Other Guitars

NGD - Fender Classic Player ‘60s Strat

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On Monday I had picked up a 2015 Fender Classic Player '60s Strat in Sonic Blue. It was listed as Surf Green but it's not, these came in Sonic Blue, not Surf Green but I can see why GC employees thought it may have been SG because it's much lighter than any Sonic Blue I have ever seen or had and it has a bit of a tint of green then add to it the fluorescent lighting in GC and you might think it's a Surf Green.

These Classic Players are Custom Shop designed but made in Mexico. You probably heard that before, huh? What sets it a part from other Strats is that it's based on an early '60s Strat but with some changes. The bridge is a combination or hybrid of modern American Std Strat bridge with the two point attachment rather than six like vintage but it has vintage saddles. The fretboard radius is 12 inch and the pickups are Fender '69. Has rosewood board as you'd expect and vintage tuners. The pickguard is that aged green type of guard.

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It's been said that a flatter fretboard is better for soloing and a more curved board is better for chord changes. I prefer a flatter board, either 9.5 or 12. I find contrary to popular opinion that I can change chords much more successfully on a flatter fretboard radius, and I really don't solo much. But if I solo I suppose the flatter board is helpful.

3

From the serial number I figured it was a 2015 but I called Fender to confirm and this is the case. Fender support is very good from all the experiences I had with them. I believe the previous owner had did a relic job on it but more of a slightly warn version, not heavy beat to death. A bit of a Closet Classic or a little more worn.

The bridge saddles have a little rust but not overdone. The tuning pegs look slightly oxidized but no rust. You know, the pegs get sort of a haze on it from years of exposure to air or humid air. My guess is the guy took the saddles off and put it in salt water for a few weeks or maybe in some muriatic acid for a short time. I think the saddles he may have sanded it down with fine wet sand paper and possibly left it in water for a day or so.

There are some dents in the paint toward the lower end of the guitar. I didn't see them at first but noticed when I looked the guitar over closely. Not so bad that it looks bad, but just looks worn a bit. No sanding of paint to make it look beat up or anything. I think he did a great job of it and I like it.

The mint green guard fits the look of the guitar and looks great.

It's strung with .10 to .46 roundwounds. Not sure what brand, I didn't take them off to examine the ends. The setup is perfect. It plays well and feels great. The 1969 pickups sound great. Clear and fairly bright but not too bright to ice pick your ears. Add some chorus and you got Johnny Marr during The Smiths or Cocteau Twins like '80s sound. It can do Hendrix or Gilmour. Can even to Hank Marvin. At one time I was going to buy 1969 pickups for another Strat but never did because I was unsure, but now I have some and I like the sound.

4

I had a 1962 reissue I got straight from Japan from Ishibashi Music about 2002 in Gold. Not sure what shade you'd call it but it was a beauty. I sold it a few year later and regretted it. These two are different in some ways or same in others. I had a void from selling it and glad I got this new one. I like this in every way. This guitar just feels great. I love the neck, not just the flat radius but the feel of the neck. I'm happy to have found it.

Funny enough If found it by accident. I had tried a Classic '60s (not Player) a couple weeks earlier in Lake Placid Blue, which is a nice color. It sounded great and felt great too. It was $399 plus tax. Almost bought it but I was looking for a Sonic Blue or Surf Green or even Sunburst. The price was right but waited for the other colors I mention. Came back a week later and they had a Sunburst Classic '60s nut the guitar was way heavy. I have had experiences with a heavy Morales Mosrite copy and I feel a guitar too heavy kills the tone and is uncomfortable. I believe that one was even cheaper. It was $349. Very tempting but the weight was not for me. By the way this is Guitar Center in Pasadena (CA). So I have to run errands again in Pasadena a week later and had not planned on going to Guitar Center but I was near it and had time so I stopped in and found this Sonic Blue Classic Player '60s Strat and tried it. I knew immediately it was a great guitar and right for me. It was $499 plus tax. I checked used on eBay and Reverb and they go as low as $499 to as high as about $650 used but price will vary. $499 you don't see much though so I thought it's fair and bought it. It was actually last month around the 22nd or so but it was on 30 day Police Hold. It had been there a few days but I had to wait until the 17th of this month to pick it up.

By the way there was a guy there who was a customer and was very friendly. He was a good player and saw me playing it and we talked about it. I asked if he could try it and see what he thought. He said it was an excellent guitar and said that I got a good one. I think he was being sincere and not just saying that. He was playing different Strats and playing well. That made me feel good. I felt good about it already but he confirmed it.

I recall Johnny Marr played a Strat with rosewood board back with The Smiths, along with many other guitars. I'm a fan and he having a rosewood board Strat, maybe an early '60s inspired me to get one. I like both rosewood and maple so I would have bought it anyway but it's just one more inspiration to get this. Also my Japnese '60s I sold too inspired me. Marr uses Jags a lot now and although I like Jags, I like his sound better when he used Strats. Andy Summers also has a circa 1960 Strat that he used a lot in The Police. Although famously known as a Tele player that has been heavily modified, he also played his Strat a lot. An inspiration.

I have a '70s RI Strat, well kind of. It is made up of a Fender '70s RI neck, Fender Body and DiMarzio pickups. In other words it's a Partscaster and I bought it knowing that. It plays well and sounds fine but the Classic Player '60s feels more substantial and vintage like. I think the sound is great on both but better on the Classic Players '60s. If in the mood for the maple board I'll use it but for rosewood I have my Classic Players but honestly I feel more like playing the Classic Player even if I try my hand at The Shadows even though Marvin used mostly his '59 or whatever year maple board Strat. I think it nails the tone better than the Partscaster and feels better. I will post some times pics of the Partscaster. I may even sell it at some point.

5

If it was a real relic by Fender it would be considered either Closet Classic or Lush Closet Classic but I am leaning more towards the Lush Closet Classic. See the descriptions of the Time Machine series.

This guitar is from 2015 so it's not old enough to have had the bridge slightly rust and the tuners to oxidize so I am pretty sure the previous owner intentionally aged it himself but I am glad he didn't go overboard. It looks good to me. The finish is Poly but they do now have some limited runs of Nitro versions and would be nice to be Nitro but on the other hand what does it matter to me because I have never been an obsessed with Nitro vs. Poly. Sure, my Jazzmaster is Nitro so it's nice to have but for the most part it's a non issue with me.

6

Nice looking guitar. I have a hankering for a classic Strat.

7

Nice looking guitar. I have a hankering for a classic Strat.

– Scorpio

Thanks, so far it's fun and looks great. Yeah I'd highly recommend one to you. Also the Road Worn are very nice too.

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Such a cool looking geet that,congrats!

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Lennon and Harrison got a pair of Sonic Blue Strats in 1965. George's morphed into "Rocky". Not certain what happened to John's.

Definitely a cool look. Congrats.

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Thanks JC and Caliban. For some time had been hankering for a Strat with rosewood board and this one was so good I could not pass up.

I wonder what songs The Beatles used theirs on.

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Congrats on a cool new Strat. I have the fender Classic Player 60's Tele in Sonic Blue.....actually it's listed as "Faded Sonic Blue" which explains the lighter color. The Classic Player Series Fenders are really nice guitars with real good pu's. I'm pretty sure the 60's Classic Player Strat comes with Custom Shop '69 pu's which are a bit higher output with a fatter, punchier tone.

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Gretschadelphia, thanks!

"Faded Sonic Blue," that makes sense. I like the finish because it looks mysterious. Mysterious in the way depending on the lighting some may think it's Surf Green but faded or Faded Sonic Blue or even white.

I saw a review on YouTube and the guy said it can get the Hendrix tone. I'm not into Hendrix but it's nice to know it can do that. I think it does a good Hank Marvin and I'm into that and a good Andy Summers and even Mark Knopfler. The Custom Shop '69 are exactly as you say it is, higher output, fatter and punchier tone.

I am not sure if the fretboard is made of Rosewood or Pao Ferro. Reason is, that they originally came with Rosewood but now are Pao Ferro. Not sure what year they switched over. I tried a Jazzmaster, one of the new variations that had Pao Ferro and it was fine. I though it was Rosewood but later found out that they use this wood called Pao Ferro. I did research and Fender used Pao Ferro for a few guitars back in the early '60s and if true then it's fairly vintage correct. I tend to think mine is Pao Ferro because the color is brown like Rosewood but has some brown streaks in it like the Pao Ferro photos I have seen and the Jazzmaster I tried.

Your Classic Player 60's Tele should have a Rosewood or Pao Ferro fretboard right since it's a 1960s based model, not maple, correct? Is it Rosewood or Pao Ferro? What year is yours?

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My Classic Player 60's Tele has a Rosewood board. If your Strat is from 2015 it should also have a Rosewood board. I think all Classic Players switched from Rosewood to Pao Ferro after 2017. The Rosewood boards on the Classic Player Fenders tend to be nice dark rosewood. If you go over the board with some fret board cleaner and then some fret board oil, it will bring out the color and grain very nicely.

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Nice Stratocaster Polecats! I also have one of the modern Strats, and absolutely love it. Enjoy it in good health Sir.

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The Stevie Ray Vaughan Strat has a Pau Ferro board.

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Looks like it came with a hardshell case too. The "Deluxe Fender Gig Bags" that come with the Classic Players these days are anything but "Deluxe"......not much padding; just enough to keep the guitar from getting scratched. I got one of those thermometer shaped hardshell cases from Rondo Music for my Tele. Not a ton of storage room, but they fit perfect, are pretty sturdy, look cool, aren't bulky and can't be beat for $69.99

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That is a really good looking Strat you got there!!! I have a love/hate with Strats...however I have been playing my daughters 50’s Classic quite a bit the last few weeks and I’m getting the itch again.

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That is a really good looking Strat you got there!!! I have a love/hate with Strats...however I have been playing my daughters 50’s Classic quite a bit the last few weeks and I’m getting the itch again.

– Michael Williams

Yeah as far as solid body guitars goes I got more into Jazzmasters since the late 90s but recently I have been more interested in Strats. I love both Jazzmasters and Strats but Strats these days are catching my interest more. I have my American Vintage RI Jazzmaster still and won't get rid of it for the world but the new Strat is really exciting me. Sure the Jazzmaster has a Ventures and The Astronauts thing but I found that the Strat is an amazing surf guitar. I'm no Dick Dale or Paul Johnson but now I can understand why they favor these guitars for surf music.

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Looks like it came with a hardshell case too. The "Deluxe Fender Gig Bags" that come with the Classic Players these days are anything but "Deluxe"......not much padding; just enough to keep the guitar from getting scratched. I got one of those thermometer shaped hardshell cases from Rondo Music for my Tele. Not a ton of storage room, but they fit perfect, are pretty sturdy, look cool, aren't bulky and can't be beat for $69.99

– Gretschadelphia

Well actually it didn't come with the case. Just in the room I have my guitar in we have industrial carpet in a light green color so pictures with the guitar on it wouldn't really showcase the guitar very well so I put it on the black hardshell case to be able to have it contrast and standout from the carpet. I didn't have it in the case because I have another The "Deluxe Fender Gig Bag" didn't come with it so the previous owner may have sold it to GC but kept the bag. I have a great Fender hardshell case I bought used about 4 months ago. Not the case you see the guitar on. The new Fender hardshell cases are very nice. They are made to fit either Tele or Strats but I don't think Jazzmasters. I never tried to put my JM in the case because my Jazzmaster had a vintage style Fender case already with it.

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Nice Stratocaster Polecats! I also have one of the modern Strats, and absolutely love it. Enjoy it in good health Sir.

– Wade H

Thank you Wade. Glad you love your Strat. Strats are really nice guitars. You enjoy yours as well in good health buddy!

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The Stevie Ray Vaughan Strat has a Pau Ferro board.

– JCHiggy

I didn't know that. I should check out one of those SRVs and check out the board although the Jazzmaster, some newer variation I tried had a Pao Ferro and it was a nice fretboard just has some brown streaks in it rather than being all one shade of dark brown. A lot of people like ebony fretboards and I haven't tried one in 20 years but one of the Fender Deluxe Strats from the '90s came with ebony. It seemed fine but not enough for it to be something I'd pay extra for. The Strat Ultra Deluxe I think it's called. Had Lace Sensors, two singles and a dually in the bridge and had locking tuners and aluminum nut. These were very popular in the '90s. This is along the lines of the Jeff Beck Strat back then.

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My Classic Player 60's Tele has a Rosewood board. If your Strat is from 2015 it should also have a Rosewood board. I think all Classic Players switched from Rosewood to Pao Ferro after 2017. The Rosewood boards on the Classic Player Fenders tend to be nice dark rosewood. If you go over the board with some fret board cleaner and then some fret board oil, it will bring out the color and grain very nicely.

– Gretschadelphia

Good to know. I prefer to have a rosewood board just because it's more traditional although I read that in the early '60s they made a few Strats with Pao Ferro. Next time I change stings I will clean it and go over with some fretboard oil. It looks good now but I am sure it really will bring out the best in the rosewood. Thanks for the suggestion.


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