Fender Custom Shop 2012 Closet Classic Stratocaster Pro
Fender Custom Shop 2012 Closet Classic Stratocaster Pro

Custom Shop 2012 Closet Classic Stratocaster Pro, STC-Shaped Guitar from Fender in the Custom Shop Stratocaster series.

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Qill 05/08/2018

Fender Custom Shop 2012 Closet Classic Stratocaster Pro : Qill's user review

« Meh... »

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Value For Money : Poor Audience: Anyone
Stratocaster by Fender Custom Shop US
C-profile, 22-fret maple neck, Gotoh Vintage tuners, Pro Closet inscription on the back of the headstock and Custom Shop logo.
2-parts swamp ash body, access heel, Nitro lacquer, Custom Shop backplate, 3 single-coil pickup spaces (nothing to allow a humbucker).
3 Abby Red Hot (Abigail Ybarra) 69/Hotless type single coil pickups
2-point vibrato and a modern, flat nut
"Pro" stands for "prototype", and "Closet" for the finish which evokes a guitar which aged in its case, looking at it from close you’ll see the wood’s veins or the crackles on the paint. Be aware: this is NOT a Relic model.

A rather lightweight, well-balanced guitar which combines both the modern and vintage sides of a Strat, IMO I’d put it more on the modern side. As for the access heel, it’s a bit dumb from them but it should have also been featured on the upper part of the heel, here only the lower part was planed which is still fine but prevents it from providing anything revolutionary.

As I’ve owned many a Fender AM Std which I’ve customized myself, well, I didn’t fall in love with this one axe. The famous Ybarra Red Hot pickups haven’t been a shock to me, I even feel like the original Fender 69 Custom Shop pickups sound much better with their bordering-modern sound – here it’s essentially a pure modern sound, the Hotless aspect takes part of the charm away, it sounds straight and flat like any good Hot Noiseless and lacks personality. Even in clean mode it’s just “meh” (I hate that feeling that I’m getting the exact same sound I get from my AM Std which I customized with Hot Noiseless), but with an overdrive it clearly lacks punch and a mere Smoke On The Water allows you to quickly see the guitar’s limits – chords sound muddy and arpeggios sound sharpish with an unnatural balance of sounds, to me changing the pickups is a necessity if you really want to turn it into a keeper...

Its retail price was €2900 when it came out (but street price was already €2500 or even €1900 on some websites back then), with the Dakota Red color taking the cake – it sold very badly and I believe so did the other finishes. I’m not a Fender purist, but starting from a certain price level I expect a guitar to have a unique charm, both in term of sound and aspect, while here neither aspect managed to convince me. That’s the way it is...