I may need a Strat

I may need a Strat


Up until just recently, all mim necks were made in the us. Some still are. Up until a little less than recently :slight_smile: the body blanks were as well.
Nothing wrong with them either way. I can build anything I want and I still have a MIM in my personal strat collection… :slight_smile:


Oh man, I forgot about the whammy!

You just took me back 23 years to when I bought my first Strat after playing fixed bridge guitars for many years. I hated the tuning problems, the broken strings, the fact that the tuning went sharp when I palm muted at the bridge, and flat when I did multi-string bends.

…how could I forget that mammoth struggle?

I’ll tell you how - I “decked” the whammy as @rjwillow mentions (I read that EVH does it). It only bends down now, but bending up is what fingers are for, right? I also put inGraph Tech graphite bridge saddles.

Those little mods combined with using a little graphite in the nut when I change strings has given me rock solid tuning, playability and zero string breakages ever since… I guess that’s why I forgot!


A well cut nut of any material and a good setup will take care of 90% of any tuning issues. For the last 10% there’s always chapstick… :slight_smile:
The tiniest bit on the saddles and nut works wonders
have fun


Chapstick huh? Awesome thanks for the tip! :+1:


Wow, great input Rich! Many thanks for sharing your expertise.

And the answer to your question about the whammy bar: I would get one that does have a whammy. I’ve never owned a whammy-bar guitar (I have only three electrics) and there have been times when I wish I had one for some spacy type arrangements. However, I have always been leery of the tuning issues that you and Andrew mentioned.

One thing I find appealing about the new American Pro line is that the whammy bars pop in and out at will, and according to the first reviews I’ve read, they stay put just fine, don’t pop out on their own etc. That seems like a best of both worlds situation, I have it when I want it but can ditch it if I don’t.

However, I also really appreciate this:

That’s a very important notion and one I will keep in mind for sure.

Unfortunately, at the moment my FNGS has only a couple MIM Strats in stock, and ditto for the two nearest GC stores to me. And there are other stores in town but I’m an hour-plus drive from those, so that’s not ideal. But, I’m in no rush and can wait til inventory changes…


yup… save the Teflon goop $$ for new plugs :slight_smile:


I usually just use pencil graphite, but the chap stick would be a great “bonding agent” to add to the cocktail.


Yup… a hardtail strat is not a strat anymore if you ask me… :slight_smile:
The 2 point Am Std whammy is as stable as any when properly balanced and pretty forgiving when it is not. It is smoother and more flexible than a vintage style whammy in general (out of the box). But “decking” a 2 point is less than optimal should you decide to go that route.
I like pop in arms myself. But I like the bar to be loose and drop away when I’m not using it. if you like that as well, then it is the way to go. If not, tape the little allen key for the tension set screw to the back of your headstock. You will need it. Even the best of them tend to loosen up when you’re not looking… :slight_smile:
Either way. Tuning issues should not exist and can be overcome if they do pop up. Don’t worry…


Indeed, it seems that tuning problems have faded as an issue over time with whammy bars… And I honestly can’t say whether I would prefer the bar to be loose and drop away-- I have literally never played a guitar with a bar before. But I’m guessing I would prefer that too, just for flexibility and not having something be “in the way”…


Yup… tuning issues still pop up. But it’s now mostly due to poor execution rather than poor design.
I’m gonna leave you alone for now as I tend towards information overload. But if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up.


Hey, I bought my strat back in 2001 so my insight won’t be as helpful as most of these folks. I tried a few guitars as the time, I was starting a band in college and really needed a versatile axe. I finally settled on a light blue Mexi strat, even over the US models, just because it felt better in my hands. Now, saying that, some of the components on it left much to be wanting including the nut, saddles, pickups and pots. So over the next couple years I slowly replaced these parts with graphite saddles and nut, higher quality pots, and new Silver, Blue, and Red Lace Sensors (because my guitar idol at the time, Billy Corgan, used them and I loved his sound).

I wouldn’t trade that guitar for the world now because it feels like an extention of myself. I suppose you could upgrade any strat, US, Mexi, or Japan…but this guy felt good from the starting gate! Since then I bought a Crafted in Japan Jaguar while I was stationed in Japan and have done several mods to it as well!


Dave, without trying to be too pushy, you really owe it to yourself to get an MIM in your hands as a possible first Strat. I have a friend who works for a place called Elderly Instruments in MI, which is a used boutique kind of place, who will flat out tell you that the MIM is every bit as well made as an American Strat, except for the small details, like hardware, rolling the fret ends, etc., all of which a guitar tech could take care of for you. You do need the opportunity to sit down with a few of them to get a feel for the different neck contours, but most of all, when you get a good one it will ring like a bell acoustically. When you find that one, forget about colors or finishes, and think of what you have left over to turn it into a gem. There are tremolo systems like the SuperVee which are basically drop-ins that will solve most of the tuning problems, but you can set up a stock trem to work very well with a couple of $10 tweaks too.
A few years ago, my daughter wanted to learn to play, so I bought her an MIM as a gift after playing five or six of them in the store. She never picked up on it, so I inherited it, and I can tell you that with a little fretwork it is a very nice guitar. The pickups are noisy, but all true Strats are noisy, and I get great tone out of it for recording. For the difference in price between the American and Mexican, you have enough to rework all the hardware, probably drop in a preloaded pickguard with exactly the pickups you like, and have someone dress the frets properly, and maybe send me a bottle of single malt with the leftover cash.
There is a sense of value in owning an American Strat, and they do have better resale value, but I hardly ever buy a guitar with the idea that I would sell it. What’s cool to me about a Strat is having it long enough to proudly say I put all the dings and burns in, and wore the finish out playing it. Remember, the $25,000 Strat some collector is buying that’s all beat up was probably $250 when the original owner bought it, there’s just $24,750 worth of experience in there.


Wow. Small world. If he’s worked there more than 10 years I probably know him. I lived on the corner of Oakland and Capitol for a semester of college. One block away. Would visit every day.


Played guitar for 58 years now and have never played a strat. I presently have a PRS and a Gibson ES335, but my favorite guitar to actually play is a $50 pawn shop squire strat. ha ha It plays so easy and i can bend 4 notes easily. It sounds like crap and I don’t think there is much you could do to make it sound at all decent. I wish there was a slightly smaller rhan standard size ugly little guitar that would play that nice and still sound good:)




Bob, you are not pushy at all! I asked specifically for exactly this kind of input, so thank you!

And frankly the great conversation in this thread has definitely changed my plan. This is yet another reason why this group is so great… no substitute for direct experience compared to the info one can get from “formal” reviews from music sites etc. And at this stage of my life, I am not buying ANY instruments with resale in mind, everything I buy from here to the end I intend to keep to the end.

I know of Elderly Music, in fact I bought my mandolin through their website several years ago. Highly respected place for sure.

About the only thing left that I still really want from when this thread started is the maple neck & fingerboard. I just love that look, and if I can find a good Strat (of whatever price point) that “speaks to me” with that kind of neck, I will be sold. :slight_smile:


[quote=“feaker, post:74, topic:130, full:true”]
Played guitar for 58 years now and have never played a strat.[/quote]

I never have either, and I’m coming up on 46 years of playing, myself…


Do you know the infamous Frog?


FWIW, I’m a diehard maple fingerboard fan. Love the feel of it, and the eventual bruises on the fingerboard are beautiful to me.


yeah the last US I had was a smokey sunburst with Rosewood. it was great.
next was the Fender/Roland strat same thing but I swapped the neck eventually for a Maple again. i wish Id kept the rosewood too to change out now and then but I sold it to pay for the Maple…some hard maple out of Michigan. i think Fender gets most theirs out of Oregon.
I dont know, not a luthier but isnt it the cold weather makes the wood grains tighter aka “hard maple”. but really all it is for me the maples feel different, my jazz bass has rosewood and its fine, my acoustic is rosewood too.

the single coil noise can be a deal breaker PIA and I can live without the tremlo. but the Strats body contour design and the bullet cable plug was a positive.

i dont know what guitar that old -Leo friend was, the guy who helped Leo with designing the body, said when he let go of his guitar on stage it would tilt so the Strat horns are balanced weight so it stays put. great bunch of trivia stories on the Strat…amazing invention.

its also weird though for me, usually my favorite guitar tracks are all done with Gibson SG’s?
but I always buy a Strat.


Thanks Scott-- the only maple neck I have ever owned is the P-bass I have now, but it has the rosewood fretboard. I just LOVE playing that thing, even though I’m every real bassist’s worst nightmare: the guitar player who picks up the bass for amateur use. (I should probably have a warning label slapped on me!)

But from the moment I started playing it at my FNGS I was hooked, it just had that “this is the one” bell ring. It was used when I got it-- came from a collection of instruments belonging to a man who passed away in untimely fashion, and his brother was divesting of a large fraction of the guy’s amazing collection (but keeping all the best ones for himself). It has been modded with a custom thumbrest, new DiMarzio pups, and Grover tuners, and I got it for about $600.

Hopefully I have the same bell ring whenever I get to test-driving some Strats… but I won’t force the issue :slight_smile: