Fender Stratocaster Standard MIM 2015

HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4373
edited February 2016 in Guitar Reviews
...in black with maple board. £440ish new from GuitarGuitar in Birmingham. Sadly, this guitar doesn't come with a case or gigbag, so you need to factor in another £40 or so straightaway to protect it.

This guitar was pretty good straight from the box and needed very little tweaking to get it just right.

All the knobs and switches feel solid and work noiselessly. The tuners don't feel the most substantial, but actually do their job perfectly well. I can't comment on the trem as I never use it.

The paintwork is pretty good but not perfect - there are a couple of very minor flaws but you'd have to be extremely picky to be bothered by them.

The 21 fret neck has a C profile which I find to be very comfortable. I don't like skinny or narrow necks, but this has enough width and depth to suit me very well. I prefer 21 frets - I always feel the overhang on the 22 fret necks looks ungainly. I rarely go much above the 15th fret so a 21 fret neck suits me perfectly.

The pickups are ceramic and are very good considering the price point for this instrument. Sure they lack the definition of the units on my US Standard Tele but they are still good pickups. The middle pickup gives a very clear chimey tone and is great for rhythm and for acoustic-style picking. The neck pickup is slightly more mellow. To my ears, however, the bridge pickup lacks a little something. I just wish that switching to the bridge pickup would give a little more bite or 'fatness' to the sound than it actually does. I did toy with the idea of buying an HSS Strat to deal with this but trying one out showed that the HB (at least on a MIM Std) was way more powerful (read 'brutal') than I wanted. At some point in the future I may well consider changing the bridge pickup to something more to my liking, but it's really not that big a deal.

My amps are a Roland Cube 40XL and an Orange CR60C. The guitar sounds great through either of them and is certainly recognisably 'Stratty'.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this guitar. To my mind the only real weakness is the aforementioned bridge pickup. Other than that, however, it is a very well put-together instrument with some decent sounds in it and I would have no problem in recommending it.
It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4373
    edited October 2016
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4373
    Empty for soundclips to be added later.
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • TCatTCat Frets: 16
    you mentioned guitarguitar Birmingham. I went to the Epsom branch and found those guys really good. Interested, well informed and relaxed enough to give me time and space to try stuff out. Walked away with Eric Johnson maple strat......and they have a buy now - pay in 12 months scheme at zero interest......I took that option, better to have the money in my bank for 12 months !
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4373
    Happy NGD
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • I have a standar MIM and are good guitars. Thanks for your info my friend
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 2581
    I have a 2003 MIM Strat - plays nicely, sounds decent - have they changed much?
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to Mary Spender
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 2119
    Err, MIM Strats do come with a Gigbag, I'd ask them about that 
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4373
    sweepy said:
    Err, MIM Strats do come with a Gigbag, I'd ask them about that 
    Only the Classic series and above. The Standards don't.
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4373
    edited November 2018
    Update...

    Well, about eighteen months after my original post the pickups were swapped out for a set of OilCity StoneTones (with a baseplate fitted to the bridge unit). I can’t recommend them highly enough - far more organic and richer sounding than the original ceramic jobbies.

    Also, the original alloy sustain block has made way for a Callaham steel one. The differences are fairly subtle but definitely there. There is a slight increase in sustain as well as a bit more ‘zinginess’ to the sound. 

    This is now absolutely my go-to guitar and one I don't envisage ever selling. While I’m not going to make any extravagant claims about how it now rivals a Custom Shop instrument (it doesn’t), it suits me very well indeed and is all the Strat I’m ever going to want or need.
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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