Yet Another New Strat….Yawn….

1987, 20 years ago, how little has changed

Fender have chosen to update the Standard production model of the US build Stratocaster/ Telecaster/P & Jazz basses, you will probably see this as a cover story in Guitarist Magazine very soon. But the gushing press release has all the usual hyperbole

<em>Significant improvements to the electric guitars include a redesigned bridge, new bent-steel saddles with elongated string slots, a new neck and body finish, and a Fender-exclusive high-tech molded case. Similarly, the bass guitars feature a new neck and body finish, a Fender-exclusive high-tech molded case, lightweight tuners, height-leveled pole pieces, and the new HMV high-mass vintage bridge. And for the first time, Fender will be offering the traditional Precision Bass® in a five-string passive version, taking the classic platform to a new level.

Aw man, could I be any more confused as to which Strat to buy. Also does any of this PR shit mean anything anymore? The Classic platform to a new level???? So that must mean that as players we can be even better than those that went before??? Aw….no…..err…..?

I’m all for choice, but FMIC is a triumph of Marketing over content now.

As someone who uses a Fender Richie Kotzen Telecaster as his main guitar, I do like a versatile instrument that looks traditional.

But I’ve yet to find the perfect Strat, despite having tried a shedload of em. I have a few suggestions for the boys and girls of FMIC to make the guitars better.

Simplify the fucking range, why have 180+ variations of essentially the same thing?

Just make 2 types of pickup option 3 single coils or 2SC & 1HB

A choice of neck profile would be nice – Yes I prefer a 50′s soft vee nck ala Clapton, but the only way to get that with modern Jumbo fretwire is to buy an American Deluxe V neck and pay a grand.

Put the nice hardware and pickups on as Standard from the start

There are other choices regarding, pickups,fretboards, woods and finishes, but by my reckoning, there are only about 40 realistic variations of this guitar before the silly marketing men get involved and we see this most celebrated of instruments used as a billboard for an alchohol company or endless Signature guitars, which curiously all sport the same essential neck profile.

Despite the fact that Jeff Beck’s Strat originally had a thick U profile ala a 50′s Tele, the modern JB strat has a modern C shaped neck. Fender said that this was cos people had problems with the mass of the original necks…..Fucking wimps! its easy, my main guitar has a U profile neck, they are a piece of piss to play, so long as you actually play the fucking thing and not spend your time in guitarshops telling people you own a JB Strat!!!

What really happened is I suspected in order to maximise profits, Fender changed the design as no other production guitar used that neck profile. Sneaky huh?

Poor old Jeff actually plays a modern JB Strat with the bigger neck taken off the original JB signature model. So why on earth pay £1200+ for a guitar that is not like the one El Becko uses onstage in the first place??

A quick glance at a fender catalog shhows they only really make 3 neck profiles, so surely mass production is a peice of piss. Yet you are made to pay more for the tinyest variation.

And finally….

Stop being silly on pricing, you have the most automated guitar factory on earth, your so called Custom Shop churns out more guitars in a week than some proper “hand” builders do in a year. So get real on pricing, especially in the UK. Theres so little between an American Deluxe and a Custom Shop “Classic Player” Strat in terms of features, why does one cost £400 more?

Will I be trying the new Strat? Probably not

I’m off to browse the used guitars on Ebay rant over;)

Happy 2008

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