DISCLAIMER: I am not a strat guy. They make cool noises and others dig but I DO NOT WANT. They are fugly, they are puritanical, they are part of the reason so damn many guitarists get stuck on the idea that anything made less than fifty years ago sucks ass, and in general they annoy me with their crappy boringness.
I say all of this so you understand just how big of a step this is.
So I saw that strat a few days back. It pretty much jumped out at me in a way no strat ever does because, let's face it, it's a strat. There's literally millions of them floating around, and outside of some of the fat specials and mahogany natural finished ones, they're nothing stand-out. The fact that it caught my attention at all amongst the many other strats on that wall is surprising enough.
It's a teal color, aged just enough to have a slightly greener tint than standard Fender teal. It has a silver/black swirl pickguard that's been tinted a little mint with either age or some sort of treatment. White appointments, chrome hardware. Little dusty, no major dings. Some fretboard wear patterns in the lower registers, but nothing horrible. Rosewood board. Three singles with what appears standard electronics with the five way switch. Despite the fact that the color is the only thing that jumped out at me, I found myself picking it up and strumming chords the first time I saw it. I don't do that with strats.
So, I tried to walk away.
Then spent the next two days with it randomly popping into my head at odd moments.
The only possible cure is shock treatment. Go plug that bad boy in and see how bland and plain and normal and stratty it really is. Then I'll realize I could get one any time and any other strat would be just the same so whatever.
Dude at the store hooks me up with a little 30 watt cube and leaves me to it. Sounds OK in bridge clean. Bridge dirty is nasty and ratty. Go through the positions. Oh my. Neck-mid, tone rolled back, volume about 8, amp gain cranked up, heaven. WTH?
Played it for about forty minutes give or take. No dead spots in the neck, several usable tones here and there and that's with a cheap solid-state practice amp. And no one could argue it's not completely different from my other guitfiddles. There's nothing even remotely similar between this and my humbucker chuggers. One minor finish ding close to the neck. Minor ding on the back of the neck that's so small it'd probably buff out near instantly. The trem cover matches the pickguard. The back is surprisingly clean so someone never wore a big belt buckle when they played. And it was obviously played. Had a good setup on it too. Rolled edges, clean fretwork, ultra smooth neck that felt a touch thinner than most strats I've been forced to use at friend's places, but not as thin as my others.
So I ask the dude what the story is again. Just somebody that didn't jive with it. I tell him I'll think about it and force myself to go look in other parts of the store. Tried a couple other axes hoping I'd see, again, that it's nothing special. They weren't the same. DAMN IT!
So, since I was on the bike, and I don't really have the room ready at home, I ended up sticking it on layaway before I left. Just couldn't let it get away. They have no charge sixty day layaway, so it's not like I'm paying for it. So, um, I guess this is quasi-new guitar day for me.
And I still have one in the shop getting my refinish on. Big year for guitars in my world I guess. Mrs. NFB will likely not be amused, but she doesn't much care so long as it comes out of my fun money.
EXISTENTIAL CRISIS IN RAWK
So, what exactly does this mean? I'll have a strat now. That doesn't feel right to me, yet it didn't feel right to walk away from it either. It's like, you know, traditional or some shit. And I'm not much of a traditional guy in most regards, but especially musically.
Do I have to stop chugging and turn in my black t-shirt cred for a bl00ze amp and a bad hat? Or is this like some alter-ego thing where I'm a metal dude by day and a chicken picker by night?
Or maybe I'm the guy that's supposed to discover the true br00tz happens with single coils? Maybe I'll tune it to drop C and play Chimaira covers on it through an old 5150? Or, you know, not.
The biggest thing is the fear of what this means overall. All those douchebags that always said, "yeah, just grow up a little. You'll trade in your pointies for a strat and give up that stupid shit." I mean, what's next? A Harley instead of my Suzuki? Wearing name-brand logowear to work? A misstress in each city? CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER?!
Oh, right. I won't give up the stupid shit because that would pretty much mean I have to stop breathing. Nevermind then.
What it really means is I have another weapon to weave my soundscapes, nothing more, nothing less. Fun and cool. That's all. Crisis averted.
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