Strat guys! A Les Paul guy needs your advice.

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Gianni, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece
    Hi guys! :wave:

    This is what I need in a new guitar:

    1. A Floyd Rose tremolo system mainly for scooping notes and open harmonics, as well as dipping and diving, so not necessarily floating.
    2. A volume knob as close to the bridge pickup as possible for easy pinky swells.
    3. A pickup selector switch I can flip with my little finger, without having to move my arm from the playing position.
    4. The sound of a middle and neck single-coil pickups working together, but also a ‘quiet’ bridge humbucker.

    And here’s the guitar I am considering (Specs further down):


    [​IMG]


    Standard Stratocaster® Plus Top with Locking Tremolo | Fender Headwear

    She’s from Mexico (US ones don’t come with a Floyd) so, as I’m not very knowledgeable about Strats, could you help me with any of the following questions, and anything else you feel I should consider before buying?

    1. What, apart from the cost of labour, is it that makes her more inexpensive than her US cousins ($750)? Would you anticipate any build-quality issues? Would you expect the tuners, volume/tone controls, pickup selector, wiring to be reliable?

    2. Would you change the pickups, and what to, Fender as well as other brand?

    3. Although according to the specs it has an “Original” Floyd Rose bridge, my guess is that it’s the 1000-Series, made in Korea. Any experience with this?


    [​IMG]
     
    GibsonKramer likes this.
  2. dreyn77

    dreyn77 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2012
    Messages:
    12,559
    Likes Received:
    2,857
    I find with all mexican guitars they seem to make 1 mistake on the guitar. and I don't know how that's possible cause all factories have CNC machines these days.

    look out for a bump in the neck or a skinny width neck or a silly pickup, or narrow screw spacing, a cheap switch, etc...

    If you're buying mexican, only buy the top guitars.

    USA is just SO much more 'piece of mind'.

    a good strat is incredible. and average strat is a pain. If you try and fix the problem you ruin the guitar. Or you can't possibly fix the problem cause it was deliberately engineered to have the problem. :(

    The design has been seriously improved over the years. Only buy the one with all the right bits.
    you do have a chance to buy the perfect version.
     
    Gianni likes this.
  3. Macro

    Macro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    2,549
    Likes Received:
    2,041
    Location:
    The land of cheesesteaks and soft pretzels
    My best advice would be to go to a shop that sells both MIA and MIM versions and play them both. I can't really quantify what feels different between mine, but there seems to be a different 'feel'....both are excellent guitars, just subtley different. Maybe it's just in my mind....who knows.

    Regarding pickups, it's really subjective. When you decide on the guitar, play it through your rig and then decide. I put a hot rail pickup in the bridge of my MIM strat and love the tone, but your mileage may vary. Until you have the guitar plugged into your amp, playing with your technique and style, you won't know if you dig it or not. Thing is, pickups are fairly inexpensive and easily changed, so it won't hurt to experiment a bit.

    Regarding the trem.....I wouldn't worry too much about the exact pedigree of Floyd....if it's set up properly and not abused I suspect it will serve you well.

    Good luck with your search.
     
    Gianni and Far Rider like this.
  4. Nmoc strat

    Nmoc strat Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    163
    There´s not a big difference between MIMs and MIAs these days quality-wise speaking, despite of what "purists" will tell you. Maybe the pickups are better in MIA, but not much more.

    Saying that, here´s nothing wrong with MIM PUPs, its a matter of taste really.

    Now, I see what you really want is a Floyd Strat, right? If so, it has to be MIM, there´s not (I believe) MIA FR Strats.

    I´ve had one like that, in brown SB, not cherry burst, but the specs were the same, and it is a great guitar, the Floyd works great, I changed the PUPs for a different configuration (Seymour Duncan mini-HB on all positions), but, like I´ve said, its a matter of taste. Those FR MIM Strats are great, believe me.

    If you want, its also available the new 2015 Dave Murray Strat, also MIM, and with a Floyd Rose. :naughty:

    [​IMG]

    :hbang:
     
    MonstersOfTheMidway and Gianni like this.
  5. jensvonbustenskjol

    jensvonbustenskjol Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    Norway
    Hey Gianni,
    Do you only favor Fender?

    I'm sorry, but I'm not a fan of Mexicos. I don't want to start a riot. Personal opinion. I respect everybody who likes them :wave:

    Any who, If I where you and were looking for a super strat I would check out vintage ESPs.

    This is mine ESP (48th street). Might not look that good, but it beats most of the strats I have tried. Again, personal opinion ;)
    The volume control is far away from the bridge. My mod. My guitar. My preference =)

    If I had some cash right now I would most prob gone for one of there:
    This
    Or this
    OR this

    I also tried a new Charvel the other day. Like this. It doesn't match your pickup references but they have other types.

    If you want a classic strat go for Fender. If you're seeking a super strat you might consider something else.

    Any who, no riot, just love talking gear :applause::applause:

    Good luck and enjoy man!
     
    Gianni likes this.
  6. poeman33

    poeman33 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    10,609
    Likes Received:
    10,029
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Better quality everything "generally" on a MIA. Better cut of wood, better necks, certainly better electronics, better finish on the body, neck, frets...etc. But that doesn't mean you can't find a gem MIM. If you like it, that's all that matters. And if just one thing isn't to your liking...you change it. That the great things about Strats. So customizable.
     
    Gianni and Far Rider like this.
  7. Nik73

    Nik73 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    103
    I'm definitely a Les Paul guy, but have three Strats, including the guitar you're interested in! I also have a Classic Player 50's Strat and a 2012 Custom Shop Deluxe Strat.
    The CP 50's is highly regarded and it was my first Strat, but I don't like it now. Just doesn't play or sound as good as the other two. The Custom Shop is a really incredible guitar, in every way. Looks, sound and feel. Has it all. A relative bargain at £1700 as well. I got in before the price hike.

    Now, the one you're interested in. The Plustop. My biggest guitar regret is never grabbing a Richie Sambora Signature Strat, so when they came out it seemed more sensible than £2000 for a used Sambora. I paid £620 from GAK and am really impressed with it for the price. It's one of my most used guitars and really versatile with the humbucker, but still has the Strat quack. Stays in tune no matter what and never had a problem with it so far. I was going to change the pickups to match the US Sambora Strat, but after some height adjustments, I'm happy with them now.
    For me, there is a noticeable difference between Mexican, American and Custom Shop Strats, but I think these are cracking bang for your buck. For the price and with a FR, they're tough to beat. One thing to bear in mind is that it's not great for pull-ups, but if you'r sonly after dive-bombs then you're all set. Here's mine Sambora'd up!

    [​IMG]

    I did some side by sides comparisons on sound cloud, I'll dig them out
     
    Gianni likes this.
  8. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Well-Known Member VIP Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    22,226
    Likes Received:
    20,104
    Location:
    Dixie Hollow
    the downside-only 21 frets.
     
    Gianni likes this.
  9. Nik73

    Nik73 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    103
    Here's three different levels of gain with each Strat on the neck pickup. The Custom Shop is first, followed by the Plus Top with the Classic Player last. To me the CP 50's is easily the worst sounding, but still not bad. The CS sounds noticeably better, but the Plus Top holds it's own for a third of the price.

    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/nik73-2/3-blind-strats[/SC]

    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/nik73-2/blind-strats-ii[/SC]

    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/nik73-2/blind-strats-iii[/SC]

    Not the best tone (Blackstar HT-1 as it was about midnight) or playing, but gives you an idea.
     
    Gianni likes this.
  10. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    15,674
    Likes Received:
    13,565
    I did a close comparison between MIM and MIA and didn't see or hear twice the price worth of guitar for MIA. Although if money was no object I would have gotten the MIA to support my homeland, I would have gotten a custom shop!
     
    Gianni likes this.
  11. chiliphil1

    chiliphil1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2014
    Messages:
    4,846
    Likes Received:
    2,964
    I don't think you can go wrong with that one.. Honestly the MIM is just the Epiphone of the Fender line. I think the quality is right there with the MIA strats, you may notice a little better sound from and American but in truth I thought the Mexi pickups sounded great. If I were going to replace them I would go with a pearly gates and 2 fat 50's pickups but that's just me. In my arsenal a strat would be there to be a strat so I would want 3 single coils and I would want the most vintage straty sounding pickups I could find. I have the hum bucker guitars I would want the strat to be the single coil guitar. There are so many choices in pickups from Fender down to something like guitarfetish.com and the options go from mini hum buckers for metal all the way to repros of 1956 pickups. You really just have to play it and see where it's at then if you don't like it just shop around and figure the direction you are trying to go, the beauty with stats is that there is no end to what can be done with them.
     
    Gianni likes this.
  12. yladrd61

    yladrd61 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,864
    Likes Received:
    725
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    The one thing you will want to do is to hook up the bridge pickup to one of the tone controls I like to swap it with the middle or you can just hook it to the middle pickup with a jumper wire.
     
    poeman33, Gianni and Far Rider like this.
  13. Far Rider

    Far Rider Hendrixian VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Messages:
    7,070
    Likes Received:
    8,448
    Location:
    Delaware
    Whatever you get, choose a maple fretboard. :wave:
     
    Gianni likes this.
  14. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece

    Ah, that ever elusive ‘peace of mind’ we all so desperately crave! How I wish I could get that from Fender USA, as I certainly haven’t been able to from Gibson!

    I do know what you mean though, and agree with you, Dreyn, and I thank you for sharing your experience. :yesway: I’d certainly buy a US made Strat without a second thought if one came with a Floyd Rose.

    As for the possible problems you fear I may find with the Mexican one, I might be the one choosing the guitar, but it will be my luthier who decides whether I keep or return it. He’s in the ‘peace-of-mind’ business. :D
     
  15. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece

    From what I’ve heard, it’s certainly not only in YOUR mind! :D

    I really like the tone of your post, mate! Not only is it insightful and informative, but also comforting and encouraging! :yesway:
     
  16. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece

    Thank you very much for your informative post, Nmoc strat. It’s good to hear from someone who actually has, and is happy with, a Mexican Strat. :thumb:

    I HAVE actually also considered the new Dave Murray one, but was worried that with those hot Seymour Duncan humbuckers in all 3 positions it may not sound like a Strat any more, while, also, I find my chosen one aesthetically more pleasing, and closer to what I’m used to (see my avatar), with its flame maple top.

    By the way, welcome to the forum! :welcome:
     
  17. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece

    Thank you very much for all your suggestions, JensVonBustenskjol! I do appreciate your taking the time to find and post them for me. :yesway:

    I wasn’t actually looking for a Fender guitar to start with. I started my search trying to find any guitar that would satisfy all 4 requirements mentioned in my first post, and looked at hundreds of guitars online. When I realized that the guitar I was looking for was in fact a Fender Strat I was pleasantly surprised though, especially after also finding this tobacco-sunburst one with the lovely flame maple top. If only it had been a USA one, I wouldn’t have started this thread.

    There is actually one more thing I like about it, which I wasn’t really looking for at the time. The volume knob is in fact so close to the bridge pickup - which is exactly what I wanted - that, due also to its height and the position of my hand while playing, it is completely out of the way when I want to quickly flip the pickup selector switch while perhaps a note is still sounding during a solo, without also having to move my arm from its playing position.
     
    jensvonbustenskjol likes this.
  18. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece

    Oh dear! Shall I just get a USA one then, and have the Floyd Rose installed myself? :scratch:

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience, Poe! I was certainly hoping to ‘see’ YOU here! :thumb:


    [​IMG]


    You should have listened to Poeman, mate, and got yourself a MIA one!
     
    poeman33 likes this.
  19. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece

    After reading your post, Nik73, I can’t wait to get my hands on this beauty!

    I am grateful to you for your comprehensive and thoughtful response, and really enjoyed listening to your audio clips. The first one, especially, sounded very sweet. Your Sambora’d up, aged-cherry-burst looks gorgeous! :thumbs:
     
    Nik73 likes this.
  20. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2014
    Messages:
    2,647
    Likes Received:
    3,676
    Location:
    Greece

    I like the way you think, mate! :D

    Thanks a lot for sharing your very useful experience. :yesway:
     
    pedecamp likes this.

Share This Page