Fender Classic '70s Stratocaster
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Fender Classic '70s Stratocaster

Classic '70s Stratocaster, Chitarra Corpo tipo Stratocaster from Fender belonging to the Classic '70s Stratocaster model.

content in English
King Loudness 18/04/2011

Fender Classic '70s Stratocaster : Recensione di King Loudness (content in English)

"Classic version of a true classic!"
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This Fender Stratocaster is part of their Classic Series line of guitars. Made in Mexico, they are designed to capture the different "classic" eras of Fender guitars such as the fifties, sixties, and seventies. This model is the seventies Stratocaster. The features list is as follows:

*Ash body (with three colour sunburst finish)
*Maple neck with rosewood fretboard and 21 frets
*7.5" neck radius
*CBS style headstock with bullet truss rod
*Fender "F" tuners
*Vintage style synchronized tremolo
*3 single coil pickups with standard controls (volume/tone/tone/5 way selector switch
*More stout body contouring overall
*Fender Deluxe gigbag included

It's essentially your typical 70s Stratocaster in its features, but with better quality control, so many of the issues of the past have been left in the past. For being a MIM, this guitar was surprisingly well crafted and held up very well in various rock and blues projects that I was in.


UTILIZATION

The issue I have with Strats is that they're generally cumbersome unless you get one with modern refinements. This guitar was certainly no exception to the rule. Seventies Strats are generally very clunky and hard to get around for me and unfortunately, the reissues suffer from this flaw as well. It's inherent in the design but it's still a grievance to me. The upper fret access was average at best. Getting to the 21st fret wasn't overly difficult but it wasn't as easy as I would've liked because of the neck heel getting in my way.

The 7.5" radius was a huge problem as well. Bends of more than a half step were almost always choking out, especially as I went higher up the neck. Oddly enough, I replaced this with a real deal 1979 USA Stratocaster and had no problems with the vintage radius... though the contouring was even less pronounced than this MIM reissue.

Getting good tones was very simple. The pickups were great. They had a slightly overwound character that allowed them to have a bit more punch and raw attack than the 50s/60s style pickups. It allowed clean tones to be much fuller and beefier, and the distorted tones took on a very throaty, viscous quality that was (to my ears) very reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple or Ulrich Roth of The Scorpions.

SOUNDS

When I owned this guitar, I was primarily using a 6V6 loaded Orange Rockerverb 50 head and a Haggerty 2x12 loaded with Eminence speakers. As I stated in the above column, the tones delivered by this guitar were great. I was almost surprised that a MIM could sound as good as this one did...

The clean tones had that classic seventies "overwound" texture to them. They weren't wimpy, nor meek and quiet. Chords and fast passages asserted themselves with a dominating brilliance throughout a band mix that sat very well with bass and drums. Adding a bit of reverb helped to bring lead based passages some more depth to help them really cut through. They had a great sound for jazzier or bluesier styles and worked very well overall.

The dirty tones were great as well. Again, that overwound character comes into play here. The rhythm tones were surprisingly thick and booming for a Strat, but they still had that glassy shimmer from the single coils that allows Strats to cut in a mix so well. Tonewise, the pickups were definitely more vintage than modern (again: think classic Deep Purple or Scorpions) but they had a ton of serious punch and worked well for even heavier rock at times.

The biggest thing to watch out for (and Strat users will already know and understand this) is that the 60 cycle hum from the pickups can be problematic. A good noise gate can compliment this but it's still worth mentioning that these pickups aren't noiseless and will hum and buzz when serious doses of gain are applied to the signal.

OVERALL OPINION

All in all I thought this was a killer example of a Strat. Sure, it was heavy (solid ash body), clunky, not so ergonomic, etc, but the sheer power and pummeling nature of the pickups was a real shocker. Mind you, I replaced this guitar with a '79 and found the pickups to be even better. Perhaps I just like them? It was a very well crafted guitar that held up to whatever I was doing and never gave me any trouble.

If you get a chance to try or buy one of these and you're looking for a cool throwback to that era where it was all about the power, go for it. You won't be disappointed.