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Let's Talk Custom Shop

akstrat61

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2004
Messages
1,733
I'm going to be buying another Strat soon and am wondering how the custom shop models have changed over say the last ten years? I'm speaking in terms of build quality and components. Are there some years better than others? How have the pickups changed......or how about the "Roasted" guitars? Let's skip the discusssion of aging, to age or not. How about some experiences of sonic qualities, playability, sustain, quack, clarity, weight.... There are examples out there from certain builders, masterbuilt and such where the prices are crazy (maybe woirth it?) I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!:dude:
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
9,959
I picked up a Cruz Master Design (Cheaper than a Master Built) 63 after reading about them all over the web.

It does have some good tones and lots of quack if you want it.

It IS a fair representation of a 63 I had long ago.

Is it worth the coin?

Yes.

My favorite Strat type?

Now THAT'S the question.

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11Bravo

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Messages
341
I'd like to know too. Been thinking of a Custom Shop Strat for a while now. Been looking but most of the necks seem to be a bit on the thin side. I have a Fullerton 57 reissue and that neck is thin!
 

Unbound Dot Neck

Active member
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
Messages
1,600
Nice CS Toolkit , Ren !

I have a 54 MB Anniv. 1 of the very firsts from 2004. Its ok
Greg Fessler build ?

My 55 hardtail is the gold standard that I was tryin to soothe.
Imitated but not duplicated

LOL :salude
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
9,959
I'd like to know too. Been thinking of a Custom Shop Strat for a while now. Been looking but most of the necks seem to be a bit on the thin side. I have a Fullerton 57 reissue and that neck is thin!

This one is pretty fat.

And I'll bet you could find some of these still out there for sale.
 

akstrat61

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2004
Messages
1,733
There is a big difference in build quality and parts among all the Fender line. I too like a little bigger neck, the thinner necks just don't seem to have the feel? Some of the bigger name builders can fetch some serious coin (10K!), just not sure they are worth that. Then there are your new Sweetwater types in the 3-5K range?:hmm

Anyone have insight on the 2000's quality vs what they are currently making?:hmm

BTW, Ren that '63 is a beauty!:dude::jim:dude:
 

Red Baron

Active member
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Messages
6,673
Nice CS Toolkit , Ren !

I have a 54 MB Anniv. 1 of the very firsts from 2004. Its ok
Greg Fessler build ?

I also owned a 2004 Greg Fessler 54 MB for a while but I never really bonded with so I sold it. I must admit that I'm not a big fan of strats and much prefer tele's, however I played a CS '59 Ancho Poblano strat a few weeks ago and I couldn't fault it, it played and sounded terrific.
 

Rich R

In the Zone/Backstage Pass
Joined
Jun 4, 2002
Messages
4,998
My observation is that the Custom Shop stuff is as good as it's ever been. If you're bound and determined to buy a CS Fender, go to a a big dealer like Wildwood that has tons of them, and have at it until you find one you like.

IMO, as a Strat guy for decades, NO modern Fender can hang with vintage. It is definitely possible to buy a vintage Fender for the price of a high-end CS, you just have to shop hard. Yes, it will not be completely original, but who cares if you just want playability and tone? Some of THE best Strats are Partscasters, because the people that owned them played the crap out of them, loved them, and tinkered with them until they were diamonds. Collectable? no. Great guitars? most definitely! So keep that in mind as an alternative.
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,920
I picked up a Cruz Master Design (Cheaper than a Master Built) 63 after reading about them all over the web.

It does have some good tones and lots of quack if you want it.

It IS a fair representation of a 63 I had long ago.

Is it worth the coin?

Yes.

My favorite Strat type?

Now THAT'S the question.

36303307342_71a7b67baa_3k.jpg


36303312032_2b88173f3a_4k.jpg


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That is certainly a most fine Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster !
 

Ace139

Active member
Joined
May 29, 2003
Messages
1,759
I have owned a bunch of Fender CS stuff over the years. First one was in ‘99 Seafoam with gold hardware that I ordered. This was before master built was a thing. Had a 2012 Cruz MB that killed and regret moving it. Also did a MB custom order that took over a year - that was not even close to what I had hoped. Was a Heavy Relic Blackguard Stealth Esquire - with some additional custom one-off stuff. Was really disappointed with it and it was not cheap. Currently own 2014 NAMM EDITION 60’s LPB Strat over 3TSunburst heavy relic that is perfect for me.

So . . . My recommendation is every guitar is different - and Fender cranks our great CS stuff consistently. Try to play it before you buy it - or make sure the return policy is favorable to send it back. In my experience the Custom Shop Stuff is worth the price. Enjoy the hunt!!
 

Aloha_Ark

New member
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
101
Best thing to do when shopping for a Fender Custom Shop guitar is to ask around for the "good" years. Not being a regular buyer, I did luck out acquiring a matched set like this 1993 pair.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1993-Fende...tocaster-Telecaster-Set-18-of-50/111173578749

Price was in the mid-$6K range, not $10K. Mine were gorgeous book-matched red examples. Great sound, rich chords no matter whether they had open string notes, or all closed. I do not have any Masterbuilt guitars in my collection right now (or maybe I forgot where I put them, lol). Just like Gibson, Fender had its magic years where they could do no wrong.

Here's another interesting limited edition guitar (Tree of Life) from 1993:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-Mint-...uild-Tree-Of-Life-Guitar-8-Of-29/153809772353

s-l1600.jpg
 
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STC

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
95
This one is pretty fat.

And I'll bet you could find some of these still out there for sale.

That strat is gorgeous! You've an amazing guitar collection.

After I bought my R9 I made the mistake of thinking this is the last one. Got a real need... okay want for a CS strat!
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
9,959
That strat is gorgeous! You've an amazing guitar collection.

After I bought my R9 I made the mistake of thinking this is the last one. Got a real need... okay want for a CS strat!

If you play a lot of them I might suggest you try one of these.

It is (by far) my favorite Strat type BY A WIDE MARGIN.

It has a depth, clarity and tone I always find lacking in ANY Strat I have ever picked up.

Collings 360 ST

Part of this (I am sure) is because it has a set neck as God intended.

And what a neck...Soft V, light and ALWAYS in tune.

I have a lot of Collings, but I think it is the BEST guitar they ever made.

Ugly, but you get used to it.

It is in my top 3. Seriously.

This one is Alder. I like it so much I WILL get an Ash just to have one...

It is one of those you say "Holy Shit!" when first pick it up.

When you hear it you can't put it down.

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STC

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
95
Very cool - the flame on the neck is something else. Never had the pleasure of trying a Collings - only heard good things though. Need to try some guitars when this all calms down, curious about a Suhr classic s too.

Been so obsessed with Les Pauls for so long - this single coil fascination is new to me!
 
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