American Original 50's Strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by golfnut, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    I was hanging out at the music store today and picked up an AO 50's strat. It was nice and light had a good feel and a big chunky neck. Felt a bit chunkier than the neck on the AO 50's Tele I bought.
    I'm not much for playing strats although I do like having one around for some variety and the odd time I want to hear that sound.
    Last year I had a Wildwood 10 CS strat which was probably the nicest strat I've ever owned. But I just didn't like having that much money sunk in to a guitar that I hardly play. But for the price of the AO it wouldn't bother me if I only played it once in a while.
    I didn't plug it in but it felt really nice. I'm going back tomorrow to plug in and have a listen and I'll probably go home with it.
    One thing I've wondered with this series is what year do the 50's tele and 50's strat actually represent?
    The Tele to me seems like its a 52. Other than the 9.5 radius the specs seem like 52.
    So with the strat is it a 54 other than the radius?
     
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  2. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    I think the neck is close to the AV '56 but it's got the '59 pickups. Unless it's a particular finish it should have a post-'56 alder body too (a '54 would be ash).
     
  3. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    20180914_130525.jpg I've heard nothing but good things of the AO series. My "alternative to the Teles" is a Jazzmaster: the sound, playability, fit, finish and spec of my AO JM are second to none. Itching to add an AO Tele.

    Fender say they don't copy any particular year:
    "Fender’s new range for 2018 is the American Original Series. Replacing the previous American Vintage models, these guitars are all based on decade-specific eras, reflecting the best and most loved attributes from the 50s, 60s and 70s. These USA made models all share certain attributes like modern 9.5” radius fretboards and the same ‘vintage tall’ fretwire plus they are have the all-important nitrocellulose laquer."

    Happy NGD for tomorrow! Pics when it happens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
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  4. LOSTVENTURE

    LOSTVENTURE Tele-Afflicted

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    The 54 would have alnico 3 pickups, diferent body shaping, generally larger neck profile, and bakelite instead of plastic parts.
     
  5. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

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    Every time I see that Ocean Turquoise AO Jazzmaster I am reminded that I have to have one eventually. I think it is the most beautiful guitar made and its not even a Tele!
     
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  6. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    They are just extensions of the AV Series. They took the finishes back to the old AVRI style thick lacquer with poly undercoat, and they flattened the radius and gave them bigger frets. They did keep the horrid pissy neck tint gone, though, thank goodness.

    That means the AO '50s style Strat is a continuation of the AV '56 (though there was an AV '58 too, just as there was an AV '58 Tele – both sets of these '58 specs were dropped with the switch to AO).

    AV Series is superior, IMO. I prefer the curvier boards, smaller frets, and thinner finishes with lacquer sealer coats. But if you don't mind the flatter boards, bigger frets, and thicker finishes with poly sealer, then the AOs should be fine for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  7. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    The 7.25 radius is why I sold my AVRI. vintage frets\radius are a deal breaker for me. I wish the finish on my AO Tele was the same as what was on the AV tele as I preferred the lighter color.
    As far as the strat I'm less concerned about the finish.
    As for the thicker nitro on a poly coat, that means nothing to me either. My AO tele sounds fantastic.
     
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  8. swany

    swany Tele-Meister

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    I'm sorry, I disagree, I have a 2003 '52 AVRI Tele and it does have a rather thick lacquer over poly, but my American original 50's Strat is far from "thick", mine is the 2 tone sunburst and the finish is very, very thin. So since they are doing the same as they did, either the poly undercoat or the Lacquer must be super thin, or both. The finish on the two guitars looks completely different. Even the neck on the Tele, (which I also bought new), gummed up for about 6-8 months eventually stopping, while the 50's American Original Strat has barely had that problem.
     
  9. swany

    swany Tele-Meister

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    I love my 50's American Original Strat, it's nice and light and sounds great. The biggest surprise was the bridge pickup, it is easily the best sounding one I've ever owned.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  10. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    When I bought the AO 50's Tele I had the intention of putting in a set of Custom Shop Twisted tele pickups. I had a Wildwood 52 thin skin that had them and really liked them a lot. However after hearing these PV pickups I have to agree the bridge is fantastic. The neck is great but I still think I prefer the TT neck to the PV neck.
     
  11. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    Well I brought the AO 50's strat home last night to take a closer look at it and play it through my amp. I have to say what a different experience with this AQ 50's strat than with my AO 50's tele. My tele seems almost close to custom shop quality its so good. I love it.
    But this strat is horrible.
    First the tone. The bridge pickup didn't sound too bad. It was nice and fat and chunky sounding on the bridge with none of the over brightness that I find with most strat bridge pickups. However every other setting was mud. Terrible. adding some crunch was some of the ugliest I'd ever heard a strat sound.
    The body was a 3 piece with terrible seams that were so easy to pick out.
    The best thing about the guitar was the neck. It was quite chunky. Felt chunkier than my tele although the measurments didn't seem to agree. My tele - .930 at the first and 1.02 at the 12th. The strat - .910 at the first and .970 at the 12th. But the shape of it made it feel bigger.
    The neck was really dark. It didn't look like tint. It looked roasted. It was dark and I thought the AO's were all really white looking. My Tele is. I wish my tele was the color of this strat neck.
     
  12. Rusty Shackelford

    Rusty Shackelford TDPRI Member

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    Dang, the AO strat body I used for my partscaster is one piece (I got lucky buying sight unseen)

    I put 57/62s in it and pro neck; I really dig the tone
     

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    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  13. swany

    swany Tele-Meister

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    My American Original 50s Stratocaster is a 2 piece body and has incredible grain match, with a fairly light colored neck. It's a good thing you took it home and were able to determine that it sounds and looks horrible before you purchased it. I'd suggest it might need a good setup since the pickups and the wiring inside are exactly the same as the American Vintage which nearly everyone agrees is a pretty darn good sounding guitar. The five way selector, and the bridge pickup tone control I doubt have any adverse effect on the sound. Good luck
     
  14. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

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    Ok, I gotta ask....why the hell did you bother bringing it home?
     
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  15. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't think the AO series is built to exact single-year specs. It's a generic vintage-style hybrid, I believe. More "in the ballpark" than a historic copy.
     
  16. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    Because if you read back somewhere in this thread I said that aesthetics don't necessarily drive my guitar purchase decisions. Its when I got home played it through my amp and it sounded like mud that I decided it wasn't the guitar for me. READ!!!
     
  17. swany

    swany Tele-Meister

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    Your right, I should have specified the American Vintage '59.
     
  18. Informal

    Informal Tele-Holic

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    I did read it, why bother bringing it up if you don't care?

    Kinda like saying... Man! I really love my girlfriend, she has a great personality, But DAMN is she fat and ugly!
     
  19. golfnut

    golfnut Friend of Leo's

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    Guitars can be thought of as a collective of components and specs that may or may not relate to how it sounds. I'll state them all thats my perogative.
    And this is a guitar forum not a girl friend forum. You should love your girl friend for who she is not hold it against her cause she's fat and ugly.
     
  20. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    "Thick" referred to how much the lacquer is thinned prior to spraying, not directly to film thickness.

    The AV Series used lacquer with extra thinner, which Fender called "Flash Coat" (Fender's own name for the same process as the Wildwood "Thin Skin" process). Additionally, this was applied over a lacquer sanding sealer, as opposed to over a poly sealer. Eventually, Fender went back to a standard lacquer-to-thinner ratio and poly sealer coat when they axed the AVs and introduced the AOs.

    It is possible for a thick lacquer (meaning a lacquer with a standard ratio of lacquer to thinner) to be applied with relatively thin film thickness. Not as thin as the AVs were, but still "thin" in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps they are paying more attention to doing this now, and/or perhaps they are using a different poly sealer or different application methods for the poly sealer (perhaps thinned down more, e.g.). But my point was that the lacquer is back to being thinned with the old AVRI ratio again, not the old AVRI thickness.

    Basically, what happened is that Fender realized they had made the AV Series (late 2012–2017) too good and/or too cheap. They rivaled CS instruments in terms of build, specs, vintage accuracy, and finish quality, but at about half the price, and with relatively lots of production volume. With the AVs out there en masse, there was almost no reason for anyone to buy a Custom Shop N.O.S. reissue. So Fender fixed that for 2018 by eliminating accurate reissues as part of the standard U.S.A. production line offerings. Now if one wants an accurate reissue, it's Vintera for 1,000 bucks (Mexican made, fairly accurate except for finish material) or Custom Shop N.O.S. for 3,500 or 4,000 bucks. The 2,000 buck U.S.A. reissue niche is now gone. AOs are basically Wildwood Thin Skins (old school looks but modern radius and frets)...but without the Thin Skin (A.K.A. Flash Coat) lacquer.
     
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