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Thread: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

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    Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Hi
    Hope you’re all well.

    I could really use all the info you can throw my way about advice on specs, pros and cons on Strat models in the medium price range.
    I’m a Gibson guy but have (many years ago) had the pleasure of owning a couple of fender guitars, but that was briefly because I always ended up using gibbys and therefore decided to sell the fenders, as I knew others would enjoy them
    More than I did. (Did regret that many times ever since though)

    Now I have my eyes on the fender market again and see that there are so many possibilities, so I easily get confused, and guess that some models and years of production are more “attractive” than other years.

    Well, I once owned a 1996 Mary Kay 1956 relic reissue strat briefly, and I really liked that one, even though the pickups were really bright sounding to my ears. The neck felt comfortable and so did the weight and the look (blonde with gold hardware) was extremely stunning- my opinion.
    Unfortunately the money are not there to buy another 96 Mary Kay but I’ve seen some 56’ reissues that are not as expensive.
    Some are from the early- mid 2000’s (Corona?) but I don’t know how these compares to the late 90’s relic models?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated?

    Best regards
    T

  2. #2
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Fender must make a hundred different models of the Strat by now. My advice? Go play as many of them as you can and pick the one that 'speaks' to you. And don't dismiss the MIM instruments -- some of them are very fine guitars.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    Fender must make a hundred different models of the Strat by now. My advice? Go play as many of them as you can and pick the one that 'speaks' to you. And don't dismiss the MIM instruments -- some of them are very fine guitars.
    Good advice, it’s a jungle out there, especially as I have been off the gear market for years
    I’d love to try as much as possible but I also think the market here in Denmark s very limited so I’d probably have to end up buying on the internet without the possibility to try it before.

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    If that be the case, check the seller's return policy so in the event the guitar is not what you want you can send it back for exchange or a full refund.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Phantomman's advice is the best one can give (or receive). I'd only add that these days, the quality of Fenders coming out of Mexico (and Japan) is the equal to those bearing the Made in USA label. The prices for Japanese models is going to be higher due to import tariffs and shipping costs, but the MIM stuff is really quite good. I have five Strats (one is a G&L), and the pick of the litter is my Custom Shop geet, but I have a 50th Anniversary MIM Strat that plays great, sounds great, and feels great. Pretty much the same quality at a fraction of the price.
    Striving to be ordinary

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    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Perry View Post
    Hi
    Hope you’re all well.

    I could really use all the info you can throw my way about advice on specs, pros and cons on Strat models in the medium price range.
    I’m a Gibson guy but have (many years ago) had the pleasure of owning a couple of fender guitars, but that was briefly because I always ended up using gibbys and therefore decided to sell the fenders, as I knew others would enjoy them
    More than I did. (Did regret that many times ever since though)

    Now I have my eyes on the fender market again and see that there are so many possibilities, so I easily get confused, and guess that some models and years of production are more “attractive” than other years.

    Well, I once owned a 1996 Mary Kay 1956 relic reissue strat briefly, and I really liked that one, even though the pickups were really bright sounding to my ears. The neck felt comfortable and so did the weight and the look (blonde with gold hardware) was extremely stunning- my opinion.
    Unfortunately the money are not there to buy another 96 Mary Kay but I’ve seen some 56’ reissues that are not as expensive.
    Some are from the early- mid 2000’s (Corona?) but I don’t know how these compares to the late 90’s relic models?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated?

    Best regards
    T
    I’m sure Phantomman’s advice is the best you can get.

    Furthermore, it’s very cool to have an original 2002 member back aboard! Stick around and let us know what you chose!

    Regards,

    Sérgio

  7. #7
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    A practical example: After playing a Les Paul exclusively for over three decades I found myself in a band where I actually needed a Strat due to the type of material we were covering (Clapton, SRV, The Doobie Brothers, etc). After searching every store within a 100-mile radius and playing a dozen or so models, I settled on this 1998 MIM '50s Classic Series Strat. Though it's been significantly upgraded since purchase, right out of the box it was an amazing instrument. I used to tell all my buddies it was the best thousand-dollar guitar I ever paid five hundred bucks for.



    Even now, despite having ten other Strats at my beck and call it remains my "go-to" guitar.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible🥴

    Really great info so far all, and thanks. Keep
    Me coming if you have more advices:0)
    As mentioned I’ve been out of the market for years so not up to date at all.
    Sounds like the MIM or MIJ is worth checking out as well.
    Funny thing is that the look of the Mary Kay (see through blonde and gold hardware) really catches my eye. Do they make these in the lower budget end as well?

    Best regards
    And thanks again

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible🥴

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Perry View Post
    Funny thing is that the look of the Mary Kay (see through blonde and gold hardware) really catches my eye. Do they make these in the lower budget end as well?
    When the marketing types run out of fresh ideas (right now, the new Meteora is all the buzz) they'll probably get around to a re-issue. In the next decade or two.
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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible🥴

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Perry View Post
    Funny thing is that the look of the Mary Kay (see through blonde and gold hardware) really catches my eye. Do they make these in the lower budget end as well?
    The Mary Kay Strat is a premium-priced instrument, primarily due to the ash body, transparent white finish, and gold hardware. While both Mexico and Japan have produced some fancy guitars, I don't think either facility ever made a MK model.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible🥴

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    The Mary Kay Strat is a premium-priced instrument, primarily due to the ash body, transparent white finish, and gold hardware. While both Mexico and Japan have produced some fancy guitars, I don't think either facility ever made a MK model.
    Ahhh Ok.
    I’ve read that the Mary Kay name was given because of the colour and
    I’ve seen them With both gold and nickel hardware.
    The ones made in the 90’s called Cunetto era and the later models were NOS/RELIC/CLOSET CLASSICS
    But overall the same based on a 56’ model. Is that correct?

    I’m confused about these compared to Time Machine models though:0/

    Best regards

  12. #12
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    The original Mary Kay's were produced in 1956 and all of the re-issues are based on those guitars but do not, strictly speaking, necessarily conform to the original MK specs. Specifically, many feature a 9.5" radius fretboard and medium jumbo frets. If you're accustomed to a Gibson neck that's not likely to be an issue but for those who prefer Fender's original 7.25" radius and vintage Fender frets, they may be disappointed.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    The original Mary Kay's were produced in 1956 and all of the re-issues are based on those guitars but do not, strictly speaking, necessarily conform to the original MK specs. Specifically, many feature a 9.5" radius fretboard and medium jumbo frets. If you're accustomed to a Gibson neck that's not likely to be an issue but for those who prefer Fender's original 7.25" radius and vintage Fender frets, they may be disappointed.
    Ok, thanks:0)
    So I assume that they are with nitro lacquer as well as it seems they are only made in the custom shop?

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    Forum Member Michael Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Perry View Post
    Ok, thanks:0)
    So I assume that they are with nitro lacquer as well as it seems they are only made in the custom shop?
    The Fender website has the story of the "mary kaye stratocaster" It's pretty interesting if you aren't familiar with the details.
    "When You're Riding Down the Highway at Night, And You're Feeling that Wild Turkey's Bite" ZZ Top

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Smith View Post
    The Fender website has the story of the "mary kaye stratocaster" It's pretty interesting if you aren't familiar with the details.


    Good reading thanks:)

    See the cs 56 “Mary k” are up pricey so I’d might take the advice an look around for something less expensive.
    Does anyone here buy less expensive strats and have good experiences with swapping the pu’s?

    Best regards
    And thank you all again, your really helping a lot as it seems I have to read all up again on gear and especially prices, having been off the market for yeeeeears.

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    Forum Member gibsonjunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Perry View Post
    Good reading thanks:)

    See the cs 56 “Mary k” are up pricey so I’d might take the advice an look around for something less expensive.
    Does anyone here buy less expensive strats and have good experiences with swapping the pu’s?

    Best regards
    And thank you all again, your really helping a lot as it seems I have to read all up again on gear and especially prices, having been off the market for yeeeeears.
    I got a MIM strat - a Guitar Center Special Run that we swapped out the whole pickguard including a set of '69 Custom Shop Pickups. It is an amazing guitar.

    Original:


    After mods...

    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by gibsonjunkie View Post
    I got a MIM strat - a Guitar Center Special Run that we swapped out the whole pickguard including a set of '69 Custom Shop Pickups. It is an amazing guitar.

    Original:


    After mods...


    Wow Nice.
    Looks like two different guitars. Amazing how much a small change can do.

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Perry View Post
    Wow Nice.
    Looks like two different guitars. Amazing how much a small change can do.
    I got the pickups from a closeout rack sale at a guitar center for next to nothing. I found out later why that is... somebody must have installed the pickups, packed the old ones in the box and returned them. Luckily, Fender took them back and sent a brand new set, so it worked out great in the end. The guitar was nice in the original configuration, stellar with the new pickups.
    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by gibsonjunkie View Post
    I got the pickups from a closeout rack sale at a guitar center for next to nothing. I found out later why that is... somebody must have installed the pickups, packed the old ones in the box and returned them. Luckily, Fender took them back and sent a brand new set, so it worked out great in the end. The guitar was nice in the original configuration, stellar with the new pickups.
    Great info.
    Once had a strat with what I think was called Texas pu’s. They sounded really good as what I recall.
    But that’s more than 15 years ago so could be wrong though.

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    This is slightly tangential to the topic, but I find there are some people who are endlessly "chasing tone." And then there are others who pick up their guitar and play.

    My ears are old, my skills with tools questionable, and my performing days are limited. Thus, I don't chase tone. I pick up a guitar, twist a few knobs and play. And I'm pretty satisfied with whatever sound I get. Different guitars, different amps, different settings. But I always seem to find my "sweet spot."

    Texas Specials, Nocasters, Lace Sensors, and so on, and pretty soon my eyes cross. I thought of replacing a pickup on an old guitar once and just pawing through Seymour Duncan's
    web site nearly had me on my knees weeping in frustration. I play a guitar, and if I like it, I buy it. For me, chasing tone is like the woman waiting for the "right man." She'll likely die a spinster.
    Striving to be ordinary

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    This is slightly tangential to the topic, but I find there are some people who are endlessly "chasing tone." And then there are others who pick up their guitar and play.
    I can appreciate and respect this POV but there's a third category which consists of people like me who spend a lot of time doing theoretical research prior to actually building an instrument in an effort to determine how the prospective guitar will respond in typical circumstances -- how it will play, how it will sound, and how it will look. In fifteen years at this game I've yet to feel compelled to replace a set of chosen pickups because they didn't satisfy my sonic expectations. I have had on occasion made some minor alterations to an instrument's cosmetics because something about the optics didn't quite gel but the fundamental electronics have always been sound and produced the tone I was seeking.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Point taken, Phantomman, and I respect the knowledge you've gained over the years of experience.

    I'm having a guitar custom built, and I often yield to my luthier's recommendations. Knowing the history he's had with his prior customers, his knowledge trumps mine nine ways to Sunday. We've discussed everything from pickups to bindings, to whether the finish should be stained or not. When in doubt, I let him make the choice.
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    I'm a little late to the discussion, but I'll add my 2¢:
    If you like the Mary Kaye appointments, you could always get a Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster & switch out the nickel hardware for gold. They range from around $1.5K up to over $2K. There are in fact some "limited editions" that come w/the gold hardware, but of course you pay a premium for that.
    Watch out for the weight on these, as they can get quite heavy

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Thanks again all.

    I do like the appointments of the Mary k, and also the look on it speaks to me. I once had one of these and remember that the pu’s were thin sounding to my ears, and as I didn’t use it much at the time i ended up selling it but the neck was comfortable to my hands. I didn’t think about trying other pu’s in it at the time as I used HB equipped guitars more at the time.
    I’ve been a Gibson player for years and my back is not as it once were, so the strat also speaks to me if I could find one that is not too heavy, that would be a plus for me too:)

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by Cogs View Post
    I'm a little late to the discussion, but I'll add my 2¢:
    If you like the Mary Kaye appointments, you could always get a Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster & switch out the nickel hardware for gold. They range from around $1.5K up to over $2K. There are in fact some "limited editions" that come w/the gold hardware, but of course you pay a premium for that.
    Watch out for the weight on these, as they can get quite heavy
    +1

    If you're truly motivated and have the requisite skill set you could always build your own. I built this MK hardtail for less than $1400 (including the period-correct G&G hard shell case). The custom body is 50 year-old swamp ash and the entire guitar weighs slightly less than seven pounds. The pickups are Fender's Fat 50's set......

    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    +1

    If you're truly motivated and have the requisite skill set you could always build your own. I built this MK hardtail for less than $1400 (including the period-correct G&G hard shell case). The custom body is 50 year-old swamp ash and the entire guitar weighs slightly less than seven pounds. The pickups are Fender's Fat 50's set......


    What a beauty!!!! Wow.!

    I ended up using 18screws to hang up 2 pics on the wall so I wouldn’t even dare to think about messing around building my own guitar ;-0

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    Forum Member NTBluesGuitar's Avatar
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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    ...And don't dismiss the MIM instruments -- some of them are very fine guitars.
    This.

    One of my best guitars is a Strat I assembled with all MIM parts:





    Won't find many MIM factory necks with flame maple like this.
    "...pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field;
    that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little,
    shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome, insects of the hour."

    -Edmund Burke

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    Re: Considering buying a strat but need as much help as possible😮*💨

    Quote Originally Posted by NTBluesGuitar View Post
    This.

    One of my best guitars is a Strat I assembled with all MIM parts:





    Won't find many MIM factory necks with flame maple like this.
    Really nice neck and beautiful color as well:)

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