From leadfoo–(at)–hy.net Sat Nov 9 13:04:12 CST 1996
Article: 123663 of alt.guitar
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From: leadfoo–(at)–hy.net (John Atchley)
Newsgroups: alt.guitar
Subject: “Tex-Mex” Strat Review
Date: Sat, 09 Nov 96 00:22:43 GMT
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First, a warning, I’m not an expert or anything, only been playing for a few
months (but I do have a fair idea of what makes a good guitar). Anyway,
forewarned is fore-armed.

I’ve been thinking about getting a mexi strat for awhile now so when I got the
Guitar Center circular I decided it was worth a little drive. I fooled around
with several of the “Tex-Mex” strats they had out and decided I kind of liked
them except all were in puke yellow or baby blue. I asked for one in black
and they got it out of the warehouse.

I was overall favorably impressed. The black one we took out of the box (and
which I ended up buying) was pretty well set-up from the factory and was
reasonably well made.

NECK: The rosewood on the fingerboard is not of great quality (has some
yellow streaks and the grain is a bit noticeable) but, IMHO, bad rosewood
looks nicer than good maple on a fingerboard. The fretwork is surprisingly
good, after cleaning a few bits of polishing compound out of the corners.
I’ve looked at the neck under a magnifying glass and I STILL can’t decide if
the inlays are plastic inlays or paint-filled holes. Either the inlays are
that good or they are paint-filled holes…:>} The inlays on the side are
definitely inlays, though fairly good. My only complaint is that they are
very small. The nut is solid, though some kind of plastic as usual.
The overall finish on the neck was excellent.

BODY: The body was very well finished, after rubbing off a blob of wax (or
soft booger) from the front. I haven’t taken the cover off to see what kind
of wood it is. As is usual on the cheaper strats, the back tremelo cover is
not countersunk.

PICKUPS: The pickups were the pleasant surprise. I was really kind of
planning on changing the pickups sometime in the near future but I’m in no
great rush to do that now as these are pretty good. The neck pickup is
nothing to write home about, though it is better than other cheap strat
pickups I’ve tried. The bridge pickup is pretty darn good, with a nice fat
grungy sound. The middle pickup is the real surprise, on other strats I’ve
handled, even the AmStd, the middle pickup has been not much different from
the neck. Here, there is a very distinct difference — with the middle pickup
having a nice bell-like tone that makes me yearn for a nice tube amp with
tremelo… I don’t remember noticing this on the floor models I played so
maybe I just got very lucky with the black one. I’ll still probably
eventually put some SeyDuncs in, but you could do a lot worse (and I have,
before) than the pickups in the “Tex-Mex.”

SUSTAIN: Has pretty good unplugged sustain. I didn’t do any impirical
testing or anything, but it sustains a LOT better than my Korean squire…:)

ON THE DOWN SIDE: Hum. Oh, not any worse than most strats but it just really
bugs me because there is no excuse for it. Even a cheap chinese strat
shouldn’t hum when the “fix” is so easy and would add all of about three
dollars to the manufacturing cost. Later, I’ll spend an evening shielding and
rewiring this baby so it’s nice and quiet. It just really bugs me that a
company like Fender can manufacture a “single model” of a guitar for forty
years without correcting something so basic and easily fixed. I know it can
be done because I took a cheap Korean strat that hummed worse than any I’ve
heard and quieted it to a whisper in one evening — just by wiring it
*properly* and shielding the body cavity. Oh well, just my pet peeve fueled
by twenty years in electronics, I guess.

OVERALL VALUE: Guitar Center is selling these for $379, plus the “deluxe” gig
bag (that really comes with the guitar from Fender) for $19.95. The store in
Arlington, TX is also throwing in a box (12 packs) of Fender 150 strings free.
This wasn’t in the flier so it might be a manager’s special at that store or
something. Anyway, whether the guitar is worth $400 or not is sort of
dependent on how much $400 is worth to you. I will say that I haven’t found
anything better for less… And that if I had another $400 I’d probably buy
another just so I could keep one tuned to Eb.

John

_____________________________
Please! Proofreed your posts!
John Atchley

 

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