  19. Scott Baxendale

    Scott Baxendale Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2020
    Athens Ga
    We market our guitars as real relics, which they are. We remanufacture old guitars into structurally new guitars yet keeping their old real relic patina, which is the exact opposite of taking new guitars and distressing them to make them look old. This is how we do our marketing. #faurelicsareforposers is a hashtag we use to promote our real relic guitars as a better alternative to faux relics. So in my case I see it as smart business, since it has been doing quite well for our sales.

    I actually own a light relic custom shop 59’ Esquire which I quite like. If you read the history of the Fender Custom shop and do you research you will find my name as one of the original inspirations to Jay Black when he started the Relic series. The heavy fake relic looks really terrible, IMO. But, I think the Closet Classics are pretty nice.

    Jay Black replaced me at Swift Music Repair in KC, 1977 when I went to work at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. While at Gruhn’s I developed a technique to turn grey bobbin 60’s strat pickups into black 50’s pickups. Because at the time there were no after market vintage accurate replacement pickups available. Also at the time a 60’s pickup was worth about $20 and a 50’s pickup was worth $80, so we came up with a way to make them look exactly like the originals which we then used to restore 50’s Fenders.

    We also had techniques to accurately reproduce the old finishes, however we never did fake distressing to the finish. We did force check it sometimes, but never did we add fake playing wear, dings, scratches, scraps, etc, which I believe is something the player should want to have happen naturally as they use the guitar. This is the Faux part I have a problem with.

    After Jay went to work for Fender’s custom shop he paid me a visit in Nashville and we gave him a shop tour. He took all this info back to Fender and started the Relic series, he asked me later when he wrote his book if he could give me the credit. I was part of a 6 man luthier team who figured this all out in 1978.

    Here is why I have a problem with faux relics: How is it that if you buy a new Strat in perfect condition, then play it until it is worn and “relic’d” yet somehow that exact playing wear devalues the instrument, however if you take that same guitar and have someone else put fake distressing into the guitar before it is sold it is somehow worth more now?

    Also when reselling a used Fender Relic how do you grade it’s condition? Is it mint, is it a 6 or a 4? How do you determine the used pricing? Are there now relic experts who can distinguish between the fake playing wear or the actual wear? With UV lights and magnifying glasses?

    Is this how a used relic is graded? Before these fake relics became a thing it was very clear how to grade a used or vintage guitar, now it isn’t.

    Fake relic’ing at the factory level on a guitar is now a way to unload their blemished second’s at a upcharge. In the 70’s Gibson sold 2nds as discounted guitars, now they either relic them with an upcharge or drive over them with a road grader.

    When I get thin skinned complaints by folks who think I’m being dickish I just explain this and tell them Posers have money too so why not fill their needs?

    Carson Hess is the real master at restoring vintage fenders with his relic techniques. His stuff is the closest to looking authentic. His stuff is the best. When I told him #fauxrelicsareforposers he laughed when I said posers have money too.

    Below is an example of one of our Real Relics.

    This is a new Real Relic Remanufactured Guitar. What we do is also the greenest tech in new real relic guitars. No new rainforest trees were harmed and no solvents or chemicals are put into the environment in the making of this guitar. DAD8ABDB-8BAE-4DA2-B65C-CE44B6A95DA9.jpeg
  20. MoHump

    MoHump Strat-Talk Member

    Nov 12, 2019
    My thoughts alone. I don't like relic, I've had CS before and sold all of them. Had better luck with special run or limited edition. I tend to stick with MIA Deluxe. Dark colors don't show their beauty unless they're in full sunlight. White, Black are OK, but I prefer crimson transparent and three tone sunburst. All other colors are just paint. I could go on about features, but I've bored you enough for now.
    Scott Baxendale likes this.