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Fender Custom Shop 60th Anniversary '54 Strat vs. American Original '50s

dnabbet2

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Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
126
I'm a Gibson man but I'm thinking of picking up a maple 'board Strat.

I'm definitely "not in Kansas anymore" but in my actual neighbourhood is a used 2018 two-tone sunburst American Original '50s Strat at about $2,000USD, and in the teeming megalopolis there's a Fender 2015 Custom Shop 60th Anniversary '54 Strat purporting to be a three-tone sunburst at about $3,500USD.

Any thoughts or advice? I don't want to pay more than I have to but I do want resale value. Thanks in advance for any guidance.
 

jrgtr42

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
2,144
I would say to play each of the guitars and see if either one really speaks to you more than the other.
I will say Custom shop guitars seem to hold their values better than standard production, but that said, even regular production gutiars right now seem to be selling used for as much or more than they sold for new. This probably won't continue indefinitely, once shipping, production etc open back up and supply chains are back to normal things will probably go down in price.
 

dnabbet2

Active member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
126
The one guitar is in my neighbourhood, so I can definitely trot over and play it and see if it DOES work for me, but the Custom Shop number is in a city I'd have to fly to ... and it really interests me 'cause of the three-tone sunburst.

Because of where I live, I'm fairly used to buying online, and an objectively good guitar has never let me down.

I'm just not Strat-knowledgeable, and thought I'd see if anybody had any for-God's-sake-don't type of advice. And I'd try a Strat forum but I think they'd drown me in detail. The Custom Shop tip is good, and I'll keep that in mind. Thanks very much, jrgtr42.
 

akstrat61

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Feb 16, 2004
Messages
1,773
The old addage most likely still holds, you get what you pay for. Fit, finish, componets, materials....need I say more? MHO
 

jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
Messages
2,144
The one guitar is in my neighbourhood, so I can definitely trot over and play it and see if it DOES work for me, but the Custom Shop number is in a city I'd have to fly to ... and it really interests me 'cause of the three-tone sunburst.
In that case, |I'd say play the local one. if that does it for you, then great. If it doesn't, if it seems to be lacking something, and the Custom Shop is doable financially, then see if they have a return policy or some sort of trial time frame. You'd probably be on the hook for shipping if it doesn't do it for you.
 

Cranknfrank

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
57
As a Custom Shop (and non-Custom Shop) Strat owner, the differences between CS and non-CS guitars with Fender is similar to the differences with Gibson. In other words......you can tell the difference in the two.
 

dnabbet2

Active member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
126
I appreciate the advice, and I was going to post an update 'cause I did go and try out the American Original 50s number here in town, and it was okay. Whereas the the other guitars I was looking at online had been refretted -- dunno why, and the seller's didn't go into any details -- and I like narrower frets on a Fender.

Nit-picking, the body pieces are not matched perfectly. There's a tiny dark streak in the grain of the neck next to the fingerboard near the nut that looks like a crack in the finish but isn't. There's no shielding in the body cavity the way Smith Stratocasters used to have.

But it's the best Strat I've had out of a half-dozen. Not heavy. Balances. Stays in tune even with the tremolo "floating" so it's had a nice set-up. Sounds great. The only thing is the two-tone sunburst which I find stark. So I'm pretty happy and I don't think I'm enough of a Strat guy to appreciate anything better!

Thanks for the advice.

americanoriginal50sstrat2.jpg
 
Last edited:

Cranknfrank

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
57
I appreciate the advice, and I was going to post an update 'cause I did go and try out the American Original 50s number here in town, and it was okay. Whereas the the other guitars I was looking at online had been refretted -- dunno why, and the seller's didn't go into any details -- and I like narrower frets on a Fender.

Nit-picking, the body pieces are not matched perfectly. There's a tiny dark streak in the grain of the neck next to the fingerboard near the nut that looks a crack in the finish but isn't. There's no shielding in the body cavity the way Smith Stratocasters used to have.

But it's the best Strat I've had out of a half-dozen. Not heavy. Balances. Stays in tune even with the tremolo "floating" so it's had a nice set-up. Sounds great. The only thing is the two-tone sunburst which I find stark. So I'm pretty happy and I don't think I'm enough of a Strat guy to appreciate anything better!

Thanks for the advice.

View attachment 15882
That guitar looks really solid. Looks like you got a nice one. Congrats!
 

RJLII

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2009
Messages
317
I have a 2014 60th anniversary model. NOS Format. It’s the best Strat I’ve ever played and has a one piece body and a fat quartersawn neck. My only gripe is that the pickups are very low output.


15699331567_c96ca7fc21_b.jpg
 

Cranknfrank

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
57
I have a 2014 60th anniversary model. NOS Format. It’s the best Strat I’ve ever played and has a one piece body and a fat quartersawn neck. My only gripe is that the pickups are very low output.


15699331567_c96ca7fc21_b.jpg
My 2005 Eric Johnson Strat also has low output pickups. What I've done is gotten a few different pickguards wired up with different pickups and they are all on quick connect system. This way you can swap out pickguards/pickups very quickly and easily. Most of my strats have different Fralin pickups - they have decent output. But, I do have to turn up my amp slightly when I'm playing the EJ with the lower output. The lower output pickups sound very good and they definitely capture the vintage vibe.
 

au_rick

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Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
837
Were there multiple "60th Anniversary" strats, ie a Custom shop version and a regular USA made version or are they all from the custom shop ?
 

RJLII

Member
Joined
Jul 1, 2009
Messages
317
Were there multiple "60th Anniversary" strats, ie a Custom shop version and a regular USA made version or are they all from the custom shop ?

As I understand it there were two versions, USA and FCS. The USA stuff I've seen has gold hardware. The FSC reissues have nickel. The FCS versions are also claimed to be more period correct construction with respect to pickups, plastics, hardware, and neck carve. It has a one piece ash body and a QS maple neck with a very fat carve. The middle PU is not RWRP yet the guitar quacks better than any Strat I've played. Mine has bakelite knobs and PU covers. It also has a 9.5" neck radius and a five way switch so go figure. The FCS version also came with a nice embroidered center fit case chock full of accessories. You got a strap, cord, tool kit, and a bunch of other stuff. The accessory compartment hardly holds it all.




15772553389_35aceea317_b.jpg
 

au_rick

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
837
As I understand it there were two versions, USA and FCS. The USA stuff I've seen has gold hardware. The FSC reissues have nickel. The FCS versions are also claimed to be more period correct construction with respect to pickups, plastics, hardware, and neck carve. It has a one piece ash body and a QS maple neck with a very fat carve. The middle PU is not RWRP yet the guitar quacks better than any Strat I've played. Mine has bakelite knobs and PU covers. It also has a 9.5" neck radius and a five way switch so go figure. The FCS version also came with a nice embroidered center fit case chock full of accessories. You got a strap, cord, tool kit, and a bunch of other stuff. The accessory compartment hardly holds it all.




15772553389_35aceea317_b.jpg
Nice. Thanks !
 
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