While looks will attract you initially, it really comes down to a few simple questions - do I want to pick this guitar up and play it? Does it inspire me? Does it have any soul, vibe, mojo? Yes, yes, and yes are our answers.
Why We Love This
It's hard not to get a little weak in the knees when you see a well-worn Stratocaster. Some of the most iconic Strats of all time have seen their fair share of bumps, bruises, gigs, recording studios, accidental falls...think Steve Ray, Rory Gallagher, etc..the list is too long to delve into, but you've no doubt seen these guitars too. Well-worn Strats exude a 'life-well-lived' vibe that's hard to resist.
In hand, the first thing we fell for was the '57 Soft V neck carve. Its worn finish and perfectly shaped subtle taper are immediately inviting and had us wanting to dig in from the first strum. Speaking of first strums - wow. This is a really lively, resonant, and loud guitar acoustically. Not only does it look the part, it feels and sounds the part as well. A lot of the real 50s Strats we've played have a slightly taut feel to them (similar to a great Tele) and this guitar does that in a really appealing way. Tele lovers? This would make a great option for your first Strat for this reason.
The pickup configuration, factory spec from Fender, is quite interesting and satisfying as well. Loaded with 250K pots, you're working with the classic volume, tone, tone, 5-way setup but the pickups are mix - a Fat 50s in the neck, 50s in the middle, and 69 in the bridge position. The bridge pickup isn't wired to a tone control and while some view that as impractical (it's very easy to rewire the guitar so the tone is assigned to the bridge pickup), we feel there's something special about this setup. The bridge pickup is twangier and more Tele-like in this way. Nudge your volume down just a tick (10 to 9) and it will warm up every so slightly...very cool. In-between positions cluck like you want them to and the neck pickup is glassy, hollow, and round. Texas blues fan? Want Albert Collins and SRV in one guitar? Here ya go!