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NGD: American Standard Strat ... meh

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  • NGD: American Standard Strat ... meh

    Preface: I bought this from HelloMusic, which elicited a little drama from me in another thread, as they initially shipped me a Tele.  This is just a post about this guitar ...

    .

    .

    .

    Awesome cat checking out new arrival ...

    .

    American Standard Strat, black w/maple fretboard, "custom shop pickups" and the new, super-nice molded case.

    So, about a month ago, I had too much to drink and had this dream where I had a black strat, a bit beaten up, with a maple fretboard ... the only part of the dream I remember really well was someone saying "did you get this because of Eric Clapton ...?" and me saying "**************** YOU! Eric Clapton is ****************ing boring!"

    Over the next few days, scornful thoughts of Eric Clapton and visions of my fingers dancing along a maple fretboard with a nice, shiny black strat body in the background began to intrude on my thoughts.  Clinical diagnosis is 'obsession,' but we know better.  GAS.

    I'd also been wanting a strat with a real floating trem for a while; I don't use them that often, but I just did ... and then here is Hello Music, touting the very guitar of which I'd dreamed for $798.

    Click.

    I was pretty excited to get this guitar.  I'm a notorious Fender whore, and yet I'd never purchased an American one new - always used or in a trade, etc.  I pictured fondly getting old, together, with my new Strat.  No one else would ever play it.  Ever.  Just the two of us.  Long walks on the beach.  Trips to Paris, Rome.  Sunday mornings in bed with the tablature books.

    Plugged it into my Peavey Classic, just back from the pricey hippie and sounding better than it has in years ... and I have to hand it to Fender, whatever "custom shop pickups" means, they're pretty damn good.  It sounds great.

    Sadly, that's about the most passion I can drum up for this guitar.  The neck is 'nice enough,' but it isn't one of those that makes you go "gahhhhhh ... this is the ****************!" and truth be told, I prefer smaller frets.  The new radius is okay; I don't really find it that noticeable because I play so many different guitars and it's very average (as opposed to the old 7.5" which are definitely at one end of the spectrum).

    The finish is nice; it will probably look a lot cooler as it ages, and I was surprised how indifferently I felt to dings; within a few hours I'd accidentally banged it on a couch corner and didn't care; I envision this thing looking worn.  Which is certainly not how I feel about my Jag, or even Marauder ...

    ... and having just ripped through an hour or so of nice, fun playing, I guess I feel like this guitar is average.  Don't get me wrong - it's quite nice.  It's a Strat, quack and all, and not a thing needs fixing (except for a bit of a setup, which I'll do tomorrow if I don't go skiing).  Still, it lacks duende.  Which bums me out, great price or not.

    I won't get rid of it, and I'm very sure that over time, it will earn respect from me, but to be very honest, it's nowhere near as nifty as a MIM 50's RI I have.  I'm trying to figure out if it's the shape of the neck, the size of the frets, or what, but as they said once on TV, "he's just not that into you."

    For my disappointment and financial inconvenience, I blame Eric Clapton.

     

    Attached Files

  • #2
    That finish is quite reflective.
    Trooper #179. Epiphone Sorrento 50th ann. reissue, Riviera P93 (wine red, black pearl, Royale red, gold), Wildkat, Emperor Swingster, ES-355, SG 400 (red, black), Dot Studio, ES-335 Pro, LP Standard Pro+, LP Junior , LP Florentine, EL-00, LP Special 1 (yellow, red), G-1275, Gretsch Electromatic CB, Double Jet w/Bigsby, Squier Deluxe Stratocaster, Affinity Tele, Greco electric double cut, Gibson LPJ, Les Paul Special Humbucker, Regal Duolian RC-2, Marcus Martini A mandolin, Valencia A electric mandolin, Savannah F mandolin, Maestro mando-caster, Ktone F mandolin, Stella 12 string acoustic, Hondo H-320, Yamaha F325, Rogue 6 string lap steel, Warmouth P bass, Vox Amplug AC30 and cabinet, Mini 3 G2, AromA mini recording amp, Digitech Whammy V5 and MIDI controller, Expression X whammy, T C Electronic Transition and Flashback loopers, Boss Distortion DS-1, e-Band JS10, Electro-Harmonics Ravish sitar simulator w/ 2 MOOG expression pedals, B9 organ synthesizer, Epiphone tweed mini, Century, Fender Mustang Mini w/footswitch, Passport Mini, GDEC 3-30 w/4 button footswitch, Mustang 3 V2 (40 watt) w/ expression pedal and 4&2 button foot switches, Hiwatt Bulldog 20, Bugera V5 and 2x12 cabinet, 6260-212, Acoustic Lead 20, Marshall G10 MKII, NuX Amp Force, ZOOM G2Nu w/ expression pedal, SoundTech QM802 compact mixer,

    Comment


    • Danhedonia
      Danhedonia commented
      Editing a comment

      Buttcrust wrote:
      That finish is quite reflective.

      Hahahahhaha ... seriously, wtf did I fall in love with this guitar?  $800 worth of poo ..


  • #3

    Danhedonia wrote: So, about a month ago, I had too much to drink and had this dream where I had a black strat, a bit beaten up, with a maple fretboard ... the only part of the dream I remember really well was someone saying "did you get this because of Eric Clapton ...?" and me saying "**************** YOU! Eric Clapton is ****************ing boring!"

    lol... Couldn't agree more with Clapton being boring.  Throw a black guard, covers and knobs on that puppy and it will look the ****************!

    Personally, I'm not too fussed on the American Standard necks either, which is why I order them separately.

    One MIA Fender Strat, one Gibson Les Paul, one Martin Acoustic, what more do you need?

    http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/...ps92b32f13.gif

    Comment


    • bjcarl
      bjcarl commented
      Editing a comment
      First of all, congrats on the long-anticipated HNGD.

      I'm probably in the minority...I've owned a few MIA strats and an MIA Tele, and on quality alone, I don't think they're really superior to a MIM or MIJ...at least not in ways that are easily discernable.

  • #4
    My final thought on MIA vs import....PRS and Gibson make their imports markedly different from their domestics-at least in terms of finishing. Fender tries to make(most of) their imports as close to MIA as possible. The one thing I'm sure of-an MIA will hold its value better than almost any imported version by the same manufacturer.

    Now I'm thinking I should list a Squier on CL as MIA(made in Asia)
    .<p><img border="0" align="center" alt="blown away gif" src="/t5/image/serverpage/image-id/6289iEEAF33ECECD246E7/image-size/original?v=mpbl-1&amp;px=-1" title="blown away gif"></p>

    Comment


    • Mad Tele
      Mad Tele commented
      Editing a comment

      should have kept the tele. that was a sign.


  • #5
    The only difference between a "meh" American Standard and a great one is a good set up. If you can't do it yourself, have it done... But that's all it needs, these are great guitars.

    Comment


    • theManfromAlabam
      theManfromAlabam commented
      Editing a comment

      I have an 08 MIA Standard Strat, tri-color maple, it's pretty cool + it matches my 93 MIA Standard tele, however, my partsocasters which I pieced together with MIM,MIJ and MIA parts are dam near perfect.


    • billybilly
      billybilly commented
      Editing a comment

      joeybsyc wrote:
      The only difference between a "meh" American Standard and a great one is a good set up. If you can't do it yourself, have it done... But that's all it needs, these are great guitars.

      I couldn't disagree with this more.  Having owned about 30 strats, I've only kept two, because they just have that "tone".  They were all set-up well too.  Strats are probably more fickle in terms of sound variation from one another than any other guitar.  No two are the same, at least to me.


  • #6
    Coops, you know damn well he said you have to go CS to get a proper nitro finish and light body, although in fairness that description fits the Highway 1
    Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato

    Comment


    • dmc69
      dmc69 commented
      Editing a comment

      Ratae Coritanorum wrote:
      Coops, you know damn well he said you have to go CS to get a proper nitro finish and light body, although in fairness that description fits the Highway 1

      Not gonna lie, my HWY1 strat was one of the better MIA strats I owned. And every time I go to my local Long and McQuade and pick up a MIA standard strat, I quickly put it down and then try some other guitars because my MIJ strats feel and sound just as good, if not, better. Uninspiring is what I'll also use to describe that line. In retrospect, I should have kept on to the HWY1.

      I tried a Fender Select the other day, hoping it would justify the price tag and at least give me the impression that it was indeed a step up from Fender's other offerings. I honestly wanted to like it, but I walked out feeling like I could put a partscaster together that felt and sounded better. Too much bling, not enough attention to other details. I'll stick with my MIJ and CV Fender/Squier guitars for now.


  • #7

    strats are funny things

    i had a suhr strat that cost me thousands... i got rid of it

    i now have an indonesian made yamaha pacifica that cost me around $600.. i like it more than the suhr

    Comment


    • Jkater
      Jkater commented
      Editing a comment

      mistersully wrote:

      strats are funny things

      i had a suhr strat that cost me thousands... i got rid of it

      i now have an indonesian made yamaha pacifica that cost me around $600.. i like it more than the suhr


      The day I decided i wanted a strat, I thought it had to be a Fender and I tried a few and bought a couple that I returned (including an american standard). Then I too looked at high end Pacificas and found one that appealed to me more than the strats I had tried (admittedly not that many). Especially the neck and frets (6105) of the 904 is probably the reason that this guitar has become my go-to instrument.

  • #8
    Well, I still do own 30 of em, and you're right... Every one is different. If they all sounded the same and played the same that would be pretty boring. They can all be set up to play and sound great if you know what you're doing. Strats are infinitely adjustable, and I haven't found one yet that couldn't be set up to play great. Just because they don't all sound and play exactly the same doesn't make them bad, just different. Different is good.

    Comment


    • billybilly
      billybilly commented
      Editing a comment

      joeybsyc wrote:
      Well, I still do own 30 of em, and you're right... Every one is different. If they all sounded the same and played the same that would be pretty boring. They can all be set up to play and sound great if you know what you're doing. Strats are infinitely adjustable, and I haven't found one yet that couldn't be set up to play great. Just because they don't all sound and play exactly the same doesn't make them bad, just different. Different is good.

      I understand the above point but some lumber is just dead or 2 dimensional if you will.  I'd just rather not have to struggle with a strat like that when I can find a strat that's very alive and 3 dimensional sounding.  But, each to their own, difference is good.


  • #9
    Anf by set up, I don't just mean the neck... Pickup adjustments and bridge adjustments make all the difference in the world.

    Comment


    • #10

       Hard to get excited about black with a white guard. The definition of meh. Congrats anyways, hope the setup improves the experience for you.

      Comment


      • docjeffrey
        docjeffrey commented
        Editing a comment
        I didn't say "decent" strat. As Ratae pointed out, I said "proper." At the time, 2005, that was absolutely true. There were no "thin skins" and the AVRI'S were heavy and dull sounding. Fender has just recently revamped the AVRI range, and if you pay close attention, they are more vintage than ever. Even they recognized that some players wanted more than just decent.

        Those of you who were here in '05 might remember my 3 month odyssey playing pretty much every strat I could find until the jaw dropping experience of stumbling across the CS '56 at Wildwood. Any one of you would have experienced the same revelation as me when you discovered that quality tone woods, great vintage voiced pickups, thin nitro finishes and extreme attention to detail really do make a huge difference in tone.

        Recall that I tried 3 sets of pickups, had a bone nut installed (including a pro setup), and replaced all of the pots and caps on my American Series in an attempt to make it sound like a proper strat, rather than a generic strat shaped guitar.

    • #11

      Danhedonia, certain guitars take some getting use to and certain guitars grow on you, I have a feeling if you were to play that Strat a little everyday you will start to enjoy it more, maybe even grow fond of it.

       

      Good luck....it sure looks pretty.

      Geezer Brigade Trooper #30
      1st generation Irish

      Comment


      • mymindsok
        mymindsok commented
        Editing a comment

        As we all should know by now, Fender builds a pile of "average" guitars, lots of dogs and a few truly superior instruments.

        After my experiences over the last 40 years, I would never settle for a "meh" guitar. In fact, that Strat would have been on it's way back to the vender the next day. Of course, what you do is your business.

        It took me two EJ's to get a great one but we generally get what we demand, so after getting my first lousy exaample, my dealer got a VP at Fender to find me a good one and I'm very very happy with it. Perfect finish, wonderful neck, glorious sound and it didn't even need a set-up. Shazam! Killer guitar! Later I added a Calaham bridge and block. Now it's even better!) 

        OTOH, I snagged mint condition MIM, swapped on a used custom neck, loaded some decent pickups, did a full set-up and had a great guitar for about $700. Same with  the Brawley. and I got it on mint condition for less than $200. The build quality and hardware are far above Fender's, the finish is perfect and the neck (After a full setup and fret leveling.) is to die for. Its now awaiting a pu swap but I already love it.

        I'd never spend $1000+ on a Fender again. No way. 

         

        Heres a photo of my EJ. A $1600+ extravagence but its a fine guitar and I love it..

        http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w238/kenwhitehawk/GUITAR%20EJ%20STRAT/SEPT152011009.jpg

         

        Heres my $150 Brawley. Just as well constructed and finished as the EJ,plus  it has much better hardware and with a set-up, it plays just as well.. Now for new pick-ups!

        http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w238/kenwhitehawk/GUITAR%20KENS%20%20GUITARS/22ce3eeb-dc7b-4733-8489-3bde0d77f831_zps213a44d0.jpg


    • #12
      Lesson learned, if you are looking for an exceptional guitar you need to search for it. Take a shot in the dark and chances are you will end up with an average guitar.

      Comment


      • Danhedonia
        Danhedonia commented
        Editing a comment

        Funny thing is, I learned that lesson long ago - and my REAL issue with returning it is that I feel cowed by Hello Music because I've had to whine / plead / cajole simply to get them to send what I originally ordered.  Yes, $800 is a lot, but I don't want to go to war with them and worry that's what will happen.  And I've begun tweaking it to the point where at least now it has some decent resonant sustain ...

         

        ... which does nothing about my "problem" in the Jade Pearl finish down at the Mom and Pop.  I can feel it getting pissed at me for not taking it home.

         

        Re: "are there such things as terrific MIM Fenders" ... y'know.  Everyone's experience is different.  I agree that batting averages change with regard to which production series and country of origin, but Sound, I just disagree with you.  I have a '94 MIM Tele that is a fine animal.  In case you did not wish to read the thread (which is cool, I skim) I have indeed had the opportunity to play some very nice "full of life" Fenders.  Which, really, is the shot I was taking in the dark - maybe HM will send me one, and if not, hey, I'll return it.  Now, I am fatigued by the back/forth with them.  Bad call on my part.

         

        I have a MIM Jag that compares favorably to the last Johnny Marr I played.  I also have played a lot of MIM FSRs, Pawn Shops, and yes, US Standards that leave me just really unimpressed.  The nicest Strat I've ever played was the '62 ... really, just a beautiful, beautiful guitar (it was a burst, maple fretboard ... drool).  And for a while I had a '66 Mustang on semi-permanent loan that was quite nice for being an "entry model."  A '73 Tele Custom ... the EJ Strats sure can be nice, too.

         

        Those are good guitars.  So's my MIM 50's RI, my MIM Tele, and my MIM Jag.  And my MIC Squier VM Jazzmaster (and I have played literally dozens of very nice JM's). 



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