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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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50s or 60s Strat dilemma

I'm in the market for a new Strat. Probably Fender CS, LSL or Suhr Classic.

Now I much prefer the looks of a 50s style Strat i.e. the ash body, maple f/b, and single ply pick guard just look more 'elegant' to me. However, the sounds I'm going for I associate more with the 60s Strat configuration.

I'm wondering, are they really that different sonically? If I go for a 56 or 57 will it do all the SRV, Hendrix types tones as well as a 60s Strat?

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 09:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Those tones can be achieved with most any Strat with the right amp and pedal combination.

I'd advise you go by what you like aesthetically and what feels better. A 60s is going to have a RW board and be thinner. A 50s will come with a U-shape wider and deeper maple board neck.

There will be tonal differences and wiring differences, but to get the tones you're looking for, you're gonna need a solid amp and pedal combination anyway.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 04:49 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The rosewood board does certainly add a bit of warmth to the tone.

I have an old MIM strat which is based on a 60's model. I've swapped just about everything in it now so that it's almost a custom guitar built to my own specs but, in comparison to my Clapton strat with the maple neck, the big tonal difference to me is whar the rosewood board gives it.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 07:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd try, if I were you, a 70 RI: ash body, maple or rosewood board, very light and incredible tone! I bought it instead of an Am Std (A/B)!
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Old February 8th, 2013, 05:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i can do anything a strat can do with my 50th amse strat...its maple and ash with cs54s. the tones u mention might even sound better through a 50s style strat.
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Old February 8th, 2013, 07:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Even most 50's strats, if from the later 50's, would be alder and not ash. That said, I have had alder, ash, maple, and rosewood over the years and do not find that the woods make *that* much different in the tone. I almost believe that the weight of the body has more to do with the sound than the wood species.

Pickups certainly make a difference. I recently got an Eric Johnson strat and just love it as do many other strat afficionados. It is modeled after a '57 but they make a version with a maple board and one with bound rosewood. Body is alder and selected to be light. Pickup set is great and I love the other specs as well. (Mine is sunburst with the maple board.) Bodies are all '57 configuration with the deep belly cut, guard is single ply on the maple board and 3-ply with the rosewood. (I sure don't need a spare, but I would love one with the rosewood board too--the binding is pretty unique among strats.)

I would choose the EJ over almost any CS strat I have played because of the neck shape--and it is done in lacquer, etc. (It is about the most expensive non-CS Fender guitar there is and is appointed really well.)

Good luck with whatever you choose,
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Old February 9th, 2013, 10:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Eric Johnson Strat has a 12" radius fretboard.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 10:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I recently chose a 62 Hot Rod Strat, fat rosewood board neck with 9.5" radius and med jumbos.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 03:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Go with the look and feel you prefer. Worst comes to worst, you can slap brighter pickups in your 60's Strat or darker pickups in your 50's Strat.

Also keep in mind that both Hendrix and SRV played maple board Strats during their careers. Not sure with Hendrix but SRV played both "Lenny" and "Riviera Paradise" on a maple board Strat, actually nicknamed "Lenny."




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