Fender Stratocaster CE 50's series Reviews 5

This strat was purchased through Musician's Friend at a cost of $459.00, which included an extra $35.00 for the sunburst finish. I wanted a strat in my collection that had a vintage look and feel without the vintage price. Sound is probably the most important issue of all and while it's unlikely that a retro can accurately reproduce the more subtle qualities sought in a genuine vintage by the more discriminating artists, I'll readily admit that the sound layers from this particular model come darn close if not actually hitting the mark for the rest of us strat dwellers.

The action on this strat is excellent, the fretboard is silky smooth and a good deal of attention has been given to faithfully reporducing the original. Of perhaps greatest importance is that I can find no noticable difference in the tone quality when making comparisons to actual earlier era strats or the american made reproduction.

While the tuners mimic the original equipment, broader musical styles and more radical playing techniques over time may have rendered their simplistic design possibly unreliable in maintaining position. They tend to have the rather annoying "pop" factor that sometimes makes accurate tuning difficult as well. Some care taken to keep the key tension screws properly adjusted helps to diminish the problem to tolerable levels.

The rich amber patina on the maple neck is a great attribute of this model and the vintage wound pickups produce an outstanding blend so characteristic of strat quality. The action and alignment is great and general craftsmanship is indeed impressive as an MIM product. The body is also contoured to match the original 50's model. It feels like a 50's as much as looks like one. All standard on this strat is an adjustable truss rod, three single coil vintage wound pickups, single volume with twin tone control knobs and a five-position selector switch that's more well known in later model strats, with a "synchronized" tremelo bar and bridge.

Well strat cats, this retro ax can't actually take you back in time. For such a modest investment, however, this is an absolutely outstanding guitar with the right blend of modern technology and vintage perks that collectively produce the unmistakable fender sound that cuts through the air like a razor.

Russell Rigsby rated this unit 5 on 2002-12-12.

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