Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts - Jemsite
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

First, the fun part:

http://youtu.be/TXhjBDxlHNI?list=UUR...P8PoQFyPlFRexw

So, a bassist buddy of mine has been on a guitar buying kick lately of absurd proportions, and he snagged this lately. He wasn't happy with how it played so he left it at my place for a week to try to dial in for him, and after getting it where it felt right I was having enough fun jamming on it that I did a quick blues improv with it.

I'll start by saying I actually really liked this guitar and that it was very well built and well finished, and clearly sounded phenomenal. I'm about to go on a vent pointing out all the things I don't like about it, but they're basically just the vintage specs, so I'll say this - if you want a period correct Strat, these things are awesome.

That said - I REALLY don't understand why someone would want a totally-authentic period spec Strat in this day and age. This thing has a 7" (!!!) radius neck with vintage (read: microscopic) fretwire, so low shred-worthy action was out of the question because notes just choke to death when you try to bend them. As it happened the notes also just bloom nicely with a slightly higher setup (and I ended up raising the action on my own Strat, a '97 American, after working on this one) so it worked out for a bluesier style guitar, but a flatter or compound radius neck with larger frets is something that Fender has moved to on recent guitars for a reason. Also, I lucked out when I eyeballed the truss rod when going from 10-52 to 10-48, which is a good thing because the truss rod is in the neck pocket so you have to remove the neck to adjust it. Why you'd intentionally revert to this spec is beyond me... especially on a guitar with vintage style tuners where you need to thread the string down the center of the machine and then bend it over, rather than contemporary designs that run through the peg. This just made me uneasy stringing it up, though this at least was starting to win me over as they seemed well made, fairly secure, and the guitar held tune well (it helped that the nut was VERY well cut) so I was gaining confidence with them, and you also din't have to worry about stabbing yourself on the string ends.

The pickups (a 57/62 reissue set) sounded awesome, but they were exceptionally low output even for vintage singlecoils, and with the stupid vintage stagger that Fender STILL uses, you could only set them so close to the pickups to compensate. Guitarists have used unwound G's on their Strats since the late 60s, this is one of those design holdovers that I'm surprised Fender is still holding onto (since they're doing so much else right these days - compound radius necks, staggered tuning machines, hand rolled edges, routes that accommodate humbuckers right out of the shop, a two-point trem whose only "vintage" concession is in the saddles, not in functionality, larger frets... Really, even with the recent price increases, you get a lot of guitar for your money with a modern Fender). Also, while Fender thankfully shipped these with a 5-way switch and instructions, and while it was an interesting experience trying to stick the switch between positions as I'd read guys used to before the 5-way was introduced, the in-between positions were half of the appeal of a Strat to me, so I immediately missed it. Also, speaking of, the middle pickup being wound with the same direction and polarity as the bridge and neck meant the in-between positions lost a lot of their magic, even if they WERE period correct. Idunno... Doesn't seem a fair trade to me. Anyway, I swapped in the 5-way for my buddy while he waited when he came by to pick it up last night, so that's been fixed at least.

All of this sounds way more critical than it should be, because really I enjoyed the hell out of playing and working on this guitar, and it sounds gorgeous. It's a cool instrument, sounds great, and looks great, it's just at a bare minimum if it were mine I'd need to send it off to have the neck reradiused and heavier frets installed. A lot of the changes that Fender has made in recent years are actually really sensible and they've been churning out some really excellent guitars lately, and even features I don't really like (the S1 switching, for instance) are at least intelligently thought out.

Idunno... Awesome guitar, either way.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 01:01 PM
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

There's a part of me who obviously likes the ultra fast RG and improvements to playability and output it has over original pre-CBS Fender strat.

If there's any drawbacks to the the old strat's vintage parts making it a problem on playing, it doesn't show in your video. Things sound great the way you are playing it and though not the familiar Ibanez RG most of us know for shredding and lead guitar work, the vintage strat still gets you there and sounds fantastic. No guitar is more recorded than the standard three single coil strat.

But the pre-CBS stuff, mostly with super round 7.25" inch radius and weak pickups does get those old school tones and it's a great cowboy chord guitar. Of course it would be very hard to play Satch stuff with it as comfortably on new spec Ibanez guitars and flatter radiuses and bigger fret wire, but to each his own. In his defense, Leo did put on much bigger frets with guitars from his later companies and did go to the smoother two screw trem systems as opposed to the six screw trems as on old Fenders. As for the butt end truss rod adjusting, there's no good excuse for that. I am eyeing Leo's G&L strat-like guitar and it's really very similar to a maple necked RG and has those RG-like frets and shredder feel though it has more of a traditional vintage strat look overall.

I loved my '65 tele but the worn out, already (stock) small frets, just made it impossible to play lead on it without raising the action too high. Those choke outs while bending really make it necessary to raise the action for bends making the whole guitar feel slower when doing lead work. Back in the mid-80s it wasn't such a sin to refret so my luthier put on frets very similar to an RG's big frets and the thing worked much better for lead work. Of course I couldn't change the 7.25" inch radius but at least the fatter and taller frets got my fingers completely off the fretboard while playing and it felt like butter. With those microscopic stock Fender frets of old, your fingers are ass dragging on the fretboard and that impedes on bending thus probably the Yngwie thing for scalloped fretboards.

As for weak pickups, sometimes my old teles and strats just couldn't drive the amp appropriately, especially in lead position where it could be just too tinny. I saw so many players put in something akin to a DiMarzio Super Distortion in lead position to get a pickup that could drive most amps into nice natural distortion. Of course, today, routing out an old strat would be considered a crime. Short of that, some found nice higher output blade pickups in a Bill Lawrence/other single space sized humbucker and that did the job.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 08-04-2014 at 01:15 PM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Hey, thanks dude!

I figure if you can play, then you can play on damned near anything if it has an acceptable setup. This was far from ideal and I had to leave the action a little higher than I might like, and it didn't feel comfortable to me... But at the same time, for playing blues (and even when I started doing some less traditional, more shred-influenced stuff at the end) it's just fine.

I guess too theres value in just every once in a while getting way out of your comfort zone on a guitar - it keeps you fresh, I guess. It DOES make me want to buy a second strat though and leave lower output pickups in it - especially now that they ship with medium-jumbo frets and a compound radius board.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 02:57 PM
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Great sounding guitar... Nice playing, Drew!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 03:06 PM
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

That was a nice sound you got there. Nice playing, too. I enjoyed both.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Thanks guys. It's a Mesa Roadster in Ch. 3 Vintage, 100 watt solid state rectified power section, with a TC Electronics Flashback X4 in the loop, and the gain at noon. Not a "traditional" blues setup, but they're just really sweet sounding pickups so it works.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 08:55 PM
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Hey, thanks dude!

I figure if you can play, then you can play on damned near anything if it has an acceptable setup. This was far from ideal and I had to leave the action a little higher than I might like, and it didn't feel comfortable to me... But at the same time, for playing blues (and even when I started doing some less traditional, more shred-influenced stuff at the end) it's just fine.

I guess too theres value in just every once in a while getting way out of your comfort zone on a guitar - it keeps you fresh, I guess. It DOES make me want to buy a second strat though and leave lower output pickups in it - especially now that they ship with medium-jumbo frets and a compound radius board.
Yes, this!

Most players, regardless of genre or level of expertise, would probably play more stuff effortlessly on an RG550 than on a '62 strat. But at the same time the weaknesses of the strat, as you pointed out, puts one's playing out of a comfort zone.

What I like about skinny frets, fat necks, and undesirable radii is that all those things slow me down. Sometimes get slowed down could improve note choice and make a solo take a different path versus if the neck is easy to play super fast passages on.

What I like to do to keep growing is to change action and string gauges from time to time. I can play fastest and with least errors on a 9-42 set, but a 10-46 slows things down and changes phrasing, especially when I put the action up a couple of notches. Every now and then I go for 11-50 and rely just on slower, single note passages with this almost acoustic guitar feeling gauge. I think that's why many of us who are singer/songwriters like steel string guitars.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2014, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by 63Blazer View Post
Yes, this!

Most players, regardless of genre or level of expertise, would probably play more stuff effortlessly on an RG550 than on a '62 strat. But at the same time the weaknesses of the strat, as you pointed out, puts one's playing out of a comfort zone.
Even vice versa - if I spent all my time playing this guitar, and then picked up my own Strat or better yet the Warmoth superstrat I built, it would absolutely mess with me. That's kind of cool.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 02:32 PM
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

It's fun when a hard rock outfit known for hard hitting and fast music sometimes uses a vintage guitar not normally known for the heavy stuff (like 7.25" inch radius vintage spec Fenders like a butterscotch blackguard ala Hetfield on Black Album, baseball necked vintage Gibsons, and even the occasional hollowbody):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo2qQmj0_h4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCJux_7W2i8

Last edited by 63Blazer; 08-05-2014 at 02:38 PM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2014, 02:53 PM
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Thanks guys. It's a Mesa Roadster in Ch. 3 Vintage, 100 watt solid state rectified power section, with a TC Electronics Flashback X4 in the loop, and the gain at noon. Not a "traditional" blues setup, but they're just really sweet sounding pickups so it works.
By the way, how do you like the Flashback? I ask because I'm suddenly in the market for a delay pedal. I was looking at the Strymon Timeline, but it's a bit pricey. On the lower end, I like the sound of the MXR Carbon Copy, but for about the same price, the regular Flashback includes a lot more options.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2014, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by therightjem View Post
By the way, how do you like the Flashback? I ask because I'm suddenly in the market for a delay pedal. I was looking at the Strymon Timeline, but it's a bit pricey. On the lower end, I like the sound of the MXR Carbon Copy, but for about the same price, the regular Flashback includes a lot more options.
While I wouldn't exactly mind having a Timeline either, I love the Flashback.

It replaced a Line6 DL4 in my FX loop, which was actually a pretty solid delay pedal, but for me it came down to headroom and transparency. I have no idea why this is the case, but in my old Mesa Nomad-45, in the FX loop it had plenty of headroom, whereas when I switched from the Nomad to a Rectoverb and then a Roadster, suddenly the DL4 was saturating a bit in the loop. I say saturating rather than clipping because, thank god, it wasn't harsh digital distortion; rather the repeats were getting some grit to them and it was perceptably rounding off the high end and low end. It actually wasn't horrible sounding and it worked well enough for leads, so I kept it for years. However I saw the Flashback at a good price maybe eight months ago and snagged it.

Right off the bat, that fixed my headroom problems - delays are perfectly clear. This is especially noticable with the looper functionality, where not only does the fidelity seem to be higher for the Flashback than it was for the DL4, but it's no longer clipping so I can record very clear, natural sounding loops that don't sound perceptably different than the "live" sounds.

However, as a delay, it's also just an excellent sounding unit. I mostly just use the analog model, I think (actually, come to think of it, I'm no longer sure - it might be the digital), but the tape delay is awesome for clean playing, and the Space delay is just a blast to play slow ambient stuff through. The guy who sold it to me (who knows me) was an a-hole and sent it to me pre-set to that model, knowing full well that I'd plug in and immediately my whole afternoon would be shot. It's a great delay, that does pretty traditional sounding stuff well as well as having some pretty cool "special effect" delays on tap.

The one feature I miss on the Flashback that I had on the DL4 was some sort of EQ control over the delays. I tended to run mine with some of the low end rolled off to give better clarity, which I don't believe you have the option to do currently (though, it has computer connectivity and does that Tone Print thing so there's the possibility that down the road this may be something you can edit from your computer - that'd be awesome). Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy with it.

I should do a video review of some of the different modes, come to think of it.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2014, 01:41 PM
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
While I wouldn't exactly mind having a Timeline either, I love the Flashback.

It replaced a Line6 DL4 in my FX loop, which was actually a pretty solid delay pedal, but for me it came down to headroom and transparency. I have no idea why this is the case, but in my old Mesa Nomad-45, in the FX loop it had plenty of headroom, whereas when I switched from the Nomad to a Rectoverb and then a Roadster, suddenly the DL4 was saturating a bit in the loop. I say saturating rather than clipping because, thank god, it wasn't harsh digital distortion; rather the repeats were getting some grit to them and it was perceptably rounding off the high end and low end. It actually wasn't horrible sounding and it worked well enough for leads, so I kept it for years. However I saw the Flashback at a good price maybe eight months ago and snagged it.

Right off the bat, that fixed my headroom problems - delays are perfectly clear. This is especially noticable with the looper functionality, where not only does the fidelity seem to be higher for the Flashback than it was for the DL4, but it's no longer clipping so I can record very clear, natural sounding loops that don't sound perceptably different than the "live" sounds.

However, as a delay, it's also just an excellent sounding unit. I mostly just use the analog model, I think (actually, come to think of it, I'm no longer sure - it might be the digital), but the tape delay is awesome for clean playing, and the Space delay is just a blast to play slow ambient stuff through. The guy who sold it to me (who knows me) was an a-hole and sent it to me pre-set to that model, knowing full well that I'd plug in and immediately my whole afternoon would be shot. It's a great delay, that does pretty traditional sounding stuff well as well as having some pretty cool "special effect" delays on tap.

The one feature I miss on the Flashback that I had on the DL4 was some sort of EQ control over the delays. I tended to run mine with some of the low end rolled off to give better clarity, which I don't believe you have the option to do currently (though, it has computer connectivity and does that Tone Print thing so there's the possibility that down the road this may be something you can edit from your computer - that'd be awesome). Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy with it.

I should do a video review of some of the different modes, come to think of it.
Thanks for the detailed response. That's a good bit to know about using it in the FX loop. Typically, I like the time based effects in the FX loop, and since I'm considering switching from a rackmount multi-FX to pedals, I was wondering what kind of difference to expect. That's also another aspect that has me favoring the Flashback over the Carbon Copy; I've read the digital works better in the loop.

Oh, and in regard to a video review, yes, do it. After I posted my question to you yesterday, I actually checked your youtube channel for one, knowing that you have done reviews in the past.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2014, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Set up a friend's Fender '62 Reissue - video and thoughts

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Originally Posted by therightjem View Post
Oh, and in regard to a video review, yes, do it. After I posted my question to you yesterday, I actually checked your youtube channel for one, knowing that you have done reviews in the past.
Sorry, I've been slacking. God only knows when I'll get a free night, but I'll try to put something together in the next couple weeks.
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