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post #31 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-13-2008, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 357
Re: strat bridge / year difference / tone diff

Originally Posted by Ayrton View Post
Dear god do not change the original Lace Sensors in the strat plus. There is nothing "sucky" about them.

If you decide to change them, at least wire up a new guard and save the original intact.
It's not a strat plus, ...and they aren't Lace Sensors as best I can tell (don't those have the solid white top plastic covers that hide the pole pieces?). Yes, the roller nut was apparently added post factory. Also, the locking tuners since the old tuner holes show (filled) on the back of the headstock. Looks like someone totally went through the electronics as the cavity under the pickguard has been painted with shielding paint and the back of the pick guard is coated in copper shielding tape. Pots feel brand new. Wiring is definitely post factory as the solder joints are not smooth like a factory job, and one of the wires has a big black shielding on it that says Dean Markley. Switch feels brand new as well.

I haven't figured out what pups are installed, they don't say. The pole pieces look kinda weird to me, ...the tops are kinda rounded around the edges, rather than a sharp edge around the top edge of the poles. Whatever they are, the are NOT vintage or moderate voltage single coils, lol. They are Uber freaking hot for a single coil based on my limited experience. I was convinced they are humbuckers, but now I'm not so sure because the pots are all 250k and my recent experience with my junk strat is that humbuckers with 250k pots sounds like mud, and these don't sound like mud. Plus, all the shielding in the cavity.

Here are some pics. Anyone got any ideas what these pups are based on those unusual looking pole pieces? (at least, they don't look like what I'm used to seeing, but I'm used to Dimarzio, lol) It's almost kinda like the pole pieces have aluminum looking covers over them. Just looks weird to me, like the poles look fake, lol.

I can't say I dig the cleans other than in the typical 2 and 4 strat positions where they are okay. Running through my amp with RAT distortion yields a sound kinda like a vai paf sound (I've never owned a paf so I can't be certain, but sounds similar to some of his album stuff). Distorted the guitar sounds really great.

Two of the neck screws are lightly stripped. I took put a wood sliver in one and it tightened up. Didn't notice the other one until I put it back together. I'm not sure I like the guitar, but the fingerboard is slick, and the trem unit is really sweet with the exception that the block hits the wall of the cavity if you try a flutter that isn't "soft", lol. The previous owner had it locked down with two wood blocks glued on the inside of the cavity cover. (???) I backed the spring screws off to allow the approx. 1/8" gap at the back of the bridge and playing on the fingerboard is very slick. I think it needs a slight fret level, or possibly a fret job as the frets seem kinda thin in some places.

I find it a little odd that the fret markers on top of the neck are placed right on the seam of the rosewood fingerboard and the maple neck, ...half in rosewood, half in maple. Is this how they made them back then? I haven't owned a rosewood fingerboard strat, so I am clueless.

I guess the main thing I'm not liking about this guitar is the thick ass coat of poly on the neck, ...I don't care so much about the body unless it significantly inhibits tone. The wood seems good as it reverberates really well when played. It sounds a little muffled unplugged to my ears, not real bright. Well, maybe "muffled" isn't fair, ...could just be the warm sound of the rosewood fingerboard, or could be that thick poly choking the wood. If I keep it I guess the first thing I should do is get busy sanding all that poly off and tung oil the back of the neck. I know that will open up the tone a bunch from experience with a friend's guitar that he had stripped. Tone lept out of that guitar after that!

I will say this strat, played "unplugged" is the loudest guitar I've ever played unplugged. That "is" a good thing right? I thought that means it's good construction and good wood quality.

Also turns out the neck dings don't bother me one bit, so that's a plus! I have 30 days to decide if I wanna keep her or take her back for a refund. Gotta love that G.C. policy. But, I really don't want to take it back and get a foriegn made job. If I take it back, I'll either buy a fender standard american, or take the big freaking plunge and get that custom shop relic that paralyzed me in the store the other day, lol, but that's one big freaking price jump and I'd have to do layaway for that.

Part of what I have to get over is that it doesn't play "effortlessly" like an Ibanez Prestige, lol. A little more difficult than my warmoth compound radius neck on my trash strat, but then I haven't had a setup done or the frets plecked either. I think this strat has potential, just needs some TLC. I just don't want TLC to turn into another $400-$500, which would mean I could have bought a brand new American Standard instead, lol. I sure think the recording sounds great though. Hmm....

Last edited by tt0511; 03-14-2008 at 11:04 PM.
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post #32 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-14-2008, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 357
Re: strat bridge / year difference / tone diff

Well, I couldn't really get over the thick gloss, plastic feeling poly on the back of the neck, and the guitar was really worn out, so I took it back to my local G.C. for a refund and to look for something comparable price and American made. I went home with this Highway One Strat and OMFG! I didn't want a bridge humbucker but in the one up from bridge position, this thing is nothing but uber stratty and this guitar plays stupidly, ...ridiculously great. (I can always get another pickguard and put in a single coil bridge if I decide to later at minimal cost for such a great axe.) I don't know if I'll pick up any of my other guitars for a very long freaking time! And, I didn't do anything to it, ...not even change the strings yet, lol. All I can say is "thank you Fender for this axe!"

I guess you have to understand that I never liked strats. They've been slowly creeping up on me for about the past year. In fact, I hated them. So, I've converted, lol. I am beyond happy.

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post #33 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-14-2008, 11:26 PM
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Location: Richmond VA, USA
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Re: strat bridge / year difference / tone diff

Find what you like and play what you love.
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post #34 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 357
Re: strat bridge / year difference / tone diff

Cool Cosmic. All I know is that this Highway One sounds great, and also seems to be better quality at almost every point compared to the first one I bought. It was in my price range, I wanted American built, I prefer nitro clear (this is on the body), and the satin poly on the back of the neck is way, way better than that first strat neck (it felt like a plastic toy, not like a guitar neck). This neck is very comfy to play on. The jumbo frets are like my Prestige and the neck/fingerboard is just surprisingly slick and fast. It feels natural to play. Can't really compare a roller nut to corian, or 2-point trem to a vintage trem IMO. They have different vibes. But, to be sure, lots and lots of records / CD's have been made and bands toured using strats setup just like mine. No doubt Yngwie still uses a vintage trem, as well as others.

I do think it would look better with a slanted single coil in the bridge though, but when I play it, i can't complain about the tone, lol. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. have to give it some time to make a final decision on that one issue.

Thanks for all the help guys. I finally got me an american strat that plays the way I want a strat to play.

You guys without roller nuts recommend putting a little graphite in the nut slots to curb binding? I wonder if there's a difference between using graphite, oil or chap stick there.
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post #35 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 08:11 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Detroit, MI, USA
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Re: strat bridge / year difference / tone diff

I'm glad you found the right Strat for you. Enjoy it!
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post #36 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 11:03 PM
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Location: Fairfax, VA - USA
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Re: strat bridge / year difference / tone diff

If you want tuning stability, add a set of schaller locking tuners along with a hipshot tremsetter and you'll be good to go.

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post #37 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 357
Re: strat bridge / year difference / tone diff

Cool man. Thanks! So far, I oiled the string retainers a little and put a touch of oil on the nut at the string slots. After playing it a few hours over the weekend, the tuning stability is much better as far as strings binding. If it doesn't get broke in after a bit I may follow this advice. At this point it's hard to tell if it's the tuners or the springs needing to be broken in a bit.

Raising the trem up in the back to the Fender recommended 1/8" helped a TON! That little adjustment immediately improved the tuning stability.

Originally Posted by jb4674 View Post
If you want tuning stability, add a set of schaller locking tuners along with a hipshot tremsetter and you'll be good to go.

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