I have owned 'cheesy' strats in the past when I started learning the guitar back in '86. *However, I have never bought a strat forthright. *I veered straight into the Ibanez arena and never looked back. *From my first RG, to my JS
, JEM's, UV's and ultimately my custom 7 string in the vein of ibanez influences....
Sooo....lately I have been in a real 'old school' vibe listening to Tommy Bolin, King Crimson, Howlin' Wolf, Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Vaughan, early Genesis....yaddy yaddy ya.
There is something about that particular tone that has driven my own search for tone...something that admittedly I haven't been able to 'nail' outright when playing...the kind of bite that only a 'strat' specific setup could give....I've come close with my JS
's thanks to the coil tap..but listen back to the strat's of yesteryear and admire a very specific quality about them...
so every chance I get I try out a strat. *i like to partake a few hours in various music shops in Chicago and close around to find 'the one' that my hands accept and the tone that justifies the purchase....well that search ended this past saturday.
after about a zillion strats (which don't flame me if you're strat lover but...every single new one i tried sucks eggs royally bad bad bad fender company build and work)
I found a '87 strat American Standar with an incredible neck, roswewood board, nice color (metallic blue), and in near mint shape....it's tone just flew right out...I can't describe it..but it nailed the bluesy tone in my head for so long INSTANTLY. *The funny part was while I was in the store several other customers came in looking for that same one I was playing with cash in hand ready to buy (they apparently had tried it out during the week)....well...I chuckled and apologized in the same breath and bought it. *
Now...this lands into the 'particularly' funny category in that I have always silently detested Fender for mass producing a lot of schlock and I'm not talking about their squiers or mexican made strats..but even their signature lines are badly built. *It's almost as if quality control doesn't exist in Corona, California. *An american standard nowadays costs just under 900 bucks from most retailers. *I tried them ALL out. Not a single friggn' strat went untouched in my quest for the 'one'. *What also fueled me was an old Ibanez article about how Vai did the same thing and stumbled upon a Mexican strat that just blew him away...so I was guided by the same pretense. *All the american standards just sucked the big one. *I mean I couldn't tell you how many badly 'from the factory' setup strats had badly rounded frets, bad maple necks, ugly rosewood boards....and this is the 'new american' standard.
Well...a pretty blue one caught my eye. *The guy in the store (Guitar Works Evanston, IL) said that someone traded it in recently...it was practically flawless...and something clued me in...it was particularly heavy for a strat...unfortunately the salesguy didn't know much about it other than they set it up and compared the serial and date stamps from inside the neck and body and determined it was a standard american strat from 1987. *It was setup with 10-46 the I luv my guitars set up with. *I plugged it in and I got everyone in the store's attention...i mean it just 'oooooooozzed' strat tone of what you would define it to be. *It was nuts...the salesguy was like..can I play that? *Every other person came up and asked are the pickups different...and according to the shop guy there...everything is 'standard' on it.
It sang so easily (the action is scaringly low and even and NO BUZZ). *So i bought it for $550 clams!!! Oh and get this..the neck is a beautiful yellowish maple with hints of birdseye and quilt!!!!
I have been playing this guitar nonstop in Eric Johnson mode for the past 72 hours straight.....
I feel like I hit a very special musical nirvana in discovering this beautiful tone.
have I lost it...did i miss something years ago..don't get me wrong i won't abandon ibanez...but damnn....
the tone is to die for....for a strat..the way it should be..the way i heard it, the way i have always felt a strat should play like...is now mine.
I have lost it haven't I?