I may need a Strat

I may need a Strat


Fender gets maple from a few suppliers. I used to be associated with one of them located in Oregon.
But that doesn’t mean it all has to come from OR. Some is from Michigan, Canada or wherever. it’s more about latitude than longitude that slows the growth and makes for “good maple”. And it’s more about the species or genus than the origin. Then proper curing and prep and all the rest.
Fender and most of the other “production” companies have a pretty good handle on that aspect.
I have seen less and less actual “wood” issues over the years with major manufacturers. SO they have my trust by now…
So… the bottom line is find a neck that feels good to you or looks good and go with it. Don’t worry too much about what part of north America it came from. As long as it’s not from china, you’ll be OK.


This is all that matters :slight_smile:


I dont think its vastly important in a sound way but it is a cool detail, imo.

where the wood came from or what types of small details are know is interesting…like pickup types or capacitor upgrades, its just gearhead madness. its nothing close to what it feels like or shape of frets but the whole US vs MIM is something. Ive read a lot of MIM necks for years were actually made and shipped to the MIM plant 100 miles away for a long time, or the nitro shoots were shipped from US to MX to US because the US air policys. yes its total obsessive nutzoid stuff. haha

interesting , so the suppliers have specs of the wood? yeah Id imagine they have the production and curing down to a routine by now. scrap material is $$$ loss.
i like that comment its Latitude not longitude, so Oregon, Michigan, Canada “zone” is the good maple zone it seems…staying in the Maple Zone.

i think my neck was called hard rock maple, definitely from michigan…hard maple. it got me to buy that neck over others without any description. that and the price.

i wonder where the rosewood comes from?might have to go read a bit on that.


so you’re going to get a maple fret board or rosewood? to me thats the biggest decision.
the color and stock pups which year…sometimes Ive bought a US dumping the case to save money and regretted that. the tremelo thing is what it is. theres a massive amount of choices if you include used…decades of small options and colors etc.

sounds like you might prefer the rosewood feel.


My point exactly… :slight_smile:
Of course everything "matters’ to some extent. But folks tend to obsess over relatively insignificant things in pursuit of a fairly subjective goal of “tone” and such… They want or need to believe that there is a direct, magic correlation to all these details… if x, then y. But it doesn’t ALWAYS work like that. But it sure is FUN… :slight_smile:
Yup… fender shipped completed necks to MX for a long time to be finished and assembled. They sent bodies and body blanks there as well when they didn’t have the machinery or labor in place to do certain laminations. Not really uncommon or suspicious in any way…
As for the maple… The actual specs are not that difficult to manage given the nature of the actual species. "sugar or “rock” maple as it is generally known is very consistent. The suppliers have made major advances in selection and milling as well as grading. So just about the only “spec” that would be needed for the factory is weight range and a somewhat clear grade.
Yes, good rock maple is a “northern” thing… :slight_smile: Hard maple, rock maple, sugar maple are all common names for the same wood species that is used for 99% of all axe necks.
Rosewood is highly regulated and most comes from india since only a few specific species are even legal to harvest, sell or even transport. even stiffer regulations just went into effect that all but wiped out some of the viable alternative woods and regions. We will see what happens…
TMI??? That’s what I’m here for… :slight_smile:have fun


never TMI…!!!.. lol…i enjoy reading stuff like that.

ive found as I get older I enjoy reading and actually pre-studying as part of the enjoyment of gear. designers and the company are often interesting stories. luthiers and the like can really get way over my needs but its a good article over coffee (as compared to say Donald Trump or his daughters dresses or Hillarys Limo costs, or how many people were shot in some school or airport again this week)

sure when i was 17 or 25 even, it was all about getting something that was cheap and good and all the boutique smelling of the wood wasnt important only the gig and rocking out was important.

does it sound different probably not…thats the insane part. do good materials hold up better and last longer and cause less negative impact of course.is Custom SHop guitars insane? maybe! is it fun! of course!

a standard US Strat is going to be usually Alder body and a Maple neck with Maple or Rosewood fingerboard.
same tuning gears as a MIM. Different electronics. with CASE and tremelo bar, polishing cloth…the real deal. the pickups will be the most unique for this years releases probably. Grade AA? or AAA? I dont know. rolled edge fingerboard…resale wont drop below $600. usually hold at $700-$800. used.

end of year specials for 2016? nows the time. maybe brand new at $800.


I will of course decide by playing, but I love the look of the maple fingerboard, so if I can find one that speaks to me that has it, I’ll go with it. I don’t play the P-bass often enough, nor do I have enough comparative experience with other basses, to know the extent to which my love for playing it is based in the fingerboard, neck, or just the grand gestalt of the whole experience taken together.

I really appreciate the good comments about getting the feel right first-- pickups can always be replaced to modify the sound profile. Great food for thought. :spaghetti: :cloud_tornado:


This is the wisest move ever… :slight_smile:[quote=“Chordwainer, post:87, topic:130”]
pickups can always be replaced to modify the sound profile

Don’t “count” on this… The axe has to have sustain, sensitivity and response on its own, unplugged. A greatest boutique pups wound with the blessing of abby herself won’t make a weak axe any better. :slight_smile:have fun


Ahh, the ole, “there’s no more room honey” trick,
My girlfriend uses that one as well,

What I did was organize “after” buying some wanted guitars,
A happy accident really, lol
I simply started the organizing process, moved things around every time another guitar was obtained.
I was surprised she didn’t even notice the new ones, lol,
Even more surpirsed she heard the different tones when she asked “why do you need so many guitars”?
Plugged each one in, and she heard the difference right away, and she is tone deaf, claps off beat, but loves music as a listener…
(Which might prove I can’t play ??? lol, )

Nothing like a Strat in my opinon,
Always play before I purchase, and never plug them in…
For me I get more understanding from playing and laying my ear on the body, (not easy, lol)

Good luck on your quest !!!


I will plug in, but only with a nice clean amp so I can hear the tone of the guitars. I’m not a shredder, so I don’t need to hear anything on high gain…


I recall reading old Leo articles and his description of the guitar and amp is “one”, and with that his guitar and amps were designed together (with a lot of challenge for the gearheads for something that could get louder and louder and not distort…distortion was failure in those days(preceding kinks and hendrix era?) lol…funny I thought. Dick Dale is a interesting guitarist in the early Fender timeline as they found speakers that wouldnt catch on fire and interesting trial&errors. Its amazing the output of product lines that Fender group did and still holds up today just as well.


[quote=“rjwillow, post:88, topic:130”]
The axe has to have sustain, sensitivity and response on its own, unplugged.
[/quote] I read Jeff Beck often did that test listening to the guitar, placing the ear to the horn and critiquing the “tone” unplugged…I went and did it at guitar center on a bunch of Strats, totally thinking it was BS over-the -top stuff insanity fun, but there was a difference heard. Im not sure how much it effects something in a live situation but for the super-gearheads, some take it that far. Its free to do and who the hell am I to disagree with Jeff Beck? Eric Johnson is known for that kind of tone-seeking insanity, he even makes fun of himself in a Guitar Center video.


Yup… but you shouldn’t have to do that unless you’re in a loud place like A store or NAMM…
It should be pretty apparent in open air, on your lap in playing position. Having the body (or neck) resting on a table or against any surface produces an artificial amplification and resonance. All well and good if you are always going to play like that… :slight_smile: Also… putting your ear against the body might allow you to hear stuff that is never going to make it out.
But the main this you are looking for is the sustain element. If note peak and die quickly, that is all you are going to get out of the axe without using a fuzz pedal. Beyond that you might note the nature of the sustain… Is it full frequency? Or is it just the top end or low end. Sometimes that sustain might be pretty long. But it might be drastically weaker than the transient. So smooth sustain is much better.
An “acoustic” tone (including sustain and such) that is lacking can be addressed much of the time. But sometimes a neck and body do not play well together and all bets are off… So I’d advise a guitar shopper to pick the axe with the best acoustic tone from the start…
have fun


I think theres some minor impact to all that, but my bet is 90% on the pickups.(assuming theres no mud hanging from the strings). Its interesting though because there can be those small details that make one sound different than another, brighter or darker is pretty user subjective.
I never cared for the Texas Special pickups, but I think those are the most popular. I like the clean-tones more than the grit-bite pups these days. Alot of tone options for sure just withing the Fender Stratocaster models and configurations…sometimes overwhelming amount of options these days.


I think that seems to be the case only because there are FAR fewer really bad axes out there. The bottom line is that the strings produce 100% of the tone and EVERYTHING else messes with it… :slight_smile:
Pickups are HUGE, though. Probably the most apparent way to CHANGE tone from what you have. But I’m talking more about KNOWING what you have because you can always change pups… :slight_smile:


Pretty much the same here… But the design is pretty smart. Fender wound them as hot as they could get away with before killing tone or turning them into one trick ponies… :slight_smile: The little extra “oomph” kicks the front end of “lesser” amps in a way that is pleasing to a large portion of their market.
I don’t play them because I don’t have to. But I installed plenty of them. I was always able to get a respectable version of “my” tone by backing them way down. Usually had to crank them back up for the customer… :slight_smile:
have fun


I can’t not think of this…


You’d be amazed on how many times I’ve been sent that link… :slight_smile: So now that you’ve gone and done it, you get to hear my stories… :slight_smile:

Marshall amps really will go to 11. Inside the pots there are (or used to be) small nylon blocks that limit the wiper of the pot. We used to heat them up and pop them out… 11 !!! Nigel didn’t know the particulars of it at the time of the movie. But it was a real thing and he had some fun with it. He later did a fairly straight interview and talked about it in detail.

Also, Nigel is a fairly serious axeman. I went to Fat Tuedays/Irridium to see Les Paul and Nigel sat in for almost the whole night. To see Nigel kill jazz standards and old les paul pop like how high the moon was enlightening.
The next time I saw them together I got there early and got my name on the sit in list… front row… first in line. It got pretty late into the 2nd set when they called me up. As soon as I sat down on the sweaty drum throne, Les and Nigel stood up, unplugged their axes and walked off… Some goober(2ND IN LINE) jumped right in and called a slow blues in Emin… HOW NOVEL… He stomped on his tube screamer, threw his head back and played every lick ever been played in the first 5 bars. Nearly got us both kicked off. :slight_smile:


@Chordwainer, I know you’re leaning towards a strat, but if you get a chance to test drive a PRS S2 Vela, you really should. Quite a bit different from your typical PRS and has quickly become one of my favorite guitars. I pretty rarely pick up my strat now because of it. Even if it’s not what you’re after you should try one, well, because… guitar! :wink: