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Why does the Fender Custom Shop no longer offer Strat or Tele reissues with 7.25" fingerboard radius and vintage-size frets?

Mattyboy75

Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
94
Re the OP, it does seem weird that everyone wants vintage everything and people would pay £££££££££££££££££££ or $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for a real 50’s or 60’s strat yet they don’t sell as well in a reissue/ custom shop. I don’t look at strat forums really but the guys on here are obsessive to the nth degree about making their Les Pauls as historically accurate as possible and a non vintage radii would not cut the mustard.
On a slightly but not too different note, I had a strat and still have a tele with 7.25” necks and loved them. I always thought a LP was the most gorgeous thing but didn’t like playing them as I found the fretboard radius too flat in comparison, however the looks won the day and I have a 2004 standard LP which is 12” (I think), having now played it a lot I find the old rounder fretboards feel odd so I think it’s just a getting used to it thing. Go try a 9.5” for a while, it might grow on you and only other guitar nerds like us would ever know the difference!
 

ppgf

Active member
Joined
Sep 11, 2014
Messages
515
Just wondering. For example, is it because Fender assumes there would be low sales on guitars with those specs?

I mean, I could even understand if MOST Fender Custom Shop reissues had a 9.5" radius and bigger frets... but, as of this writing (and to my knowledge), all of them do. That is, NONE of the Fender Custom Shop's current Strat and Tele reissues have a 7.25" radius and vintage-size frets. My point being, they don't offer that combination of specs on even one Custom Shop model — Strat OR Tele — for buyers who specifically prefer same.

I personally find that circumstance to be kind of ironic (ridiculous, really). Like, isn't one huge thrust of any Custom Shop's reissues, the idea that the resulting guitars are supposed to be super-exacting in their historical accuracy? IMO, the fingerboard radius and fret size of Fender's original 1950s and 1960s guitar designs constitute a big part of those guitars' feel, charm, and mystique — a big part of their IDENTITY, if you will. So, for the Fender Custom Shop to surgically remove those specs from its entire product line strikes me as a little weird. I do realize that some 2020s-era guitar buyers might argue that a rounder fingerboard radius is a flawed (or at least unoptimal) design, and that there are playability issues associated with it. And I'm sure there are tons of guitar players these days who prefer large frets. But I gotta say (and this may come as a shock to some): There are also plenty of guitar players who don't like frets that are the size of railroad tracks.

One other huge thing that I truly do not comprehend with the Fender Custom Shop's current offerings is the near-total emphasis on relics and heavy relics. It used to be that there was at least "some" sort of balance between those guitars and N.O.S. guitars. But now, if you go to the websites of the bigger Fender Custom Shop dealers, the inventory listed is typically 90 or 95 percent relics, heavy relics, Journeyman relics, and (if you're lucky) maybe two or three Closet Classics. And then MAYBE there might be a grand total of one N.O.S. guitar out of like eighty Custom Shop Stratocasters listed, and invariably the guitar in question will be finished in some absolutely ridiculous color that no one in their right mind would ever want to buy.

So, I just have to ask: As regards Fender Custom, what ever happened to just making brand-new-looking, UN-"updated" reissues of the guitars that made the original company famous to begin with? I mean, at least with Gibson Custom's Les Paul reissues, the fingerboard radii and fret sizes are in the ballpark of the vintage originals, and you can still usually find a gloss-finish Les Paul reissue if you wanted to (although even with Gibson, gloss seems less frequent lately than VOS or aged or Murphy Lab). But with recent Stratocaster relics, I personally think the finishes on these guitars have gotten a little silly-looking, and IMO a lot of times the fingerboard relic-ing also does not particularly resemble the fingerboard wear that you'd find on an actual old Fender. And just when you think the relic-ing on Custom Shop Stratocasters could not possibly get crazier, now there are all these Strat relics with "Finish A over Finish B," so the guitar will have a huge area of fake arm wear on the lower bout that'll have some totally unrelated color peeking through. Which, of course, brings me back to my original point/question:

Can the Fender Custom Shop simply produce a shiny, NEW-looking Strat or Tele reissue with original specs (as in, 7.25" fingerboard radius and vintage-size frets) anymore??? Or have they somehow become incapable of performing this exceedingly basic function? I mean, I do know that Fender Custom at least USED TO be able to produce tons of N.O.S. Strat and Tele and Nocaster reissues with vintage-accurate fingerboard radii and vintage-size frets. I remember having a 2005 N.O.S. Nocaster reissue, for example, which was a great guitar, and it was from before 9.5" radius with Dunlop 6105 frets and relic-ed parts and finish were evidently mandated by Fender.

So, exactly what happened? :unsure:
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jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,196
And now you don't need to go the Custom Shop route: all appropriate years in Fender's American Vintage II range offer 7.25 radius.

Too late to keep Mayer from bolting Fender to PRS, creating the PRS Silver Sky, and a soaring new product segment ... perhaps all this new activity is an acknowledgement of regret along with nod to his influence?
 

WillyW

Active member
Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
101
I don’t think I have ever tried 7.25” radius neck. I gravitated fairly quickly to Gibson and 12” radius, and various fret types….

the joe strummer tele has 7.25” radius and I think med-jumbo frets… I find out Wednesday/Thursday if I like it or not….
 
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