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Fender Stratocaster [1965-1984]
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Fender Stratocaster [1965-1984]

STC-Shaped Guitar from Fender belonging to the Stratocaster series.

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King Loudness King Loudness

« It's groovy, man. »

Publié le 03/18/11 à 12:33
This was my first good USA made Stratocaster after owning only import models for several years. Next to a custom Strat that was put together by Rob DiStefano, I found that this '79 was the best feeling and sounding Strat type guitar that I'd owned. This particular guitar featured an alder body, a maple neck with 21 frets, a hardtail bridge, and 3 single coil pickups paired with the standard compliment of 1 volume and 2 tones, rounded off with a 5 way selector switch. It was built in the USA at Fender's CBS owned plant right around the time that the infamous CBS quality slip was at its height. There was a severe lack of contouring on what should have been a very sleek and sharp body... there was a fairly major gap in the neck to body joint, and the pickups hummed and buzzed more than your average single coils would. However that's the way things were back then, so I'm going to try to focus my review on the positive aspects of this guitar. All in all, there was nothing super out of the ordinary about this guitar... just a late seventies hardtail Strat with the typical CBS appointments.

As an interesting side note, compared to the tremolo equipped models that I've tried, the hardtail model had more sustain and tuning stability, even when compared to a late seventies Strat that was outfitted with all brass hardware (but had a tremolo unit.)

UTILIZATION

The guitar was not the most ergonomic that I've owned to be sure. The body, as stated above, displayed a serious lack of contouring and overall it was much heavier than other Strats that I've played or owned. In comparison to my old Mexican made seventies reissue Stratocaster, the 1979 looked and felt (to the touch) much cheaper overall. That being said, the neck on it was truly a work of art, and that's about half the reason I kept it as long as I did. It was refretted professionally at one point in time and the edges were perfectly worn in, giving the neck a wonderful vintage feel. Though it was on the thinner side width wise, it had a nice chunky "U" shaped profile and fit my hand like a glove. The action upon my receiving the guitar was as low as it gets... absolutely a lead player's dream! Fast runs ala Yngwie Malmsteen flew from the guitar effortlessly. That being said, the thicker neck profile allowed me to dig in a lot if I wanted to as well... so it was an excellent compromise. I find that the typical Strat doesn't have the greatest upper fret access in the world and this guitar was no exception. That being said, it wasn't HARD to get to the upper frets, just not as good as I would've liked.

On the topic of tones, I found it to be very easy to get a wide variety of different sounds from many genres without issue. Though the pickups were a tad on the thinner side, I found that they had a nice medium output, perfect for a huge range of different styles from country to blues to hard rock.

SOUNDS

The tones that this guitar produced at times made me realize why the pros love the classic SSS Fender Stratocaster so much. It produced crisp, clear clean tones and viscous, searing lead tones with a nice bite as a result of those nice snappy single coils. When I owned it, I was using an Orange Rockerverb 50 head with 6V6s, and I also had extensive time with a Peavey Delta Blues 1x15 combo combined with a few pedals (overdrive, wah, analog echo.) Through these rigs I was able to conjure up classic cleans that reminded me of that classic early sixties vibe. Play dry and you've got awesome funk tones... but then add some reverb and you're surfin'! Switching over to the overdrive sounds, I found that this is where the guitar really shined. The single coils were bright, so to compensate I would dial in a fairly dark overdriven tone... add some echo and then turn up the tone on the guitar. The result was an extremely balanced and very punchy blues and rock tone. If I added some more gain and reverb, I was heading straight into the neoclassical shred realm. The only issue was that the pickups did tend to squeal at higher volumes, so I often would only use the guitar for lower gain tones at most.

Obviously a big factor of these guitars and their tones is just the specific guitar. I've played many early to late seventies Strats that were total DOGS. Lack of sustain, punch and general tone. However, sometimes you wind up on a good one, and that was the case here. A truly great sounding Strat!

OVERALL OPINION

All in all, I thought this guitar was great. I initially came into it because it was a deal that I couldn't pass up. I figured I would sell it within the week and then move on. However I ended up keeping it a bit longer, and only ended up trading it when another great deal came along. It has been my first and only USA made Fender instrument, and it was definitely a great experience. Though the quality control and general look of the guitar left a bit to be desired, the feel and tone that it offered was extremely great. Everyone who tried it agreed with my sentiment, and it's definitely one of those guitars that will be harder to replace down the line. If I could've had my choice, I MIGHT have opted for a tremolo equipped model since the bar is a good part of my style, but I was more than content with the hardtail when I had it. It's definitely put a good taste in my mouth where it had been mostly sour before. Strats are a fickle beast... you either love 'em or hate 'em. I've had countless S type guitars... and this one is the most recent one that I've had. CBS' crank 'em out attitude meant that the guitars were fairly inconsistent... but I definitely wound up with a good one from one of my favourite eras in music.

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