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Any Fans of Fender's Plus Series?

Amp360

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This is unpopular, but Fender made some of their best guitars from 1987 - 1993. I believe this was the Bill Schultz era.

In 1994/95 they changed the neck shapes, and a few years later, they began the slide in quality that eventually led to the bottom-of-the-barrel toy-like guitars they (mostly) make now.

Anyways, I love Lace Sensors and have always dug them. I have a few of these guitars, and I've seen them slowly creep up in value. People are finally catching on to the fact that the maple used in the necks, the quality of the tuners and electronics, and overall great design are much superior to what FMIC is making now. Plus, they play and sound great. The Lace pickups are versatile, and although Lace is still in business making nice pickups, the Fender-branded ones from the early days are different.

Here are a couple of my Lace Stratocasters. The black one is an Eric Clapton model, which has a different neck profile than the one without the Lace pickups and the other is a kind of hard to find Midnight Blue model.

I also have a Telecaster model they did that Dave Davies (of The Kinks) turned me onto about 17 years ago. The one I have is Ebony Frost, which is like Robbie Robertson's Moonburst finish.

Is anyone else into these? I learned about them after hearing George Harrison's Cloud 9 and Eric Clapton's Journeyman. Also, I worked for The Who twice over the past five years, and both times, Pete Townsend was playing Lace Sensor guitars. I know Clapton used an SLO and PT used a Vibro King. I find they work really well through a JC-120 or direct for clean parts.

I started collecting these and as much as the paperwork (catalogs, price lists, etc.) about twenty years ago. Obviously they're not super collectable, but they were the high end Fender models when I was a kid, so there's some nostalgia in it for me.

Anyone else into these?

292971783_10227440834715457_7888007182494320339_n.jpg
 

zacknorton

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dan Armstrong lucite!!! and what's that mixing desk?

I see the fender's too. ? ?
 

Wilko

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I never got on with that series. They seem too stiff to me. Heavy, solid. not much overtones and harmonic richness that makes for a great strat to me.

Can't fault the great workmanship and fine hardware quality. Pickups seem sterile as do the two-point bridge and solid saddles.
 

Amp360

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I never got on with that series. They seem too stiff to me. Heavy, solid. not much overtones and harmonic richness that makes for a great strat to me.

Can't fault the great workmanship and fine hardware quality. Pickups seem sterile as do the two-point bridge and solid saddles.

I agree with you on the post-1993 models, which got worse and worse. The 87-93 guitars I've owned have been normal weight. The exception is the Telecaster Plus, which is very heavy but the sound makes it worth it. There are probably a lot of Dave Davies videos with him playing one. I don't know many other high-profile players who have.

There's a double live album called To The Bone which does a great job of showing what the Tele Plus sounds like. I think it's a really unique and great playing instrument. Dave Davies has always been one of my favorite guitar players since I started playing, so that inspired me to buy one years ago.

I know Dave Davies probably doesn't rank in the typical blooze/rock type of thing, but I like how unique, tasteful, and creative his playing is. Plus, I think his tones have always been innovative. I've always liked him much better than the more celebrated English guitar players. Whereas most of those guys stuck to one thing, The Kinks did way more varied music.

 
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zacknorton

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Saw Dave Davies on one of his last tours. He was a hilarious mess. He Kept shouting "you want the blues!? You want the Fucking Blues!!???"

99% kinks set with none of the songs he sang lead on or wrote.

Totally a worthwhile experience. But what's that mixing board?
 

Amp360

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Wow, I'm surprised he didn't do Strangers, Death of a Clown, Living on a Thin Line, etc. usually those are staples of his!
 

zacknorton

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I know. None of those and only a very few from
Whatever record he just released? May 2002 first Ave. Mostly a kinks hits minus his killer kinks songs. ?‍?.

Totally was expecting it. It was weird and hilarious and uncomfortably great time. Dave was a riotous hot mess. Totally glad we went ?
 

Wilko

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SO n ow it's a Dave Davies thread. He was always a mess to me. Some fun riffs back in the day, IMNSHO, he's just too inconsistent and not really that interesting as a player. but, what do I know.
 

redsounds

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Personally I've played the player plus strat line in a few music stores & have had a handful of amazing experiences.
 

Amp360

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Here is the Telecaster Plus. I think they only made these for a year or two. People weren't into Telecasters in the early 90s. I remember having to go to a store about 45 minutes away to buy a USA Telecaster, and then I bought an older one for almost nothing a year or two later.

There were a few versions of this, but I think this is the best guitar in the Plus series. I've only seen a few in person over the years. They're not light, but the neck pickup sounds very Gibson. The bridge can sound like a Telecaster or in the middle; it's extremely loud.

I think this one is called Moon Mist. The paint has a slight sparkle to it. I'm pretty sure Robbie Robertson designed the finishes for these because I saw him with one once and at the time he used Last Waltz style Strats in these finishes.

The Telecaster Plus isn't a light guitar. It's more in the LP area as far as weight goes. I think they're ash. I know these were going for really cheap a while back, not sure if that's changed.

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Wilko

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yeah, not a fan of the whole series.

I get why people like them.
 

jb_abides

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That era of Fender was a vast wasteland for me.

I really wanted something with Lace like EC or even the 83/84 Telecaster Elites to try, alas, saw no lefties.

I picked up a MIJ 62 Vintage Reissue at EU Wurlitzer on Newbury Street in 1985, and then no more Fenders for me... until the AVRI I series came out.
 

Amp360

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That era of Fender was a vast wasteland for me.

I really wanted something with Lace like EC or even the 83/84 Telecaster Elites to try, alas, saw no lefties.

I picked up a MIJ 62 Vintage Reissue at EU Wurlitzer on Newbury Street in 1985, and then no more Fenders for me... until the AVRI I series came out.
I remember going there (or LaSalle) when I was really little. They had a whole wall of those bowling ball Strats!
 

Wilko

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I had a friend who bought the fanciest one he could find. Knowing I was mainly a strat guy back then he wanted me to check it out and be impressed.

Cool color, abalone inlays, locking nut(roller?) two point trem, lace sensors, heavy, etc. It didn't buzz. He had it set up floating ( I can't play that way). So far removed from the very light 1960 slab-board I'd been used to.
 

Amp360

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I had a friend who bought the fanciest one he could find. Knowing I was mainly a strat guy back then, he wanted me to check it out and be impressed.

Cool color, abalone inlays, locking nut(roller?) two point trem, lace sensors, heavy, etc. It didn't buzz. He had it set up floating ( I can't play that way). So far removed from the very light 1960 slab-board I'd been used to.

I've never seen an original Plus model with abalone inlays. That may have been a Custom Shop guitar or perhaps a newer model. The top of the line was the Stratocaster Ultra, which had an ebony fretboard and a similar pickup configuration to the Jeff Beck Strat. A

The Strat models tended to be on the lighter side. The Telecaster Plus guitars I've played have all been in Les Paul territory. Mine, and others I've seen, appear to be one piece ash bodies but I'm guessing the seams were put under the burst on the edges.

That's a guitar I've always wanted but have yet to find the right one. I have some old Strats, and they're different. The Plus series are their own thing, which I can understand some people not liking. To me, they're some of the best guitars Fender ever made. The newer ones (late 1994 - 2000ish) started the downfall in quality that plagued Fender for years resulting in the toy-like "instruments" it makes today.

Under Bill Schultz, it produced some really special instruments.

Here is a Strat Ultra. Not a color I would want but very cool:

s-l1600.jpg
 

Wilko

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I've never seen an original Plus model with abalone inlays. That may have been a Custom Shop guitar or perhaps a newer model.
It was late 90s.

Abalone dots were found on the first 2 generations of American Deluxes - on both maple and rosewood fingerboard models:
Generation 1 (1998-2003) - with Vintage Noiseless pickups
Generation 2 (2004-2009) - with SCN pickups
 
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Amp360

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It was late 90s.

Abalone dots were found on the first 2 generations of American Deluxes - on both maple and rosewood fingerboard models:
Generation 1 (1998-2003) - with Vintage Noiseless pickups
Generation 2 (2004-2009) - with SCN pickups
Yeah I don’t dig those. By that time FMIC wasn’t really the same as it was in the late 80s/early 90s. A lot of people are into those but I’m not one of them. ?

To confuse things further there was a Strat Plus Deluxe that had different Lace pickups than the regular Plus.

Also, although by the mid 90s I’m not into Fender it did release a really nice tremolo on the Plus Deluxe which was a non-fine tuner Floyd Rose. I would love to find one of those bridges.
 

Wilko

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Yeah I don’t dig those. By that time FMIC wasn’t really the same as it was in the late 80s/early 90s. A lot of people are into those but I’m not one of them. ?

To confuse things further there was a Strat Plus Deluxe that had different Lace pickups than the regular Plus.

Also, although by the mid 90s I’m not into Fender it did release a really nice tremolo on the Plus Deluxe which was a non-fine tuner Floyd Rose. I would love to find one of those bridges.
yeah, not a fan. I don't like any of the modern changes. I don't like any of the bridges except the 6-screw original with forged saddles. ANything else is too heavy and kills overtones. I hate that shrill whiny "strat" sound. Might be shimmery and sweet at home, but it can't cut through a mix. all that modern stuff was like the 70s when everyone wanted brass nuts and heavy bridges. Just strings and magnets at that point.

I didn't want to rain on this friend's parade as a he was so happy with his fancy strat.
 

Amp360

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I have a Clapton, which is kind of a cross between a Plus and an AVRI. It has the Lace Sensors and a boost but has a great older profile neck, smaller frets, no locking nut and the six saddle bridge. The finish is nice and strong and doesn't wear out. Mine has a lot of shows on it but looks pretty good from ten feet away.

Some people don't dig these and I get the reasons. I still love them :)
 
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