Hey, all. Apologies for repeating here, below, slightly modified, what I posted on a different thread about when to open the case of a guitar shipped on a very cold day. I got into reviewing the guitar on that thread, and realized that this may be better offered as its own thread. So here it is, FWIW. Been a long time since I spent so much time with a Strat as I did last night--the first time playing a little-used, non-lacquer version/"standard" Classic Series '50s Strat (in lovely sunburst, with a really pretty amber neck). Fit and finish seem great, with the only imperfections the adds-character minor playing wear of an almost mint used guitar. I used the AC15C1, both Top Boost and Normal, with bass, treble, and Tone Cut at Noon, Reverb at about 1/4, different Master and channel volume levels and ratios, but mostly Master at 1/2 and channel volumes at 1/2 to 3/4. No pedals, as not only did I want to explore it clean, but Strats, to me, are all about the clean tones, with just a little reverb and/or delay added to resonate the guitar's inherent ringing qualities. Whatever pickups Fender put into the Classic Series '50s Strats (all I know is that they're kinda vintage output) are impressive. Gorgeous string separation. Nicely touch sensitive, too. Bear in, and they all get some teeth. The volume and tone knobs had an impressive sweep to them, though they're less sweepy than what my Reverend Double Agent and Les Paul have. But that's okay, as the pickups themselves are so melodic and varied. That neck pickup is ROUND. Very rich, full, soft, smoky, sweet notes, and BIG chords. I kept going back to it for leads (so to speak). And amazing sustain for a stock single coil. The neck & middle setting--beautifully rich and springy, velvet and glass bells mix. Such an expressive tone. The middle--definitely the most straight-forward, Tele-ish of the settings, I thought. I went to it a lot for songs and tones I usually play on the Tele. Also the loudest of the settings, though otherwise the volume levels were pretty even. The middle & bridge--ahh, yes. Though a persnickety setting, in that it has to fit the song/mood and be played right, with pick/finger attack and space to resonate crucial, it too is such an expressive setting. Really feels like you're weaving stained glass tones into the air. Sproingy and lacy, and rich with colors. The bridge--yep, kinda brittle, very biting, but has its place. On this one, since the traditional wiring puts tone control out of the equation, the amp/pedals part of it is really crucial. I did a bit of amp-fiddling on the fly with this, and by boosting the bass and dimming the treble, got some barky beef into the bridge bite. Gigging, I would click on a pedal to beef it up somewhat. But play the bridge setting softly, and you approximate an acoustic played near its bridge. Nice for folky and country rhythm playing. I really love that the bridge itself may be, if anything, over-sensitive, so that I could just palm-Bigsby things to get some moody warble, and didn't need the whammy bar on there. And, maybe for the first time, I really appreciated, rather than chased after, the Strat's lap-eluding shape. The guitar is so thin and slippery compared to a Tele, of course. But I used that as a kind of playing tool, sliding it around to get certain bending and digging-in angles. I've been playing pretty big necks for the last few months, so the almost-dainty 7.25" radius on the "soft-V" of this thing took a bit of getting used to. But after an hour or so, I was really flying around on it. It's terrific for sliding solos, quick chording anywhere, and harmonics. The Strat is so feminine and feline a thing to me that this slinky neck feels very essential. It's a guitar to be danced, where the Tele is one to be wrestled. (While the so-ugly Jazzmaster is the guitar that knows and does all.) Then I realized that I started falling asleep while playing a big G chord over and over, and my brain was music'd out, for the time being. Time being just a few hours until get up for work again. Thanks, Leo! The Tele is purity, the Jazzmaster is the ultimate in versatility (and its own thang), but the Strat is a damn fine substitute for actually being in love!