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darkandrew

Straturday

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Following on from and inspired by the "tele tuesday" thread, I thought I'd start a similar thread for Strats.

Now I know it's not Saturday but since this isn't strictly a Strat either, I thought I'd probably get away with it. So here's my Fender Showmaster. It was made in Korea (by Cort for Fender) about 10 - 15 years ago, and as far as I can make out is one of quite a limited run. I can't be 100% sure on some of these details, due to the lack of information out there but I think it has a solid basswood body, maple set-neck and a rosewood fretboard. The tuners are Fender branded locking tuners and the trem is a two point floating type with a brass block. The electrics are a single volume pot, a single tone pot and an Ibanez style 5-way pickup selector. The only mod it's had is to replace the stock pickups (USA made Fenders - not sure of the exact model) with Bare Knuckle Cold Sweats, which suit the guitar really well giving it equal amounts of bite, warmth and aggression. It was a bit of a pain finding the right pickups for this guitar as it has a very soft attack and naturally sucks up all the high and low frequencies. The Cold Sweat pickups, on the other hand, have a scooped frequency response and a fast attack which together address the guitar's weaknesses. All in all, I've grown to quite like this guitar over the years and use it whenever I want something a little bit more "metal".

Fender_Showmaster.jpg

Edited by darkandrew
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A blast from the past with my old Strat (long since moved on) that played brilliantly and sounded spot on, especially with the DiMarzio SDS 1 I fitted in the bridge. 

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It’s Saturday, so how about a 1954 Strat being used in anger? Probably my favourite guitar player (at least today 😉).

 

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On 23/02/2019 at 18:31, darkandrew said:

I've got a new Strat (not a Strat) on the way and will be collecting it tomorrow - pics and review to follow ...

OK and here it is, my new Ltd M403HT superstrat. As some of you may have seen elsewhere on here, I've been after a guitar for that neck, single coil Strat vibe that wasn't necessarily an actual Strat, and this is what I've ended up with. It's a 2016 Korean model, basically in "as new" condition with a solid mahogany body, flamed maple top, maple bolt on neck, rosewood or pao ferro fret board (the current Malaysian ones are pao ferro but I think the Korean models had rosewood - it certainly looks like rosewood to me anyway), a pair of Seymour Duncan STK -S4 stacked single coils in the neck and middle positions , a TB-14 Custom 5 in the bridge, a hard-tail bridge with through-the-body string anchoring and Grover tuners at the other end. Controls are a 5-way selector, a single volume and a single tone.

First impressions were that it looked really good and played OK - the previous owner had the action set far too low, the pickup heights were all over the place, and the tone knob was coming loose but after a quick setup, everything is much better although I'm finding the dead-flat fret board a little unnatural feeling but no-doubt I'll soon get used to it. The Custom 5 in the bridge is a perfectly good pickup but I'd had one of those in previous guitar and knew what to expect with that. The S4s are amazingly quiet with the hidden coil doing an excellent job of cancelling any hum (in fact they appear to have less noise than the bridge humbucker), tone-wise they sound pretty much like your standard single coil pickup, perhaps a little warmer, but I will give them a go one day with this second coil shorted to ground to see if it makes any discernible difference to the sound - if it does, I'll probably then replace the tone pot with push-push or push-pull so that I can have this as a switchable option.

General workmanship is pretty good - the fret ends are nice and smooth (more so than my previous Korean made Fenders which needed a mini-workover with a small file and some wet'n'dry), the strings and pickups line up on this one unlike an earlier one that I almost bought, although I can feel the slightest of lips on the nut where it's less than a hair's width out of alignment - one day I'll probably have go at fixing this too (anyone know if it's possible to easily remove the nut and reposition it on these without damaging either the nut or the guitar?). I've got a new set of NYXLs coming in tomorrow and I'll write a more detailed review when I've put those on and given the guitar a thorough setup.

Update - it's now been re-strung with my string of choice, the fretboard cleaned and oiled, the pickup heights adjusted and the relief / action / intonation all setup. So what do I think now? The bridge pickup is great for heavier stuff - a little scooped but not too much (the NYXLs help smooth that a little but emphasising the mids and high mids while toning down the bass and extreme highs a little) and the neck and middle pickups are great for the funky rhythm stuff when played together. As I've already said, the build quality is good for the "street price", certainly on a par with my other Korean guitars but it just can't quite match the feel of quality that you get with a full-fat Japanese ESP. It might sound like a cliché but when I play my Japanese ESP Eclipses, they don't feel like guitars - they feel like a part of me while this feels like … a guitar. A good sounding, well balanced guitar but still a guitar none-the-less. The main reason for that, I believe, is the neck - while it's beautifully smooth and shallow, it's just a fraction wider than I'm used to with a flatter fretboard - no doubt if a I give it a chance and play it as regularly as I play my other guitars, I'll soon get used to it, after all I can switch quite happily from a 5 string Spector Euro 5LX bass to a 4 string EBMM Sterling and then to an ESP Eclipse 6 string electric guitar. 

Update 2 - I've now re-aligned the nut, and the pickups (the middle pickup was slightly slanted and the bridge humbucker was slightly off centre), and now I'm feeling happier. I'm still finding it a little un-natural to play but I've only had it a day so give it some time ...

 

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Edited by darkandrew
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My American Deluxe. I replaced the N3 stock pickups with Kinmans which sound so much stronger. Never got on with the cream/parchment PG so swapped it for a white one.

2036668317_IMG_20190309_1012212.thumb.jpg.8486dfbfb4eedd1011466267ab9d8a63.jpg1932196999_IMG_20190309_1011142.thumb.jpg.14dccd31a83bd607f8b9c3307e09d6ac.jpg1694213061_IMG_20190309_1011512.thumb.jpg.ef8031874fee744be158efbd339e352f.jpg165239634_IMG_20190309_1013172.thumb.jpg.1b70f7faa24c3672e56c0606457e1510.jpg

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9 hours ago, Skinnyman said:

My American Deluxe. I replaced the N3 stock pickups with Kinmans which sound so much stronger. Never got on with the cream/parchment PG so swapped it for a white one.

2036668317_IMG_20190309_1012212.thumb.jpg.8486dfbfb4eedd1011466267ab9d8a63.jpg1932196999_IMG_20190309_1011142.thumb.jpg.14dccd31a83bd607f8b9c3307e09d6ac.jpg1694213061_IMG_20190309_1011512.thumb.jpg.ef8031874fee744be158efbd339e352f.jpg165239634_IMG_20190309_1013172.thumb.jpg.1b70f7faa24c3672e56c0606457e1510.jpg

Oooh, that is nice :)

 

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