We’ve recently had a discussion on what our next guitar would be and I posted a lengthy answer to that question here. Well, yesterday it turned into reality.
I’ve spent the past few weeks researching this guitar and watching reviews, and the impressions I got were quite positive, so I said to myself, “Why not get it before it gets more expensive?” I was really surprised that only 4 days after having placed my order (I tried the same model but in a different finish) the store notified me that I can pick it up along with a Fender gig bag that is sturdier than the one that comes with the guitar by default.
So yesterday I tried it at the store and found it was to my liking. This is my first guitar with a whammy bar and locking tuners, and I got the chance to change strings right away (after I took it home) as I may have got a bit wild with the whammy bar, though I think it was due to the factory strings being a bit old (the guitar was manufactured in July 2022). The 5-way switch is also new to me, so I spent last night downloading technical documentation from the Fender website for future reference. I got used to the dedicated volume and tone knobs on my Epiphone guitars, so now I have a few things to learn.
My first impressions are really pleasing. The guitar plays great out of the box, so I don’t think I’ll need any extra setup on it apart from fine-tuning the intonation and loosening the springs of the whammy bar a little bit (when released, the strings seem to stay a little sharp, at least according to my tuner), but I’ll check the descriptions before touching them.
The Strat is fitted with a 9-46 set of strings which is partially lighter than what I have on the Epiphones, but so far I have no problems adjusting to them. Last night I played along to some of my usual practice pieces and I think the transition was smooth. Of course, the tones are different and that will take some time to figure out the various settings. The action is just right so chords are clean and there’s no sting buzz. I’ve read some less than enthusiastic comments on Strats having lacquer on the fretboard and the frets (as it’s applied right at the end of the process) so I was a little worried about that but I was relieved to find that it doesn’t interfere with my playing. I can’t even feel the lacquer under my fingers.
My only gripe is with the screws of the Schaller strap locks as they don’t fit in the original strap button holes, so that will take a little work to adjust. For the time being, I’m using a spare strap I had lying around. (I bought the Fender strap matching the finish and of course I’ve already installed the parts of the strap lock that go on the strap… oh well).
So overall I’m quite happy now