Submitted April 14, 2018 by Paul Cutrona in Winchester, VA
"Good guitar with some adjustments"
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Bought this as a blem/open box, good price. Had to spend a little time tweaking it, although I'm not sure if it's because it wasn't new/non-blem (I'm thinking, someone probably bought this, didn't know how to set it up, and sent it back - thanks, I got a better price because of you! :) . Did a quick fret-level (notched ruler, 12" radius block with 600, then steel wool), and had to mess with the truss rod quite a bit, to get it all smooth and level. The fret ends had to be filed and buffed as well. I'm not sure about the pau fero (or whatever it is) fretboard wood - time will tell, although I can say when I lemon-oiled my fretboard, the color deepened a little bit, moreso than when I do rosewood fretboards, however I can't tell if thats a good or bad thing. In the end, after tweaking, I finally got it so I really love the guitar. The pickups sounds great - albeit they are vintage staggered, which means they are set up for old-school wound-G strung guitars (easy to readjust the pole pieces). Okay, so on to the guitar. It sounds awesome - with the S-1 pushed in, bypassing the preamp, it is very vintage sounding, and all the stratiness and quack comes through. When you depress the S-1, it's got some real beef, good for solos or a more modern tone. I can't speak of the rotary tone adjustment, as I doubt I'll use that aspect, but it does work okay. The tone and volume controls are very responsive. The bridge - after tweaking (adjusting the springs, pivot points, etc) the whammy stays in tune well. The action is nice and low with no fretting out (thanks to the 12" radius) and feels like butter. I love the large headstock, although I wish the logo was solid black instead of outlined lettering. I'm a throwback to the Ritchie Blackmore era of strats obviously. The guitar is pretty light, and is a pleasure playing after a couple sets with my LP - which is heavy as hell. If I had one real wish, it would be really that the rotary dial was just replaced with a regular tone control, however I can see using the rotary if you really want to get some subtle changes in tone, at a preset kinda way. The pickups are noiseless and sound good. I was going to pull the trigger on a hot noiseless for the bridge but ended up going for a duncan hot rails - only because the music my band plays begs for a very high gain option on some songs, however I will say the stock pickups sound miles better than my old american special pickups (I think they were the texas specials - which were okay but a little anemic - I need more gain than that). And again, noiseless - makes all the difference. I swapped out the stock nut for a tusq xl, but that is personal preference and I do that with all my guitars - I just like the tone and glide. All in all, this is a really good guitar, and after a little attention on the setup side, no better or worse than an american standard; for the price I'd do this again. The gig bag it comes with is okay if all you do is move it from one room to another, but if you are going to throw this guitar in your car (I do) then really go for a hard case. Spend the 100 bucks for your 800 dollar guitar. Damn good looking guitar too. Strats are sexy. Get one from zZounds - can't beat their payment plans, their speedy shipping, and I've always been serviced well there.
35 years, I gig weekends, have played professionally and for fun
Rock, blues, metal, pop, country.
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