Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Four Strats

I have way too many guitars.  I know there are a lot of hungry kids in China who don't have any guitars, and I have too many.  In fact, I have four Stratocasters.  However, they are quite different.  Many people wonder why I have so many guitars, so I'm writing this blog to explain why.

Here's the rundown.

Up first is my Squire Strat, made in China, and it cost me a whole $79.  Here's the funny thing.  It's probably my best playing Strat.

The fun part about this guitar is that, I didn't mind messing around with the electronics and such since it is a Squire.  I put in a push/pull overdrive pot so I can get an overdrive without a pedal.  It will engage at the touch of my finger. 

I also switched out the pickups to some pretty cool pickups.  I like trying some of the new guys on the block, so I put in a blade pickup in the neck, and a Belcat bladed humbucker in bridge.  I added my favorite Dimarzio Blue Velvet in the middle.  It's a very versatile guitar.

Next up is my 1993 Fender Mexican Strat named Smokey.  I call him that since whoever owned him before me smoked like a chimney.  It put this strange smokey patina on the body.  You know how cigarette smoke will put a tarnished yellow color on things?  Well this has that tarnish all over the body, but it's really heavy in the curves of the cutaway.

I traded out the original pickguard for a black one.  This has a Fender Alnico 3 neck pickup, a Dimarzio Blue Velvet middle pickup, and an old Dimario PAF pickup in the neck.  It has a really neat vibe to it.  I got this guitar in a trade from a good friend.  It needed some cleaning up when I got it, but once I got it up and running, my friend questioned whether he should have traded it to begin with.

Next up is my 2006 Fender Mexican Strat. 

I got this at a pawn shop in 2007.  Since this was a 2006 Strat, that should have tipped me off.  Unfortunately, the neck on this one is kinda wacky, and I have to set the action up a little higher to make all notes playable.  I would have sold or traded it, but it's hard to sell or trade a Strat that doesn't play so well.

However, I went ahead and replaced the pickguard to a tortoiseshell colored one.  I changed the pickups to all Dimarzio pickups.  True Velvet neck/ FS-1 middle RW/RP/ Heavy Blues 2 bridge.  It's not as versatile as some Strats, but it sounds great in all positions.

Next up is the Strat I put together years ago.  In fact, it was back in 2000 when I started putting this guitar together.  It took me 9 months to get the parts.  Actually, I slowly got them as I got the money to do so.  I also got some good deals that way.

I guess you can see from the awesome paint job that this is no ordinary guitar.  In fact, back in 2000 it run me $1080 to put it all together.  That includes $300 for the wicked paint job.  But it has everything on it I could want. 

However, I ran into one problem that I did not expect.  The guitar is made of all maple.  That makes it insanely bright sounding.  Then, on top of that it has a Floyd Rose tremolo, and that makes it even brighter.  I have had trouble finding the right pickup combination to put in this guitar.  I actually like a bright sounding pickup, but everything I put in this guitar was just too bright. 

I have just changed the pickups in it.  Right now it has an Artec bladed pickup in the neck/ a custom wound Texas Special in the middle/ a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge.  The Artec is the first neck pickup that I really like in this guitar.  It is bold, not overly bright, and actually has the bass come through.  Along with the strong single coil and Pearly Gates, that makes this guitar an extremely versatile guitar. 

Generally, only the bridge pickup was worth playing.  Despite me putting all this money into this guitar, I never really played it.  So now with a change in pickups, I think I will be playing it more. 

So that's my story of the Strats I own at this moment.  They are like children.  I love them all, and don't really have a favorite.  They are all a little different, but fun to play.  I also suspect that more will find their way to me.  I know I shouldn't.  There are children in China with no gutiars after all.

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